Being and Becoming

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Experiential Mindfulness

Compassion Focused Mindfulness

Mindful compassion is a way of describing our experience. It isn’t just an intellectual knowing, it is a direct shift in our awareness and in our emotions to a sense of being connected and cared for.

Thousands of years of contemplative practice, and a growing body of scientific research suggests that this perspective may contribute to our wellness and flourishing.

Our mindfulness practice is not about stopping or getting rid of thoughts. It’s about becoming aware of the process of thinking so that we are not in a trance—lost inside our thoughts. That’s the big difference. Mindfulness training can help you to notice when your mind is actively thinking and then label this process of thinking as “thinking, thinking,” or identify the kind of thought—“worrying, worrying,” “planning, planning.” Next, you become interested in what’s really happening right here. You come home to the sensations in your body, your breath, the sounds around you, the life of the moment.

As our mindfulness practice deepens we become more aware of our thoughts. This offers us the opportunity to assess them and notice that much of the time our thoughts are not really serving us. Many thoughts are driven by fear and lock us into insecurity. With kindness and compassion, we realize we don't have to believe our fearful and insecure thoughts.

Training in mindfulness allows our minds to have a choice. At the moment in which you pause and realize that these thoughts are not really serving you, there is a choice to come back to presence. This process of choosing becomes more powerful as you realize how thoughts can create suffering and separation. They create a sense of being disconnected from others. They feed self-judgment and we feel bad about ourselves.

In those moments when you’re lost in thought, what if you could pause and say, “OK, it is just a thought” That is revolutionary.

That can change your life!

Now, the key is that we approach this with a gentleness and kindness. Each time we recognize thinking and come back into the present moment with gentleness and kindness, we are planting a seed of mindfulness. We are creating a new habit—a new way of being in the world. We quiet down the incessant buzz of thoughts in our mind. We take refuge in what is true—the aliveness and tenderness and mystery of the present moment—rather than in the story line of our thoughts.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.

— Wu Men

Circle of Compassion

FullBloom meditations are based on vipassana (insight) and metta (lovingkindness). Insight and lovingkindness are universal components that help to develop awareness and compassion.

This monthly group involves short talks, discussion, experiential activities as well as sitting and walking meditations. Circle of Compassion is suitable for both new and experienced meditators.

Click here for Schedule

Sheri Austin, LMFT, SACIT, LFYP. Providing individual, couple, and family psychotherapy and yoga therapy in Janesville, Milton, Edgerton, and surrounding southeastern Wisconsin areas. • [email protected] • Copyright 2014 *This website is not a substitute for therapy and does not guarantee any outcomes for therapy. The risks and benefits of therapy will be discussed at your first session.

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