"My life is not this steeply sloping hour in which you see me hurrying."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

(" It's Not What You Think, Part 2"
article by Diane Handlin   included below)
An Invitation to Learn
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Red Flowers, Stream, New Zealand -- Photo by Sandy Renna

Learn to live with greater vitality, health and well-being through  Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.

Presented by the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey, the program offers powerful methods for reducing stress in your everyday life.

Diane Handlin, Ph.D., is one of the few instructors in New Jersey and in the world (not just trained) but actually  Certified by the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School (founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn). She, and her husband, Jim Handlin, Ed.D., who is also Certified by the CFM, often teach together.

Listen to things
 more often than beings.
Hear the voice of fire,
 hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind
 to the sighing of the bush.
This is the ancestors breathing.
~ Traditional from Senegal ~ (Translator Unknown)
The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan,
 and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
Doesn't everything die at last,
 and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

~ Mary Oliver ~
The House of Light
Beacon Press, Boston

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of
what  you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
~ Rumi ~
(Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

Join Our Mailing List

Upcoming Events   
~ Free Spring 2019 Talk ~
in Edison NJ
Tuesday, May 14
JFK Conference Center
70 James Street
Edison, NJ

 All are Welcome
Reservations are required

~ Summer 2019 Course ~
in Edison NJ
begins Tuesday, June 25
Reservations are required
~ Winter 2019 Course ~
in Summit NJ
For  more information or to reserve a place
 for the talk or course, please contact
Dr. Diane Handlin or Dr. Jim Handlin
at  732-549-9100

For more information go to  www.mindfulnessnj.com 

(Please note that MBSR is an educational course and not psychotherapy. If you suspect that you have medical or psychological issues, please pursue appropriate treatment.)

It's Not What You Think, Part 2 
Ten years ago...
I turned my face for a moment
And it became my life.
David Whyte, from The Heart Aroused
(quoting a woman manager at AT&T
from one of his workshops.)

Dear Reader,

In October 2018, the magazine Mindful published an excellent article by Sam Littlefair called,  Can Your Smartphone Make You Mindful?, that addressed many of the things about which I had been thinking. I have been a meditator myself for over fifty years and have spent extended time with incredible teachers, often being fortunate to be able to travel to other countries to be with them. My husband, Jim, and I, who frequently teach the 8 week MBSR course together, are often asked questions about Mindfulness apps and whether we like them or not and whether we recommend certain ones, e.g.,  Calm or  Headspace, over others. Other times we are asked how the MBSR course is different from an app, whether any app can be a substitute for the 8 week MBSR course, and if it can be just as effective. 

