Mindfulness as a Life-Giving Practice

March 29, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Mindfulness includes (but is not limited to) training the mind to focus and attend, to consciously shift the attention and to cultivate qualities of friendliness and kindness for ourselves and others.

If you wish to learn the healthful benefits of mindfulness, you could google the topic and discover a multitude of research studies completed over the past two decades that support the concept. You might also choose to read books, blogs and articles that attest to the same notion.

Sometimes, however, it is the words spoken, the actions taken, that speak most powerfully to the transformational aspects of this practice.

For example, several recent MBSR classes have voluntarily chosen to support their mindfulness learning by continuing to meet as a practice group after the course ends. They meet once or twice a month – to sit together, to check in and speak and listen mindfully (what they’re noticing with their practices, insights or challenges), and to discuss readings or other topics chosen by the group to enhance learning.

And finally, witness the words of recent graduates who were asked if they got something of lasting value or importance from the 8-week MBSR course:

  • “I’m aware of how my wellness depends on me, not on changing another or the world.”
  • “I’m noticing my thoughts and feelings, my reactions to them, and I’m aware I have choices.”
  • “Increasingly, I’m reminding myself to be kind and compassionate, especially to my partner.”
  • “I’ve learned to handle the stress of uncertainty much better. I’ve also learned not to believe all my thoughts, especially the negative ones, which has helped me to be less reactive to them.”
  • “I learned many things of lasting value; one is that I’m learning to stay with feelings/ emotions rather than avoiding them.”
  • “My relationship to my children has been radically changed – for the good.”
  • “I don’t feel so hopeless (about anxiety and depression); my emotions are not me – they’re valid, but they’re not me.”
  • “I’m finding time for myself, taking care of my body and I’m less reactive (to stressors).”
  • “I wish I had taken this course years ago. I’m changing some lifelong habits from negative, harsh self-talk to something kinder and gentler.”
  • “I say, ‘this is how it is now’ to remind myself that everything changes.”
  • “I’ve actually become aware of having all these thoughts! This has helped me to cope with stress.”
  • “I feel like changes are occurring within me – I’m consciously working with instead of against.”
  • “This practice has created changes in my life; I respond with more kindness to myself.”
  • “The change in my life as a result of taking this class is that the way I see and respond to everyday things has been altered.”

“My relationship to my thoughts and feelings and reactions to them has become one of acceptance.”

Filed Under: News and Notes