I am a Licensed Psychologist and new to Tucson. I have practiced here in the US and abroad. I work with individuals couples and teens. I am primarily a Client Centered therapist using Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy, based on the premise that you are the expert on you. The work helps you to get clear on your unique needs and desires.
I work for you. My job as your Psychologist is to guide you on your journey of self-discovery. To help you find the answers and make the choices that will lead you to greater happiness and well-being.
I love living in Tucson, but life even in beautiful Tucson can produce stress. I have 30 years of experience as a Clinical Psychologist, and as a Psychologist I know that stress must be managed. If not attended to, it can make you anxious and depressed, and even physically ill. It can threaten your mental health. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship problems, social anxiety or other stress symptoms, I can help you work through the underlying issues that are causing stress and find a new way forward.
Meditation is an extremely effective stress reduction practice. I am the creator of New World Meditation: Discover True Happiness Thru Emotional Healing a groundbreaking daily practice for inner peace, stress reduction and emotional healing. I provide training and ongoing support to help you begin and maintain a daily practice at home or wherever you are in the world. This skill is something you will always have to support you in dealing with whatever life dishes out along the path.
I have an international practice via Video. Research shows that psychotherapy and teaching are just as effective via video as they are in person. Many clients find video therapy convenient. With video you can have sessions in the privacy and comfort of your own home, or wherever in the world you might be traveling.
I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your journey. I am confident you can make healing change in your life.
My work is personal to me. It is my spiritual path as well as my profession. It is a path of service in the Buddhist way. My deeper sense of this meaning in my work has come with time and experience. Witnessing even by itself is a great service I practice. The deep process of listening, a Buddhist honoring I call witnessing can allow the deep human capacity for healing to begin. This brings me great satisfaction.
How Does Therapy Work?
Therapy can be short term crisis intervention, designed to get you through a difficult situation in your life, or a longer transformational process designed to meet deeper goals, so that you can break old patterns and make more satisfying choices for your life.
Therapy is a way of healing emotional wounds usually caused by childhood trauma. Most of us have these wounds because there is no such thing as perfect parenting. Even the best parenting cannot protect us from the difficult circumstances and challenges of life.
How Therapy Begins
People usually enter therapy in crisis. Most of us are desperate by the time we seek therapy. We all prefer to think that we can do it alone, or figure it out, or seek the advice of friends. Actually this desperation and the anxiety you feel can work to your advantage. It gives you the drive and the courage to confront feelings and look clearly at what is working and what is not working in your life.
Anxiety is a very useful tool. It is a signal that something inside wants to be known. It is a symptom, like a fever, that tells you something is happening in your life that you are not comfortable with. It is one of the body’s emergency signals. Anxiety can be quite a useful guide if you can be gentle and curious about it without being overwhelmed. Being in therapy gives you the support you need to face your anxiety and use it to your advantage.
Whether you come to therapy for a tune up or an overhaul, most of us seek professional help because something comes up that causes anxiety or depression. Together we will explore the factors that are making this time so difficult for you. We will look for action steps you can take to change the situation so that it is more suited to your true nature. Usually, anxiety and depression subside considerably within the first six to eight sessions.
You will feel relieved and anxiety will decline right from the moment you come to your first appointment. You are taking positive action to change the situation. Therapy feels good from the start because it is such a relief to have someone you can talk to who listens and understands what you are going through. It is also very important that therapy is completely confidential. This gives you a sense of safety and comfort in disclosing the truth. You will feel good because deep inside you will know that you are doing something constructive about your problems rather than ignoring your discomfort and unhappiness.
After this initial phase of therapy, usually lasting six to eight weeks, we will evaluate your situation, and discuss your needs in the light of the progress you have already made. If you decide you want to continue working with me we will explore your goals for the longer term, and what you feel needs to change in your life. We will discuss self-care and mental health tools you can use on your own, such as New World Meditation which you can learn as we continue our work together.
Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy
Research shows that people who learn to look inside to find out what’s right for them tend to be more successful in therapy. Focusing was developed by Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D., as a way of training people to make the most of the therapy experience. I have been teaching Focusing at conferences and workshops and writing about Focusing for over 20 years.
