Suffering is the deepest of human concerns. We all yearn to find liberation from it, but in trying to achieve relief from suffering, we unwittingly perpetuate attitudes and action patterns that prolong or even deepen our suffering and the suffering of our planet. The reason for that lies in our relationship to consciousness. Consciousness is a survival tool that has been thrust upon human beings by evolution. Like apprentice sorcerers, we are easily intoxicated by the power of consciousness, causing a lot of harm in the process of wielding its fascinating creative potential. If we want to live full lives, lives that are imbued with wisdom and love, healed by compassion, opened up by clear view, and in harmony with the mystery of existence, it now behooves us to discover the seed of wisdom deep in the bowels of consciousness, and to develop it in a systematic, disciplined and committed fashion. For this seed to flourish, nothing less will do than stating our whole being, uncompromisingly, without substitutes, without easier conditions, as if our lives depended on it. That is the challenge of mindfulness.
Every human being also has the responsibility to actively participate in maintaining health and preventing illness by learning how to live mindfully with an attitude that fosters regeneration. To this end, we integrate medicine’s scientific knowledge base with a complementary vision of healing that emphasizes a preventative and highly cost-effective focus on health.
The development of our medicare system is our culture’s immediate reaction to illness. However, every disease has a long, silent history before its symptoms become manifest. The way we live and our sense of self contribute to this history, which most of the time is largely unconscious. Mindfulness is the key to discovering that history and influencing its future course. In developing skills of mindfulness, we deepen our relationship with the unconscious and our insights into connections between the physical, psychological and spiritual domains. Practicing the art of mindfulness is essentially harnessing and directing the complex human phenomenon of consciousness.
In essence we examine our sense of self, so that we may heal and move towards greater inner peace and serenity. This involves interweaving rational understanding, emotional experience, irrational intuitions, dreams and fantasies, and listening to the body. Personal and cultural history, present life circumstances, and aspirations for the future form the three-fold context within which this work unfolds.