Sydney Group Reports

Report of the meeting of the Scientific and Medical Network held on 27th August 2016.

The meeting was attended by 14 people and there were 2 apologies.

Jean started the meeting by welcoming everyone and giving a short explanation of the Scientific and Medical Network.

The speaker was Patrick Bradbury, who talked about Mindfulness, one of the newest ancient medical treatments.

Patrick opened by acknowledging the Guringai language group of the Garigal Aboriginal Clan

What does mindfulness mean? Awareness and acceptance, accepting who you are and where you are.

Patrick started by recounting how he had needed to practice mindfulness on the journey to the meeting, having been lost a couple of times and also watching as someone reversed into his vehicle as he was having lunch in a restaurant.

Patrick explained that he had been interested in meditation for many years but he became aware of “Mindfulness” following a couple of medical problems. Whilst at the hospital he was introduced to a mindfulness course for cancer patients and their carers and since embarking on the course has found the practise of mindfulness very helpful. The question arises, “Why practice mindfulness? What’s in it for me?” Results have shown that mindfulness has helped thousands of people affected by illness, both patients and carers, to lead better lives.

Patrick asked us all to take two sultanas, which he used to demonstrate mindfulness. The first sultana he asked us to look at it carefully, then to describe what we saw. We then put it between our teeth and then into our mouths and slowly and carefully chewed it while all the time being mindful about texture, taste feeling etc. . The second sultana we were asked to slowly chew whilst thinking of all the people and processes involved in the production of the sultana. These were powerful exercises.

Patrick talked about a book, Full Catastrophie Living by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, which covers the subject of how mindfulness helps reduce stress, and how the power of the mind affects us all. He related a story from the book where a group of trainee cardiologists were examining a patient who was doing very well, the surgeon, who the patients venerated came in and said this patient has TS and then left. The patient suddenly changed and became unwell and stressed, when asked what was wrong she said that the surgeon had said she had a Terminal Situation! The trainee doctors explained that what was meant by TS was Tricuspid Stenosis but the lady was so convinced the senior physician, who could not be contacted, had said she was seriously ill that she died shortly after from heart failure. Mind power!

We decide about our health and wellbeing and should all mindfully choose to be healthy.

We then embarked on two mindfulness exercises, the first was abdominal breathing which stills the monkey mind, and the second was a full body scan from the tips of the toes and fingers to the top of the head which helped us to relax.

Patrick talked about seven features/characteristics of mindfulness which were, non-judging, patience, beginners mind (the richness of the present), trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go.

Discussion then followed on mindfulness, meditation, the power of the mind and how catastrophe can be the destruction of the old followed by renewal.

We then broke for afternoon tea which was followed by a very interesting documentary from the Catalyst programme which showed how mindfulness and meditation can change the brain, how it can help people with depression, can help athletes, those in prison to lead better lives among other things and helps us to be happier and healthier and to slow the aging process. It can affect the mind as well as the body.

As usual the meeting continued with animated discussion amongst all present.

We thanked Patrick for a very interesting afternoon.

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