Yesterday I went on a day retreat at a Buddhist Meditation Centre. I am not a Buddhist but I have recently attended a four week evening course run by a Buddhist Monk about the mind – as anything to do with the mind and its amazing potential fascinates me. I was told about this retreat and decided to attend to further my learning.
The main thing that struck me was the overlap between Buddhist meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis. They have so much in common!
There is so much that felt familiar to me despite not having ‘meditated’ before. We did six meditations and before each one the Buddhist nun who was running the course anchored calm with the set up of the body before we started – thus setting the expectation of achieving calm.
Most meditations start with a body scan which I very much like as a path into trance. There are quicker methods of entering trance but I find the guided relaxation of the body scan to be very pleasant indeed – and it is not something I feel the need to rush.
Then there is the breathing. Concentrating on the breath is a type of focused attention which is an important element of hypnosis. We did a particular meditation on the retreat that slowed the breathing (and added a chant but that isn’t essential). Research has shown how much effect slowing the breathing has on calming the mind (plus lowering blood pressure). Again, I would also use this when entering trance.
There are three types of Buddhist meditations – those that relax the mind, those that understand the mind and those that transform the mind. That sounds to me like a hypnotherapy session!
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”Buddha
Plus there was the talk of positive intention, inner peace, happiness and freedom from suffering – all very worthwhile goals, in my opinion.
Buddhists also encourage the disassociation from thoughts and letting them come and go without judgement ie mindfulness – created thousands of years before it became fashionable.
All in all it was a very enjoyable day. Lovely people, great setting, yummy food and lots of relaxation and at no point was religion forced upon you. Plus an idea or two for future therapeutic work as an added bonus.