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MBSR or Meditation for Skeptics.

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posted on Feb, 18 2013 @ 12:16 PM
Today was the first day at the Stress reduction clinic at my local hospital. I was referred after a recent recurrence of my Brain tumour. I was refered to help deal with the stress's and worries that come along with such a diagnosis.

I was introduced to the neuropsychologist who outlined what the course would entail.It turns out it is an 8 week course in Mindful based stress reduction MBSR.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a structured complementary medicine program that uses mindfulness in an approach that focuses on alleviating pain and on improving physical and emotional well-being for individuals suffering from a variety of diseases and disorders. The program was established by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.[1]
MBSR programs last eight to ten weeks and consist of 2.5 hour weekly classes along with a single all-day class.[2]

Now if you were anything like me, the mere mention of meditation tended to bring on a roll of the eye balls. I'm pretty skeptical about most things especially religious philosophy and practice. Yet MBSR is basically Zen buddhist practices made more acceptable and demystified to a secular society. I was surprised that my national health service was providing quite a radical treatment option.
The pioneer of this work and on which most courses are based in the west is Jon Kabat- Zinn. It is through Zinns work, that mindfulness has established it self in western medicine. I

Despite only starting the course today, my neuropsychologist had me started weeks ago on the Jon Kabat Zinn CD's/Audiobooks, to which I have been using most days.

So what I would like to do , is put down the practices here for the next 8 weeks, in the hope that some of the ATS members who have never thought of meditation can give these easy and straight forward practices a go. You dont have to be going through some crisis, you could just try it for fun.

This is not really a thread for experienced meditators to come in and say how their way is best, thats not saying I dont welcome their input.

OK so today the first exercise was The Raisin. Basically an exercise in cultivating awareness. You can use anything you eat but today we used a raisin.

Pick up a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand. Look at it. Examine it. Describe the raisin. What does it look like? What color is it? How would you describe the texture? Now, feel the raisin in the palm of your hand. What does it feel like against your skin? Pick it up with your other hand. What does it feel like in your fingers? Is it slimy? Rough? Smooth? Soft? Hard? Squeeze it softly. What do you feel? Smell the raisin. Describe how it smells. Put the raisin in your mouth, but do not eat it. What does it feel like on your tongue? What does the texture feel like now? How does it taste? How does the taste compare to the way it smelled? Move it around in your mouth and notice every aspect of the raisin. Bite the raisin and think about what you taste. Now how does the raisin feel in your mouth? Finish chewing and eat the raisin. How did it taste? Describe the experience of the raisin.

Read more:

Dont get too hung up about what it is your eating, its more about creating the awareness of what and how you do something you normally take for granted.

Next . The Body Scan

There are loads of different ones on youtube or on apps on smart phones. Choose one that you are comfortable with. Some voices can be annoying.

It is required that you try to do one of these Body scans a day for 6 days and try to eat just one meal of the week in the same way you ate the raisin or what ever you tried.
I will update with next weeks exercisres. The sources I am using are the best ones I can find on the net.

I hope some members especially the skeptics, take a look into this. There is scientific evidence to suggest just 8 weeks can change the structure of your brain

I'll leave you with a few words from the man who brought these practices into western medicine.

edit on 18-2-2013 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 18 2013 @ 01:56 PM
If everyone was mindful and had the capacity to meditate... they would no longer be slaves to the TV nor government. A self sufficient individual is the foundation of a optimized society.

posted on Feb, 18 2013 @ 05:05 PM
Thank you for sharing, I was very curious about how they were going to teach this and what sort of exercises they would do.
Good to see you opening yourself to new ways of thinking/perceiving, can't hurt. I look forward to the next installment. For some reason the raisin exercise brought William Blake to mind:

To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.
from Auguries of Innocence

Link for the poem.

posted on Feb, 18 2013 @ 05:49 PM
John the Baptist said that the One coming after him would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. He only mentioned the fire when the Pharisees and vipers were present. The bricks of the tower, Babel, were fired. The end of this age ends with Babylon burning. Be very careful with a practice that leads most of its practioners to conclude 1) that they are "divine", 2) that they therefore are not in need of salvation and 3) leads many to experience fire like burning from head to foot. Be very careful knowing that Satan is released during te end of the Millenium to once again deceive the nations.

