I can never decide if I am a psychologist first and a meditator second, or a meditator first and a psychologist second. If I was forced to guess I would probably say the latter. Sometimes I think at the end of the day that in many ways it's really the same thing.
I came to meditation as a young boy in martial arts class with Master Wong Ting Fong, and just as the martial arts became a lifelong passion and pursuit, so too did meditation. I remember hearing Master Wong say with his thick Chinese accent, "Just clear your mind" or "Be aware...no thinking!" Of course as a boy I had no real idea what he was talking about. But there was something about him, a sort of calm quiet strength that made me want to learn more. Over the years I have studied with many teachers from all over the world and have learned something important from each of them.
Somewhere along the line in graduate school I discovered a new type of research based therapy developed at The University of Washington by Dr. Marsha Linehan that was built around the practice of Mindfulness Meditation. This began my 15 year relationship with Dialectical Behavior Therapy, running many therapy groups with adults and teens, and working with many clients for whom this therapy is designed. All of this reaffirmed my belief that meditation still has a tremendous amount to offer us thousands of years after it was first practiced.
In reality psychotherapy and meditation are very similar. They share the common goals of increased awareness, greater self-understanding, and the ability to live life fully in the present moment. This blog will consist of some combination of the two, and will contain my own observations and insights that have been gleaned from decades of practicing both. I will be beginning with a series of posts about the role of mindfulness meditation in modern psychology, and I hope my words will be of some use to you on your own journey of self-discovery.