Blogging for A Mindful Society

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Mindful Nation UK: Groundbreaking Parliamentary report on integrating mindfulness

Overview:

This October a groundbreaking report was published by Mindful Nation UK, which gave recommendations for the incorporation of mindfulness into key sectors of society. This report specifically focused on Health, Education, Workplace and the Criminal Justice System. The report provides a great resource for research and support for anyone bringing mindfulness into their community.

Below are excerpts from the report’s preface and forward. You can view the full report through the link provided at the bottom of this post.

Excerpt from Preface:

This report is the culmination of over a year of research and inquiry including eight hearings in Parliament when members of the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group were able to hear first-hand and question some of those who have experienced the transformational impacts of mindfulness.

We have been impressed by the quality and range of evidence for the benefits of mindfulness and believe it has the potential to help many people to better health and flourishing. On a number of issues ranging from improving mental health and boosting productivity and creativity in the economy through to helping people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and obesity, mindfulness appears to have an impact. This is a reason for government to take notice and we urge serious consideration of our report.

Excerpt from Forward:

Mindfulness is a way of being in wise and purposeful relationship with one’s experience, both inwardly and outwardly. It is cultivated by systematically exercising one’s capacity for paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, and by learning to inhabit and make use of the clarity, discernment, ethical understanding, and awareness that arise from tapping into one’s own deep and innate interior resources for learning, growing, healing, and transformation, available to us across the lifespan by virtue of being human.

In the past 40 years, mindfulness in various forms has found its way into the mainstream of medicine, health care and psychology, where it has been broadly applied and continues to be evermore extensively studied through clinical research and neuroscience. More recently, it has also entered the mainstream of education, business, the legal profession, government (witness this very report and the mindfulness programme in Parliament that gave rise to it), military training (in the USA), the criminal justice system, etc. Interest in mindfulness within the mainstream of society and its institutions is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon, supported by increasingly rigorous scientific research, and driven in part by a longing for new models and practices that might help us individually and collectively to apprehend and solve the challenges threatening our health as societies and as a species, optimizing the preconditions for happiness and wellbeing, and minimizing the causes and preconditions for unhappiness and suffering.

As a consequence of these varied and complex developments over the past 40 years, this report may be a singular and defining document, suggesting as it does that mindfulness has the capacity to address some of the larger challenges and opportunities to be found in the domains of health, education, the workplace, and the criminal justice system by tapping into interior resources we all possess but that are mostly undeveloped or underdeveloped in our education system and in our society more broadly, at least up to this point in time. If the unique genesis of this document as a collaborative effort across all parties in Parliament is recognized and its forward-looking recommendations for further research and implementation followed and actualized by government and other agencies, there is no question in my mind that the repercussions and ramifications of this report in the United Kingdom will be profoundly beneficial. Indeed, they will be addressing some of the most pressing problems of society at their very root – at the level of the human mind and heart. By the same token, it is hard to imagine that this document will not also serve as an inspiration and model for other nations and governments to look toward and to take up its recommendations in their own distinctive ways.

I look forward to following with great interest the outcomes of this unique undertaking. Once again, I extend a deep expression of gratitude to all those whose hard work and engagement with mindfulness in their own lives and in their communities has brought us to this point.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Lexington, Massachusetts
July, 2015

The full report can be viewed on The Mindfulness Initiatives’s website: www.themindfulnessinitiative.org.uk/publications-links

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