Thank God for Google Wormholes

Your brainThrough a sort of depression google search wormhole, I came across a book called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. (It’s the book that made me realize that depressives should skip the first few chapters of every book on depression because they’re almost always focused on validating depression as a disease. The goal seems to be convincing the reader that depression is SUPER bad, which, for those of us in the thick of it, is super depressing. Nowadays I start at the chapter where they start to talk about getting better.)

That book led me to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who, in addition to being an extremely well respected author and practitioner of mindfulness-based therapies for the chronically ill, seems to have taken his wife’s name when he married. My kind of guy.

It turns out that Kabat-Zinn is co-author of a book called The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness, which I highly recommend. He’s also the creator of a course called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which uses meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to treat everything from high blood pressure and chronic pain to depression and panic disorders.

So I signed up for the course and during my introductory meeting with our instructor, after explaining my situation, I asked him why he thought I should take his course. “You need to rewire your brain.” he answered.

Huh.

So I’m currently in my third week of the eight week course and am struck by how simple and straightforward it is on one level, and how complex and contradictory I also find it. Focus on the breath but don’t strive to focus on the breath. Relax but stay awake. Clear your mind but be aware of your thoughts. Do this every day for an hour but be easy on yourself and take life as it comes.

More on that later. In the meantime, I am both thoroughly enjoying the course and struggling with its teachings – which I’m pretty sure is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing (though, of course, there is no “supposed to”).

A final book recommendation – Kabat-Zinn’s bible of mindfulness: Full Catastrophe Living.

Photo by Hey Paul Studios on Flickr

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3 comments

  1. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for a couple years and took a local course six-week course on mindfulness training through the John Cabot Zinn program. I work with mindfulness apps on my phone daily which keeps me in a routine.
    I now follow teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and been to some of his retreats . he’s about mindfulness and peace and relieving suffering and finding joy in life. You might find his readings also helpful.
    also if you can get into a 12 step program and engage in group sharing it’s an incredible healing practice .
    I find I need a daily practice and tools to follow my practice ,regular counselors and psychologists and psychiatrists are not able to provide this on a regular basis . I’ve had to find a practice that I can follow on my own and take responsibility for. Mainly mindfulness practice and 12-step practice.
    Thank you for sharing your journey and your practice.

    Sent from my iPhone. Thank you. Betty

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