Robyn Collins

Robyn Collins , Spiritual Retreats , The Awakening Process , Transpersonal Counselling, Workshops, Australia, Mindfulness, Reiki Master, Meditation 

Central Coast Mindfulness

Central Coast Mindfulness

Central Coast Mindfulness

Mindfulness, Meditation, Awareness, Presence


CONSCIOUS CALM PROGRAMS


About Mindfulness Meditation and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations


Mindfulness, mindfulness meditation, or even meditation are all terms that are thrown around a lot in the media. But what is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation describes a concept that involves concentration, being aware of the present moment, and an overall transformation in how we use our minds. Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist religious philosophy, though the ideas are usable within any religious or secular community.


Every day, each of us has tens of thousands of thoughts. And we spend much of our time focusing on those thoughts

When we do that, we’re thinking about life instead of living it. Which means we’re missing out on reality. We’re missing out on the people in our lives, and the world around us. And we’re missing what’s still and permanent to focus on what’s transient.


Meditation dissolves old habits and patterns of thinking

Thoughts, in themselves, are no barrier to peace. But the habit of focusing on thoughts is. Meditation works by breaking that habit. By learning to gently shift attention away from thoughts, we change our relationship with them. They become less important, less serious, less about us. We become less interested in the voices in our heads telling the same old stories, making the same old comments and judgments. As we meditate, stresses begin to dissolve. Patterns of thought fall away, and we let go of habits and beliefs that have held us back.


Meditation reveals what we’re actually experiencing

When we’re focusing on thoughts, we’re missing out on reality. We’re missing our families, our friends, our colleagues. We’re missing nature and the world around us. We’re missing the fullness of each moment. We’re missing the experience of stillness and peace that is naturally with us when we’re fully present. And we’re missing the truth of who we are.

As we let go of old beliefs and stories, we begin to experience life, instead of thinking about and interpreting it. We start to see the world as it truly is, people as they truly are, and ourselves as we truly are – instead of seeing them as we think they are or expect them to be. We get to taste fullness where our thoughts told us there was lack, and peace where our thoughts said there was suffering.


Meditation changes the brain

‘Neurons that fire together wire together,’ says the Canadian neuropsychologist Donald Hebb. Every time we focus on an experience such as a thought, a feeling, an emotion, or a physical experience, this experience triggers thousands of neurons (nerve cells) in our brains. If we keep focusing on the same experiences, the brain will learn to trigger the same neurons every time.

This can be helpful for remembering information and making connections between different ideas. But it can also lock us into rigid or habitual patterns of thinking, limiting our capacity to be creative. It can also lock us into a cycle of stress or fear reactions that have more to do with past events or future anxieties than with what we’re experiencing right now.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Just as neurons can be taught to fire together, they can also be untaught. By shifting attention from habitual thoughts, meditation can rewire your brain in some profound ways.


CALMING THE BRAIN’S ‘ME’ CENTRE

Meditation reduces activity in what scientists sometimes call the ‘me’ centre of the brain – the part that assembles ideas about identity and biography. Meditation also reduces connections between the “me” centre and two other parts of the brain, the part that monitors physical and sensory experiences, and the part that generates fear or stress responses. The result? Physical experiences seem less personal, and generate less stress and fear.

What’s more, the ‘me’ centre is associated with the habits of daydreaming and ruminatingon thoughts, and with the chattering ‘monkey mind’ which jumps continuously from one thought to another. We’re literally getting stuck in ‘me’ thoughts (like ‘There’s something wrong with me’, or ‘Other people don’t like me’, or ‘Bad things happen to me.’). Calm the ‘me’ centre and tame the monkey.


REWIRING THE BRAIN FOR EMPATHY AND AWARENESS

While meditation reduces activity in the brain’s ‘me’ centre, it also increases activity in the part of the brain most closely associated with empathy, compassion, and understanding of others. Meditation also enhances brain processes associated with focus and awareness. These impacts aren’t only noticeable during eyes-closed meditation – they spill over into the rest of life. Meditation has also been found to increase brain size and to slow the brain’s ageing processes.

How much meditation does it take for these impacts to show up?

Some studies have found impacts beginning to appear after just a few days of meditation, while others have found that the effects continue to grow – and become more profound – with repeated and long-term practice.


Meditation changes the body

When you focus attention on a thought, your body responds. You can notice this easily enough. Just think about eating a lemon, or a piece of chocolate. Or think an embarrassing thought. Did your body respond? Likewise, when we think stressful thoughts, when we revisit difficult memories, when we conjure up fear or panic thoughts, our bodies respond as if it the thought is real. The resulting fight-or-flight reactions can have long-term impacts on your body.


UNWINDING THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF STRESS

Stress doesn’t only affect your mental health, it affects your physical health as well. Many common diseases are stress-related, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. So are many other common health conditions such as headaches, chronic pain, and insomnia. Stress has also been linked to weight gain.

Meditation gently shifts attention from stressful thoughts, beliefs and memories, helping to unwind its effects on the body and so reduce the likelihood that you will experience these common stress-related conditions.