And so, I have been thinking about the electronic world that many of us live in with its upsides and downsides and decided that I should make my own experiment. In truth, I have not personally deeply explored apps myself, although I know that many of our students, when coming back to our retreats (which they are invited to attend for free for the rest of their lives) tell us that they have at times found the apps to be useful refreshers. Personally, I have resisted the digital world, but have had to admit that it has allowed many more people to contact us as well as other serious teachers.
For all the years that I have been a meditator, I would get up in the morning and go downstairs where I have my meditation cushions waiting for me and meditate before moving into the rest of the day. My computer is upstairs, however, and I have been upset to realize that in the past year or so I have found myself stopping at the computer to check my messages before going downstairs to meditate. I also have a larger, more seductive, smartphone now, and even worse in terms of my picture of myself, I realized I had begun checking my smartphone before even leaving the bedroom. And, taking it to the limit, if I was still tired when I awoke, I sometimes even brought the phone into bed with me first thing in the morning! (This was something I had never done with my land line portable phone. As a matter of fact I often would even turn that old stand-by portable phone off until I'd completed my morning routine.) 
Previously, I had written in an earlier newsletter about the work of Sherry Turkle, Founding Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and the Self, who has written about the effects that smart phones have had on college students' relationships in her book,  Alone Together. Even reading as much as I had about the potential perils of having an affair with the electronic world, I realized I had been seduced by my device!  First thing in the morning, my smartphone had enabled me to surf the  New York Times, to catch up on so-called  breaking news, (often just another example of, or point of view on, something I had read about before), look at texts from my children, check the weather, and whatever else that suddenly seemed important to do. Before I had even realized it I had developed a new habit. This was so, even though for quite some time I had become aware that when I was working on my computer, it was very difficult for me not to disappear as I was pulled further into the electronic world, unable to maintain a sensation of my physical body in order to help me stay centered in myself. Before I knew it, I was too often traveling further down the rabbit hole.  Now, I was literally in bed with my phone! Viscerally, I was directly experiencing just how addictive a smart phone could be. 
So, I decided to make an experiment by mindfully trying two things. First, upon waking up, I decided to start using a recorded meditation (either one of my own or one by Jon Kabat-Zinn) on my phone in bed first thing in the morning. It was pleasant and seemed at least subjectively to be somewhat grounding. (Breaking up with my phone  cold turkey had seemed too harsh.) But, then after a few weeks of trying that, I decided to go the distance, and made the decision to walk past my phone in the bedroom when I first woke up and to re-ignite my old romance with my formal sitting meditation practice on cushions downstairs in my office. 
Here is the result of my non-empirical research.  I haven't missed my phone for one moment! "Breaking up" had not been hard to do. I don't think I am fooling myself when I say that the quality of my mornings and my whole day has returned to something I would name as greater well-being, more energy and wholeness. 
This experience with my smart phone and the difference I experienced once I returned to meditating in my office minus all electronics led me to think about  the questions our students had been asking about apps. First and foremost,  at this point, there is no completed research establishing the efficacy of mindful apps. This starkly contrasts with the hundreds of empirical studies establishing the effectiveness Jon Kabat-Zinn's 8 week MBSR curriculum. Richie Davidson, a world-renown researcher on mindfulness and neuroscience states, "I don't know of any scientific evidence to show that any mindfulness app works. We know very little about their effectiveness good or bad." Secondly, because apps are so closely aligned with the smartphone (and have all the limitations, as well as convenience, of smartphone use), this raises questions about the apps' possible addictive qualities and effectiveness as a vehicle for mindfulness. Sam Littlefair, in  Can Your Smartphone Make You Mindful? ,   offers this conclusion: "Mindfulness at its core, is a tool for disrupting habits - especially unhelpful habits... apps and smartphones themselves are designed to reward us with dopamine in exchange for usage, creating a habitual, if not addictive, pattern of craving and satisfaction."
Additional criticism of apps is that their focus is on the  head (Headspace) and not on the wholeness that is a human being. Mindfulness is often reduced on the app to a guided meditation or a breathing exercise. And, features like notifications are only as helpful as the capacity for intentionality once a person has received a notification. Is it possible or likely that when my smartphone reminds me that I should be becoming more centered and embodied in the midst of my rushing that that will be enough to throw a monkey wrench into my hyperactive automaticity? Again, Sam Littlefair offers that: "W hen a meditation app becomes just another habit, like checking email, it risks becoming less mindfulness training and more so just another piece of technology taking up headspace."
Thus, the answer to the question "what do you think about the apps?" is the old adage, "If you take the fort, you have the territory." In this instance, the fort which I am most familiar with is the well-researched 8 week MBSR curriculum. For those of you who have committed to a program like this, the apps can take their proper place as adjuncts to practice. A relevant illustration of the importance of developing a solid foundation for living in a healthier way is the history of the creation of  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy For Depression program. When Segal, Williams and Teasdale began their ground-breaking study of what came to be called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression (as distinct from, but using the skills from, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction), they initially became frustrated while trying to teach their research subjects mindfully-based skills. They knew that their program had great potential but they were not getting the results they hoped for. They realized that they had been proceeding from a top down approach believing that they could teach these skills without having put in the time to actually develop the skills in themselves, and so they approached Jon Kabat-Zinn and asked him for help understanding what had gone wrong. His advice was for them to take the 8 week MBSR course themselves, developing their own practice and skills, before trying to teach it to others. They all took the 8 week course, deepening their understanding, and then ran the study again. This time they obtained significant results with their subjects who had been through two episodes of major depression. This made all the difference in terms of their research and eventually for developing a less academic version of their program, which with Jon Kabat-Zinn's assistance, became  The Mindful Way Through Depression
Unfortunately, the commodification of mindfulness that has occurred with mindfulness' growing popularity as a self-help technique has contributed to the continuing misunderstanding that this program can be approached as if it were a kind of self-help that can be integrated into people's lives simply by reading a book or even just listening to an app. In addition, as one of our students in a recent class expressed it: " Taking the MBSR class was powerful because of the chance to learn new skills for living a healthier life, with such motivated high quality peers who asked great questions." This is not to say that apps cannot be enormously helpful just as inspirational speakers or books can be helpful. They can certainly help us find our way to the right door. However, without undertaking the discipline of a time-tested, and for today's world, an empirically validated curriculum, taught by experienced teachers who are practicing themselves and who can help tailor the program to each person's individual needs, chances are that the undoing of the entrainment of habitual cultural rhythms and norms will not have much of a chance of actually happening.

Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

NJ Lic. #3306

Diane Handlin, PhD
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
Founder and
Executive Director
Jim Handlin, Ed.D.
Educational Consultant

The mountain...
 I become part of it.

The herbs, the fir tree...
I become part of it.

The morning mists,
The clouds, the gathering water...
I become part of it.

The sun that sweeps across the earth...
I become part of it.

