Benefits of the “Inner Smile” and Meditation
The research into the beneficial effects of meditation on personal wellbeing and especially for depression and anxiety is compelling. Meditation as a concept is moving from the fringes into the boardroom, the classroom and the counselling room.
On the 11th November we had a workshop run by William Bloom, a leader in the field and author of books such as The Endorphin Effect, Meditation in a Changing World, and The Power of Modern Spirituality. Its aim was to support people from the helping professions in using meditation as a therapeutic strategy.
What struck me first was William’s passion for demystification. He wants people to understand how accessible it is: we can meditate anywhere. We don’t have to sit cross-legged. We can do it in the garden with a glass of wine (“but probably not three”), we can do it while we are dancing, or running or after yoga. We can make it fit us. We don’t have to bend ourselves out of shape.
The day was a mix of guided meditations, group exercises and theoretical underpinning. William introduced one beautiful exercise he called the ‘inner smile’ which harnessed our ability to feel compassion for a hurt child or a wounded bird and then turn the same ‘kind mind’ on our own failings and vulnerabilities. At another point he used participants to create a constellation of the competing aspects of one person’s personality, all calling out for attention, repeating core beliefs and yelling. As an embodiment it was a powerful way of understanding the noise in our own heads that can make meditation, and sustaining that place of ‘quiet mind’, so challenging. For me this was a key moment. As a psychotherapist I have many clients who find it almost impossible to be still and to be in contact with themselves. For them it can be an uncomfortable, even terrifying, experience. And yet we know that for people with a fragile self-process, meditation can help develop an ability to self-regulate and put the world into context. I found myself craving more at this point in terms of understanding how to create that safe bridge and safe container for my clients.
William Bloom brings a breadth and depth of understanding and a passionate commitment to his subject. This was not a workshop necessarily geared towards those who are already integrating a meditative practice. As an introduction to the field it was sustaining and enlivening.
By: Helen Franklin (delegate), MSc(psych) UKCP reg, Gestalt Psychotherapist
16th November 2016
Thank you to everyone for their feedback. From 23 forms the average scores were excellent, as follows:
- Speaker (William Bloom): 4.74 out of 5
- Overall assessment of event: 4.61 out of 5
- Value for money: 4.52 out of 5
Delegates written comments:
- “The seminar achieved my expectations of the meditative state; ‘soaking in the hot tub of the goddess'”
- “Thank you, very insightful”
- “Engaging speaker. I now understand that I need to be relaxed in body but aware in mind during meditation. Great sandwiches!”
- “Great presence. Informative, experiential, transformative, focussed. So much more to know. Great sandwiches and brownies!”
- “As usual, a WONDERFUL and hugely enlightening day”
- “All excellent”
- “Great space, excellent food and speaker”
- “Great organisation”
Wendy Bramham MBACP (Snr Accred), Psychotherapist
16th November 2016