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Meditation In Mental Health

Treatment Description

Mindfulness Meditation Concentration Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

Two techniques drawn from Behavioral Medicine are presented below, representing the two primary forms of meditation. The first method is derived from the Vipassana (Mindfulness) tradition, and is described by John Kabit-Zinn,PhD, a psychologist who has written about mindfulness in everyday life in his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, from which this quote is taken.

Vipassana (Mindfulness):  Try stopping, sitting down, and becoming aware of your breathing once in a while throughout the day. It can be for five minutes, or even five seconds. Let go into full acceptance of the present moment, including how you are feeling and what you perceive to be happening. For those moments, don't try to change anything at all, just breathe and let go. Breathe and let go. Die to having to have anything be different in this moment; in your mind and in your heart, give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are. Then, when you're ready, move in the direction your heart tells you to go, mindfully and with resolution.

Concentration Meditation

The second technique is derived from the Concentration tradition, and is from Beyond the Relaxation Response by Dr. Benson.

Step one: Pick a brief phrase or word that reflects your basic belief system. To get the maximum benefit out of the relaxation response, you should tailor it to your personal belief system.
Step two: Choose a comfortable position. ...sit in any comfortable position that won't disturb your thoughts.
Step three: Close your eyes.... naturally and easily. The act should be effortless.
Step four: Relax your muscles. Starting with your feet and progressing up to your calves, thighs, and abdomen, relax the various muscle groups in your body.
Step five: Become aware of your breathing, and start using your faith-rooted focus word. Breathe slowly and naturally, without forcing your rhythm... start repeating silently the word or phrase you have chosen...
Step six: Maintain a passive attitude.
Step seven: Continue for a set period of time. Practice the technique for ten or twenty minutes.... Keep a watch or a clock in plane sight, and sneak a peek now and then when you think about the time.... As you elicit the relaxation response by slowly going into it, you should return to your everyday state in a slow, gradual manner.
Step eight: Practice the technique twice daily.

Many people have learned meditation by following such simple instructions. But as Ram Das has pointed out,

Sometimes, the simplest things are not necessarily the easiest. Even for "veteran" meditators, it is often a challenge to deal with the incessant chatter in the mind, with all those thoughts that come to mind when you stop doing and start being. (Be Here Now)

Both mindfulness and concentration meditation techniques are being used in clinical settings such as outpatient clinics and hospitals.

EXERCISE: Listen to this audio file of a 10 minute mindfullness meditation by Tara Brach, a psychologist and Insight Meditation teacher.
A Moment of Calm


Which of these is not a type of meditation practice ...

a) Vipassana
b) Mindfulness
c) Concentration method
d) biofeedback

Record your answers for later insertion into the Quiz.



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