The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen...
I become part of it.
~ Navajo chant ~

____________ ________

Start Close In
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don't follow someone else's
heroics, be humble
and focused.
start close in,
don't mistake
that other
for your own.
Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own way of starting
the conversation.
Start with your own
give up on other
people's questions,
don't let them
smother something
~ David Whyte ~
(River Flow: New and Selected Poems)

____________ ________

This World
I would like to write a poem about the world that has
in  it  nothing fancy.

But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun  glimmers it.

The tulip feels its heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.

The ants bore into the
peony bud and there is a dark p inprick well of sweetness.

As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.

So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.

And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.

And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and  beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if it were not too
hurried to hear it.

As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing,
or seem to say nothing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,  and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,  so happy to be 
where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Why I Wake Early)

____________ ________

Every day
I see or hear something
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
...Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
How can you help
but grow wise with such teachings
as these-
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Why I Wake Early)


____________ ________

Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though, they should learn h ow to read the love letters sent by the wind a nd rain, the snow and moon.
~ Ikkyu ~

___________ _ ________

Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God's palm
As I move through the earth's
...Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.
~ Hafiz ~
(The Gift - Versions of Hafiz by Daniel Landinsky)

____________ ________

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.
All important ideas must include the trees,  the mountains, and the rivers.
To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.
For how many years did I wander slowly  through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!
~ Mary Oliver ~


Ten times a day something happens to me like this --some strengthening throb of amazement -- some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.

~ Mary Oliver ~


The Living Moment 

There is a stillness at dawn
asking for me

I hear
the note not played

I see
the line not written

I understand
the word not spoken

I am
in stillness

I am
the Living Moment
~ Cliff Woodward ~
 (with  Stephen Damon)

Worthy of Note

Leadership Changes at CFM
Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the world-renowned  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic in 1979 and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (CFM) in 1995 at the University of Mass Medical School. Jon's excellent foundational book,  Full Catastrophe Living, 1990, describes the exact program which is still the touchstone for this work, and Jon's inclusion in Bill Moyers Healing and the Mind on PBS in 1993 sky-rocketed his work into the public domain. 

The CFM has been under the excellent stewardship of Dr. Saki Santorelli since Jon left, during which time, as the science supporting the efficacy of the  8 week MBSR program has become more and well-known both in the US and internationally.

Saki Santorelli, who founded the Oasis Program there for Mindfulness and Education for training health professionals to teach MBSR, and is the author of the book, Heal Thyself: Lessons on Mindfulness and Medicine (1999), retired from the Center for Mindfulness in 2017 and is offering workshops nationally and internationally at this time.

Since Saki retired from the CFM, several of its senior educators have left the CFM and have partnered with the Brown University's Mindfulness Center. This includes, Judson Brewer, M.D., director of research and  innovation, Florence-Meleo Meyer, global ambassador, and Dianne Horgan, associate director, with the Brown program's executive director, Dr. Eric Loucks. 

Brown University's Mindfulness Center: 
The Brown Center's mission statement related to research states: "We are at a time in history when mindfulness research is rapidly expanding, and mindfulness has become a $1 billion industry in the United States alone. There is great need for methodologically rigorous research to help determine whether reported impacts of mindfulness on health are fad or fact. The Mindfulness Center at Brown leads initiatives in this area. Our researchers include experts from medicine, public health, and humanities to examine mindfulness from all angles."

Brown's program is centered around Jon Kabat-Zinn's work and his definition of mindfulness as, "awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally." (And, we have heard Jon in person, add, and "with affection.")

Workshops and Resources

At www.jonkabat-zinn.com you can view many videos of Jon speaking and teaching on the About page as well as Anderson Cooper's 60 Minute Interview with Jon on the Home page, as well as much more.
New Books by Kabat-Zinn published by Hachette Books:
(1) Meditation is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why it is So Important; (2) Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life, 2018;
 (3) The Healing Power of Mindfulness: A New Way of Being; (4) Mindfulness for All: The Wisdom to Transform the World, 2019.
See our web-site at  www.mindfulnessnj.com
 for Jon's other books

Omega Presents
Omega in Rhinebeck, NY Presents the following Workshops (arranged according to date):

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Medicine, Practice & Science: A 7-Day Professional Training Retreat, Florence Meleo-Meyer and Judson Brewer, June 2-9, 2019

The Way of Awareness: An Immersion Experience in Mindfulness & Heartfulness,
Will Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn, May 5- 10, 2019 

(Please note that any workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn workshops fills and closes almost as soon as it is advertised, but if you get on their waiting list early enough, you very often will be moved into the class as other people's plans change.)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Medicine, Practice & Science: A 7-Day Professional Training Retreat, Florence Meleo-Meyer and Judson Brewer, June 2-9, 2019

