A key philosophical base of Inner Life Adventures is that we are all complex beings with many different layers that organize
our view of the world. Often, we can get caught up in our thoughts and treat them as reality. One of the most effective tools for seeing this is the use of mindfulness, also sometimes called awareness. The use of mindfulness is a large component of our approach to personal growth. There is a rapidly growing body of evidence that supports the use of mindfulness practices for many things such as stress reduction and cognitive therapy. We use mindfulness to help us shine light on the present moment, for it is really all we have. Living in the past or the future is futile, but if something is in need of attention, it will show up in the present moment. So we work to help bring anything you are concerned about to the present moment, and work with it there.
You do not need to have any previous experience with mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, breathing, etc. In fact, this is in many ways different than Eastern mindfulness practices. All that is required is a willingness to explore.
There is a common misconception that meditation and mindfulness will make life easier, smoother, and will allow us to transcend the gritty reality of everyday life. It is perhaps more accurate to say that these practices will provide the foundation that allows us to weather the stormy days that will inevitably arrive. So how do we cultivate that inner quality that enables us to stay with painful or unpleasant emotional states?
Meditation can be referred to as a quiet revolution. How strange that “doing nothing” can create radical change! And yet, by simply sitting with our self, allowing thoughts to arise without attaching a story-line of good or bad, we begin to recognize the looping thoughts that we originally thought of as the “truth”. These thoughts come from our family of origin, school, religious institutions, society and the culture that we are born into. We also begin to hear the voice that tells us we are bad or unworthy, that we don’t have the right car, the right house, the right body – all those ingrained negative messages that convince us that we are inherently flawed.
In order to deconstruct those messages we must first hear them. Until then they remain undercover and covert and yet are capable of controlling our actions and reactions. By remaining in a non-judgmental, compassionate state of awareness we can start to reveal or uncover our own true, authentic voice. It is at that point that the journey towards wholeness begins as we reclaim our life and choose the kind of world we want to inhabit. For perhaps the first time we may begin to make choices based on awareness and not a habitual response.
The difficult part is when we begin to see the world without the filter of the past or the future. Staying in the present moment can sometimes be glaringly intense and uncomfortable. And yet the “now” of life is the only time we truly possess. It may seem easier to seek solace in habitual patterns that create a momentary sense of escape but eventually the nagging thoughts return and we are once again faced with our perceived failures or faults.
To be able to stay in the present moment, to experience the pain or the joy as it arises and then allow the next moment to arise spontaneously requires emotional resilience and self-compassion. As Pema Chodron says, “First, we acknowledge what we feel- shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human”. Most of us are more than willing to forgive others and yet retain a harsh inner critic who never permits mistakes or allows us to be anything but perfect.
The group work that we are offering provides training in various meditative and contemplative techniques. You will begin to build the foundation for working with difficult emotions and learn how to incorporate these practices into your daily life.
We have created some free audio downloadable exercises for you to use to start practicing some skills at home.
Chuck has completed the comprehensive two year training in the Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy, a present moment, body centered, form of therapy. While not everyone we see is seeking therapy, the principles and philosophy of this way of working greatly influence much of how we do work, so this information is provided to learn a little bit more about our approach and philosophy.