For the last eight years I have been in the business of educating people in the medical community ( health care practitioners and patients) about the clinical benefits of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Meditation and Yoga in Medicine. Frequently I give talks about the large body of research gathered over the last 32 years. I may tell them about the cardiac benefits – lowering of blood pressure, improvement of endothelial function, or the improvement in immune function. Depending on the group I may lead with the latest research on MBSR for people with MS or irritable bowel syndrome. This year we’ve had the great brain research coming out of Harvard about improvements to the structure of the brain in just eight weeks, published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. There is also promising new data on the effects of Mindfulness Meditation on cellular aging.
It’s really interesting to know about the science and very important when you are talking with doctors, nurses administrators and people interested for their own health like to hear about it too. But I don’t want to ever forget why we do this.
Last week a woman I had not met before, came to an all -day Mindfulness retreat, referred by her doctor. We didn’t have much time to talk, but she told me she had meditated before, and was there to see what we had to offer. Although it was a silent retreat, I checked in with her at lunch to see how she was doing. “Thank you Thank you, Thank you.” was all she had to say . At the end of the day when we went around the room , she shared this. “Recently my grandson was shot and killed in an armed robbery; my son was left a quadriplegic. I have been over whelmed by grief. Today I found a place inside myself where I can go for comfort. There is a place inside me where there is peace.”
This why we do this. By ‘this’ I mean making the effort to sit still and visit our own bodies and minds. By ‘this’ I mean the effort we make as teachers, driving long distances, talking to groups for free (very often) . Schlepping yoga mats and cushions, in and out of buildings and up and down stairs…moving furniture out of conference rooms so people can lie down for the body scan…yes it is nice to know our cells are benefiting but she reminded me of why I wanted to do this is the first place.
All I have to say to this brave woman and all the other brave souls who come to class and retreat is: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Please join us in July for our annual weekend Mindfulness retreat in the Mountains near Idyllwild,California, and connect with the peace that is always within you. July 22-24th . Visit www.mindful-way.com/retreats
Visit our website for latest classes, CD’s and offerings. www.mindful-way.com