Focusing is a revolutionary way of bringing together the body knowing and the brain knowing for a truly advanced healing method. It teaches a way of working with feelings as they come into awareness from body sensing.
Focusing is a skill that you can learn which will speed your progress in therapy and eventually enables you to work through issues as they arise without a therapist. It is based in the Client Centered way of thinking; it honors the unique experience of each person. Focusing teaches you to find your own inner knowing. This inner wisdom will become your guide in making decisions. Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy (FOT) is an advanced and natural integration of the Focusing process into the therapy session. With FOT I will track your feeling process through the session so that you can more easily come to recognize and rely upon your own inner truth.
When it is indicated I use EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in working with trauma that you may be carrying. It works in the brain to rapidly reprocess and discharge old stored traumatic memories. It is a form of accelerated information processing that works very well when it is integrated with individual psychotherapy.
The Three Stages of Therapy
If you decide to continue therapy to work on long term goals, you will naturally progress into a phase of rapid learning and growth that will probably last several months. This is followed by a longer middle stage of consolidation and gradual working through of issues. The consistency of the therapeutic relationship improves self-esteem and your ability to sustain intimate relationships. You may not realize it, but during this consolidation phase you are establishing habits of self- care and healing. Gradually you will develop a sense of safety and confidence in your own ability to guide your life.
In the final termination phase of therapy, things in your life seem to come together rapidly and you come to a feeling of satisfaction and increased peace. Decisions are made, and you may embark upon new ventures, or start new relationships. When this stage is reached it will seem clear to both of us that you have completed an important piece of work. Then there is a time for saying goodbye and letting go, at least for now. You may or may not return to work further with me at a later time. Maybe a time will come when you will seek help from another therapist. But for now you feel that you can fly on your own, and you no longer need weekly sessions. I usually recommend a gradual termination process.
The Self is infinite, and continues to expand as you grow in awareness. The Self has many layers. Together in therapy we peel off a layer, bringing it out into the light of understanding, awareness and compassion. Then amazingly, there’s another layer! You will come to face each newly revealed truth with more and more understanding and appreciating your motivations and your needs. As you continue exploring yourself you will be relieved to find that there is nothing so terrible inside. As you cultivate a compassionate attitude toward yourself you will see that the journey of self-discovery goes on to become a rich and rewarding path all through your life.
You won’t continue seeing me or any other therapist forever. You can grow into being your own therapist over time, and with the help of mental health tools which you will learn in therapy. The most powerful of these tools is the practice of New World Meditation.
Focusing is a unique and powerful method of connecting with the deep wisdom that your body carries inside. It was developed at the University of Chicago, by Eugene Gendlin in the 1960s, based on research on defining the key factors that make change possible. Focusing is a generic change process; a specific method for accessing the deep inner truth that we all carry inside. Focusing has been evolving over the past 40 years and has become a primary tool for therapists: Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy. Now it is taught in living rooms, workshops, personal partnerships, classrooms and graduate training programs all over the world.
Focusing is based on the idea that our personal experiencing is an ongoing bodily felt process from which meaning evolves. In this last sentence the word process means that experiencing is constantly unfolding and always dynamic. Each moment of our experience holds the seed of the next. Change is a body experience. Lasting change can only occur when we have a bodily experience of difference. We cannot change our lives by changing thoughts alone. When we can put a bodily carried sense into words or visualize it in a way that exactly fits the body sense, the body recognizes the change, and we feel a sense of relief inside. We call this recognition the Felt Certainty of personal truth. Once you experience this body sense of your own truth, it feels good, and your perspective on the problem is changed in a lasting way. From now on you naturally make different choices in life. This is true healing.
Focusing was designed to help us reach this critical bodily felt validation of personal truth. It teaches specific steps that enable us to connect to this truth and recognize it for what it is. Feelings are the language the body uses to convey information. Pain, tightness or anxiety, often signal something within you that wants attention. With Focusing you learn how to gently receive the information within. You can learn to connect with the place deep inside where you already know what is right for you.
Focusing is multidimensional. It taps into a whole new level of consciousness because it joins left and right brain functions. It makes the intuitive function available to us on an ongoing basis. Focusing can be used to work with emotional issues, personal problems and as a psychotherapeutic tool. It is also a powerful tool for problem solving, theory building (TAE) and creative process.
