By Ending the Prozac Nation

Open Paper for Commissioners and Providers of health services         19.8.08

John Kapp,
User representative with PPI and LINk, secretary Mindfulness Interest Network, (MIN) meditation leader, NHS health trainer, health creation mentor, family constellation facilitator,
22, Saxon Rd, Hove BN3 4LE, East Sussex   Tel: 01273 417997

1 Abstract
2 Public trust in conventional medicine.
3 Summary recommendation
4 The Prozac nation
5 Problem 1 – Drugs prevent a cure
6 Problem 2 Iatrogenesis –doctor induced disease
7 Problem 3 materialism
8 Problem 4 - our 200,000 year old software
9 Problem 5 We use our free will only 1% of the time
10 Problem 6 - The yellow fear reaction - lobotomy
11 Problem 7 - the red fear reaction - denial
12 The cure – live in the green and white with meditation
13 Self-neglect v. self-care
14 Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) meditation course
15 The health benefits of meditation
16 Noise in our unconscious mind
17 The cause of the noise
18 Catharsis to remove the noise
19 Enhanced sandwich MBCT course
20 How does healing happen?
21 Evidence base for the enhanced sandwich course
22 Recommendation – offer enhanced sandwich MBCT courses free on the NHS
23 Staff sickness rate targets
24 Tutor qualifications
25 The venue for the course
26 Contra-indications policy and rules
27 Myths about catharsis
28 Number of tutors required
29 Cost of commissioning and providing each course
30 Conclusion – Improving health with world class healthcare service
31 References
32 Appendix 1 Reflections on MBCT course by Brenda Roberts and Rosalind Johnston
33 Appendix 2 Effects of 7 day Osho Dynamic Meditation study by Avni Vyas

1 Abstract
The NHS now rightly has the aim of improving health as well as treating sickness.
To do this effectively we need to understand the root cause of illness, which is our nervous system’s hormonal (adrenaline) reaction to fear of repressed emotions. The cure is to change the hormone to endorphine, which can be done through meditation. The author calls for enhanced sandwich Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses to be made freely available to healthcare staff to improve staff sickness rates, and to patients for prevention and cure of illness.

2 Public trust in conventional medicine.
On 2.7.08 the Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust (BHC PCT) held a public meeting entitled ‘Improving Health and Developing World Class Healthcare in Brighton and Hove’.(1) This was the culmination of about 30 public meetings held over the last 2 years entitled ‘NHS Fit For the Future’.

These meetings told us that despite record funding on the NHS, public health is getting steadily worse. For example, hazardous drinking affects 45,000 in the city (18% of the population) and is rising by 17% each year. 30,000 (12%) of us are on anti-depressant drugs. One in three of us have a long term condition which is degenerative and for which we have to take medication for the rest of our lives.

The early meetings showed that the public generally did not believe the speakers. They are fed up with the arrogant paternalism typifying conventional medicine, and its blatant propaganda (winning the war on disease) which is not their experience. They remember the bad press that the NHS has been getting for decades, such as the horror stories of adverse reactions to drugs (Seroxat, Vioxx) The public showed clearly that they have lost trust in the NHS, and the speakers seemed surprised and shocked.

At the last meeting, I was pleased to see that the attitude of the PCT leadership had changed to a more humble recognition of the fundamental truth that the only person that one can change is oneself. No matter how good a service the NHS provides, the health of the public is fundamentally up to each and every one of us citizens, who have to start taking responsibility for our own health. The new role of the NHS is to help us to do this by promoting self-help. The leadership are now wisely asking us how they should do this.

Amanda Fadero, Director of Strategy for the PCT, (the commissioner of health services in the city) asked the meeting: ‘How should the PCT engage with patients, and really listen to them to get a 3 year plan whose focus is on prevention rather than cure?’ This paper is my response to that question, summarised as follows:

3 Summary recommendation
Recognise the gulf that separates you as staff in the NHS from us, the public, and bridge it. The cause of the gulf is that we the public do not trust you. We see you as living in a different world from us, an ivory tower. You live in a fantasy of misguided belief in your treatments. The inconvenient truth is that your drug treatments generally do not work and do more harm than good to both us patients and also to you staff.