IMPROVING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND SLOWING THE AGEING PROCESS

One of the physical impacts of meditation is that it appears to boost the immune system. Even more remarkably, meditation has been found to slow down the ageing process in the body’s cells, in ways that also protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and dementia.

Scientists think that meditation may have this effect because it activates genes that keep the cells healthy, and de-activates genes that contribute to inflammation and stress responses.

These physical impacts are believed to be linked to meditators’ mental and emotional states, including their self-compassion, openness to experience, and positive emotional states. In other words, the thoughts they focused on were influencing the cells in their bodies.

These physical impacts are believed to be linked to meditators’ mental and emotional states, including their self-compassion, openness to experience, and positive emotional states. In other words, the thoughts they focused on were influencing the cells in their bodies.


Meditation reveals reality

The original purpose of meditation was not to enhance feelings of calmness or peace, but to reveal reality. In particular, meditation is a vehicle into the parts of reality that we typically miss.

As the habit of thinking falls away, your senses will become clearer, you’ll be more aware of their surroundings, more present with other people, and more calm and peaceful.

And you’ll also begin to discover something else. As thoughts and feelings fall away, you’ll begin to become aware of the field of awareness that those experiences occur in – the field of awareness that all experiences occur in. Typically, we pay no attention to that field – it’s just there.


Meditation reveals peace

Whenever we let go of all thought and instead allow our attention to become fully absorbed in this moment, we’re allowing consciousness to take over. We’re returning to the state we knew as children, before we started to build identities out of thought. We’re literally ‘losing ourselves’ in experience. To fully give ourselves up to this experience of still consciousness is profoundly peaceful, joyful, and creative.

You may remember this state from your childhood, from the times when you became totally absorbed in play. And you’ve probably experienced it many times since, at least fleetingly – when your senses are fully absorbed in a beautiful landscape, or an experience of art or music, or in an extreme sport that requires total focus, or in closeness with another person, or in selfless devotion to a purpose or cause, or in the greatest moments of your life.

There are many names for this state of still, peaceful awareness unbroken by identification with thought. Spiritual teachings refer to nirvana, or heaven, or tao, or stillness, or peace. Psychologists sometimes use the term ‘flow’ to describe the same state – a state of being so totally absorbed in the experience of life that any sense of an individual ‘you’ disappears and everything seems to flow smoothly from one moment to the next. They also refer to ‘peak’ experiences, those moments of deep peace, wonder, and exhilaration in which time seems to stop, and any sense of separation between you and the outer world seems to fall away.


Meditation allows you to discover peace without searching for it

In everyday life, our experiences of pure peace are typically fleeting and unreliable. We might experience a peaceful moment as we gaze at a beautiful lake. But very soon our old mental habits kick in – we shift our attention from the lake onto thoughts and feelings, and the sense of inner calmness and peace is shattered.

Similarly, we might experience moments of ‘flow’ as we write, draw, paint, sing or play, run, swim, surf, fly, or engage in some other activity that we love – but that flow lasts only until our mind kicks into action.

And we might experience pure love and joy in a close relationship – but those feelings are often temporary and unreliable.

Very often, we’ll return to the place, activity, or person that first led us to experience peace, only to find the peace elusive. We know there’s something we discovered once and we want to get back – but we can’t seem to find it.


Sometimes, this search can turn destructive – we’ll turn to alcohol, drugs, or other addictions in the hope of ‘switching off’ our thoughts and getting out of our heads.

Whatever approach we take, we’ll find it is fleeting and unreliable, if it works at all. This is because we’re looking in the wrong place.

If you found it peaceful to look out at a beautiful lake, it wasn’t the lake itself that brought peace – it was that for a few moments you let go of your inner voice and allowed your attention to rest fully in the moment.

Likewise, if you experienced peace or flow in an activity or relationship, what brings the peace and exhilaration is your total absorption in the experience. For a short time, you’ve stopped thinking.


We keep returning to the same activities in the hope of catching some glimpse of peace, but the very act of searching gets in the way.

The irony is that what we’re seeking for is already with us. In fact, it already is us. The still, peaceful awareness you experience during the most wonderful moments of your life is the same awareness through which you experience everything. The only reason this isn’t obvious is that you have a habit of focusing on thoughts, instead of resting in a state of pure awareness.


All that’s required to experience profound peace is to let go of that habit of thinking – and instead to cultivate the habit of surrendering every thought, every experience, back to the consciousness it came from. Meditation is a vehicle for doing that. It works by allowing you to notice where your attention is, and to consciously and reliably redirect that attention into a state of still, peaceful awareness. That state then becomes a choice, instead of a fleeting and seemingly accidental experience.


With committed practice, the habit of focusing on thoughts and feelings naturally falls away.

What’s left is an unbroken experience of still awareness. This is sometimes likened to an ocean of peace, because it seems to go on forever.

