Meditation and Mental Health: An Introduction to Awareness Based Cognitive Therapy

Author(s) : Peter Wilberg

Meditation and Mental Health: An Introduction to Awareness Based Cognitive Therapy

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Also by Peter Wilberg

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What does it mean to 'meditate'? How can we actively affirm and find meaning in all that we experience - even states of mental, emotional or somatic 'dis-ease' - whilst at the same time freeing ourselves from bondage to them? This selection of essays offers a new understanding of 'meditation' as a set of basic principles and practices of AWARENESS which allow us to do just that - to both affirm our conscious experience in all its dimensions, 'positive' or 'negative', whilst at the same time freeing ourselves from identification with them.

These practices have a powerful therapeutic value - not just in relation to 'mental' health but also somatic illness. They include: 1. taking 'time outs' between all daily activities to just BE AWARE of our body, self and life-world as a whole. 2. reminding ourselves that the pure AWARENESS of any experienced thought or emotion is NOT ITSELF a thought or emotion - but innately free of thoughts and emotions. 3. 'coming to our senses' - attending to our immediate SENSORY awareness of where and how we feel any states of mental or emotional dis-ease in our bodies. 4. awaiting the 'out of the blue' insights that invariably arise from awareness if we patiently give ourselves all the time we need to 'meditate' - be aware of - our felt bodily sense of 'dis-ease'. Such practices are not simply an eclectic toolkit of psychological theories, techniques and meditational aids. Instead they are all integrated by a SINGLE UNIFYING PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLE - 'The Awareness Principle'. This is a refinement of Indian 'Advaita' philosophy completely transcending conventional Western concepts of 'cognition', 'consciousness' and 'mind'.

The Practices of Awareness that follow from The Awareness Principle constitute the 'ABC' of 'Awareness Based Cognitive Therapy'. As well as transforming our everyday lives and relationships they can be incorporated in the work of counsellors, therapists, health, educational and social-work professionals.

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