The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. We can learn to be mindful in everyday activities, allowing us to be fully present not worrying about the future or the past.
This process includes working with the mind:
“Meditation is the peaceful inward flowing of the mind.”
“Complete Mastery over the roaming tendencies of the mind.” (Sutra 1:2)
This process asks us to suspend judgment of the fluctuations of the mind, using pranayama or the power of the breath, to deepen our brainwaves into the alpha state and beyond. As we do this we become more able to notice sensations, emotions, and thoughts as an observer. In this way we cultivate embodied awareness, allowing ourselves to experience and observe what comes to our senses without judgment of "good" or "bad".
This process focuses on working with the mind:
Meditation practice is derived from Yogic, Buddhist, and Chinese disciplines amongst many others.
Mindfulness & Meditation:
This is the process in which we suspend judgment of the workings of the mind and unleash our natural curiosity about what is happening at the moment. This grounding exercise can move into a deeper form of meditation as we ease into a settled state.
The combined practice, over time, allows us to be more fully aware and clear and present with what comes up physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mindfulness practice also entrains us to become more mindful and calm during both pleasant and difficult situations.
Mindfulness and Meditation practice can be either in a fixed, seated, lying position, or can be accomplished as a form of movement. Silent and guided meditations are also both common techniques.
Science and Evolution:
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)), has been instrumental in bringing the benefits of mindfulness practice to the masses in a secular setting. Because of this, MBSR is a stepping stone to deeper practice for the meditation aspirant. With over 20 years of evidence basis showing effectiveness, MBSR is a proven method in reducing stress, regulating emotion, and promoting positive biological changes in blood pressure, stress hormone reduction, and cardiac function.
According to a Health Care Policy report from Harvard Medical School, approximately 60% of North Americans experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.
Some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition marked by intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to a traumatic experience that lasts long after the traumatic event has ended.
Significant changes in brain chemistry may occur when one is exposed to trauma, which rewires how we react to stress responses, this creates changes in the portions of the brain which regulate emotion, executive functioning, and the body's natural fight, flight or freeze response.
This is because trauma changes how we process and react to external stimuli. Changes in the amygdala which directs fear response becomes overactive, the hypo-pituitary-adrenal axis becomes overworked, leading to adrenal fatigue and cortisol cascades which in turn result in inflammation within the body. The downstream effects can lead to a myriad of health effects.
Dr. Van Der Kolk MD, a pioneer in the trauma-informed approach concludes that we hold trauma in the body, that medication alone does not alleviate the root cause of how the trauma might be released.
In reconnecting with ourselves through a window of tolerance, coming just to our edge and back, we can begin to uncoil the tightly wound spring within the body that is trauma, and that causes manifold mental and physical health effects if not attended to through mindfulness and meditation.
At A Source of Wellness, we are dedicated and trained to conduct our activities within a trauma-informed framework.