The growth of Mindfulness into the Mainstream of life

“An idea is like a play. It needs a good producer and a good promoter even if it is a masterpiece. Otherwise the play may never open; or it may open but, for a lack of an audience, close after a week. Similarly, an idea will not move from the fringes to the mainstream simply because it is good; it must be skillfully marketed before it will actually shift people’s perceptions and behavior.” David Bornstein, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

“A moment of mindfulness is a moment of compassion and kindness. It is not a panacea, after the froth has gone and what will be left when the tide of Mindfulness recedes, what will be left?” Is a question that I heard posed to Professor Mark Williams during a recent webcast. I wanted to check out whether Mindfulness was on the increase and whether it had hit what could be called the main stream or if it was just as was asked “froth”?

Checking online, and you can see that the number of scientific publications on mindfulness has rapidly grown from the mid-noughties. The full article can be found here:

The next question that was posed, was “Where is it being driven today?”

Prisons: It is being used in prisons and being taught to prisoners with remarkable results. Just for example: Sahaja Yoga Meditation in Prisons being run across 22 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic Finland, France, Holland, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and the UK.

Government: It is being taught in government circles: in the US congress, congressman Tim Ryan is leading the drive for mindfulness – I have listed his book at the end of this article.In the UK Houses of Parliament – 10% of the parliamentary labour party MP’s have done a mindfulness course. There are even classes being launched at the European parliament.

Healthcare: the UK Nice organisation [the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] has recommended Mindfulness since 2005 for keeping patients with recurrent depressive vulnerability, depression-free. In the USA, The Greater Good Science Center is the leading organisation that studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society across the USA.

Schools: The first large randomised control trial of Mindfulness training compared with ‘teaching as usual’ in 76 UK schools, which will involve nearly six thousand students aged 11 to 14. Other parts of the study are a programme of experimental research to establish whether and how mindfulness improves the mental resilience of teenagers, and an evaluation of the most effective way to train teachers to deliver mindfulness classes to students. The £6.4 million research programme will be carried out by teams at the University of Oxford, UCL (University College London) and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in collaboration with the University of Exeter, over seven years.

Business: For the past few years, Mindfulness has been an agenda item at the Davos World Economic Forum. If you check out their website, there are over 110 articles on Mindfulness, including podcasts, and research papers on the development of mindfulness in business. This year, 2015, saw the biggest gathering of business leaders at the mindfulness discussions.

I would contend that even with the froth in the media around Mindfulness, the growth in practitioners, both personally, socially, in education, healthcare and in business, means that mainstream it has become.  

I leave you with the following quote:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ― John Lennon

World Economic Forum Website:
The Book: A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit , by Tim Ryan – elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and is currently serving in his sixth term representing Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

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