It's being incorporated into our schools, our medicine and our businesses after our very own teachers and leaders DROVE OUT JESUS CHRIST. How do you think that the crowds in Judea went from standing in awe of the Son of God to calling for His death in one voice?

They were swayed.

posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 02:55 AM
reply to post by WhoKnows100

Thanks for the warning. I'll take these practices In the spirit in which they are being taught, which is kindness. I can't see how Christ could possibly have a problem with an 8 week course in helpinging people come to terms and cope with their ailments. Examining a Raisin is hardly devil worship now is it. It's sad Christians take such a dim view of things and get bogged down in religious dogma. Who does that help?
edit on 19-2-2013 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 07:53 AM
Week 2

So week 2 began with a discussion on how you are getting on with the body scan. I posted a demonstration video in the op. this needs to be done once a day for the whole week.

It is important to do it daily, even if you struggle to find the time or you find it frustrating, just do it.

Don't expect anything to happen or to achieve any state. Just concentrate on following the words and staying awake. It is very easy to fall asleep listening to these guided body scans, especially if you do it in bed, like me.

Your mind will wonder, but once you realise it has, try to go back to the part of the body in the scan, even if its a pleasant thought you were enjoying.

Things to do this week.

In life we generally categorise our experience as pleasurable, unpleassurable or just neutral. This week, see if you can focus on those things you find pleasurable and try to remember them. Maybe note them in a diary. Also see if you can find pleasure out of those things you may consider neutral.

Finally. Spend up to 15 minutes a day sitting and just concentrating on your breath. Wherever you feel it's effects most prominently, whether in the nostrils, where you can feel the flow of the breath. Or in the belly, where you can feel the risining and falling away of the belly and diaphragm.

As soon as the mind starts to wonder, gently escort the mind back to these breath sensations. Your mind will be wondering and thinking about other things for the whole time. Yet each time, try to escort it back to the breath sensation, whether in the nostrils or the belly. Try to focus on the moment, with each new breath a new moment. Sounds easy, but trying to focus on just the breathing is extremely hard, so is sitting comfortably for 15 minutes.

Below is an excellent link to the sitting positions you can use. I'm using the chair with a cushion under my bum. It's important to have the hips higher than the knees for your comfort. I'm finding this practice frustrating, I just want to rush to the end, which is not the best way of approaching it.

edit on 2-3-2013 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:14 PM
Takes me back. I learned to meditate using a book. "Meditation and the Mind of Man" by Herbert B. Puryear and Mark Thurston. The bringing your mind gently back part is so fun! Unruly and messy the mind is. Has it's own agenda.
Kind of shocking to learn that it is a wild thing. I got to where my thoughts were like a movie running in the background. As they scrolled by my mind would attach and try to pursue one, crafty thing!. Takes a long time to shut the thing up, don't get discouraged, onward fair Woodward!
edit on 2-3-2013 by Iamschist because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:42 PM
reply to post by Iamschist

It can definitely be fun to sit and watch your mind, you can go to some crazy places and before you know it your away in some fantasy. Sometimes you don't want to bring it back. I just find the sitting for long stretches can be painful on the lower back, which is a distraction

posted on Jul, 12 2013 @ 06:39 AM
We were recently given a taster session in "mindfulness meditation" at work, and it seemed like a good thing - stress reduction etc., and initially it was stressed that it is a scientific, not a religious method although meditation exists within many religions. But then, the trainers started talking out and using yoga techniques - a sort of combination of Hindu and Buddhist. When they were asked a simple but direct question about this, one of them seemed to change character slightly and became passive-aggressive. This made me concerned as I don't want to take up an Eastern religion, also it is concerning that some of the posts on here imply that practising this technique may lead people to some strange places. On the other hand, I'd like to do something which is peaceful and does seem to reduce stress, at least while you are doing it. Also it does sound useful in situations like the one the OP finds themselves in currently.

Is it, or can it be, really scientific and spiritually neutral, as it were? Or do you think I am right to be a bit concerned about it?

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