The purpose of this blog is to promote conversation about mindfulness. My practice of mindfulness is an important part of my clinical work as a Pastoral Counselor. Mindfulness is an ancient idea that describes a very natural state of mind: being focused, alert, relaxed, non-judgmental, and open. Babies are very mindful! Each of us can be too, it’s just a matter of instruction and practice.
Religious traditions have the most to say about meditation, and it turns out that of all of the religions it is the Buddhists who know the most about mindfulness. But Buddhists no more own mindfulness than Christians own charity; both are universal and very human qualities. Cognitive psychology has discovered mindfulness and the synergies between the two are strong. I teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is an eight week program (developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School most often associated with Jon Kabat-Zinn) that integrates instruction in meditative techniques with insights from cognitive therapy. Of all of the therapeutic styles that I’ve employed in my work, MBSR is easily the most powerful and life-changing.
Our hope for this blog is to bring useful materials to anyone seeking to learn more about mindfulness and to begin or sustain a practice. I also hope to find fellow meditators who might enjoy online discussion about this life giving practice. Welcome to the GIFT blog!