The purpose of this website, my book, and the Community Education course I teach at the College of Marin, is to teach people how to live a vibrant, meaningful life through the cultivation of self-empowerment and self-efficacy. In this monthly Q&A column, I post questions from students and from people who attend my presentations along with my answers.
Here is this month’s question:
QUESTION: Why Mind-Body? Why not mind training?
ANSWER: Although many forms of mind training exist, there is an advantage of mind-body training:
- First, it is precisely the physical nature of MBEP (described on the Mind-Body Empowerment page of my website), which serves as an antidote to all our useless mind chatter. When you learn to put your mind in your physical center, that physical embodiment protects you from getting caught up in useless or stressful thought patterns, which occur when your mind is not in your bodily center.
- Second, when the mind is fully engaged in a physical practice, the effect of obsessive and unhealthy thinking is diminished; this is partly due to the concentration on all the various aspects of MBEP. Because this practice includes two types of conscious breathing along with posture, balancing, centering, and awareness practices, the mind is so fully occupied with all the moment-to-moment practices, there is no time to get caught up in unhealthy thought processes.
Anyone who has experienced the rewards of long periods of intense, concentrated mindfulness practice at a residential retreat has had the frustrating experience of returning to their normal daily routines following the retreat, only to find their state of mindfulness right back where it was before the retreat. Of course, a high degree of mindfulness can be maintained by continuing to engage in sitting meditation throughout the day, every day, following the return home. But for the vast majority of us, that idea is completely impractical, due to the multitude of obligations that are so much a part of normal, daily life. In fact, many of us have even found it challenging to set aside a half hour each day for formal sitting meditation.
It is for that reason that, after over forty years of experimentation with diverse forms of mind and mind-body training, including transcendental meditation, vipassana, Zazen, internal and external martial arts, EEG biofeedback, and mental imagery, I finally developed a mindfulness-based, mind-body skill set that is easy to practice throughout the day, in most activities. Go to this link for an MBEP description: http://larryberkelhammer.com/mind-body-empowerment/