It is sometimes described as a field of awareness – a field that seems endless. It is sometimes described as still, silent, and peaceful; as being beyond any sense of space or time, and any sense of an individual ‘you’. It is sometimes described as nothing, because it can seem vast and empty; and it is sometimes described as everything, since it seems to contain and be the source of all other experiences.

The ultimate purpose of meditation is to allow us to fully recognise this field of pure awareness, and recognise ourselves in it.

Discover peace first, and the mind naturally stills.


Mindfulness practices are being incorporated into all aspects of life. Schools, chronic pain treatment programs, even the military is utilizing mindfulness meditation as a way of calming the body, decreasing stress, and strengthening the brain. Mindfulness techniques like Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy are among the most widely implemented forms of mind-body medicine.


Why the sudden interest in mindfulness meditation?


In addition to being a deep spiritual tradition, mindfulness meditation also seems to be effective in treating many physical and mental health conditions. Where before we only had anecdotal evidence of mindfulness’s health effects, we now have scientific findings that support the benefits the brain can receive in mindfulness meditation practice.


New findings have shown:


  • A little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. (Zeidan, Journal of Neuroscience)
  • Increases in mindfulness correlated with reductions in burnout and total mood disturbance, as well as increased stress resilience. (Krasner, JAMA).
  • Participants who received mindfulness training showed a 42% decrease in the frequency and severity of primary IBS symptoms. (G. Andersson,Behavior Research and Therapy)
  • Mindfulness meditation is affecting brain activity. Brain waves associated with integration increase during compassion meditation. When meditating, brain scans found increased activity in the following areas of the brain: insula, termporal pole/superior temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate, while the amygdala is less active. Overall, this is consistent with decreased arousal and an increased sense of well-being. (S. Lazar)
  • Meditation improves attention. (Jha et al., 2007), (Slagter 2007), (Pagnoni & Cekic 2007), (Valentine & Sweet, 1999)
  • You don’t have to be a seasoned meditator to see positive changes to your brain. New meditators who went through an 8-week meditation program saw changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved with learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking. (Lazar, Psychiatry Research, 2011) 
  • Retrieve from www.nicabm (2015).

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT illuminates the ways that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. Clients gain the skills to recontextualize and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behavior change.

More information about the benefits of mindfulness meditation - Click on picture below!

 

Robyns QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling Psychology) 2013
  • Specialisation: Crisis and Trauma, Drug , Alcohol and other drugs, Family and Relationship Counselling  , Grief & Bereavement, Mindfulness based cognitive therapy and Existential Counselling

The Australian College of Applied Psychology - Sydney

  • Face to face therapeutic counselling and group work facilitation with clinical supervision – 8 years
  • Private Counselling business – 12 years
  • Bachelor of Metaphysical Science, USA  – (Ministry & Pastoral Care) 
  • Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Perforamance Training - Monash University
  • Lifeline -  Six month basic training – Riverina Community Services Young
  • Compassionate Friends - Mental Health Awareness Program - Training  Year 11 in schools  - Riverina NSW
  • Grief & Bereavement  – Mal McKissock – Riverina NSW
  • Salvation Army – OASIS introduction training program for Homeless – Central Coast
  • Narconon International - Drug Rehabilitation training program - Sydney
  • Interrelate Family Centres – Working well with stepfamilies – Central Coast (workshop)
  • Ricky Hunter & Associates – Project plan to Empowerment - Sydney ( Domestic Violence workshop)

EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITY ( Subcontractor)

  • Group facilitator of  Mindfulness & Self Awareness

             Central Coast Community Woman’s Health Centre.

             Kariong Neighbourhood Centre – Central Coast

             Chertsey Community Centre – Central Coast

          

  • Central Coast Men’s Shed Cluster – Community & Family Violence Prevention Project

             C.O.P.E Mindfulness Program for Men 2011/2012                                                                                                 

  • Group facilitator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction weekly classes 2008 - 2011

             Gosford Shire Council – Peninsula Leisure Centre ( 3 years)

  • Group facilitator of Sound, Meditation & Movement session 2010– 2012

             A Quest for Life – Petrea King, www.questforlife.com.au

  • The Clearing – Counselling, Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy Centre Woy Woy 2009 – Current
  • Private Counselling & Psychotherapy  - Woman, Men, Adolescence, Children         
  • Mindfulness Conferences
  • Retreat facilitation

COMMUNITY & VOLUNTEERING

  • Gosford Shire Council – Peninsula Australia Day events co-ordinator (2010-2012)
  • Central Coast Men’s Interagency & Men’s Shed Cluster
  • Central Coast Community Woman’s Health Centre Wyoming NSW
  • Quest for Life Foundation – Petrea King , Bundanoon NSW
  • Cancer Support Group , Guest Speaker on Holistic & Mindfulness Based Therapy  – Gosford
  • Chertsey Community Cottage – Springfield, Gosford. Group work , case work,  private , child, youth, Woman , Men and relationship counselling 

NDIS provider no. 4050033744

Australian Counselling Association no. 11416

For a custom made program for your business or organisation contact:

Robyn Collins 0451 098 820

info@robyncollins.com.au