Over the past year I’ve made an extra effort to introduce mindfulness meditation in my sessions with people. In my own life, I’ve grown to rely on taking moments throughout the day to simply focus on my breath, reground myself, and to calm my mind of the many thoughts or emotions that can carry me away at times. So, I thought this may be helpful to include, in my meetings, as a brief meditation at the beginning, or a pause at heightened moments during a conversation to notice what’s happening, or simply at the end of a session before wrapping up.

I always check in afterwards and ask what they’ve noticed and frequently hear that it was calming, some noticing tension in parts of their body, others realizing the intensity of thoughts flooding their mind, some more in-tune to heart rate, and becoming attuned to their deeper emotional state.

Although the feedback isn’t unexpected, when it’s shared by someone in such a personal way something happens in that exchange. There’s also an energy shift that seems to happen when sharing a quiet space together, while over time creating an unspoken trust. As a result, the thin (or at times thick) layer of superficiality is pealed away. Taking the time to focus within seems to take away the need to avoid the small talk and reflect more from one’s internal experience.

In meaningful dialogue, I find there’s a balance of both listening and sharing – a give and take with one another. I’m noticing with even a short period of focused breathing, or guided meditation, it’s influencing a deeper level of comfort with sharing things someone may have been holding back on and a greater openness.