Editor’s Note: The following feature is by Jeff Thomson, the clinical services coordinator at Paradise Valley Wellness Centre, a residential addiction treatment center in Squamish Valley, B.C. Paradise Valley has partnered with the Chopra Center to offer a holistic approach to moving beyond addiction. To learn more about Paradise Valley Wellness Centre, click here.
Essential may be the best word to describe how guests experience meditation sessions at our comprehensive Residential Wellness Centre located in idyllic and aptly named Paradise Valley, British Columbia.
We welcomed our first guests to Paradise Valley Wellness Centre in March of 2010. Now that our first four months of operation have passed, the pivotal role of meditation is becoming clear. The instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation and our two daily 30-minute meditation sessions are helping guests ground themselves, and to better integrate the new ways of being they are experiencing daily into their psyche.
At Paradise Valley, participants in our 6-week residential addiction treatment program address the deep personal issues that cause them anguish and affect their present relationships using daily small-group therapy sessions. Guests also engage in individual therapy, family therapy, educational sessions, twice-daily yoga sessions, and massage treatments – all designed to facilitate self-transformation as they improve their relationship with themselves and with others.
Primordial Sound Meditation plays an essential part in this process, and is a crucial part of our addiction recovery program. Many of our guests have experienced significant struggles with destructive compelling behaviours (e.g. substance abuse, damaging relationship patterns, eating disorders, work obsession). A meditation practice increases comfort with stillness and emptiness, decreasing anxiety and the sense of urgency to “fill” the pains of emptiness. Our guests discover that the endless urge to buy things, use drugs, work to excess, gamble etc. fortunately lifts as we find a deeper experience and comfort with just being.
Before each morning and evening meditation session, Chopra Center-certified instructors guide guests to consider the three soul questions:
Who am I?
What do I want?
How am I best suited to serve humanity using my unique talents . . . how can I bring bliss and abundance to others and myself?
As they begin their dialogue with the universe and meditate daily for six weeks, participants are supported and inspired to deepen their self-awareness and self-appreciation while discovering personal meaning and purpose. As numerous studies have found, meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression. Meditation restores balance and inner calm, and when people feel a decrease in worry and emotional turmoil, they are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or other chemical or behavioral stimulants to medicate their emotions. Instead, they get to tap directly into their own source of natural well-being. The burgeoning field of neuroscience continues to publish new research that confirms the tremendous benefits of meditation for improved brain functioning, decision-making, and increased happiness.
After guests complete our residential program, we engage in weekly email surveys. A majority of guests report establishing a daily practice of meditation and characterize it as essential in helping them maintain new, healthier ways of being.
In gratitude, Jeff Thompson and the Paradise Valley Wellness Centre staff