Thursday, December 24, 2009

what's the difference between psychotherapy and meditation?

today i have this subtle and marvelous experience in meditation.  my steady and stable easy lotus posture relaxes the body and calms the mind. i realize the posture, while being a fundamental in being able to sit comfortably for an extended period of time, is an attainment in itself. it took a while and some doing to set it in place. worth it? you bet.

as i revel in the relaxing sensation gently massaging the tightness lodged deep in the neck and shoulder i recall something.
once, in a q-and-a session in a meditation retreat, a participant asked the teaching swami, can i have psychotherapy and not meditate? i was going through psychotherapy in the midst of clinical depression so i couldn't wait to hear what the swami was going to say.

he says, (and this is from a combo of my memory and continuing contemplation) psychotherapy is helpful when you are so caught up in a tangle that you need to get some distance from it. but psychotherapy can only get you so far. it's like you are on a seesaw. psychotherapy can help you to find some sort of temporary balance when you are on the outer ends. but meditation can take you to the center of the seesaw where you sit still and watch the ups and downs on either end.

it's definitely a wow moment for me. i remember an inner gordian knot cut up just like that. his insight and understanding, i now see, seal my resolve to build a meditation practice that i will never part with as long as i live.

hwubby says, yeah, it comes to me in meditation that all these negativities and inner turmoil take me out of the present moment, i can accept them and know that i am not them, i don't have to fight them, it takes the frustration out.

i say, you know what, they come and, i guarantee, they go unless you hold on to them.

hwubby says, no, we don't hold on to any of it, no more.

what a great holiday gift. halleluja.

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