Mindfulness and chronic pain – Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work

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:

http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/pages/videos-of-jon-teaching

Some helpful links from last week’s discussion:  Tara Brach’s wonderful website offers many resources including advice for beginners in meditation:

New to 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:

Be Mindful Online

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).

Starting your mediation practice – where, when and how.

Venue and time this week:   Sunday September 25, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.   Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday September 27, 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:   Starting your mediation practice – where, when and how.  All are welcome to either or both of these events.

This week we cover some practicalities about setting up your personal meditation practice.  Are you more traditional?  Or are you more interested in a modern secular mindfulness practice?  At its most traditional, mindfulness goes back to the Buddha, with 2500 years of history.  Modern breakthroughs in science have led to secular forms of mindfulness.  It’s for you to choose.  Some like to practice meditation in a traditional setting, with motifs, such as the Buddha, surrounding them.  Some may already have their own religious beliefs and prefer a secular form.  How do we sit?  And when?  And where?  Unlike other spiritual traditions mindfulness has many options, which will be focus of our discussion.  Mindfulness aids, such as books, 8 week mindfulness programs, online resources, such as online meditations will also be discussed. London itself, offers a rich variety of options, which will also be discussed.  You can even get a personal teacher.

Suggested exercise to prepare for the evening:  Search the folllowing items on the net, such as: “books on mindfulness”,  “online meditation courses”, “online meditation teachers”, “8 week mindfulness courses”.  Just to name a few.

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).

Introduction to Mindfulness through exploration and sensation

Venue and time this week:   Sunday September 18, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.   Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday September 20, 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:   Introduction to Mindfulness through exploration and sensation.  All are welcome to either or both of these events.  Some exploration using mystery objects will be included.

Mindful exploration using the senses will be used to illustrate mindfulness, in a light, fun way.  Mindfulness is not about denial, but about exploring what is actually already here.  It can lead us to profound enjoyment of everyday activities, such as sensations of touch, warmth and smell.  Robotic activities take on new meaning and pleasure when approached as an explorer, discarding the stories we weave around them.  We use it this Sunday as a light way to introduce mindfulness to a wide audience.  Mark Williams is a leader in the science of mindfulness and making mindfulness accessible to a wide audience.  We will show the last 25 min of the youtube video of his delightful public introduction to mindfulness as a warm up for Fall (skip the ad at the beginning):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY08aXxor20

Suggested exercise to prepare for the evening.  Pick an object, preferably one that you’re not familiar with.  Find a time where you can meditate in whatever way you choose, perhaps bringing attention to your breath or body.  Then bring attention to your chosen object.  Explore its appearance.  Tracing its outline, like an explorer tracing valleys in a newly discovered land.   Smell it, take in its colors. Then return to gently cradling it in your awareness, enjoying it a little piece at a time.  Knowing that this activity can be repeated endlessly.  We will provide objects for the mindfulness explorations.

You might want to watch, say the first 25 min, of Mark William’s wonderful introduction to mindfulness (skip the add at the beginning):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY08aXxor20

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).

Reminder: Breathe in, … Breathe out, … Smile, to a new Season of Mindfulness

Venue and time this week:   Sunday September 11, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm,  Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. Half hour drop-in meditations on Tuesday September 13, 8 – 8:30 pm.

Schedule:  Sunday 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:   Breathe in, … Breath Out, … Smile, to a new Season of MindfulnessAll are welcome to either or both of these events.

Breathe in, … Breath out, … Smile, to a new Season of Mindfulness

Breathe in, … Breath out, … Smile, to a new Season of Mindfulness

Venue and time this week:   Sunday September 11, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. Half hour drop-in meditations on Tuesday September 6, 8 – 8:30 pm.  Sorry about the incorrect date of September 4, initially posted (not possible due to shortened hours on the long weekend).  So this is moved to Sunday September 11.

Schedule:  Sunday 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:   Breathe in, … Breath Out, … Smile, to a new Season of MindfulnessAll are welcome to either or both of these events.

This Sunday will give an Introduction to Mindfulness Activities at the London Mindfulness Community (LMC) which now starts a new cycle continuing during Late Summer and Fall.  The 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).   Participation is free, donations are welcome.

This Sunday’s discussion includes a description of the benefits of Mindfulness and the underlying structure of LMC’s  Fall Activities. Suggestions are also welcome!  We will roughly follow the 8 week program first pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn, with developments by Mark Williams, Mark Muesse and others.   Fun detours on are always welcome.   We illustrate some aspects of Mindfulness with a couple of small meditations, and also some videos.  The aim is to give participants an idea of the flavor of Sunday discussions at LMC, and the goals of mindfulness and its intimate relation with Yoga.

Preparation for Sunday evening:    You might try one-minute meditation by Mark Williams.

  1. Sitting in a relaxed but alert pose, close your eyes or lower your gaze.
  2. Focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Stay in touch with the sensations of each in-breath and each out-breath.   Observe the breath without looking for anything special to happen.  There is no need to alter your breathing in any way.
  3. After a while your mind may wander. When you notice this, gently bring your attention back to your breath, without judging yourself.  The act of realizing that your mind has wandered and bringing your attention back without criticizing yourself is central to mindfulness meditation.
  4. Your mind may eventually become like a calm pond with small ripples – or it may not – and the calm may be only fleeting. If you feel angry or exasperated, notice that this may be fleeting too. Whatever happens, just allow it to be as it is.
  5. After a minute, let your eyes open and the meditation is finished.

Here is an introductory short 3 minute breathing space meditation also by Mark Williams:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVW_IE1nsKE

William’s and Penman’s book warmly and lucidly written, Mindfulness: An eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world, is highly recommended as background for those wishing to find out more about mindfulness.   Mark Muesse’s Lecture Series on Mindfulness will also serve as a main background reference (we will use videos from this series occasionally).  For an introduction to Mindfulness by Muesse see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSOtKvlDEWM