How does your SOUL respond?
The therapist’s mindful presence is itself a source of healing. It facilitates a better relationship with the client, and like a tuning fork, it helps bring out this mindful presence in the client. I believe that when clients are in this mindful presence they can distinguish the difference between this presence and the chattering of their ego/mind. When clients are in touch with this presence or what I call their “soul self” they can more readily separate it from their eating disorder self. They can see they are not their eating disorder self, and in fact, are far more powerful than that. Rather than just battling with the client’s eating disorder self, it is critical to strengthen each client’s healthy, soul self because this is what is necessary to put the eating disorder self out of a job.
Mindfulness practices are a path to help all of us get in touch with and strengthen our pure essence or our “soul self.” Even though living consistently in this state is only realized by very few people, if any, it is a state to strive for. Practicing mindfulness helps me to live my life and practice therapy from a more soul driven place. For example, when I am wounded or upset by someone it is my ego that has been hurt. My ego might react to that hurt by wanting to hurt back. In “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle, (1999) says, “The ego reacts and the soul responds.” Mindfulness is what allows me the ability to step back and realize when my ego is reacting and helps me connect with my inner wisdom or “soul self” to decide how I really want to respond. When I do this, I find that I can accept without judgment what has happened and can respond by saying what I need to say without anger or negativity rather than just simply trying to hurt back.
Perhaps even more powerful than a teacher teaching is when the student becomes the teacher. A former client wrote the following words to me about how she has integrated this very lesson into her own life:
“I know now that my ego reacts but my soul responds, and as hard as that is to remember sometimes in a heated or difficult situation, more times than not I am able to take a step back and ask myself what’s happening with me and ask myself how do i want to be in this, and which part of me is showing up? I know that my ability to annihilate people with my words is not my soul self, the person I want to be or be seen as. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to be heard not feared, and if I don’t come from a place where my soul self is driving, that wont happen.
And its hard, really hard at times, not to react when someone else is going off, but I also know that if I do then our egos are in a battle and no one “wins”.
In order to rectify an argument or situation that’s hard one of us has to stay grounded or come back and remember who we want to be and who we truly are, and I try to be that person now. I try to take a breath, hear your voice, and come back to myself and sometimes it really sucks because i know I’m right, (which of course is my ego talking), but i also know now that being “right” isn’t always winning an argument or being the one with the most evidence to prove the other person is at fault, but rather it is the person who stays connected to who they truly are and knows when to step back and bring that soul self in the room.