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Lions Roar : January 2011
42 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2011 When We think of mindfulness or meditation, the words conjure images of a quiet, private time of tranquility and peace. When we think of hospitals and doctors’ offices, we think of the anxiety, pain, and chaos we might experience there, and presume that mindfulness doesn’t have a place in health care. Some leading health care professionals want to change that. Because they’ve seen the evidence that mindfulness is profoundly healing, they’re taking it right into the middle of the American health care system, from prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, through cure, palliative care, and even health administration and medical training. With the help of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists and sponsor of the Lynn Lectures on integrative medicine, we brought together three of the world’s leading specialists on the healing power of mindfulness and the benefits of integrative medicine for a discussion of the present and future of mind–body medicine. BARRY BOYCE: What are some of the benefits of mindfulness—both the practice and the state of mind—for our health and healing? JOn KABAt-Zinn: to be in relationship to what you are going through, to hold it, and, in some sense, to befriend it—that is where the healing or transformative power of the practice of mindfulness lies. When we can actually be where we are, not trying to find another state of mind, we discover deep internal resources we can make use of. Coming to terms with things as they are is my definition of healing. Appreciating this kind of awareness can have virtually immediate effects on health and well- being. As crazy as it sounds, it’s possible to befriend your pain or your fear—rather than feeling that you can’t get anywhere until this thing that bothers you is cut out or walled off or shut down. the healing Power of mindfulness Barry Boyce convenes a distinguished panel to discuss the health benefits of mindfulness—what it does, how to do it, why it works. PhotograPhs by ChristoPher buCklow right; tetrarch 4:44 p.m . 7th april 2008