What Makes Focusing Work?
The Focusing Matrix
1) Let go of trying to make something happen or fix something.
2) Begin with a blameless, nonjudgmental acceptance of feelings and inner experience. Whatever you feel inside is OK just the way it is.
3) Get the idea that some improvement in your inner experience is actually possible, that change is possible. You can feel better.
4) Treat your feelings as you would treat a guest in your house, sitting with them and attending to them.
5) Realize that you can feel better even without having an answer for an issue you might be working on.
6) Get the idea that words and images can come directly from body experience.
7) Get the idea that action steps can come from bodily felt experience.
Focusing teaches us how to be with feelings, respecting and making friends with them in a non-critical way; holding a gentle nonjudgmental curiosity toward whatever you find inside. This welcoming curiosity is key to the change process. Nothing changes in us when it is rejected. Only by allowing whatever feeling comes up, even if we don’t like it, can we reach a peaceful and clear space.
Focusing means letting go of trying to make anything happen or to fix any problem you have and simply paying attention to whatever you might be carrying now. You can trust your process. Change is the nature of the human organism. When feelings are acknowledged, named and respected they naturally change. Only by pushing our feelings away can we stay stuck. Acknowledging the feeling implies that it is important and deserves our attention. Here I am using the term acknowledging to describe a special quality of attention. It is a benign and accepting attention we give to our inner experience. We see it as valuable information, and as carrying the possibility of a much larger meaning.
Focusing works when you hold whatever you find inside in a caring loving presence. It works when you trust your own inner process and give it time. Simply stay with the sensation/feeling until words or images emerge and it begins to change on its own.
You can study Focusing on your own, but it is much easier to learn by working personally with another experienced guide. You can also receive Focusing training over the phone. Research shows that Focusing training can be just as effective over the phone or Skype connection as in person. You can find out more about Focusing by going to the focusing website at www.focusing.org .
New World Meditation is Experiential Meditation
What if you could discover the source of your feelings and desires? How did you come to the place you are in your life, and where do you want to go? What really is best for you?
Only you are the expert on you. The body carries information in the form of sensations and feelings. Luckily, most people are aware of them and can learn how to find their meaning. Early researchers like Carl Rogers and Gene Gendlin realized that connecting with this inner knowing is the key to insight, healing and change. They developed Felt Sensing as a tool for doing exactly this. This discovery was a revolutionary step in advancing Client Centered Therapy.
It is Felt Sensing that makes Experiential Meditation (NWM) different from traditional Mindfulness. In Mindfulness we sit at the top of the stairs, in the mind, and observe thoughts and feelings as they come up and let them go. Mindfulness has no way of processing these feeling-loaded thoughts. But in Experiential Meditation we know how to go downstairs using Felt Sensing, and look into our bodily-carried experience so that uncomfortable feelings, or feelings we don’t understand, are actually processed to resolution. This resolution and relief comes when we understand the body’s message. Once a particular issue is worked through in this way it does not come back. A new piece of inner knowing has been revealed, explored, and permanently changed.
In Experiential Meditation—you enter gradually into body experience in a three stage process:
First: Coming Home to Yourself
Taking time to sit down with the intention of checking in with yourself. In the stillness of meditation you turn away from outward stimuli and put your attention inside.
At first you are aware of minor thoughts and distractions, such as warmth or coolness on your skin, thoughts of errands you need to run or reminders of what happened yesterday. These thoughts and distractions easily drift away because they are not important. They do not compel our attention and hang on to it.
Second: Release the Graspings
The graspings are those thoughts, accompanied by body sensations, which grab our attention and won’t let go. These are much more important because the body sensation, the here-and-now experience has something to tell us, even though we may not immediately know why it is important.
Because it has something to tell you, you follow it into your body where it waits for your attention. Attention is like food and water to a plant and allows the feeling to expand until it fills your awareness. In meditation you have time to linger with what comes, and you discover it is multidimensional and evokes many meanings. The Felt Sense continues to unfold, constantly revealing new insight. This is what we call the “more” that is always there in the Felt Sense. “Oh, that’s why that bothered me.” That’s why I made that choice!” Insight comes from this staying-with the Felt Sense. This insight gives birth to a changed perspective, a whole new way of seeing/feeling the issue. What a relief. Now you feel a fresh new way forward. You can make new plans more suited to your true nature.
