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Unread July 27th, 2006, 09:32 AM
Healer Healer is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy

No, I really don't practice Buddhist meditation. I learned meditation from a New Age healer who uses imagery, sound, movement, moving energy and a focus on chakras. Recently, I have been meditating with a guru, Hindu, very much a mystic, who uses only chanting. (And yes sound can effect meditation, responding to a previous thread.) I've tried and read about Buddhist meditation. I think I understand, and of course, all meditation essentially has a similar element--focus. However, I don't fully understand direct and indirect meditation from your text. I intuit that you mean that indirect meditation is an attempt to remain focused on what's running through the mind--"I feel anxious, my knees hurt, I miss my cat, I can't pay my bills." And in so do, one eventually strips away the pain, and becomes aware of peace. While direct meditation starts at peace or well being, and when something disturbing comes up one pulls himself back into peace, or is direct meditation, meditation on one thing, like a color?

That being said, I had some thoughts about exposure therapy and meditation. Surely, awareness of pain is exposure, but as Chate points out, you can become terribly tangled up in the emotion. I think that there is another element to meditation that heals. That is what is often called direct knowing. This applies well to what I have been reading about healing traumatic loss.

Just to note, from what I understand, there are two things that are hard to meditate away, loss and physical pain. That being said, I've been reading recent work on healing traumatic loss. Robert Neimeyer particularly has cited three tasks involved in that healing, and I hope that I paraphrase him correctly. (1) Gathering and knowing the fragmented parts of the event, those dissociated, making the event coherent. (2) Becoming aware of the emotional response that the event/s have created. (3) Inserting this into the life the life story so that somehow it fits.

When you say exposure, I assume you refer to trauma. With trauma, thoughts and emotions are shattered/scattered, although they are known, for some reason the pieces of the events along with the emotions just don't fit together. They are there, but they aren't there. Life becomes an act of living through the trauma first, and not living life. It's very hard to live in true self, seamlessly. That's my sense anyway.

Meditation can cultivate an event/skill of direct knowing. That which is confused, or cut off, or known but yet unknow just shows up. I think of the scientist who gets the answer in a dream. But it's more than that. There's an answer, but that which is scatter, shattered, known but unknown joins ordered healthy ego/consciousness. And then the emotional mind is so thrilled to have that order, in a flash there's peace. Healthy self/ego knows what to do, how to fit the shattered, now ordered pieces in life. The solution the mind offers up usually has little to do with what an outside observer would suggest as step to healing. Often those suggestions are more detrimental and confusing than doing nothing. What seems obvious on the outside isn't what's happened on the inside. I hope that I have explained this well.

Is there an element in schema therapy that taps into this? Imagery, I think, resembles exposure therapy. Does it work on the mind at this level? This direct knowing seems to resemble EMDR to me.
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