Mindfulness meditation at Lifeflow
Where does it fit in?
Meditation has three different meanings in the Buddhist tradition. Firstly it means mental development (bhavana), an overarching term covering both meditation and mindfulness. Its second meaning is calm and concentration (samadhi) and its third is absorption (jhana), referring to the deepening states of meditation. Mindfulness (sati) is a term derived from the Buddhist tradition which refers to a particular way of using meditation. In fact there are four different streams or ways to use meditation in the Buddhist tradition: relaxation and calm; mindfulness meditation; integration and ethics.
The goal of mindfulness
Along with the other streams of meditation, mindfulness has been at the core of the Centre’s teaching since its inception. The goal of mindfulness is to develop awareness, and ultimately to gain insight into the fundamental nature of human consciousness. Obviously therapeutic goals are more individual and immediate so mindfulness based therapies, such as MBSR (Mindfulness based stress reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness based cognitive therapy), simply use basic meditation techniques. For an excellent discussion on this topic see Dr Michael Yapko’s book Mindfulness and Hypnosis.
The four streams at Lifeflow
All four streams of meditation are introduced in our Learn to Meditate course. If you wish to explore them further, see our text Life in Balance. As with everything in our curriculum, we have created an integrated approach to physical and mental health, personal development and spiritual growth based completely in our culture but remaining true to the intention of the original tradition.
The four streams explained
Relaxation and calm
The first stream of meditation is for developing relaxation, calm and concentration, all the things people look for when they learn to meditate. It has specific meditations designed to bring you quickly to a relaxed and calm state and to take you through the deepening stages of meditation. This stream 'brings you to your senses'.
In the stream of Mindfulness meditation you learn to bring your mind fully to whatever you are doing. In the Learn to Meditate course you learn a range of mindfulness meditations we call Spot Meditations which enable to you do this quickly and easily. They enable you to be mindful of your body and what you are doing, mindful of the sensations you are experiencing, mindful of your emotions and mindful of your thoughts. This gives you a strong basis for becoming mindful in the situations you face every day, from painful situations you habitually get caught in right through to the caring and loving relationships where you want to be open-hearted and truly responsive. Mindfulness meditation allows you to deal with all these situations more skilfully.
The area of mindfulness training within Psychology is currently of great interest in academic and clinical circles. Having attended several courses of this nature in Adelaide, I believe that Lifeflow are providing one of the best sources of training in this area.
Hilary Stein, B.A. Hons, M.Psych (Clin) M.A.P.S.
The mindfulness meditation technique, a specialty of the centre, is called the Three C Technique™. It is easy to remember, easy to do, and can be applied in any situation whatsoever. Our Level 2 course has a complete module dedicated to mindfulness in which you extend your knowledge and experience of mindfulness meditation, and Levels 3 and 4 develop the practice of mindfulness even further. Mindfulness meditation can lead to experiencing and understanding the relationship between our bodies, emotions and thoughts, how emotions and thoughts work, the relationship between our minds and the world around us, and the fundamental clear, open awareness of our minds and bodies.
The Lifeflow Centre has thoroughly incorporated and adapted the best aspects of the mindfulness tradition into all its courses and retreats so we provide a complete and thorough experience and training in this stream. Not only have thousands of people from all walks of life found this training valuable in their lives, but health professionals including doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and nurses have incorporated the techniques in their work with their own clients. A number of leading mindfulness teachers in Adelaide have trained at the Lifeflow Centre.
This stream brings together both the relaxation and calm and mindfulness streams and enables you to integrate them with your own physical experience and the different situations of your life. It provides a range of unique techniques, derived from both the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the discoveries of Western psychology, which are extraordinarily useful and easily incorporated into daily life. They are aimed at bringing your mind, emotions and body into a unified whole so you can sustain a happy and healthy state of mind and enable your relationships to be rich and fulfilling.
This stream is not what we usually think of as ethics. Its aim is to bring the skills of calm and mindfulness into all of our actions and relationships so we can act mindfully no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
Ethics begins by using meditation to become kinder to yourself and more accepting and understanding of yourself. Then you can develop the ability to see others and the situations around you more clearly, and so be open and responsive to both your own needs and the needs of those with whom you share your life. You can become more aware of the communities and the natural world in which you live and have the confidence to live more richly and open-heartedly, feeling yourself an integral part of them.
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