Third: Relax In Your Nature
You notice a feeling of relief and relaxation. This change makes it possible for you to experience the ecstasy of a clear space. In the clear space you feel a sort of floating in a state of bliss where you have no worries or concerns, at least for now. In fact you may experience nothing at all, the bliss of nothingness. Time becomes so unimportant that you no longer notice it. When you come back you will feel wonderful. When you are ready, return to tracking your breath, or end your meditation for today.
This process of Experiential Meditation is the key to healing. Healing is the change that brings you to Awakening. Awakened to your true needs, wants, and desires.
New World Meditation
New World Meditation (Buy from Amazon) has all the proven health and stress reducing benefits of Mindfulness practice. At the same time New World Meditation includes a revolutionary research based way of emotional healing, discovered in America, and supported by current neuroscience. New World Meditation brings the end of suffering by resolving old injuries and inner conflict.
In New World Meditation we have effective tools from Focusing for dealing with interruptions so that you have a positive experience and avoid frustration. You learn how to use the interruptions as a resource for Healing and expanding consciousness. This daily practice goes beyond self-reflection; New World Meditation is also a process of self-inquiry, allowing you to reconnect with your true feelings, needs and wants.
Awakening brings you into a new world. You are restored; your body is abundantly alive, filled with sensation, no longer burdened by fears of the future. You have confidence because you know what is right for you. Using New World Meditation you guide your life toward choices that feel good. You are free to be creative, to live, love, work and play in the full expression of your authentic Self.
Because I was a seeker on the path, I was blessed to learn both Focusing and meditation at the same time in my life. In my graduate training I worked with two professors who had studied with Gene Gendlin, Ph.D. who developed Focusing, and each had a powerful influence on my life. I learned Focusing as part of a two year course in Client-Centered Therapy taught by Joe Noel, Ph.D. and I was introduced to Mindfulness practice and encouraged to study Buddhism by Linda Olsen Weber, Ph.D. It was all an amazing life-changing feast for my deepest self, my soul as well as my mind and heart.
While I was immersed in learning Focusing I was beginning my daily meditation practice. Without realizing what I was doing, I naturally used Focusing as an integral part of my meditation. I unconsciously merged them together into what we now call New World Meditation, so that I wasn’t aware of where Mindfulness ended and Focusing began. When I met my husband David 14 years ago, I immediately started talking about Focusing, what it meant to me and how valuable it is. I began inviting him to meditate with me each morning. At first he said he wasn’t interested, since he had Focusing. He would go off to read the paper while I sat meditating. Finally, one morning he decided to try it. Then he wanted to know what to do with all the interruptions, the seemingly endless stream of thoughts. Up until then I was teaching him only what I thought of as “meditation”. As we continued to sit together I realized I was doing something far different than traditional Mindfulness, and not the same as Focusing. In order to teach him I had to clearly define this new process we now call New World Meditation.
Here is the story of New World Meditation, the new practice that David and I developed by meditating together, Focusing together, and talking endlessly about what was happening. It is the practice I started in graduate school more than 30 years ago. New World Meditation has evolved and now we have given it words.
The Roots of New World Meditation
New World Meditation comes from two main streams of knowing. From the old world, the ancient method of Mindfulness, taught by the Buddha twenty-five hundred years ago. From the New World, the Focusing method, a powerful, research based way of healing and change developed by Gene Gendlin and rooted in the uniquely American Client-Centered tradition.
New World Meditation is a continuing practice of self-reflection: always returning home to your essential self. New World Meditation is specifically designed to ease this reconnecting and progressively clarify your true intentions. With healing, you will be free to live from that central foundation, unencumbered by the painful residue of the past. The journey of self-discovery is gentle and gradual. Success is about being rather than doing. It is important to be patient with your process, stay present in your body/mind and make room to welcome whatever might come. You don't need to struggle to gain insight; it will easily emerge in its own time. Your deeper self, in its wisdom, is always guiding your unfolding awareness.
