“Sacredness” is another superfine concept in life, like “etiquette,” “reverence,” and “respect.” The word comes from the Latin root sacrare, meaning “holy,” so something is sacred when it deserves veneration because of its Godliness. Sacredness can be about places—like temples and sacred grounds—and it can also be about people, music, ideas, processes, thoughts, and objects like idols. It can be about ceremonies, symbols, geometry, moments, and existence.
On a good day, I have only failed a few times at the world’s most important job before I even head out the door to the job that pays my bills. As a full-time-working mother of three boys and lifelong overachiever, I have developed an intimate relationship with the voice that says: “It’s never enough, you are never enough.”
The illusion of an externally existent world rests largely on the sense of sight. When the eyes are open, there are no “gaps” in the visual field, which is primarily why the world appears to be so absolutely solid and independent.
When you practice mindfulness as a way of life, over time you start to notice that your understanding of what it means will naturally deepen. You may find an increased capacity to respond more flexibly to the present moment both in your personal life and your clinical work. But even when you have intimately experienced and felt the depth of the practice, you may somehow still struggle to describe it or put it into words when necessary for client work.
Mindfulness in the context of psychotherapy is more than just a technique or a theoretical perspective; it is a way of being with and relating to experience. Regardless of whether or not you choose to incorporate formal mindfulness practices in your sessions with clients, having your own mindfulness practice will positively inform your work.
Editor’s note: There are numerous factors to consider when leading a meditation practice. In this four-part series, clinical psychologist Greg Serpa, PhD, and physician turned mindfulness teacher Christiane Wolf, MD, PhD, answer some of the most noteworthy logistical questions about teaching mindfulness. Keep your particular population in mind as you go through their tips; it’s possible that you may have valid reasons to adapt or change the guidelines to suit the needs and experiences of your participants.