MBSR May 2010
"To commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in
everything, is to succumb to the violence of modern times."
- Thomas Merton
Dear Reader,                           

 After the storms of winter, we are receiving the gift of spring. I can't ever remember appreciating the gift of sunlight more. Just trying to be present to life non-judgmentally moment by moment is enriching emotionally, cognitively, somatically and relationally. And so, with renewed energy, I am sending you this note because I am planning to teach my next Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class in the late spring / early summer in the Metuchen / Edison area. Specifics about the class can be found on the MBSR Courses page at (www.mindfulnessnj.com) as well as on the side of this e-letter.
     Lately, there has been an outpouring of new scientific research on the efficacy of MBSR, including the use of MBSR to help prevent burnout among physicians (Krasner et al. 2009) as well as research reported by Ludwig and Kabat-Zinn  2008; Didonna 2008; and Lutz, Dunne and Davidson 2007 indicating MBSR's effectiveness in clinical environments and the laboratory, furthering the work of the last 30 years and supporting practices that are millennia old. As Jon Kabat-Zinn expressed it in Stahl and Goldstein's recent, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, the mind, trained through meditative disciplines can actually change the brain (Siegel, 2007, Begley 2008):

This discovery of an inherent plasticity in brain architecture and function, known as neuroplasticity, implies that what we call the mind actually shapes the brain, and drives transformation of our intrinsic capacities, and it does so not just in childhood but across our entire lifespan. (... the physical, material brain in our cranium, of course, allows for the phenomenon we call "mind," including the ability of the mind to experience and know itself.) p. xi

    One recent example pointing toward the usefulness of mindfulness practice for clinical work as well as well-balanced living is a short article entitled, "The Hidden Treasure of Anger," written by Polly Young Eisendrath, Ph.D., a Jungian analyst, for the March 2010 issue of Shambhala Sun magazine, p. 23. In it, she points out that the emotion of human anger, called "the moral emotion" by the Greeks, potentially differs from the phenomenon of strict animal reactivity (often defined as a "fight or flight" syndrome) because it contains the potential for reflection and the deepening of understanding.

      It is my understanding that this "moral emotion" (as differentiated from self-righteousness as well as "fight or flight") which sometimes arises within us as we turn toward our anger rather than being completely driven by it, can help us to make fine discriminations about the way the world is and the way we are. William Faulkner, in one of his letters, argues that there are only two plots in all of literature. One is the story of the world and the other is the story of the self. The "moral emotion" of anger, by helping us cut through or discriminate, has the potential to bring profound change both to the world and to the self.  Anger  can do this because it has the potential, when respected, not simply to be blinding, but to get our attention, helping us to pause, or "even stopping us in our tracks," and to help us make more conscious choices in our lives as we read ourselves and the world with greater depth and clarity.

    May this season of new beginning help us all make choices that will lead to greater well-being in our lives.  

Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of NJ

soft spring wind,
even the maple in my bureau stirs.
- Jim Handlin


  • Begley, S., 2008. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain:  How a New Science Reveals our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves.  New York:  Ballantine Books.

  • Didonna, F., 2008.  Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness.  New York: Springer.

  • Krasner, M. S., R. M. Epstein, H. Beckman, A. L. Suchman, B. Chapman, C. J. Mooney, and T. E. Quill., 2009. Association of an educational program in mindful communication with burnout, empathy, and attitudes among primary care physicians.  Journal of the American Medical Association 302 (12): 1338-40.

  • Ludwig, D. S. and J. Kabat-Zinn, 2008.  Mindfulness in medicine.  Journal of the American Medical Association 300 (11): 1350-2.

  • Lutz, A., J. D. Dunne, R. J. Davidson, 2007.  Meditation and the neuroscience of consciousness:  An introduction.  In The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, edited by P. D. Zelazo, M. Moscovitch, and E. Thompson, Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press.

  • Siegel, D. J., 2007.  The Mindful Brain:  Reflections and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being.  New York: Norton.


  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindful Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  • Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine by Saki Santorelli.
  • Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Spring / Summer 2010


Metuchen / Edison NJ area

For more information about our courses,
click here

  from New Jersey Life

NJ Life image

"The Early Greek Philosophers
were deeply concerned with how to live a life of wholeness and well-being. Accordingly, the Greek word for "hygiene" means "wholeness" and emphasizes inclusion of the mind and body with feelings or spirit.  This requires an awareness that begins from paying attention to the sensations arising in one's body and expands to include the thoughts and the feelings."

- Diane Handlin, Ph.D.

from New Jersey Life Health and Beauty, May 2010

Links of interest

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Google Tech Talk
March 8, 2007

Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
The Perfect Present
NJ Life, May 2009