The Mind-Body Program

The Collaborative supports the Consortium's Mind Body Program, which offers experiential educational opportunities for faculty and students and provides teachers with skills to change the way in which medical students are taught.

The skills in the Mind Body Program increase a person's level of self-awareness of the emotional, physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of life.  Educators and students reduce personal stress and enhance health and wellbeing through the use of meditation, guided imagery, journal writing, autogenic training, and movement.

Below is a sample Mindfulness Meditation from the Curriculum in Integrative Medicine: A Guide for Medical Educators.  This meditation was contributed by Adi Haramati, PhD and Nancy Harazduk, MEd, MSW, at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, in conjunction with James Gordon, MD, Director, Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Washington, DC.

Meditation

Allow yourself to find a comfortable position, with your head, neck, and spine aligned and comfortable and with your arms and legs in a position that feels just right for you.

Allow this to become a time in which you let go of our usual way of operating ... that of constant doing ... and allow this to become a time of just being ... of allowing yourself to be ...  Become aware of feelings that arise as you become still inside.  (Pause)

As you allow your body and your mind to become still and quiet, bring your attention to the fact that you are breathing ... and become aware of the movement of the breath as it enters your body and as it leaves your body ... not manipulating your breathing in any way ... not trying to change it ... simply being aware of it and the feelings associated with breathing.  (Pause)  If you feel comfortable with this, as you continue to notice your inhalation and your exhalation, notice your breath flowing deep down into your belly ... feel the abdominal wall as it expands with each inhalation and as it relaxes into the spine with each exhalation.  Simply be totally here in each moment, with each breath ... not trying to do anything ... not trying to get any place ... simply be present with each breath that you take.  (Allow two minutes of silence.)

Give full care and full attention to each in-breath and to each out-breath as they flow one after the other in a never-ending life-giving cycle.  (Allow two minutes of silence.)

As you may have noticed, from time to time, your mind may wander off into thoughts of the past, fantasies, anticipations of the future, worries, memories, whatever.  (Pause)  As soon as you become aware that your attention is no longer here ... no longer focused on your breathing ... and without giving yourself a hard time ... simply escort your attention, your focus back to your breathing ... and pick up wherever that happens to be ... on an in-breath or an out-breath ... Once again, become fully conscious of the duration of each inhalation and the duration of each exhalation, from moment to moment.  (Allow 2 minutes of silence.)

Use the awareness of your breathing and your breath as an anchor to bring you back to the present moment.  Refocus your attention on your breathing, whenever you notice that your mind is becoming absorbed, preoccupied, or restless. (Pause)

Every time you notice that your mind is wandering off the breath ... be aware of it as soon as you can and gently bring it back to your abdomen ... back to the present ... back to the moment to moment observing of the flow of your breathing.  (Allow three minutes of silence.)

As this meditation comes to an end, recognize that you have spent this time intentionally nourishing yourself ... by dwelling in this state of non-doing ... in this state of being ... make time for yourself to be who you are and to feel what you feel.  (Pause)

Now, slowly and gently allow yourself to come back into the room, perhaps moving your fingers and toes, feeling your body in the chair ... and when you are ready, at your own pace ... allow your eyes to open ... feel calm and relaxed, yet alert and awake.