Friday, October 15, 2010

Monday Mindfulness with Craig Polsfuss

Please tell me about yourself: who are you, what do you do for a living, where is your home base?
Craig Polsfuss, MA, LP, LICSW
(Psychologist and clinical social worker in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Among the original group of psychology and business professionals nationally pioneering the innovative Three Principles.
- Clinical practice in Three Principles-based psychotherapy, marriage counseling and addictions aftercare.
- Train and coach business and  helping professionals in the Three Principles.
- Three Principles-based corporate training and development service providing executive and leadership development, team building and services for creating healthy company culture. 
- Co-authored two peer reviewed articles on applying the Three Principles to leadership development and high performance recently published in professional journals. (Complementary copies available by request.)
- Working on two books and a major project to be launched next year to bring the Three Principles to the world.
If you only had a few words to describe mindfulness, what would you say?
Mindfulness is more than a practice. It is who we are and into what we are evolving/awakening.

I’m fascinated at hearing about how people became involved in meditation and other mindfulness practices. How did this become part of your life?
In my expanding interest in the world, humanity and spirituality, I became interested in college, researched and practiced various forms of meditation and enjoyed and benefitted from most. I eventually found one that is absolutely unique (see below) and have enjoyed it immensely for the past 32 years.

Why has meditation/mindfulness become important to you? How has your experience of life changed?
What I practice is unique in this respect: From all my research (and by no means to I claim to have done an exhaustive investigation), most meditation practices involve techniques to quiet the mind and produce more mindfulness. In time and with a quiet enough mind, a person can attain an inner experience of enlightenment and fulfillment (or whatever terms one would use to describe "higher" or "the ultimate" experience).
The teacher of what I practice caught my attention when he stated, "What I teach you do not have to practice for four years or forty years or four lifetimes and then you will have the experience you seek. I will put you directly in touch with that experience, and then your practice is to just stay with it."
I had never heard this and have not heard it since from anyone else. So I now have the means to directly connect to that ultimate inner experience at will at any moment -- whether in formal practice or not -- and in doing so I have become one with that experience more and more.
How has this changed my life? It has revealed who I really am, how life really works, and made contentment, gratitude and bliss my daily mode. I went from living "outside in" to "inside out". Although there have been many challenging moments since that transformation, my life has been predominantly magical and fulfilling -- an internal love affair.
In addition, it changed how I understood the human experience and human functioning and dramatically changed how I worked with people. As a result I became one of the first professionals to embrace the Three Principles when they were discovered, and am subsequently a national pioneer. 

Please tell me a little bit about your practice. What makes it unique or different? What makes it helpful?
All of my professional work is based on the Three Principles of Human Experience (Mind, Consciousness and Thought). These explain in a profoundly simple and precise way the source and substance of human experience, why human experience becomes what it does, and how it can be naturally transformed into more health, fulfillment and success. Thankfully, I am able to use psychological language to convey profound spiritual truths to those who may be uncomfortable with spiritual language.
Three Principles practitioners do not teach nor promote meditation practices (nor do they discourage them). The Three Principles teaches/facilitates a state of meditation/mindfulness in which the client can operate more and more deeply and consistently. We equate a waking state of meditation/mindfulness with healthy psychological functioning.
So much of what I do is unique. One of the most important is that via simply raising a person's understanding of these principles, the results spontaneously start to manifest. No techniques or mental practices are necessary. A person's innate health, wisdom and capability is awakened and expresses itself in new and wonderful ways. This is so fundamental that it can be "applied" in any human endeavor. I have chosen to work primarily in the areas described above, but I am always open to exploring new ways to share this powerful understanding and create positive outcomes.  

As a psychologist I work with many people who face down experiences of evil, death, pain, and other “dark nights of the soul.” Do you have thoughts about how your meditation/mindfulness practice might speak to those experiences?
Mind, Consciousness and Thought explain these completely and in doing so completely extract their apparent power (potentially determined by the depth of the client's listening). They are all manifestation of thought produced by the mind and coming alive in consciousness. As a person recognizes this their "mindful" system automatically adjusts itself in a more healthy direction (not unlike instinctually pulling ones hand away from the fire that is getting too hot). 

Does your meditation practice lead you to think about anything in particular about psychotherapy, mental illness, or the change process?
Yes -- see above -- and there is too much to state than possible here.

Has your practice increased your capacity to experience compassion? How has that happened? What have you noticed?
Absolutely! Seeing that all human being operate the same way (despite the completely unique expressions of each person's functioning) and that I and the other are one, uncovers both great compassion and great confidence in the potential of their discovering their own innate health, wisdom and capability. One become more soft-hearted and sensitive, in a healthy way.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to meditate/be more mindful?
Follow your heart, and don't settle for anything that does not truly satisfy it.
Are there other thoughts you’d like to share?
I hope this was useful. It sounds like you're doing good and interesting work. I'd love to chat more if you're interested. Best wishes.

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