The concept of mindfulness is integral to the work of Mindful Medicine Worldwide. Primarily, this term refers to integrating a meditative practice with the work of healing. There are many forms that a this practice can take, including sitting quietly focusing on your breath or a mantra, or a movement meditation such as yoga or qi gong. To be a meditative practice, it should bring you into the present moment, not existing in thoughts of the past or desires for the future and perhaps show you something about the state of your mind. This practice, and its effects, should transcend just the time you spend doing it. To be a helpful practice, it should continue into your daily activities.
In terms of healing, your practice should help you to remain present with your patients. Perhaps there is a piece of the practice that can also be done while you are with patients, for example, watching your breath for a few seconds to bring you to the present moment, or feeling the sensations of your body.
To be fully present and engaged with our patients is one of the most effective tools we have as practitioners and that we have the opportunity to use as Chinese Medicine doctors. It helps us to truly hear and thus evaluate our patients as well as allow our patients to feel heard, understood, and empathized with.
Mindfulness can go beyond our daily practice and awareness of ourselves into knowing and being conscious of the state of our world and health system as it is today. Why else would you choose to volunteer in a developing area if not because of your awareness of the lack of equality in health care, general resources, and opportunities in our world? By being mindful of these inequalities we are compelled to do out part to alleviate just some of the suffering which results from these inequalities.