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Over the years I've taught many people from all walks of life and when I first meet someone I will usually ask "what would you like to get from meditation?" Quite often the answer is that "I have bad anxiety and I want to get rid of it".

I always stress that, while there are noticeable and real benefits to be got from meditation, I don't teach it as a therapy. It's important to draw the distinction. With classic therapy the goal is to resolve a problem. With meditation the goal is to reconnect the person with their inner stillness and hence empower them to resolve (all) their own problems if they like.

From my experience over many years I have worked with a number of people who had varying levels of "anxiety" ranging from high stress levels to all out panic attacks. Recently I've been teaching a lady who would have anxiety and panic attacks in certain situations, for example shopping at supermarkets. She contacted me to ask if meditation would get rid of her anxiety and I explained what I've put above, that I don't do "therapy" but that many people find meditation to be therapeutically beneficial.

She started coming to the classes and after about 6 classes she told me that she'd had a major break through. She managed to go shopping at the supermarket and had not experienced anxiety! Now when she does find herself becoming anxious and moving towards a panic attack she notices that she is a lot more aware and stiller on the inside and able to sit in a space which is calm and more removed from the situation. She's discovering the unhelpful patterns and reactions which used to lead to a sense of panic and importantly, she is doing this through her own awareness and experience. She is now able to change those patterns and move on in life, which is real change.

For me the greatest therapy is not giving people solutions, but rather empowering them to discover the solutions for themselves and from themselves. This change in a person, through simple and practical meditation, is much more powerful and life enhancing as the benefits also manifest in ways that go beyond simple therapy. So While I don't "do therapy" I do teach people to meditate and discover that the most powerful therapist is their own stillness within.

Posted by Mark Zaretti at 10:46

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