Suchness and Mindfulness by Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC

November 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management, Trauma, Underserved Youth | 1 Comment

The word “suchness” has become one of the most helpful words I have used to deepen the practice of mindfulness and to heal areas of distress not only for myself but also in my clinical psychotherapy practice with clients. Saying the word, “suchness” immediately takes the edge off the pain and suffering I may be feeling at the time, and allows for a kinder, accepting approach to any distress I may be encountering.

I have found that saying, “this is the suchness of my present moment experience” creates ease and peace, which are useful resources to draw upon when I feel any kind of mental or physical distress. Suchness goes to the very root of mindfulness practice. The essence of mindfulness is being in the present moment, accepting what is in the present moment, knowing it is temporary, and that we are much more than our present moment experience. It is an experience of non-judgment, acceptance, kindness, compassion, and allowing for what is to come next.

Suchness creates an ideal space to just experience what Martin Buber calls the, “I and Thou,” or in more Buddhist terms, the experience of “equanimity,” where we can be in relationship to the present moment with an experience of fullness, awe, appreciation, and gratitude.

When I am counseling my clients, I do my very best to accept the suchness of their way of being, their unique experience of their issues of concern, and engender acceptance, ease, and warmth with them in each moment. The energy of suchness then creates the conditions for healing, space, and freedom for my clients to tap into their own self-healing resources.

So the next time you are aware of a mental or physical distress, you may consider saying, “this is the suchness of my present moment experience.” You may then want to breathe in and out while being aware of all the temporary mental and physical formations for a few minutes, returning to each moment with the experience of the suchness of the present moment, and allowing the healing to begin anew. In this way, we are bringing a refreshingly open attitude to the infinite creative and healing possibilities of the present moment in service of our highest good.

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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT)


Mindfulness and Adolescents, Part 2 in a 4-Part Series By Heather M. Butts, JD, MPH, MA

November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Underserved Youth | Leave a comment
Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA

Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA

As I stated in Part 1 of this 4-part series, I spend a great deal of time working with at-risk youth in New York City.  Much of my time is spent trying to think of inventive ways to keep these young people engaged given all of the external and internal distractions that they face. Most of the young people that I work with come from very difficult home lives, do not have an intact family, or have environmental influences that make their ability to lead healthy, productive lives quite challenging. In an age where bullying, depression, anxiety, and suicide are major health issues for all young adults, but particularly at-risk, underserved youth, there is an increasing focus by the medical and healthcare community on finding solutions to what ails this population.  One of the culprits, especially for young adults, may be a lack of mindfulness coupled with dwelling on the “negative.”  This blog post will address that through looking at the work of clinical psychologist and mindfulness educator Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.  According to author Stephen S. Ilardi, Ph.D., in his book The Depression Cure, “rumination appears to be an instinctive human response when something goes wrong.  It is as if we’re hard wired to replay our recent trials and tribulations over and over again in the mind’s eye.  But some people stay at it long past the point when enough is enough” (pp. 92-93). According to Ilardi, this can make individuals less active, depressed, and ultimately withdrawn. This is key as we think about mindfulness as a potential solution to some of the mental health issues plaguing young adults.

In a recent panel discussion on the L.E.A.R.N for Life Consulting, LLC radio show entitled Stable, Focused, and Open: Mindfulness for Teens (, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D. spoke to the role mindfulness can play with youth ages 15-24 who are at risk for mental health issues, stating, “mindfulness can be a skill that can reduce depression, isolation, and self-denigration.”  Referencing psychologist Daniel Goleman, Cammarata spoke about how mindfulness can support emotional intelligence, “…meaning empathy and motivation, self-awareness and self-regulation.” Cammarata quoted Jon Kabat-Zinn’s (1994) definition of mindfulness as, “…paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (p. 4), and stated that for adolescents, the, “ABCs of mindfulness” – attitude (patience, openness, intellectual curiosity), body awareness, and concentration, are particularly important.

Cammarata expanded on his thoughts with me in a one-on-one discussion talking about why he finds mindfulness such an effective tool for young people. Those working with adolescents were reminded to take note of the wide range of focusing ability in this population. Cammarata encouraged practitioners to “start really slowly” utilizing “small chunks of times” in the beginning but to watch for adolescents with “excellent concentration skills.”

With respect to at-risk youth who come from challenging home environments, Cammarata suggests such young people connect their breath with something calming like music or a pet. He specifically suggests that mindful movement practices such as qigong, tai chi, or yoga may be of particular use with these adolescents. Ultimately, according to Cammarata, all of us deserve to be, “kinder to ourselves… mindfulness can be an important way to integrate positive attitudes that are healthy for the body and mind.”

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(with contributing editors, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.,  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)


Embodying the Mind of Love, Joy, Compassion, and Equanimity by Larry Cammarata, Ph.D. © 2013

October 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Stress Management, Trauma | Leave a comment
Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.

Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.

Mindfulness, Love, Joy, Compassion, and Equanimity

Mindfulness has been defined as, “…awareness…of present experience…with acceptance” (Germer, 2005, p. 7).  Although mindfulness seems to refer only to the mind, it also involves the body as well as the heart. Your body is a vehicle for the experience of present-centered awareness, and without it, some of the most elevated heart-centered expressions of mindfulness practice—love, joy, compassion, and equanimity—cannot become manifest. Love in this context is about unity, the absence of separation, which provides a pathway to peace, harmony, and healthy living. A loving attitude is one that supports the wish for the happiness of others. There are many interpretations of joy. Joy can be a consequence of resonantly rejoicing in the happiness of others. I like to view joy as the result of connecting with the energy of life with full acceptance, without the distorting filter of thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions. Compassion is about recognizing the suffering of self and others with an intention and effort to relieve it. Equanimity allows you to be stable and composed in the face of changing external conditions. Equanimity is most tested when people and situations are not operating in accordance with our wishes or liking. When the mind, heart, and body are relating to self and others with equanimity, there is no hostility or reactive stress, even when others intent on pushing our buttons provoke us!

Practice, Ideas, and Embodiment

Without practicing mindfulness, the ability to focus upon and cultivate qualities of love, joy, compassion, and equanimity are limited. Mindfulness allows you to know how aligned your thoughts, speech, and actions are with those qualities, as well as the values and intentions that you uphold.

Through the practices described below, I invite you to experiment with embodying love, joy, compassion, and equanimity. Embodiment is about bringing a mental concept into physical form. For example, the idea of love is different than the embodied expression of love. Although the idea of love (e.g., through the written word) can touch others in unseen ways, the embodied expression of love can literally touch others through a reassuring, gentle grasp of a hand or a soft tone of voice.

Practice I: Imagining Embodiment

First choose a mental quality of love, joy, compassion, or equanimity. You may also consider another quality such as kindness or optimism if that is more relevant for you. Then, write a brief description of how a person who strongly embodied one of those qualities would speak, act, think, feel, and relate to others. Create a mini-script that describes how such a person would appear in your everyday life. If it helps, you might imagine the person to be someone that you admire, like a spiritual or religious figure who clearly exudes love, joy, compassion, and/or equanimity.

Practice II: Embodiment in the Real World

After you have developed a sense of the “script” that such an individual might follow, allow yourself to step into the role of being like that individual, although this time, transitioning from imagining the embodiment to practicing the embodiment of love, joy, compassion, and/or equanimity in relation to self and the others in your everyday life. How do you speak? What thoughts do you cultivate? What feelings are embraced? How do you relate to yourself during stressful times? How do you relate to the people who challenge you? How do you relate to the people that you love and care for? How does your posture express the quality that you are cultivating? How does the eye contact you make with others embody this quality? How does your body feel when you are aligned with love, joy, compassion, and/or equanimity?

Questions for Exploration

What did you learn from this practice? How can this practice help to relieve the suffering and distress of self and others? In what other ways can this practice be applied to your work, family, close relationships, or relationship with self?

An Open Invitation

Intentional embodiment is like a vessel that holds the nourishing liquid of your choice. Your thoughts, speech, and actions can give form to your highest values, mental qualities, and aspirations. The invitation is to continue the practice of embodiment in your everyday life, the place where it can truly make a meaningful difference.


Germer, C.K. 2005. Mindfulness. In C.K. Germer, R.D. Siegel, & P.R. Fulton (Eds.), Mindfulness and psychotherapy (pp. 3-27). New York: Guilford Press.

For more information about Dr. Larry Cammarata go to To receive our Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC newsletters and future blogs:

(with contributing editors, Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA,  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)


Photo by Emily Nichols Photography at

Mindfulness and Adolescents by Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA

September 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Stress Management, Trauma, Underserved Youth | 1 Comment


For over a decade I have worked with at-risk, underserved adolescents, assisting them in transitioning from high school to college, but also ensuring that they learn functional ways to develop and grow as individuals. While I am a lawyer by training, my focus and life’s work has revolved around adolescent education and mental health. My M.A. is in psychology in education, focusing on young adults. Over the course of my years working with adolescents, it has become clear to me that there is a segment of that population that have experienced very traumatic episodes in their young lives, but do not have sufficient coping mechanisms and tools to effectively deal with such events.

There is literature in existence looking at mindfulness and its efficacy in dealing with trauma and anxiety in adolescents. Researchers such as Susan Bogels have looked at the utility of mindfulness for the adolescent population. There appears to be interesting possibilities for utilizing mindfulness with adolescents who have suffered from traumatic events, and specifically at risk, underserved adolescents who have been exposed to violence and other life-threatening stressors. This blog series will examine various mindfulness techniques and their efficacy with this population.

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(with contributing editors, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.,  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)



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