The benefits of New World Meditation are wide-ranging. As with traditional Mindfulness you experience stress reduction and deep relaxation which has be shown by research to benefit your health. But more importantly, you have the possibility of profound emotional healing. This healing is possible because you use your meditation not simply for self-reflection, but also for self-inquiry.
We have come to believe that Awakening and eventually Enlightenment itself is possible only with complete emotional healing. How this emotional healing takes place in New World Meditation is the central topic of this article.
I believe the Buddha knew that Enlightenment is impossible without emotional healing. But he thought that healing could only be achieved through years of experiencing and confronting emotional pain again and again, until agony forces surrender. In surrender you finally accept impermanence and imperfection, give up all attachment, and are relieved of suffering.
With Mindfulness alone monks spend years sitting for hours every day, hitting up against the same painful inner conflicts. When they ask their teachers what to do, they are told to stay with it. We know that staying with it is effective, but without felt sensing, a key aspect of Focusing, movement is glacially slow. The Buddha didn’t know about Focusing. The only path he knew to Awakening and Enlightenment was the long slow way: thirty years, thirty lifetimes, or 3000 lifetimes. The Buddha’s path of Awakening and Enlightenment is long and requires extreme sacrifice. Finally you have to give up everything, the whole of life as you know it, love, family, work and play.
New World Meditation is a meditation practice we can live with, a practice we do daily, so that the power of the process is deepened and magnified by the frequency and continuity of self-encounter. We have busy lives with families and work that we don’t want to give up. The discipline of a daily practice of New World Meditation is difficult to establish and maintain, but New World Meditation has its own benefits. They are many, but among the most important is the fact that New World Meditation builds personal power, confidence and resilience. I will say more about daily practice later.
New World Meditation begins with Mindfulness, the gentle exercise of tracking and counting the breath as you inhale and exhale. We use the Focusing attitude, which is totally compatible with Buddhist values and methods: nonjudgmental witnessing, noticing what is without trying to change it. Focusing gives us the essential tools we need to turn our meditation into a progressive process of healing, leading ultimately to Awakening, and opening the way to compassion/wisdom.
Change is Constant and Pervasive
Like everything else, feelings are constantly changing. In fact they want to change. Of course our first impulse is to try to get rid of whatever is bothering us. We naturally push away painful feelings. The paradox is that trying to get rid of them only prolongs our pain and frustration. Trying to “get over it” or “just forget about it” only keeps us stuck. You are fighting the natural and inevitable nature of change, and it simply won’t work. You don’t know it, but by pushing feelings away you are actually hanging on to pain, and with time it hardens into suffering.
In New World Meditation you will re-discover the wonderful truth of what Gene Gendlin taught: relief from inner pain comes naturally when feelings are fully experienced, even for just a few moments. Negative feelings such as tension and pain actually want to change and they will change when they are fully attended to. You will find, as you do in Focusing, that you can face your feelings and live through them, embrace the feeling and stay with it without fear and negative judgment. This is the power of “letting be”: allowing whatever you feel, even pain, to be exactly as it is. In New World Meditation when you give it the gentle attention it needs, it will release and flow into some more comfortable form, in the next new moment of constantly unfolding awareness.
Awareness always wants to move on. Every moment carries within it a certain tension, an edge that is pregnant with the next moment. This “wanting to change” is especially strong for difficult feelings. The not-so-subtle tension they carry puts pressure on them to morph into some form that is easier for the body to carry.
So, simply give in, let it be, and surrender to whatever you find inside. Your experience in this moment is your truth. Accept even your pain, your imperfections and faults just as they are. The feelings you think are unacceptable, like anger, hate and envy, come from a place inside that is hurting. Acknowledging this truth removes the sting of our faults and failures. Now in New World Meditation we see ourselves in the light of a new and more compassionate reality. We are all just human beings doing the best we can.
In New World Meditation you honor your own unique inner wisdom. Only you know what is right for you. We each have the exclusive power and carry the whole responsibility for creating a life that is an expression of our true nature. It seems there is a unique trajectory that fits for each of us. Getting off-track, disconnecting from our deepest intentions leads to negative outcomes: mistakes in judgment, false choices and unhappiness. In contrast, when you can stay connected to your true nature, your choices reflect that congruence, and you are happy, healthy and wise.
