Mindfulness Based Therapy & Counseling in San Jose & Silicon Valley
The present moment may not be perfect or particularly pleasant. Lets face it, life can be painful. However, we often compound this pain by creating suffering. Suffering comes from not being in the present moment - we are either worrying about things that happened in the past, that we cannot change, or creating all sorts of interpretations and judgments about things that may, or may not happen in the future. We are looking for someplace else to be, someplace where we hope things will be better, happier, more the way we want them to be, the way they "should" be, or the way they used to be.
Suffering ensues from wanting things to be different than they actually are. Craving certain experiences and rejecting or pushing away other experiences. This constant push and pull, trying to force reality into the way we want it to be is exhausting. Yet, we continue to do it. I'm a firm believer that all behavior has a specific reasoning behind it, so why do we continue this struggle? We're intermittently reinforced! Because even if it's just for a moment, when we get that push or pull just right, exactly the way we want it to be, we're satisfied. This is very reinforcing, even if it lasts for only a moment, since inevitably, in the next moment, things will change and we will continue to resist, push, pull, and continue to suffer.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness in the context that I use in therapy has nothing to do with relaxation, religion, or sitting on a cushion and achieving a Zen like state. Simply put, mindfulness is awareness. It's waking up to reality and allowing yourself to pause in your experience long enough to really let the moment sink in; long enough to actually feel the present moment, to see it in its fullness, and all of the complexities,
holding it in awareness, coming to know and understand it better. Only then can we really accept the truth of this moment, learn from it, and move on. Acceptance is really the prerequisite to change, and acceptance is only possible if we're mindful of the present moment.
The good news is that mindfulness is a skill that can be learned.
Integrating Mindfulness into your Relationships & Life
What if you could integrate the skill of mindfulness into your relationships?
- at work
- with your partner
- with difficult family members
- with your children
- with painful and difficult emotions
- in situations where you can't afford to make it worse
There are different ways of tapping into awareness. You can practice the skill of mindfulness at anytime - while washing dishes, exercising, during important meetings, dealing with difficult people, or just while putting your children to bed. Even when life is difficult, mindfulness can help you find the joy and happiness that is already present in this very moment. It may sound simple but it's certainly not easy.
Mindfulness requires effort, discipline, and lots of practice; however, in my personal and professional experience, it's worth it. There's just too much at stake to life life any other way. We pay a high price for mistaken and unexamined assumptions and interpretations of what we think is going on in the present moment. By being unmindful or mindless, we lose ourselves and we lose touch with reality. We fall into a robot-like way of seeing, acting, thinking, and relating to life. Opportunities are missed, relationships go unattended, and our overall satisfaction with life decreases. Without redirection, these clouded, mindless moments eventually make up our lives. After all, our lives are just a compilation of a bunch of moments.
Mindfulness Can Help
Mindfulness can help:
- increase objectivity in your life
- gain the ability to view situations from multiple perspectives
- notice thoughts as just that - you are not your thoughts
- respond to situations instead of react
- assist in structural changes in the brain including thickening of the prefrontal cortex
Decades of empirical research from Western science on mindfulness have shown that with practice, individuals report improvement in their overall satisfaction with life, happiness, and a decrease in clinical symptoms including anxiety and depression. Through conducting research on mindfulness, my own personal experience with mindfulness, and from my therapeutic framework of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), I use mindfulness as an approach to conducting individual therapy, because all we have is this very moment.