what is Mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn the founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program suggests Mindfulness is the awareness that arises out of being present on purpose in a non-judgmental way. This is a simple but not easy task. He goes on to suggest Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back in touch with our own wisdom and vitality. It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our lives, including our relationships within family, our relationship to work and the larger world and planet, and fundamentally, our relationship with ourselves as a person.
MBSR is an empirically-supported 8 week psycho-educational group intervention that teaches mindfulness meditation as a means of coping with stress, pain, and illness. Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 it is now taught in hundreds of settings worldwide. The program offers participants the opportunity to develop the capacity to cultivate a different relationship to stress resulting from chronic physical and psychological illnesses. Research outcomes have demonstrated positive improvements in physical and psychological symptoms, as well as changes in health attitudes and behaviors.
Mindfulness practice, most often in the form of meditation, mindful movement and other meditative practices, is both challenging and life affirming. These practices form the centerpiece of the highly experiential MBSR and Mindfulness in Everyday Life programs. Each session in both programs incorporate a significant component of mindfulness practice, along with group dialogue and sharing as well as some didactic presentations. The key to gaining the most from mindfulness practices in MBSR and any Mindfulness-based program is daily practice of mediation and other exercises by participants, and there is a significant home practice aspect of the program.