Shout Out for 3 Extraordinary Meditation Pioneers
For National Meditation Month, we’re saluting three of my favorite teachers – pioneers who’ve made meditative practices more accessible, widely used and accepted by thousands of people.
The first tip of the hat is for Jon Kabat-Zinn, because he’s done so much to bring mindfulness to Westerners. He created a simplified protocol, related it to the practical goal of relieving stress, called it MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and persuaded hundreds of academic researchers to test its efficacy. (I just searched “MBSR” on PubMed, and today, it delivered 404 studies, 64 of which were published in 2017 – and it’s only May.)
The MBSR research showed it helped reduce stress in a variety of daunting circumstances, lending validation for what had been previously seen as an esoteric Eastern practice for a few mystics.
My second pick is Tara Brach, for how she integrates Buddhist meditation with psychological healing. Just as Jon Kabat-Zinn deploys mindfulness to target stress relief, Tara Brach sets her sights on emotional repair, with simple, clear but sophisticated teachings and practices.
She gears her guidance to helping those with struggles around self-esteem, shame, self-percept, and insufficient sense of worth and confidence, in relationships and with work.
And my third shout out is for Bodhipaksa (pronounced Bodhipaksha, meaning Wings of Enlightenment), also a Buddhist meditation teacher with an initially surprising Scottish accent, who created a meditation program called WildMind.
The timbre of his voice, his words, and the way he explains things are comfortable, natural, clear as a bell and hugely appealing . I’m especially entranced by his Mindfulness Meditation for Teens, because he knows how to talk to adolescents without talking down, up or fake to them.
So, there are hundreds more but I’m taking my hat off for these three. May all beings be at peace during National Mindfulness Month.
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