Where Buddha meets Erickson: Mindfulness, Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

May 27th, 2016

 There is a place where attention, concentration, meditation, and mindfulness meet experience. There, without discursive thought or emotional reaction, there is awareness and peace. A special space inside the body-mind opens up where creative possibilities emerge. I call this the space of healing. For me it is like the blue open sky with the endless horizon and the ocean in the foreground. Beyond the line of the breaking waves, if I watch closely and long enough, a cloud, a dolphin or a boat, appear in the horizon. If I continue watching, spaciousness, connection, and joy emerge.

My first experience with meditation happened when I was 18 years old. I was spending some time in Madrid, Spain. My mother introduced me to yoga and meditation. We took a series of classes with Ramiro Calle. He had just returned from India and was giving hatha and rāja yoga seminars in his studio Sādhaka. In a carpeted and darkened room we had simply to sit in silence while watching a stick of incense burn down to extinction. The process seemed long but surprisingly simple. I do not remember the thoughts that might have fleeted through my consciousness, but I remember the feeling of peacefulness and paradoxical elation that I felt by the end of each class. Since that first experience many years have gone by, yet the same positive emotions are triggered in me each time I practice meditation, be it sitting mindfulness, yoga or in my everyday work in the practice of psychotherapy, closely and mindfully listening to patients.

The practice of yoga in many of it forms has enlightened my life since that time. It has taken me to explore within and without my professional practice in psychology. I have learned about mind, life and relationship, beyond any conscious expectation. It has led me to explore the healing potential of special states of consciousness. Explorations in this area, early in my clinical practice, led me to Milton H. Erickson and his strategic hypnotic approach to psychotherapy. This has oriented my teaching and clinical practice for many years.

Today I am putting all this down in words so that beyond my patients and my students, maybe I can relate to others, far and wide? This is my intention.

This is my first post in a series that I hope will lead me to connect with you the reader, as the writing of my book unfolds.