"To begin to practice mindfulness is to embark on a journey that has no end. Mindfulness is not something we "get" and complete. It is a practice for life and a lifelong practice. If you rake mindfulness to heart, it has the potential to enrich your life in countless ways."
With those words taken from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Petra Meibert and Linda Lehrhaupt - founder and director of the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches, the authors offer a tantalising glimpse of what they see as the primary therapeutic advantages of practicing mindfulness.
Their book explains, in depth, the primary elements of the eight-week MBSR course. It also reveals the basic theories regarding stress and how best to cope with it in your daily life.
Mindfulness originates from the Buddhist practice of Vipassana. It can best be described as "the awareness that arises by paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally." (Karat-Zinn)
As a practical therapy mindfulness has been used ever since the 1970s within some areas of Western health care due to its impressive benefits in improving mental and physical health.
The authors own personal experience within mindfulness practice show that mindfulness cannot only reduce stress but also alleviate such serious disorders as chronic pain, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and even chronic diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Eight Week Program
Whilst Part One of the book offers an introduction to MBSR practice Part two follows the same framework as the popular eight-week MBSR course developed by Dr John Kabat-Zinn.
This well-known and highly respected course is as much a joint social adventure as it is a tutorial for solo mindfulness work. Initially attendees attending the course are given the opportunity to share their experiences of stress and how it impacts upon their lives prior to starting the more formal MBSR activities; such as the body scan exercise, mindful yoga, and sitting or walking meditation.
All of these subjects are covered in depth in the book as well as specific advice on how the techniques work.
For those readers who would like to find out more about local MBSR groups and teachers the authors include a list of resources and worldwide contacts at the end.
Our Review of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Petra Meibert and Linda Lehrhaupt
As an introduction to what is a specialised form of mindfulness tuition this publication does a good job.
The authors admit that there is no real substitute for personal guidance and teaching support at the hands of an expert and so this book effectively is only able to offer a taster for what is involved in the full course.
However the book excels in ways that perhaps a time-limited course does not, for here the authors have taken the opportunity to spend a little more time on covering the basics of the course in a way that allows the reader to work at their own pace.
For myself joining a MBSR is not something that I would consider — not even in light of reading this book, but I did very much appreciate the trouble the authors have gone to in making their work as clear and understandable as they can to the lay person.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Petra Meibert and Linda Lehrhaupt is an extremely well constructed and clearly presented book. Through it the authors manifestly provide evidence of the immense benefits of mindfulness — particularly when applied within a strict framework and a supportive environment of group practice.