We want a world class healthcare service even more than you do because we are paying you 10% of our taxes to provide it. To get a healthcare service worthy of the name of service, you have to acknowledge this inconvenient truth, and turn it around. You have to stop providing treatments which do harm, and start providing treatments which do good, ie heal and cure illness. These treatments are available in the private sector, and are known as alternative therapy.

These new curative treatments should be commissioned and provided for you staff as well as us patients. Then you healthcare staff can walk your talk, and be the healthiest people in society instead of the sickest, as at present. Only then will we, the public, trust you, and follow doctors’ example as teachers (the word comes from latin ‘doctare’ to teach)

4 The Prozac nation
In May 2006 (2) the then Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt MP made a keynote speech to a mental health conference announcing ‘the end of the Prozac nation’. She called on doctors to prescribe talking therapies instead of anti-depressants.

Last February, (3) a news bulletin entitled ‘Antidepressants don’t work’ confirmed her message, announcing that ‘Prozac is no more effective than sugar pills (placebo)’ It added that 15 million prescriptions for it are written every year for 6 million depressed patients in England and Wales (10% of the population) Worldwide it is estimated that 40 million people are on Prozac.

There is a 2 year waiting list for talking therapy in most places, including Sussex. The only talking therapy available is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which treats one patient at a time. The Layard report in 2007 called for 10,000 more therapists to be trained in CBT, which the government is implementing.

Sussex Partnership Trust (SPT) are commissioned by the PCT as the main providers of mental health services in Sussex. They have been allocated 42 of these new therapists, who will treat 5,500 patients pa starting from this November onwards.

Although this is welcome in reducing waiting times, it will not make enough impact on the 60,000 people in Sussex on anti-depressants to make much difference to their lives. There are about 70 psychotherapists in Brighton and Hove now, and perhaps as many again in the rest of Sussex, say totalling 150. The 42 new ones represent only about a 25% increase.

Furthermore, although CBT helps patients to live with their disease without drugs, it does not address the cause of their depression, so is not expected to cure it. The only conventional cure for depression that I have come across is to have a pacemaker implanted in your heart and a microchip in your head. The woman who had this done said on TV that it had made her a ‘different person’ (4) The cost of this cure was not mentioned, but it must be a 6 figure sum.

The present mental health service costs us taxpayers £40 million pa for a service which is not worthy of the name. There is a waiting list of years for treatment (CBT) which does not even give the prospect of a cure. This is not acceptable.

A better treatment which gives prospect of a cure already exists in the private sector, but is not funded by the NHS. It is evidenced based and has been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) since 2005 as a drug-free alternative to anti-depressants. It is a course, so is deliverable to many patients at a time in a class.

This course is called ‘Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy’ (MBCT) The main purpose of this paper is to recommend the PCT to commission this course in sufficient quantity to reduce the waiting time for it to no more than a few weeks.

A description of it will be given below in paragraph 12, but first we need to understand and remove the many problems (7 in number) preventing the provision of effective treatments in the NHS.

5 Problem 1 – Drugs prevent a cure
The aim of treatment should be to cure illness. The only way that it can do this is by identifying and eliminating the cause. However, with a few exceptions, (such as accident and emergency) conventional treatment does not even aim to cure illness, but only to suppress its symptoms.

To illustrate this principle, take the commonest conventional treatment, drugs. A few drugs, (such as antibiotics), do aim to cure the patient by killing the bacteria which infect him. However, the majority of drugs (such as anti-depressants like Prozac) only aim to suppress the symptoms of a patient’s illness. This can be helpful in getting him through a short term crisis, but they do not even aim to be a cure.

In fact, they are counter-productive to a cure. I repeat for emphasis that the only way that anyone can be cured is to find and eliminate the cause of his disease. By suppressing his symptoms, drugs prevent the patient from finding and eliminating the cause.

Conventional medicine has the wrong attitude to symptoms, seeing them as enemies of the patient. They are not. They are friends whose purpose is to get him to remove the cause of his illness by changing his lifestyle.

Drugs are addictive, as the body becomes dependent on them, and craves them when withdrawn. They have harmful side-effects, which the patient has to suffer as long as he takes them. They are toxic, poisoning his body chemistry, which is stressed to eliminate them from his system. One of the common side effects is putting on weight, which could partially explain the current epidemic of obesity, as about half the population is now on prescription drugs.