Here is the key to staying on track. There is an inner bodily knowing that when joined with mind knowing forms a single stream of awareness, vast and multifaceted, carrying far more information than anything the body or mind alone can convey. We are calling this combined knowing the Body/Mind Wisdom. This stream of expanded knowing is the direct connection to your authentic self.
Daily practice of New World Meditation allows you to hear your body voice, your entry to the Body/Mind Wisdom. Of course, Focusing gives us this same benefit, but New World Meditation does it faster because you do it daily, and because the breathing practice always returns you to your body. At first you will only momentarily hear a whisper. With time in advanced New World Meditation practice your body voice, the Body/Mind Wisdom, will become part of your expanded sense of self, the constant reality of your experience. Now you will easily know what is right for you. In fact you won’t be able to escape from your truth, because if you try to go against your true nature you will have an immediate sense of incongruence—something is not right—and you will instantly know what it is. This is the amazing gift of advanced practice of New World Meditation.
Self-Reflection and Self-Inquiry in New World Meditation
All of Mindfulness is self-reflection, simply sitting with whatever you find within. The essence of self-reflection is a sort of nonjudgmental tracking, watching your thoughts and feelings. In New World Meditation self-reflection alone is quite often enough. Simply acknowledging and honoring whatever comes is sufficient to allow it to release its hold on your awareness and you naturally move on.
New World Meditation includes tools from the proactive process of self-inquiry we call Focusing. Focusing is an active process of self-inquiry, asking within: How am I right now? What is between me and feeling just fine in this moment? What comes when I connect to my felt sense of this or that issue that is alive in me now? It includes checking inside for body sensations that point to a felt sense wanting to emerge, and then taking time for it to form, and finally following with all the steps of the Focusing process.
In beginning and intermediate practice of New World Meditation we don’t often use felt sensing. We find it is rarely needed. In advanced practice, however, when we are in the deep waters of healing our primary wounds, we rely on felt sensing to guide us toward our core injuries and discover the truth they carry.
Healing in New World Meditation
Emotional healing in New World Meditation is a three step process. Step one is dropping judgment, a very profound shift. Yielding to the flow of change allows healing. Negative judgment blocks yielding. It stands in the way of self-reflection. It takes attention away from your truth and directs it toward what is wrong with you, and how badly you feel about it. It is true that feelings can be very intense; they can make you quite uncomfortable, but they cannot kill you. Judging is a blind alley, a painful place that is hard to escape. It keeps you stuck in your painful old ways of feeling and thinking, and makes it impossible for you to enjoy your practice of New World Meditation or your life.
Judging and rejecting our feelings, thoughts and memories is so built-in to the operating system that we do it automatically. Judging, blaming and devaluing our own experience begins so very early in life that we have no memory of when it started. We learn it from mommy and daddy even before we have language. They scold us and blame us the same way they scold and blame themselves. We must give up judging in order to have any healing at all. Only when we drop judgment in our practice of New World Meditation can we experience our feelings exactly as they are, and only then can change and healing begin.
The second step in healing in New World Meditation is getting to the truth. We all have residual pain from childhood injuries and trauma, because there is no such thing as perfect parenting. As children, we naturally believe that mother and father are Gods. After all, to the infant and small child they are life itself. We are completely dependent on them. When, for some reason, they cannot be there for us, we naturally believe that we must have done something wrong, or there is something inherently bad in us. This injury is inevitable because mother is only human, and sometimes she over sleeps and doesn’t hear our first cry. As we lie there helpless in the crib we feel completely alone. Who can we blame but ourselves? This happens so early in life that it is literally the wordless self-blame. It is a sort of basic burden of shame we carry so deep within us that only after years of New World Meditation do we come to face it.
Getting to the truth in New world Meditation means the full and complete truth of what happened in childhood that continues to reverberate inside us, constantly waiting to be re-stimulated by events of everyday life. We all want to deny the real failures of our parents, the intentional or unintentional neglect and the abuse that is all too common. We hang on to denial, maintaining an idealized image of our perfect mother and father. We do this in order to protect them from our hurt and anger, and protect ourselves from the disappointment and grief we would feel if we acknowledge the reality. Getting to the truth means actually letting go, releasing our image of the perfect family, and admitting our parents failures to protect us and care for us, all the times they ignored our needs, neglected us and treated us as objects, abandoned and even abused us.
