All of us have habits. Many are good. Do we have habits we are aware of that no longer serve us? Stop and reflect and you will probably agree you have habits you are not aware of that no longer serve you. Without realising it, in response to the experiences of our childhood, we adapt ourselves in order to manage what our parents, our family, our school, and life in general, have all thrown our way. As adults we still carry underlying “beliefs” about ourselves and about the world we move in. Is it a safe place? Do I need to keep hidden? Am I welcome? Is all of me welcome? These beliefs show up in how we feel about ourselves and in how we relate to others. Non-verbally the beliefs and attitudes to life can be seen in our physical posture, in the configuration of our typical facial expressions, in our way of breathing and in our energy levels – how we expand and how we contract. All these ways of coping were originally healthy – they protected us. But they can easily become stuck emotional habits, almost trance-like states, which cause us unnecessary distress and self-limitation. Emotions always affect our bodies, so here too our capacity to enjoy life becomes limited.
The Hakomi Method of Applied Mindfulness is gentle, non-violent and spiritually-focused, drawing on the Tao as well as Buddhist wisdom. The creation of the late Ron Kurtz, it its early days it drew heavily on post-Reichian thinking about trapped feelings. In its later refined form, it is in essence a method of assisted self-study. It recognises that purely conversational therapy is limited. You can understand yourself and talk about yourself, and still be stuck! The real power of this way of working lies in the mindful, ever-deepening, body-centred experience of yourself in this present moment. With your mind in a state of focused awareness, little “experiments” show up your beliefs and what has been missing for you. At the core of this process is the experience of the safety provided by the loving presence of the practitioner. In the relationship we build together, you discover how in protecting yourself you are cutting yourself off from possible nourishment. Talking & listening are one part of this process. Assisted self-study in a place of safety leads to awareness & to the “unlearning” of adaptations that cause you unnecessary suffering. So you get more freedom to choose.
(“Hakomi” is a Hopi Indian greeting meaning “how are you in relation to the many realms in which we dwell?”.)