Today we are experiencing extraordinary technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of illness while at the same time learning to take more responsibility for our own health and well-being. In this book, Saki Santorelli, director of the nationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic, explores the ancient roots of medicine, and shows us how to introduce mindfulness into the crucible of the healing relationship. His approach revolutionizes the dynamics between the patient and the practitioner. In describing the classes at the clinic and the transformation that takes place in this alchemical process, he offers insights and effective methods for cultivating mindfulness in our everyday lives. As he reveals the inner landscape of his own life as a health care professional and we join him and those with whom he works on this journey of human suffering and courage, we become aware of and honor what is darkest and brightest within each one of us.
Santorelli, director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, offers a collection of inspirational essays and the meditations he uses in his eight-week course at the clinic for both healing professionals and patients. The key to improving the relationship between the two, he believes, is mindful awareness, a spiritual concept borrowed from Eastern mysticism. To achieve mindfulness, he recommends a series of breathing exercises. Santorelli suggests that within every health care practitioner is a Wounded One, in every patient an Inner Healer. Patient and doctor are bound together, and may embrace "an indelible opportunity to drink from the deep well of [their lives]." Interspersed throughout the essays are a series of eight chapters describing the weekly sessions of one of Santorelli's courses, with anecdotes relating to the students' gradual awakening to the possibilities of better healing relationships as "they share the essence of life with one another." Class activities include yoga exercise, silent meditation and an all-day retreat. Santorelli's approach to the relationship between caregivers and patients will surely provide food for thought for anyone interested in exploring the personal dynamics of health care. (Mar.)