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Hakomi & Mindfulness


Hakomi is assisted self-exploration in mindfulness.


What is Mindfulness?


Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad.


Hakomi involves the evocation of experience in mindfulness. It uses mindfulness in a precise way. This is not just another technique. It is a very fundamental difference in method. We evoke experiences while the client is in this particular state of consciousness.The experiences evoked tell us what kind of models the client is holding about herself and her world. More importantly, the models are often immediately clear to the client, clear as models and beliefs and not as reality. This method can also evoke and release emotions that might be hard to approach any other way. This is perhaps because the client knows what's happening. There are no tricks or manipulations here. The client is always a conscious collaborator in the process.


Using mindfulness in this way in Hakomi is the key to inviting this level of conscious awareness and ultimately choice.


From a systems point of view, the use of mindfulness can be seen as a method of making the system more sensitive. Mindfulness does this. By calming down and quieting the mind, we lower the noise.


Turning inward and focusing on present experience enhances our capacity to pick up even subtle sensations, feelings, thoughts, images, and significant memories.


When clients are in mindfulness and experiences are evoked, there is no confusion about the source. They are clear that whatever emerges is theirs. So they know that any emotional response is their own and is based on their own beliefs and history, not imposed by someone else’s guesses or assumptions.


In Hakomi, we help clients discover who they are at their own pace, within a safe setting. Two of the main advantages of this method are that it supports personal responsibility by showing the client clearly how his experiences are organized by his own inner models and beliefs and that it avoids confusion by studying and processing evoked experiences in the here and now, allowing and supporting the person to discover who he is rather than theorizing about that.


One very significant thing about Hakomi is that it can bring someone’s implicit models of reality into consciousness. It gets to the beliefs and meanings that run someone’s life. This discovery gives clients a chance to examine and possibly to change these models.


Using mindfulness, people learn, through their immediate reactions, exactly how they have habitually organized themselves and their world into their virtual reality.


One of the difficulties people have when they try to understand themselves is that they habitually keep their awareness away from inner structures and tend to deal just with surface things. Often they automatically distance themselves from their own negative emotions, like pain, fear, anger, etc. Ideas they have about themselves control them without their being aware of how or why. Ideas that cause suffering; ideas like, “I’m a bad person.” “I’|| never get what I want.” “I’m stupid.” “Nobody cares about me.” “Nobody could ever love me”.


Since most of these limiting ideas are outside of conscious and implicit, they are impossible to challenge or doubt. They simply seem true. Anything else feels false or like a fantasy. Fixed attitudes and old ideas like these keep most people from having nourishing experiences of happiness, love, peace, acceptance, generosity, tenderness, or a sense of safety or belonging.


Adapted from: Introduction to the Practice of Loving Presence by Ron Kurtz & Donna Martin.

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