We often imagine we want the latest in medicine’s technological innovation should we find ourselves or a loved one in the midst of illness and suffering. But there are moments when our most advanced technology, while it can save lives, can not reach into the spaces inhabited by human spirit.
There is no pill or procedure that brings us vividly into the unfolding moment. But, there is a practice. And that is what we will explore in this episode.
Our guest in this program stands at the crossroads of conventional clinical medicine, psychoneuroimmunology, compassionate care, contemplative practice and research into the transformative role of becoming present to all the moments of life.
Listen in for a conversation on how presence relieves suffering, and how every moment is worth fully inhabiting.
5:44 It’s not about trying to fix someone.
8:20 Working with doing and being in the medical context that favors “intervention.”
11:59 An approach to mindfulness meditation.
14:06 The breath gives us life. Both literately and metaphorically gives us life.
16:24 It’s not about quieting the mind, it’s about loosing the grip on striving.
19:32 The noticing is the practice!
22:02 Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
24:14 The problems that come from the stories we tell ourselves about the future and past.
27:32 How mindfulness can shift our relationship with pain.
35:52 Curiously, many of us don’t really know the character of our physical pain.
37:54 Our ideas about how things are, rarely have anything to do with how things are.
39:03 The difference between pain and suffering.
43:28 Resources for mindfulness and meditation.
48:02 We are the most hyper-connected and yet disconnected and lonely culture.
Susan Bauer-Wu is the Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care and director of the Compassionate Care Initiative at the University of Virginia (UVa) School of Nursing, with secondary appointment in the UVa Department of Religious Studies. Her work focuses on the use of mindfulness meditation and other mind-body approaches to bolster stress resilience and sense of well-being, for which she has garnered significant research funding.
Besides her academic scholarship, she has authored a book for the lay public, Leave Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness (New Harbinger, 2011). She is currently on the board of advisors of Mindful magazine, immediate past-president of the Society for Integrative Oncology, a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellow, senior fellow of the Mind & Life Institute, and Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
Susan is well recognized for her expertise in secular contemplative practices, such as mindfulness and compassion meditation, and teaches and leads workshops, retreats, and training programs for people living with cancer and other serious illnesses and their loved ones, health care professionals, and university students.
Links and Resources:
University of Massachusetts, Center for Mindfulness
University of Wisconsin, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds
American Mindfulness Research Association
Mind and Life Institute
University of Virginia, Contemplative Sciences Center
Susan’s book, Leaves Falling Gently