Meditation

The course up on Holy Island was truely wonderful this year. It was a great group and there was a palpable energy flowing round the Peace Hall, all conducive to some excellent work.

I (Alistair) went to an amazing workshop this weekend with Alan Dolan.

Got quite a number of new courses coming up in the Autumn months of 2011:

I’m still a bit dizzy from the events in London town these last few days but one thing jumped out of the disorientating static of misinformation, knee-jerk rage and analysis in the media. I was struck by the number of times the word “mindless” cropped up on Twitter and Facebook and in politician’s mouths.

“Mindless criminality”, “mindless violence” and even “mindless scum”.

It made me think: what could that possibly mean? To act or commit a crime without a mind to frame it?

Back filming for Escape to the Country and enjoying the other headspace that being outside of London and away from psychotherapy books brings.
Walking the country mile from the station at Buxted down to the hotel I was struck by the soft, summery air and the potent forms of nettles and trees, kerbstones and hedgerows. Henry James calls it "the violet hour". Things seem more thingy at that moment after the sun has vanished but there is still light.

Another interesting insight that floated clear and bright in Iceland was about the perennial question: eyes open or eyes closed during meditation.

Had a wonderful retreat in the cold, perpetual daylight of Iceland.
The lovely Reykjavik sangha organized a fantastic 35-person retreat in a school out in the Iclendic countryside - about 45 minutes from the capital.

I had the most wonderful afternoon on Friday talking to the young men and women of St. James schools - two independent, sibling schools, who since the 1970s have flavoured their teaching with meditation - hence my invitation.

My therapy work has got me interested in the field of energy psychology.

Working with trauma - highly painful, emotionally-charged events from the past that impact on the here-and-now - psychologist and therapist have started working with bodywork techniques. There is a practice called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming) which the NHS now uses as its standard treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (which is when past trauma flashes into the present as if it were happening now). EMDR involves people recalling their difficult memories while following a moving spot (usually a finger) with their eyes.

There are other procedures (using tapping on the acupuncture meridian points or the 'chakras' of Eastern medicine) which have a similar effect: a movement or stimulation of the body seems to have a powerful effect on our emotional and thought patterns. Practices like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or AIT (Advanced Integrative Therapy) have proved very successful in the treatment of phobias, panic attacks, traumas.

Since almost all our negative mindstates can be traced back to 'little T' traumas then these techniques also have an exciting application in general therapy and meditation practice.