Mindfulness & Medicine


The more I focus on mind body medicine, both with patients and in my own life, the more I believe that this is where it’s at.  Which is ironic, considering where I was ten years ago.  (For those of you who don’t know me well – read:  yoga, meditation & fasting as a lifestyle and job.)  It’s ironic because I, like, had to go to medical school to really understand the validity of mindfulness and it’s role in health.  And it’s amazing how after 4 years of naturopathic medical school my understanding of mind body medicine is finally coming full circle, in a two steps forward one step back kind of way.

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Here are some sample thoughts that typically run through my mind when I first sit down to meditate:

  • I am so addicted to my cell phone.
  • Did I get toilet paper at the store last night?
  • Why am I not 6 feet tall and 130 pounds (I joke, I don’t really want that, but, you get the point)
  • I should take the bus today, we have a carbon problem.
  • My gosh, I haven’t had a haircut in, like, 8 months.
  • I don’t think I passed that class.
  • Why is that person in my class so catty?
  • I should start teaching yoga again.

After the first few minutes of mindless inner chitchat, the thoughts begin to settle, I stop worrying and start learning the language of inner stillness, typically using a technique I learned at vipassana.  I think it took me about 4 years of flirting with the concept of meditation to actually feel like I was meditating.  And once I felt that inner lightness and energetic buzz, even if only for second, I begin to understand why I kept at it for so long.

Research has shown that the two things people worry about most in life are being talked about behind their backs & dying.  In a world where both are guaranteed to happen, we may as well stop worrying and start living, right?  If there is something you want to do in life – go do it.  That’s my mindfulness 2 cents for the day.  What would it mean for you to start living?  Are you already doing it?

(Title subconsciously inspired by this 2008 JAMA paper ‘Mindfulness in Medicine’ and likely a few of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s talks heard/organized by the college student me and some amazing boston based yogis & yoginis in Cambridge circa 1999-2003.)

Enjoy the Libra Full Moon tonight friends!