Mindfulness. Meditation, Clinical Psychology and Neuro-Science

We live in a time when in our Western culture all the religions are generally seen as not being true but as “faith positions” which deserve respect not because they are true, but out of respect for those who hold to them. As a result they cannott be argued about outside their own sub-cultures. This makes the emergence of interest in Buddhist meditation techniques by neuro-scientists, psychiatrists, educators and others which has been labelled Mindfulness as exciting as it is unexpected.  Here is a religious tradition which it seems has something to contribute to the scientific understanding of how body and brain works. What is happening is that key elements of the tradition, the practice of sati, insight meditation, mindfulness or awareness is seen as having preserved a powerful tool for the promotion of well being, physical and mental health, happiness and  better human functioning. What is more the promoters of this approach, in the US Dr Jon Kabot Zinn and here in the UK Mark Williams Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, see the practice of Mindfulness as something which can either stand alone in a secular setting within the National Health Service, or if people wish it, be encouraged within the religious communities. How far this will go we have yet to see. There will soon be a lot more about mindfulness on the site now that I have completed the basic course in Oxford.