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Lions Roar : November 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2011 76 members at the University of Washington took the meditation research and developed the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Preven- tion (MBRP) program, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse provided two million dollars for scientific studies. The team is completing another major study, this one focusing on how medi- tation helps people avoid relapsing, and whom it helps the most. The MBRP program aims to help people in three ways. First, it works to develop awareness of personal triggers and habitual reactions, and helps people learn how to create a pause in this seemingly automatic process. Second, it seeks to change our rela- tionship to discomfort, so we respond in good and helpful ways to challenging emotional and physical experiences, rather than rush to obliterate them. And third, it guides people to come to regard themselves with a point of view that is compassionate and nonjudgmental. The book Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors—A Clinician’s Guide by Bowen, Marlatt, and colleague Neha Chawla was published late last year. MBRP is modeled on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn more than thirty years ago—an outpatient setting, frank conversation, participants coming in two hours a week for eight weeks, and supporting resources such as CDs. “The emphasis is on meditation practice, every day, as much as possible,” Bowen said. “And on mindfulness in daily life: how to notice when you are getting triggered.” This emphasis is sorely needed, says Peltz, who was trained as a mindfulness teacher at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, where Kabat- Zinn conducted his initial studies. “A snag for some people is they won’t come out of their heads—they’re thinking addicts,” Peltz says. “That’s another addiction. Going up in the head and observing is a way of not being in the body.” Peltz is finishing a new book tentatively titled Mindfulness and Addiction: The Recovery of Personal Authority. By authority he means we can be the authors of our own lives, rather than feel like they are merely happening to us. “We can’t control our thoughts and feelings, and what hap- pens to us, and what other people think and do,” he says. “What we can control is where we address our attention and actions.” As significant as the mushrooming medical applications of mindful- ness are, Peltz says it’s not just for people who are sick or strug- gling with addiction and other major afflictions. Learning to be more mindful is a good idea for everyone, psychologists included. “Being more in the body, and breathing more fully—it’s empowering.” ♦ A major study shows that prisoners who are trained to observe how their body and mind interact are less likely to go back to alcohol or other drugs after their release. The Sky BenchTM *Easy to assume meditation posture even with limited flexibility. *Comes apart for easy travel. *Full line of meditation seats, and eco friend and eco friendly furniture. 1-888-267-5366 www.zafu.net SUPERB SERVICE FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS SANTA FE & NEW MEXICO 888-832-5668