Venue and time: Sunday October 2 , 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday October 4, 8 – 8:30 pm.
Schedule: Sunday drop-in Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfulness and chronic pain – Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work. All are welcome to either or both of these events. The scientist Kabat-Zinn is a key figure in helping mindfulness gain acceptance and traction in the West, through his scientific work on mindfulness and chronic pain.
Just think hard enough, apply enough force and problems can be solved. Although seductive, this approach fails on many of our everyday problems. Mindfulness rooted in Buddhist ideas of meditation and acceptance offers powerful alternatives. In the 1960’s a Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from Vietnam to the West. He is a lifelong inspirational advocate for mindfulness, peace, non-violence, and understanding between different faith communities. His 1976 book The Miracle of Mindfulness attracted much attention in the West.
Among Thich Nhat Hanh’s students of mindfulness practice in the 1970’s, was a young scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn wondered if the mindfulness he learnt from such Buddhist teachers, could be applied to problems, such as patients experiencing pain, and be tested by scientific methods. In 1979 he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he adapted the Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and eventually his 8 week course Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He started with a study of exceptionally ill, patients, and tested its effectiveness using scientific methods. Kabat-Zinn’s 8 week programme has been adapted in many other settings (depression, healthy daily living, relationships, etc). The evening discussion will center around Kabat-Zinn’s contribution to the modern mindfulness movement, and some video material from the website below. A key idea in mindfulness and chronic pain, is neither trying to avoid the pain (its always there), or suppress it, but instead looking deeply into it, embracing it. Becoming away of the stories and labels around the pain, and returning to the pain itself without judgement or labels. Often the stories around the pain and our lack of acceptance, cause much further suffering. Seeing into the pain itself, without the labels and stories, enables us as its dance partner to move more skillfully with it, reducing the associated suffering.
Preparation for the evening: You might want to watch the first 30 minutes of the video below, of the groundbreaking documentary of Journalist Bill Moyers, about Kabat-Zinn’s work. This helped gain major traction for mindfulness in the US:
Some videos of Jon Kabat-Zinn teaching:
Some helpful links from last week’s discussion: Tara Brach’s wonderful website offers many resources including advice for beginners in meditation:
Also 100’s of audio clips of meditations and related videos are available at her site. See Thich Nhat Hanh’s website plumvillage.org for many resources including:
The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) : is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts. Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally. Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions. These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):
http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB). Attendance at our meditations and events is free (donations are accepted which go towards buy materials for the studio and learning resources).