Mindfulness & Trauma Conference: Changing Ourselves and Changing the World, Rhonda V. Magee, Florence Meleo-Meyer, David Treleaven, Lynn Koerbel, Jon Kabat-Zinn, August 2-4, 2019

Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves & the World Through Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sept. 22-27, 2019

(Please note that any workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn workshops fills and closes almost as soon as it is advertised, but if you get on their waiting list early enough, you very often will be moved into the class as other people's plans change.)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Insight Meditation Retreat, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Bob Stahl, and Eric B. Loucks, October 4-11, 2019

The Ruby: Awakening the Treasure in Your Chest, Saki F. Santorelli,
June 16-21. 2019

 Reckoning with Racism: A Mindfulness- Based Approach to Transforming Implicit Bias and Confronting Injustice, Jon Kabat-Zinn with Rhonda V. Magee, A One Day Talk and Retreat, Coming to New York City in early December (Sponsored by Omega)

The Medicine of the Moment: How mindfulness is making inroads in health care through habit change, stress reduction, self-care, and decreasing physical burnout, Barry Boyce and Peter Jaret, 5th Anniversary Issue of Mindful magazine, April 2018

Too Early to Tell: The Potential Impact and Challenges-Ethical and Otherwise-Inherent in the Mainstreaming of Dharma in an Increasingly Dystopian World, Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2017

Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR, Skillful Means, and the 
Trouble with Maps, Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2011

Mindfulness, Healing and Transformation: The Pain and the Promise of Befriending the Full Catastrophe with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn's Keynote Address at the 2016 Psychotherapy Networker Conference: "The Radical Gesture of Mindfulness: Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do"  
  New Jersey Psychological Association - December 2016 e-newsletter,  "Why Mindfulness Matters," editor, Diane Handlin

Mindfulness and Education  at Newark Academy in the Fall of 2015 (For further information on Jim Handlin, see Bios page at www.mindfulnessnj.com )

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, Daniel Goleman & Richard J. Davidson, 2017
The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smart-phones to Love - Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits, a new book by Judson Brewer
with a forward by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Congressman Tim Ryan, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance and Recapture the American Spirit, with a foreward by Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Nobel prize-winner Elizabeth Blackburn and researcher Elissa Epel
who have demonstrated how the telomeres at the end of chromosomes have the capacity to lengthen as a result of lifestyle changes and the development of stress reduction skills, resulting in enhanced health and increased longevity.


"A Necessary and Vital Moment,"
Jon Kabat-Zinn's Science of Mindfulness,
Opening to Our Lives:
an interview with Krista Tippett

Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses Mindfulness in Education, January 26, 2006
Mindfulness in Education ( Part 1)
Mindfulness in Education ( Part 2)
Mindfulness in Education ( Part 3)

More Videos with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses the scientific research on MBSR and its relationship to health,
Google talk, YouTube, March 8, 2007.

Bill Moyers PBS video
on  Healing from Within
from the series  Healing and the Mind

Readings Page  at our website

Audio & Videos Page at our website

Selected past issues of The Living Moment

Pausing at the end of this newsletter, with a deep bow, I dedicate this newsletter to the victims of the terrorist attacks at the mosque in New Zealand and the church in Sri Lanka.  In addition, I dedicate it  to Mary Oliver, who died on Jan. 17, 2019, and whose poetry has always fed the flame, as well as our gallant Technical Director, Dave Kapferer, whose creative talent and deep caring makes everything hum, and Triston Handlin, our devoted Technical Manager, without whom this newsletter would never come to you. And last, but never least, I offer a deep bow to our students, who have been our best teachers.

"As to the value of the course, I would note that the group workshop designed to work through Jon Kabat-Zinn's curriculum is very effective. The workshop / course added a great deal of depth and opened my mind to a different way of looking at things and fostered exploration. When mindfullly present, time seems to expand for me. I relax, freed from thinking about the next place I have to be or the next thing I have to do ... I have discovered that if I hold off, I usually do not act along the lines of my first reaction. I've realized that I almost always have time not to act immediately. I've also rediscovered my happy me, what I remember from soooo long ago ..., and that is really wonderful."       - Jane Dobson, Corporate attorney


IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although Dr. Handlin is a licensed psychologist and has a separate psychology practice, please note that this is an educational course and not psychotherapy. In addition, information contained in this document is informational and not to be construed as medical advice. If you suspect you have medical issues, please pursue appropriate treatment. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a separate educational course for those interested in developing mind-body connections. MBSR is a non-psychological service offered apart from Dr. Handlin's psychology practice and is not meant to substitute for personal or professional psychological advice which must be received from a licensed mental health professional.

NJ Lic. #3306

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™

328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840

Tel:  732-549-9100,  www.mindfulnessnj.com