Saki Santorelli

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Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, MA, is a professor of medicine, director of the internationally-acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic, and executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, he has worked with thousands of medical patients and has educated and helped mentor generations of practitioners and researchers of mindfulness and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), engaging in more than 30,000 clinical hours of MBSR. In 2001, he founded Oasis Institute, a comprehensive professional education and training program leading to teacher certification in MBSR. In 2003, he founded and is chair of an annual scientific conference on mindfulness, entitled Investigating and Integrating Mindfulness into Medicine, Health Care and the Society. 2014 marks the 12th year of this annual, international meeting. In 2011, Saki established the annual John and Tussi Kluge Translational Research Symposium on Mindfulness. Saki teaches and presents internationally and is the author of Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine.

Author photo © Tony Maciag 2013

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Mindfulness as an Act of Love

Tami Simon speaks with Saki Santorelli, the director of the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts and the executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. Saki is one of the premier teachers of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and has worked with Sounds True and Florence Meleo-Meyer on the upcoming MBSR Online Training Course. In this episode, Tami speaks with Saki about the medical evidence for the benefits of MBSR, how mindfulness helps us interrupt and change our habitual reaction to stress, and if there is a correct “dosage” of mindfulness practice and training. (68 minutes)

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Establishing a place for regular outdoor meditation and nature observation is often referred to as a “sit spot” or “medicine spot”.  Like the Buddha, who found his own tree of awakening, we too can go to nature and practice being awake to the reality of the present moment.  This practice can also help us become more intimate with all the qualities of the land we live with.  

If one day I see a small bird and recognize it, a thin thread will form between me and that bird. If I just see it but don’t really recognize it, there is no thin thread. If I go out tomorrow and see and really recognize that same individual small bird again, the thread will thicken and strengthen just a little. Every time I see and recognize that bird, the thread strengthens. Eventually it will grow into a string, then a cord, and finally a rope. This is what it means to be a Bushman. We make ropes with all aspects of the creation in this way.” 

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  1. Go to a place in nature that is close to where you live and that you can visit regularly.
  1. Take a few moments to center yourself, breathing in and out, and arriving fully in the present moment.
  1. As you are ready begin to walk mindfully with an intention to find a spot that calls out to you, a place you can sit and deepen your relationship with this place.  The spot should feel welcoming, safe and comfortable.  It could be under a tree, beside a boulder or in an open space.  Often, east facing spots can be nice for early morning sits.
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Find more practices for connecting to nature in Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah Mortali.

Read Rewilding today!

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