If you keep any tabs on the world of pop psychology, you may have been exposed to the term “mindfulness.”  The concept of Mindfulness is derivative of a Buddhist principle adopted by mental health practitioners.  To be mindful means to be in the present.  More and more people with various issues are learning that mindfulness is essential to overcoming their life’s stressors.  For that reason, I have decided to offer a group therapy experience on the topic of mindfulness and how to apply it to your life.

Mindfulness enables everything you do and experience to become a waking meditation.  I came to meditation through the backdoor: hypnosis.  I can write other blogs on the topic of hypnosis, but I might quickly distinguish hypnosis from meditation as utilizing your imagination to alter perceptions that may alter your subjective reality rather than simply being present with your reality, as you might be in more of a Zen or Transcendental Meditation.  As a fan of hypnosis, I didn’t really understand why I would spend time with the way reality was when instead, you could practice imagining it to your liking.

Eventually, I was exposed to Ekhart Tolle.  My cousin and I got the idea to read The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment together.  I read it slowly and carefully, being sure to soak in every word.  He was eloquently able to relate every problem to the ego or time.  The ego is who you see yourself to be, but the ego is more of a false idol than the full story.  Regarding time, all stress comes from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, neither of which exist except for in you mind.  Living in the Now may free you from the stress that theses variables may create.  That is the briefest summary of the book that I can provide.

In my time working with drug addicts, most of them will tell me that the concept of mindfulness was one of the most helpful resources they had in early recovery.  Most people say that depression is stress in the past and anxiety is stress in the future, learning how to live in the now may provide the best respite to such feelings.  More and more research is showing that living in the moment is directly correlated to reported happiness.  For these reasons, I’m really hoping that I can gather an eclectic group of individuals for this group counseling experience.  It will be encouraging for everyone to experiencing how simply being present could alleviate a broad spectrum of issues.

This therapy group will be an 8 week series, I’m hoping to have 8-10 people in each group, and I’m open to offering multiple groups.  During this series we will be reading The Power of Now together, practicing meditation, and learning how to apply mindfulness principles into each of our lives.  I’m excited to offer this in a group therapy experience because something really special happens when you get to watch people grow, share, and heal alongside one another.  It’s fun for the counselor because all we have to do is create a safe space, manage the conversation, and sit back and watch as the group learns more from each other than they ever could from a therapist.

If you are interested in participating in this group starting this fall, please contact me ASAP, because the first group is getting started soon.  To be clear, this is a group counseling context, and not just a class or book club.  For this reason, I will be calling and screening potential candidates in the next few weeks.  It’s important to make sure that everyone involved is appropriate for group therapy.

I can’t wait to go through this book again in this context.  I know that I learn more every time I immerse myself in Tolle’s teachings and embrace the Now.  I look forward to the privilege of watching others grow in real time.