What is Hakomi

“Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.”
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Hakomi is a gentle, yet powerful, method of assisted self discovery. It rests in principles of non-violence, the use of mindfulness, and the recognition that mind and body are not separate. Hakomi is useful for uncovering what is often called our ‘conditioning’; the non- conscious beliefs and ideas that color our perception, shape our thinking, and give rise to our behavior. These kinds of discoveries lead toward emotional healing, freedom from old patterns, and more satisfaction in relationships.

Current research in neuroscience suggests that much of our daily experience is ‘organised’ by habit. It is easy to see that we don’t need to stop and think about how to tie our shoes, walk down the stairs, or drive the car. We learned these things and then repeated them often enough that they have become a part of our unconscious functioning. In a similar way our emotional lives are often habitual. We have learned ways of thinking, feeling, and relating that are now carried on, for the most part, unconsciously. As a result, our reactions to the people and events around us often arise all on their own, without our having to think about them.

Each of us has a unique and characteristic way of reacting to the world, which is grounded in unconscious beliefs that have been repeated and well-practiced for a number of years. They are beliefs about ourselves, about how people are, and about how the world is. Some of these beliefs are still true and accurate, others are outdated and inaccurate. Behaving as if these inaccurate beliefs are true is the root of much emotional pain and suffering. Such suffering is unnecessary.

Hakomi therapists are trained, first of all, to create a working environment of warmth, welcome, and acceptance, that we call ‘loving presence’. As a method of assisted self study and discovery, Hakomi can bring normally inaccessible mental processes (such as beliefs, memories, habits, and emotions) into consciousness gently and efficiently. In the light of awareness they can be examined and modified. More choice becomes possible. Rather than reacting to life through past conditioning, we become more responsive to life as it is now.

Marcia Burton and Bob Milone