“It’s not that some part of you is conditioned. You’re wholly conditioned, from start to finish. Freedom begins when we are able to recognize this.” –JunPo Roshi
I am a dedicated meditation practitioner. I was trained in shamatha at Naropa University, the Buddhist University where I received my Master’s degree. I am also trained in a style of Zen meditation that is part of the Mondo Zen tradition founded by JunPo Roshi.
Q: Why is meditation important for psychotherapy?
A: My meditation teacher often says, “Zen needs therapy and therapy needs Zen.” Meditation practice gives us the opportunity to slow down our reactive, conditioned minds and see ourselves more clearly. However, this process can come with a tidal wave of emotional work that must be addressed or else we are not actually integrating our practice into our everyday lives. Rather, we are performing an act of spiritual bypassing, whereby we skirt around or bypass our emotional world and discount it as irrelevant. What meditation with psychotherapy can help foster is a deconstruction of the emotional story that you attach to your feelings and sensations. By doing this, we begin to feel things in the moment and become curious about the aliveness of each feeling without the judgment of “good” or “bad." Ultimately, this can bring you a greater sense of authenticity and freedom within your day-to-day experience. With focused attention, open awareness, and kind intentions, we can expand our capacity to see our experience more clearly, leading us to greater satisfaction and clarity of purpose.
Q: Do I have to?
A: No, I in no way require my clients to have a meditation practice. I do suggest that a meditation practice can accelerate the process of growth, transformation, and insight for those who are interested in this as an aspect of their development. Whether you are a beginner or several years in, I feel confident in working with you to develop or enhance a practice that works for you.
Q: Is meditating easy?
A: It is said that meditation is both the easiest and the hardest thing you can do. It’s easy because we are just sitting down, and it’s hard because looking at yourself closely takes courage, an element of fearlessness, compassion, gentleness and a curiosity about opening to yourself more deeply. This is very intimate work, but one with many rewards. For some, it’s too much, especially when one has experienced a lot of trauma throughout their lives. I feel skilled in finding the right balance between looking in and taking a break, sometimes referred to as touch and go. We can work through this together and find your unique balance.
Q: Will we meditate in session?
A: We can if you want to, but we surely don’t have to.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”