Some revealing statements were published during the diamond jubilee celebrations of the NHS last July. One of them was a report which analysed which year the British nation was healthiest. It concluded that it was 1944.

The reasons for this surprising conclusion were that 5 years of war had united the people into tight-knit communities. Digging for victory had made them fit. Food was organic, locally grown, and was rationed, so nobody was overweight. Doctors were treating the war-wounded, so civilians got no healthcare. The NHS had not even been conceived then.

Another snippet was that the founding fathers of the NHS (Beveridge and Bevan) said in 1948 that by 1978 (now 30 years ago) doctors would be out of a job because the NHS would make the nation so healthy that their services would no longer be required.

Another was that in some country (I foget which) the doctors were on strike for several months, during which time the health of the population improved. The implication of these reports is that the NHS has not made the nation healthier, but sicker. A world class healthcare service will turn this around.

6 Problem 2 Iatrogenesis –doctor induced disease
Most of the treatments provided by the NHS have the disadvantage to the patient that he is not cured by them. However, they have the advantage to the staff that the patients, remaining ill, are dependent on them. This provides the staff with a meal ticket for life. In other words, the NHS is run for the benefit of the staff, not the patients.

30 years ago this was true in the utilities providing telephones, gas, electricity, and railways, which were run for the benefit of the staff, not the customers. For example, you could have any telephone as long as it was a black dumbbell, and you waited 3 months for it. Since in the 1980s customers have a better experience, as privatisation made the industries customer-centred.

Although government has been saying for decades that it wants a patient-centred NHS, this has just been rhetoric up to now, as the NHS is still totally provider-centred. It is not in the nature of medicine to be like that. Alternative medicine is patient-centred.

Utility services which were run for the benefit of the staff resulted in inconvenience for their customers. However, a health service that is run for the benefit of the staff has more serious consequences for patients. Not only are most patients not cured by the treatment, but may be harmed. This is known as (known as ‘iatrogenesis’ or doctor induced disease.

Although the medical establishment put out propaganda that the nation is getting healthier, the evidence shows the opposite trend, the nation is getting steadily sicker. For example, take long term conditions, many of which were rare in 1948, but which now affect 17 million people in the UK, a third of the population. (6)

The doctors believe that there is no cause for these. These illnesses just happen by accident at random. These conditions are degenerative, so they will only get worse, and there is no cure. However, we are told the good news that there is medication with which you can manage your symptoms, provided you take it for the rest of our life

For those patients (nearly everybody) who believe their doctor’s gloomy prognosis, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The drugs they are taking prevent them from healing, and keep them dependent on the medical industry.

Conventional medicine has only one tool, namely a hammer with which to hit the body. The industry knows that its treatments don’t work, but is blind as to why. Its response is to get more and more desperate, like Desperate Dan in the Beano. Its only tool now has become a sledge hammer. The result is that iatrogenic illness has overtaken heart disease and cancer to become the biggest single killer (7)

Iatrogenesis is not killing people deliberately like Shipman. They are being killed by mistake, but they are just as dead. Iatrogenesis has now become the cause of about a quarter of all deaths, killing about 3 people each year per thousand inhabitants, mostly through adverse drug reactions. This is genocide on the scale of Bosnia, Ruanda.

Pro rata this means that in Brighton and Hove two people are being killed by doctors every day, equivalent to 800 deaths (2 Shipmans) per year. As taxpayers, we are unwitting accomplices to this genocide. We are forced to finance it with the taxes that we pay, totaling £100 bn pa. A world class healthcare service will stop the genocide.

7 Problem 3 materialism
Depression (and all disease) is fundamentally a mental health condition. This means that its cause is in the mind, not the body. However, conventional medicine is materialistic, so can see only the body. It is in denial of the reality of the non-material mind, (the mental body) This is part of the aura, which is an information field controlling the 100 trillion cells in the physical body.

For this reason, conventional medicine cannot see the cause of any disease. This explains why it never even seeks the cause of illness. Clinicians therefore always do what Lord Nelson was said to have done at Trafalgar: ‘He clapped his glass to his sightless eye: ‘I can’t see it’ he said.’

Patients always ask doctors: ‘what is the cause of my disease? Doctors know deep down that the cause is in their non-material mind, which is out of bounds to them. They therefore give trivial answers which fob off their patients, such as ‘wear and tear’, ‘what do you expect at your age?’, ‘ its in your genes’. These answers are not true or helpful, and contribute to the lack of trust mentioned in paragraph 2 above.

To see the cause of disease, therapists have to drop the paradigms (underlying belief systems) of materialism, (matter is the only reality) reductionism, (the whole is only the sum of its parts) and mechanism (people are machines) because they are wrong. Instead they have to adopt the paradigm of holism, which acknowledges the existence of a non-material mind.

Only then are they no longer blind to the mind. They can then see and acknowledge that the mind affects the physiology of the body.(8) This so-called ‘mind/body effect’ is not new, but has always been known. Pavlov got a Nobel prize for his work with dogs salivating to the sound of a bell in 1904. The reason that conventional medicine has forgotten it for a century is the vested interests of the drug industry who have spread propaganda against it.

They have also spread the mechanistic model for people as tinmen. People are not machines; they have thoughts, feelings and life which no machine has, or could ever have. To find better treatments which cure disease we must adopt a holistic model for all living creatures including people, which is computers.

Science and technology has spent $ trillions developing these and artificial intelligence, without acknowledging that life invented them and real intelligence billions of years ago, putting them into every cell since. If scientists were not blinded by materialism, they would see that all the technology that they are seeking ‘out there’ is already ‘in here’ (within themselves) if only they would look inwards as well as outwards. A world class healthcare service will do this by adopting the holistic paradigm.

8 Problem 4 - our 200,000 year old software
Under the computer model for people, our body is our hardware. Our mind is our software. Our soul or higher self is our operator. Spirit is the internet by which we communicate with others telepathically. Our environment is also crucial to our health, as our life depends on it for air, food, and love, which is our spiritual food.

All living creatures are run by software with which they are programmed. Plants and animals have no option but to live their lives robotically, always in auto-pilot mode. However, humans have a neocortex with which we can think. This gives us the possibility of free will . This is the ability to come out of auto-pilot mode and to choose to do this or that.

If we choose to exercise that free will by thinking rationally, we have the theoretical possibility of changing the programme that runs our life. For example, theoretically we can change our lifestyle, such as our job, partner, home, hobbies.

However, most of us are in denial that we have any free will. This is the paradigm known as determinism, and is another sub-paradigm of materialism. We keep telling ourselves and others that we have no alternative but to slavishly follow our present lifestyle, that our life is pre-determined. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. We condemn ourselves to live our lives robotically, in auto-pilot mode, as if we are actors in a soap opera, following our script slavishly.

We see our friends, relations and colleagues living robotically. We see that they frequently sabotage their own best interests, and take no heed of warnings. We wonder why they behave so strangely, as they profess themselves to be intelligent. Furthermore, we know that people do not always behave like this.

Sometimes we do exercise free will, proving that it is possible. When we become aware that we are being scripted we discover that we can ‘kick over the traces’ (rebel) and rewrite our script, or even change our play. The neuro-physiological explanation of this phenomenon of free will/determinism has been discovered by scientists, described below. A world class healthcare service will incorporate its findings into the evidence base of its treatments.

9 Problem 5 We use our free will only 1% of the time
We are the only animal to have a neocortex in our brain, which is our most precious asset. It uniquely gives us the power to think rationally, by using our frontal lobes. However, we seldom do this. Studies show that on average we only use them about 1% of the time. (8)

For 99% of the time we run on autopilot. We slavishly follow the script of our conditioning, which is full of limiting beliefs, including the belief that we have no alternative than to continue on the treadmill of our present lifestyle, in denial of free will. (determinism)

The reason for this low utilisation is that we are very sensitive to danger, as a survival mechanism. Our nervous system was designed some 200,000 years ago for when we were cave men in an extremely hostile environment. It works like traffic lights. (9)

When all is well, the light is green, and no motivational hormones are released. Then we feel good, and all our bodily systems work normally. We can think rationally, and go about our business as usual. However, within 30 milliseconds of perceiving a threat, the traffic lights turns to yellow or red, and our physiology changes totally, as described below.

