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Lions Roar : March 2010
66 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2010 The pracTice of intentional, nonjudgmen- tal awareness of moment-to-moment experi- ence has been practiced since ancient times in both east and West. Wisdom traditions have for thousands of years recommended mindful prac- tice in a variety of forms to cultivate well-being in an individual’s life. Now science is confirming these benefits. here, we’ll explore the common elements of these practices and review the re- search findings which affirm that daily mindful- ness practice is good for your health. We’ll then explore a new field called interpersonal neuro- biology that integrates a wide range of sciences and other ways of knowing about reality into a common language that illuminates the subjec- tive world of the human mind. Mindful awareness practices include yoga, tai chi, qigong, centering prayer, chanting, and mindfulness meditation derived from Buddhist Mindful living Brain, Body & Benefits The Science of Mindfulness Daniel J. Siegel, m d looks for the “active ingredient” that makes mindfulness so beneficial to our health, psyche, and overall quality of life. tradition. The science of mindfulness could have delved into any of the practices of intentionally focusing on the present moment without judg- ment, but through the impact of the Buddhist- inspired program of Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction, much of our in-depth research on the impact of mindful awareness on brain and immune function, as well as psychological and interpersonal changes, has emerged from the study of mindfulness meditation. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a microbiology ph.D. then teaching at the University of Massachusetts Medical center, was inspired in the late 1970s to apply the basic principles of mindfulness medi- tation to patients in a medical setting. his work developing the MBSr program proved effective in helping alleviate the suffering of chronic and previously debilitating medical conditions such as chronic pain. it also served as fertile ground illUSTraTioN:SeBaSTiaNKaUliTZKi/DreaMSTiMe.coM