‘Mindfulness’ grows in popularity—and profits

June 12, 2012

Julie Carr-Smyth, AP: In what’s become a daily ritual, Tim Ryan finds a quiet spot, closes his eyes, clears his mind and tries to tap into the eternal calm. In Ryan’s world, it’s a stretch for people to get this relaxed. He’s a member of Congress.

Increasingly, people in settings beyond the serene yoga studio or contemplative nature path are engaging in the practice of mindfulness, a mental technique that dwells on breathing, attention to areas of the body and periods of silence to concentrate on the present rather than the worries of yesterday and tomorrow.

Marines are doing it. Office workers are …

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Shortcuts to Inner Peace, by Ashley Davis Bush

January 21, 2012

In the interests of full disclosure I should say that Ashley Davis Bush, the author of Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity, attends the same Buddhist center I teach at. I’ve bumped into her and her husband a literally a couple of times, but it’s a large center, we’re not by any stretch of the imagination friends, and I’m under no obligation, inner or outer, to say nice things about her book.

Now that that’s out of the way…

Shortcuts to Inner Peace grows out of the meeting of Bush’s practice as a psychotherapist, and her personal Buddhist practice. She knew that many of her clients would benefit from meditation, … Read more »

On suicide and the Dharma (part two)

June 14, 2011

The following essay is by psychotherapist, Buddhist teacher and Yoga teacher Michael Stone, and is the second of a two-part exploration of suicide, yoga, and Dharma. The essay is excerpted from “Awake in the World: Teachings from Yoga & Buddhism for Living an Engaged Life” by Michael Stone (Shambhala Publications, June 2011)

In ideas of suicide, beliefs become dangerously polarized. In fantasies of suicide, the world becomes “outside” and separate from “me.” The world shrinks to the small action of “me” and “my death.” This is a selfish importance that can only be healed through returning back to a lived body, a network of relations, a life filled with meaning that comes through embodied experience, … Read more »

On suicide and the Dharma (part one)

June 9, 2011

The following essay is by psychotherapist, Buddhist teacher and Yoga teacher Michael Stone, and is the first of a two-part exploration of suicide, yoga, and Dharma. The essay is excerpted from “Awake in the World: Teachings from Yoga & Buddhism for Living an Engaged Life” by Michael Stone (Shambhala Publications, June 2011)

No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.
—Cesare Pavese

Many of us who have suffered trauma, pain, or existential loneliness have struggled to find stories to make sense of our lives. We might think that we learn how the world works, because we take the time to observe and understand it. But every meditator with a busy mind knows that’s just … Read more »

Mindfulness therapy is no fad, experts say (LA Times)

January 8, 2011

There is solid evidence that mindfulness therapy, which combines elements of Buddhism and yoga, can relieve anxiety and improve mood.

Of all fields of medicine, psychology seems especially prone to fads. Freudian dream analysis, recovered memory therapy, eye movement desensitization for trauma — lots of once-hot psychological theories and treatments eventually fizzled.

Now along comes mindfulness therapy, a meditation-based treatment with foundations in Buddhism and yoga that’s taking off in private practices and university psychology departments across the country.

“Mindfulness has become a buzzword, especially with younger therapists,” said Stefan Hofmann, a professor of psychology at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

Mindfulness therapy encourages patients to focus on their breathing and their … Read more »

Review – The Art and Science of Mindfulness

March 11, 2010

“Integrating Mindfulness into Psychology and the Helping Professions,”
by Susan Shapiro and Linda Carlson

Metapsychology Online Reviews: The integration and incorporation of mindfulness training into the mainstream of mental health may well turn out to be one of the most significant developments of the last ten or fifteen years. The literature has expanded exponentially and has moved in quite substantial ways from the use of Buddhist insights and techniques to a regular adjunct of CBT and especially DBT. This new text from Shapiro and Carlson takes us back to the origins of the concept, but also forward to the practical application of mindfulness in clinical settings. It is clearly and happily situated between the … Read more »

What Rikers Island taught me about meditation

March 2, 2009

Rikers IslandPrison can be a tough environment for those who work there as well as for inmates. Psychotherapist Steve Bell reflects on a few tough months spent in Rikers Island and realizes how much he learned.

I find myself on Riker’s Island

For four months last year I worked with women detainees on Rikers Island in the Intense Treatment Unit, or ITU. Those four months were an adventure, but I won’t easily forget the trauma and abuse the women reported, and eventually the need to live a simpler life led me to give up working there.

The idea of the ITU was to try and apply the work of Marsha Linehan — who created Dialectical Behavioral … Read more »

Lotus therapy

New York Times: Mindfulness meditation, as it is called, is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century B.C. Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see all the hallmarks of another fad. For years, psychotherapists have worked to relieve suffering by reframing the content of patients’ thoughts, directly altering behavior or helping people gain insight into the subconscious sources of their despair and anxiety. The promise of mindfulness meditation is that it can help patients endure flash floods of emotion during the therapeutic process — and ultimately alter reactions to … Read more »

Buddhist meditation helps people quit drinking

June 24, 2007

A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and Buddhist meditation can help people with drinking problems turn their backs on alcohol. Dr. Paramabandhu Groves, a consultant psychiatrist at the Alcohol Advisory Service in London, who has successfully run workshops with people with depression, has now turned his attention to using the techniques to help people with addictions. Dr. Groves has been ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order based at the London Buddhist Center in Bethnal Green, east London.

Dr. Groves unveiled results at the annual conference of a pilot study in which 15 people with alcohol problems undertook mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Most found it helped them in their battle against alcohol and reported that it … Read more »