The reason why we only use our frontal lobes for only 1% of the time is because for 99% of our time our frontal lobes are switched off by fear in the yellow or red hormonal reactions. I will describe later in paragraph 12 how we can use our frontal lobes more often. Basically this is by changing our hormone reaction to endorphine, which I call a white traffic light. The staff in a world class healthcare service will use their frontal lobes more often, and help their patients to do the same.

10 Problem 6 - The yellow fear reaction - lobotomy
When we perceive a threat to our security (which can be just a harsh look from our boss, partner, parent, child, tax man, parking warden etc) the traffic light of our nervous system turns from green to yellow, and we go into the adrenaline reaction of fight or flight.

Adrenaline shuts down our frontal lobes, so that we cannot think of anything except how to get out of the danger. We act as if we have had a lobotomy, (removal of our frontal lobes) and therefore have no way of knowing that our thinking is impaired. (10)

We then behave irrationally, like a frightened animal. We cannot control ourselves, and do not even know what we are doing. This explains behavior such as temper tantrums, road rage, domestic violence, and attacks on healthcare staff. The reason for this is that we have gone into the yellow hormonal reaction of our nervous system.

Violent crime has doubled in the last decade because collective fear in society has doubled. Examples are continuous news reports of our troops dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, the abduction of Madeleine McCann, tannoyed ‘Do not leave baggage unattended…’ Such announcements every 5 minutes do not deter terrorists, but push the nervous system of millions of travelers into the yellow with the fear of a bomb explosion.

Although it only takes a thirtieth of a second to go from green to yellow, it takes many minutes to eliminate the adrenaline, and go back from yellow to green. This issue can be demonstrated by watching a herd of grazing animals. After being frightened, they are sensitized to danger, and take a while to resume grazing again. Journeys by train used to be pleasantly relaxing, but since 9/11 have become unpleasantly disturbing by constantly repeated warnings.

In the yellow fear adrenaline reaction, the following also happens:

a) Our digestive system switches off, so we do not properly absorb the nutrients from our food. This is the cause of travel sickness. It could also be one of the causes for the obesity epidemic.

b) Our immune system also switches off. We become prone to picking up infections and illness, and become sick and tired. This is said to be the biggest single reason for visiting our GP.

These add to the original threat to our security, which pushed us into the yellow in the first place. After a) happens we may think ‘I am too fat so my husband will leave me’. After b) happens we may think ‘I can’t work so I will lose my job’.

These additional perceived threats escalate, and lead us into a vicious spiral; the worse we get, the worse we get. The more time that we spend in the yellow, the more our ability to think rationally is impaired. A fog clouds our vision, and noise prevents us listening.

As we cannot see or hear properly, we cannot receive messages that are written or spoken, and our minds get more and more closed. We then cannot see any way out of this situation, so we become trapped in a prison of our own making. Many people with long term conditions live in the yellow like this for many years of worsening symptoms.

If we believe our doctors’ diagnosis, and take the medication prescribed, we are condemned to a lifestyle resembling a concentration camp, dependent on the whim of our wardens, the medical establishment. We become like children, resigned to our fate. The reality is that we are just living in the yellow hormonal reaction, which is reversible. A world class healthcare service will understand this, and help us to get out of the trap.

11 Problem 7 - the red fear reaction - denial
When we perceive a threat to our life, - such as abandonment, separation, divorce, diagnosis to someone on whom we are dependent, or to ourselves - the traffic lights of our nervous system turns from yellow to red. The adrenaline of fight or flight disappears, and another hormone called acetylcholine kicks in, and we become traumatized.

This is the frozen, paralysed state of feigning death. Our minds go into the state of denial. (10) This is often the cause of heart disease (broken heart) cancer, diabetes, chronic fatigue, Parkinson’s disease, ME, MS, Alzeimers, dementia etc.

As with the yellow, if we believe our doctors diagnosis, and take the medication prescribed, we are condemned to a lifestyle resembling a concentration camp, dependent on the whim of our wardens, the medical establishment. We become like children, resigned to our fate. The reality is that we are just living in the red hormonal reaction, which is reversible. A world class healthcare service will understand this, and help us to get out of the trap.

