The title is from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s landmark book on utilizing mindfulness to improve our experiences, our relationships (especially with self) and notably with pain, and simply life in general.
As he would say, mindfulness entails “Using the wisdom of your Body and Mind to face stress, pain and illness”.
This weighty text, published in 1990, is seen as a key work of the “revolution” towards integrative medicine, highly practical while making clear…
the supporting scientific research; it is an important, cornerstone read for anyone looking to understand and implement, the mind-body connection and the healing that it makes possible.
The following are some of the essential “take-aways” from the text that illustrate Jon Kabat-Zinn’s understanding of and approach to living with pain…
*The way of mindfulness is to accept ourselves right now, as we are, symptoms or no symptoms, pain or no pain, fear or no fear.
*We need to learn to, metaphorically, put out the welcome mat for what is here, simply because it is already here.
*And to move to greater levels of health and well-being, we have to start from where we are today, now, in this moment, just as we are.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg but you can get the sense of acceptance that is threaded throughout it. “Combating” pain, with the stress that those mere words evoke, may not be the best or only way to address one’s chronic pain. It does take work and dedication to acquire the habit of mindfulness, to be completely present to the moment, with all one’s senses and attention and to call one’s self away from the mind’s constant chatter with its rumination, problem solving, fantasies, planning and worry.
There are really excellent resources available though-writers on the topic besides Jon Kabat-Zinn including Thich Nhat Hahn, Pema Chodren, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzburg and, believe it or not, even a US Congressman, Tim Ryan.
You can refer to The Omega website (an organization committed to innovative educational experiences to enrich the human spirit, main, body, and soul) to learn more about Kabat-Zinn as well as mindfulness.
Many have found the practice to be a truly useful tool to living in chronic pain.