Babies have no verbal language in which to encode memories. But the body remembers. It remembers the feeling and carries it inside in a deeply rooted painful felt sense that lives on in us. New World Meditation, sustained over time, penetrates to this deep layer of shame. Returning to yourself every morning in the consistency of daily New World Meditation magnifies the intensity of the felt sense, so that you cannot avoid the eventual discovery of this profound truth.
Finally, in order to complete healing in New World Meditation we must all come to self-forgiveness. You must accept the reality of your past, the hurt you have carried inside from these earliest injuries, whether or not they were intentional. You must admit to your suffering, and admit that you are only human, fragile and vulnerable. In New World Meditation in order to forgive yourself you must also release the illusion of perfection, the idea that perfection is even possible or that there is any need for you to reach it. You will never be perfect, that’s just the way it is, and it is OK after all.
We are all only human, just like mother and father and everyone you see around you. Only when you forgive yourself for your injuries, your pain, your human vulnerability and imperfection, can you forgive others. Only now can you finally forgive your parents. Now you can see them in New World Meditation as the struggling suffering imperfect human beings they were and are.
You have to give up trying to gain the approval you longed for, the approval of mother and father, the professor at college, the boss at work, and everyone outside of yourself. Their approval won’t heal the wound anyway. Only you can do that for yourself. Only your own approval, your own forgiveness, your own love will heal the wound, and lift the burden of shame. We know you won’t let go until you are ready, but that time will come more quickly in New World Meditation than you can imagine when you practice regularly.
You learn self-forgiveness in New World Meditation and self-forgiveness brings the end of suffering; it is the antidote to the toxin of chronic emotional pain. With suffering ended you can experience the heart opening that is compassion, for yourself, for your family, and for all the human beings around you. Compassion floods from your open heart with a blessed feeling of profound joy. It is more than enough for you, the child you were and the adult you now are. Now you see the suffering and the beauty of the human condition all around you. With a flood of gratitude you recognize all this as the miracle that is life itself. This gratitude is the love, the compassion of Awakening in New World Meditation.
Forgiveness brings the gift of being and living your true self, letting go of all pretenses so that you are free to express your true essence. There is no greater joy in life than living with full authenticity, which is only possible when you know deep inside that you are fine just the way you are. This is the promise of healing in New World Meditation.
Daily Practice of New World Meditation
Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (1993) describes three stages of all meditation: come home to yourself, release the “graspings”, and relax in your nature. Most people don’t seem to have any trouble with the first stage. It is when we reach stage two that we encounter the interruptions and what Rinpoche refers to as the graspings. Interruptions are the incidental thoughts and distractions that come as soon as we close our eyes to begin meditation. They are easily set aside and we can return to tracking the breath. The graspings, on the other hand, are attention grabbing feelings, sensations, thoughts and memories. They are loaded with emotions: anxiety, tension, anger, sadness, grief, hurt, joy, love and happiness, all the powerful feelings we are capable of. The graspings are the sticky ones that won’t let go. Even when you can set them aside for today, they may keep coming back over time, like a recurring dream that has something to tell you and won’t stop repeating until you get its message.
Letting go of the graspings takes most of our time in New World Meditation, but gradually the thoughts come less frequently, and the body becomes more relaxed. Then we enter the third stage of meditation, relax in your nature. Allow yourself to be just as you are. Here it is possible for you to have the experience of sensing what the Buddha called “the clear field of mind”, the nature of your mind itself, empty of thought. In my experience there are stages in this too. First, I often feel a deep sense of calm, then what I call the place of no sound, when I dwell in the blessing of silence, and finally the place of no breath (my term) where the bliss deepens into ecstacy. I was lucky to touch into this experience early in my practice, which was very rewarding, and helped me to sustain daily practice.