12 The cure – live in the green and white with meditation
We have seen above that the physiological cause of every disease is a hierarchy of causes and effects, as shown in the following table.

Hierarchy of causes of disease

7 Dis-ease, disease

6 Lobotomy, mal-absorption, immune suppression

5 Hormone reaction (white, green, yellow, red)

4 Fear

3 Noise from repressed emotions

2 Conditioning in Childhood

1 Nurture from environment

However, contrary to what the medical establishment would have us believe, these causes are not accidental, nor random. They are just normal physiological reactions, which apply to every person, and indeed every mammal.

Apart from the bottom 2, they are not fixed. We can change them simply by the power of our mind, namely what we think. If we want to be cured of our disease, (not everybody does, as there always is a secondary gain) we have to go into the white to heal, and then live in the green.

We cannot avoid being stressed, but we can avoid the adrenaline reaction to stress. There is a simple method by which we can reverse our lobotomy and re-engage our frontal lobes so that we can think rationally again. The method was given to every young man, as advice in the 1940s when pub brawls and street fights were everyday occurrences.

To stop a fight, tell the protagonists to ‘take 3 deep breaths’. If they do so, they cannot maintain their anger. Their motivation to express their emotion disappears, and they have to stop fighting.

The explanation of how this works is given by neuro-science, called ‘heart rate variability’ (HRV, 10) It shows that if we consciously control our breathing and breath rhythmically, our intra-thoracic muscles send messages to our brain, and adrenaline is eliminated. Practicing that advice so that it becomes habitual is what we do in mediation.

Meditation is an altered state of consciousness. It is a state of no mind, when there is a gap in the traffic of thoughts and feelings on the screen. In therapy it is known as ‘presence’, meaning being present for a client so that one can receive what they are telling us. In sport it is known as the ‘zone’, meaning the relaxed state in which one performs best.

By wiring people up to instruments it can be shown that the brain wave frequency reduces from beta (about 20Hz) to alpha (about 10Hz) and balances the left and right sides. In this meditative state hormones called endorphins are released into our system. These are required for healing to happen.

The meditative state in the traffic light model has to be a fourth colour, which I call white. In the computer model it is a blank screen. .The relationship between the traffic light and computer models is given in the table below.

Traffic light colour

Computer screen


Emotional State




Frozen, Denial




Fight, Flight


Screen saver


Business as usual





Examples of people who have successfully gone from red or yellow to green and white, reversed their own lobotomies and cured their diseases are:

a) people who have had a transformation following a near-death experience,
b) addicts who suddenly see the light and kick their habit,
c) people diagnosed terminally ill who have a ‘spontaneous remission’.

These healing phenomena are confounding in the conventional medical model, because they are inexplicable in their body-centered materialist paradigm. However, they are easily explained in the mind-centered paradigm of holism.

We obviously cannot avoid threatening situations our lives. People have tried living in a cave in the Himalayas. Rev. Peter Owen Jones was filmed doing this for a TV programme. He got amoebic dysentery within a few weeks and had to give up. (11)

However, we can reduce our hormonal reaction to threat by practicing meditation which includes rhythmical deep breathing. Unfortunately, most of us do not meditate because we are too busy. We are so concerned about others that we never leave any time for ourselves. Instead of self-care, we give ourselves self-neglect.

The real reason for this may be deeply buried in our unconscious minds. We may hate ourselves so much that we are not worthy to give ourselves self-care. We may feel so guilty that we do not deserve to be well, happy, or even to live. A world class healthcare service will understand these limiting beliefs, and help us to accept ourselves.

13 Self-neglect v. self-care
Healthcare staff are the worst offenders in self-neglect. They justify this by saying that they put care for their patients before care for themselves. If their frontal lobes were engaged they would see that self-neglect does not actually help their patients. It just means that they live in the yellow (increasingly stressed out) or the red, (burnt out, with one foot in the grave).

This explains why the staff sickness rate in the NHS is 5%, which is 50% worse than the national average of 3.3%. Doctors set us the most rotten example, as they are the sickest people in society. They have above average addiction rates, and have a decade less life expectancy. If they worked in a competitive marketplace (instead of the ivory tower of the NHS) they would soon be out of business. No-one would employ a sick accountant, solicitor, banker, bricklayer, but we have no choice of our doctors.

