By Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt
Spring offers up the promise of joy, hope and inspiration. These qualities can be nourished even in the darkest of seasons, including this one: It is early April 2022, and the warfare continues in the Ukraine. There too spring has arrived, and with new life there is also the death of thousands on both sides of the conflict. But Spring, with its strong drive toward life, mirrors qualities that can inspire us, if we allow them, in these troubled, threatening times.
The first of these qualities is trust. Trust is embodied and expressed in the myriad spring blossoms responding to the warmth of the sun.
The second quality is vulnerability. There is a great deal of uncertainty around the bursting forth of new shoots and flowers.
So there is the trust of opening to the sun’s warmth and the vulnerability to frost.
Both present year after year, millennium after millennium, from the beginning of life on this earth.
There is an increasing amount of research showing the beneficial effects of compassion-based interventions for our physical, emotional and relational health. Supportive evidence for Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living has been published in various scientific publications (Bartels-Velthuis et al. 2016; Krieger et al. 2016; Schuling et al. 2017; Ondrejková et al. 2020). Two recent controlled trials showed significant health benefits in a clinical population with recurrent depression who followed MBCL after MBCT (Schuling et al., 2020) and a non-clinical population who followed an online adaptation of MBCL (Krieger et al. 2019).
A talk by Dr. Linda Lehrhaupt to graduates of an MBSR teacher-training program
The last sessions of some of our MBSR teacher-training programs took place during the Covid 19 pandemic in late spring 2020. And for the first time, we were holding the trainings online; a new experience for everyone. We were all enthusiastic how well things went, and the participants were especially happy because they had feared not being able to complete their training.
A Reflection and Guided Mindfulness Meditation
In March 2020, my husband Norbert and I found ourselves unexpectedly locked-down in Spain when the borders closed. The lockdown regulations were extremely strict, forbidding any non-essential activity. We did not leave the grounds of our holiday home for two months, except occasional food-shopping trips. These were very early days of the pandemic, and we had little scientific information to rely on.
Somewhat later, when solo walks were allowed in nature, my husband began taking long walks in the mountains near our home. Because of a foot injury, I could not join him. But I noticed how healing being in the mountains was for him, relieving much of the anxiety he was feeling. So I began to sit in our garden and practice mountain gazing. The more I did, the more I realized that the mountains were sitting with me.
This audio is a live recording of a reflection and guided meditation which spontaneously arose one day.
Michael de Vibe joins us to speak about a six year study of mindfulness. One of the many challenges to doing good research involving human behavior is what the effects of a given intervention are over time. Is what’s being seen a long-term change, or just an indication of efficacy only while a given program is in progress? Longitudinal studies help to address this very question, and today’s guest has been involved with this problem, appropriately, for years.