River Thoughts

I work with many of my patients (as well as myself) to utilize a mindfulness approach to dealing with difficult thoughts, emotions, and memories. The default mode of the mind, or human cognition, if you will, is to go to the past or future, but rarely stay in the current moment (which by nature, is really the only moment we have). We can find ourselves faced with re-enactment of past events, conversations, etc., or conversely, engaged in worry about what is to come. An endless, and in fact, mindless audio tape which results in either fusing with the thoughts, or working diligently to  avoid them, both of which result in the thought or emotion maintaining our attention and central focus. As a 2000 year old practice with roots in Buddhist doctrine, mindfulness encourages paying attention to the current moment, without judgment. When we are mindful, these difficult thoughts and feelings, much like a craving, drift by, like a leaf moving in the current of a river or stream.
 Jon Kabat-Zinn ( Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) has many stellar books and videos on the subject. Here is a link to speaking engagement at Dartmouth College that is an excellent primer on mindfulness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_If4a-gHg_I