. Self-care starts by having the discipline to give time for ourselves every day, so that we can listen to what our inner voice is trying to tell us. A daily meditation practice gives us the silence we need to hear that inner voice. Healing comes only in that listening, thereby understanding a new meaning in a situation.

Meditation is the active healing ingredient in all alternative therapies. However, conventional healthcare staff are brainwashed that alternative therapy does not work, so are conditioned to avoid it. (12) Doctors used to be trained in medical school that alternative medicine is quackery practiced by charlatans. Staff pick up this limiting belief and deny themselves access to the healing effects of alternative therapies. The rest of us (who can afford it) reap its benefit.

Meditation is the best way of changing our hormonal response from red and yellow to green. This can be demonstrated by stress tests in which Tibetan monks beat the controls by an order of magnitude. The evidence for the health benefits of meditation is contained in over 200 scientific research studies. (13) A world class healthcare service will incorporate meditation at the centre of its treatments, as it is the key to healing.

14 Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) meditation course.
The best way to learn how to live in the green through meditation is to take the NICE-approved Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course, This course received favourable TV coverage by Prof Kathy Sykes in her series on alternative therapies last March. (14) In July Lord Darzi called for all NICE approved treatments to be made freely available to all patients who choose to take them (15).

The MBCT course was developed by Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn (16) and others in the USA. It is accredited in UK by the University of Bangor. It teaches us how to meditate, and provides 2 compact discs and a 56 page book for self-help learning at home. Participants are expected to keep a journal and meditate for up to an hour per day for homework. The course is currently available in Brighton at prices ranging from £130-£185. ( 17)

The course teaches us how to watch inwards, and live in the present moment in our bodies. Most of us live in our minds, in the past or the future. The 3 minute meditation on the CD asks: ‘What is my experience right now….in my bodily sensations, (body scan)…… In my thoughts…..In my feelings?

The course trains us to breathe consciously, by watching every breath. With practice we are able eventually to watch everything that happens to us as if we are watching a video, and not get emotionally attached to anything or anybody.

This course turns the vicious spiral mentioned above in paragraph 10 into a virtuous spiral of the better we get, the better we get. It does this by training our nervous system to go into the green and stay there, no matter to what stress we are subjected.

Then our frontal lobes engage, our fogged sight and hearing clears, and we always know when we are behaving irrationally. When we allow ourselves to be quiet, we have frequent revelations, and realise that we can change our behaviour. As our awareness grows we don’t have to drop our addictions, obsessions, tantrums, diseases etc, because they quietly disappear of their own accord. This is healing.

Two people, Brenda Roberts and Rosalind Johnston, took this course a few years ago and wrote up their reflections on it. Their article is reproduced in appendix 1. The staff of a world class healthcare service will practice meditation every day to heal themselves, so that they can be a good example to their patients.

15 The health benefits of meditation
By learning meditation we can heal our diseases, which are just afflictions of limiting beliefs in our mind. We become content and at peace with ourselves and those around us, improving our relationships with them. Our body follows our mind and heals itself of whatever physical conditions we have. We find that our body is no longer dependent on our medication, so we can gradually do without it. We have found and eliminated the cause of our disease, and are cured to live drug-free thereafter.

The MBCT course is not therapy (despite its name) but just an introduction to one of the ancient techniques by which to get into meditation. (watching our breath, thoughts, and feelings) Nevertheless, it has therapeutic value by teaching us a method by which we can heal ourselves, stay healthy and prevent illness in future.

However, healing is not a fix, but a process. To avoid slipping back into old habits and illness after the course, we need to continue to practice meditation regularly. This is easier and more effective when done in a group with others. Not only do we get their support and encouragement to continue, but it is also infectious. It has been shown scientifically that one experienced meditator in the group affects the brain waves of others by telepathy, reducing the frequency of everyone from beta (c20Hz) to alpha (c10Hz).

