When I first discovered Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as an evidence-based medical intervention for patients with a variety of stress-related indications, I was absolutely thrilled. Here was an elegant, beautifully thought out curriculum for teaching contemplative practices and mindful movement within the medical professional sphere. It was the perfect way for me to bridge my traditional self-care practices with patient care in a secular format…
My proud use of the word secular was rightly challenged though a few years ago, while attending my first professional teacher training retreat through the Oasis Institute (University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness). Well-respected mindfulness leader, Saki Santorelli, EdD, who co-created MBSR with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, was one of the teachers.
In one of his key lectures, Dr. Santorelli expressed that secular literally means devoid of sacredness. “Is this work we do with mindfulness really devoid of the sacred? From the beginning, it has never been anything but sacred. Sacred in the same way the doctor-patient relationship is and always has been sacred, held deeply in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.”
About the Author
Dr. Rashmi Bismark (MD, MPH) is a US-trained physician, board certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and a regular contributor to Yoga Medicine. Click here to learn more about Rashmi and the Yoga Medicine team.