Most people I have worked with don’t reach this blissful state for many months, or even years. Each of us is different, and every session of New World Meditation is unique. It is important to remember that trying to make it happen only makes it more elusive. It is simply not something we can consciously control. It is best not to hold the expectation that you will reach this state of bliss. When the time is right for you it will happen.
Many Westerners make the mistake of thinking that if they cannot clear their mind and release all thought they are not meditating “right”. This is a sad mistake because it often leads them to give up on meditation, and decide that they cannot succeed. The only goal of New World Meditation is to experience yourself exactly as you are in this moment. Whatever happens is just fine. You cannot make a mistake. You cannot fail, as long as you sit down and take some time to be quiet with yourself.
The hardest part of this transformative healing process is beginning and sustaining a daily practice. In daily practice of New World Meditation little unimportant things eventually fade and are replaced first by anxiety and its manifestations, the most common of which is restlessness. Among Westerners this can lead to stopping meditation; we tend to think of something we simply must do right now, rather than sit and meditate. So we get up and run off to do email or some other task. Don’t give up. Part of the discipline of daily practice of New World Meditation is staying with it even when you experience anxiety. You will discover that anxiety can’t really hurt you, and you will be strengthened by sitting through it. New World Meditation teaches you how to use the Focusing tools to meet and disarm both anxiety and resistance, so that you can keep your commitment to yourself to sit in meditation each morning.
Continuity in daily practice of New World Meditation is essential for healing and growth. Your human organism has a built-in healing force that is amazingly powerful. Every time you sit down to meditate you are inviting your deeper self to speak. You are activating that force and setting the healing process in motion. Once activated this force wants to continue as long as you regularly practice New World Meditation.
Toward the Mountaintop using New World Meditation
New World Meditation is a journey into unexplored territory. It reminds me of hiking into the mountains with a heavy pack. When I went backpacking it always seemed to take forever to reach the campground on that first long day. But it is more and more beautiful the higher you climb. All along the way it changes. In the beginning the trail might be steep, and then there are easier stretches when it seems you can breathe more deeply. Sometimes the path is rugged; there are rocky hairpin switchbacks when progress means struggle. You might stumble and fall. But if you just concentrate on that one next step, just today's meditation, you will continue to progress up the mountain. Each time you sit with yourself is like taking that step. All you need to think about is today's practice of New World Meditation. Am I willing to sit down this morning to meet me, no matter where it leads?
On my last backpacking trip I went with my two strong grown sons. I was in my 50s and my pack seemed to get heavier as I climbed the stony path. When I got winded, my sons offered to take a share of my burden, and little by little I handed off parts of my load. When we arrived at the campsite my pack was mostly empty. As the day wore on, I found myself looking greedily ahead toward the next curve. I was sure that the campground was right around that corner just up ahead. But when I reached the bend, I saw only another upward stretch of trail and another corner to turn. It seemed to go on forever. Now I know that the journey would have been easier and much more fun if I had been present in the moment. On that trip I kept thinking of the goal. I wasn't able to enjoy the journey one step at a time.
Finally we reached the ridge line, where we saw a beautiful view. We stopped there, dropped our packs, drank some water and enjoyed the vista. I was elated by the beauty and felt a great sense of accomplishment. From that point on I could stay in the moment. Reaching the ridge line didn't mean the struggle was over. Slowly we continued up to a peak we could see ahead. In the distance we saw yet another even higher peak. Reaching it would mean climbing over a cascade of boulders, but we were undaunted. When we reached the campground we pitched our tents on the shore of a beautiful lake.
Like hiking, New World Meditation requires willingness, dedication and perseverance. As you go along you will eventually feel the weight of all your baggage: all the hurt, anger, resentment and misunderstanding of the past. But instead of handing it off to someone else, you yourself will lighten your burden. Little by little you will encounter the pain of past injuries and fears of the future, and using the tools of New World Meditation, you will come to understand, accept, and heal them, one at a time. Your load gets lighter as you make peace with the past.
The journey of Awakening through New World Meditation is not without challenge, but it is richly rewarding. Like hiking up the mountain, New World Meditation builds strength and personal resilience. With healing you gradually let go of old baggage at the same time that you are building confidence that you can handle whatever comes next. Ultimately with New World Meditation you will be unencumbered and free to live your authentic self, and live joyously in the present moment.