To help participants of the MBCT course to persevere with their meditation practice a leaflet has been produced entitled ‘Places to drop in and meditate in Brighton and Hove’. It lists 7 venues, all of which provide meditation almost every day. The price is usually for donations, so it is within the means of everyone to afford. The practices come under the title of Yoga, Buddhist, Brahma Kumaris, and Osho active meditations. (18)

To achieve healing, each one of us need to find the meditation practice which suits us best, and persevere with it regularly and frequently. If we are sick, the quickest way to recover our health is to attend meditation classes every day. If we are well and just want to maintain our good health and prevent illness, we should attend classes at least once or twice a week.

The more we practice, the more we learn how to continue our meditation outside the meditation room, so that it becomes integrated into our habitual way of life. The most important (and difficult) thing is to remember to breathe consciously at every breath, particularly when we are being stressed.

The reason why this is so difficult is (as mentioned before) when we are emotional, we go into the yellow, and our frontal lobes disengage. We can then neither think or remember. It is therefore a great help to have a supportive partner who reminds us whenever this happens, so that we can snap out of it.

Eventually we become so aware that we can do this for ourselves. We can then stay well and at peace with ourselves and those around us whatever happens to us until we leave our bodies. A world class healthcare service will promote the importance of keeping our frontal lobes engaged.

16 Noise in our unconscious mind
To obtain benefit from a MBCT course, participants have to be able to calm down sufficiently to allow their nervous system to become hormone free.(go into the green) Only if they can do this will their frontal lobes engage, and they will be able to concentrate on what is being said.

Some people cannot do this because they are too disturbed. Their body/mind is so full of tension that they cannot relax. It is as if they are living on a volcano, which might erupt at any moment. They cannot sit still for a minute, but are always fidgeting and restless.

They have lived by habit so long in the yellow or red that, even when asked to sit quietly, they cannot do so. They therefore cannot hear what the tutor is saying, and receive the content of the course. They are the people who are mentally ill, and therefore need the course most. However, they are unavailable to receive it in this form.

They are disturbed because it is as if a radio, TV or car alarm is constantly blaring in their unconscious mind. It is a constantly distraction to them, making their life hell. A ‘voice’ in their head keeps telling them that they are no good, and that they should be doing something else.

They hate themselves because of this noise. If they go to a psychologist they will be diagnosed with some conditions such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) neurosis, psychosis, etc

They are probably addicted to something such as recreational drugs (nicotine, alcohol etc) work, gambling, food, talking etc. Their addiction is caused by the noise, and is their coping mechanism for dealing with it. That way they can get away from it or turn down the volume. They need their addiction, so it is not helpful to tell them to give it up. (as conventional medicine does)

17 The cause of the noise
The cause of this noise (and their dis-ease, disease) is their conditioning. Their software was programmed when they were a small child, but now inappropriate to their present needs. The noise has hypnotized, enspelled, possessed them.

They learnt their addicted, robotic behaviour as a means of coping with it, and it has become habitual. Their nervous systems have become trapped in the yellow or red. They can get out of it, but they need more than the quiet space of a MBCT course to do so.

The noise and the ‘voice’ in their head is repressed emotions, such as anger, grief, guilt, shame, fear. These are often the emotions of their parents, inherited. The parents in turn inherited them from their parents, so the emotions may go back many generations. In this doctors are right when they say that afflictions are often inherited. However, the inheritance is not only in the genes, but also in the cellular memories.

All repressed emotions go into a ‘garbage can’ in our unconscious mind. We forget about them until the can becomes full and overflows. Then we experience the symptoms described above. Madness is when we cannot move around our own house (our body) for garbage. I have written a 6 page paper on how we can empty the garbage can, entitled ‘Cathartic Meditation for Prevention and Therapy’ (19) the gist of which is summarised below.

It is the existence of these repressed emotions which is the cause of our fear. (see the hierarchy of causes in paragraph 12. If we had none, we would have nothing to fear, and our nervous system could not be pushed into the yellow or red.

Our underlying fear is that the repressed emotion (say anger) will erupt and we will lose control of ourselves (lobotomy) We may then become violent and kill someone. The news tells us that this happens every day. It is the cause of people getting murdered.

18 Catharsis to remove the noise
Emotions are literally ‘energy in motion’. There is a simple and effective remedy for releasing them, namely to express them, known as emotional release, or catharsis. Children do it naturally. In school they are let out in the playground to let off steam (cathart) so that when the bell goes they can sit down and concentrate on their lessons.

Osho dynamic meditation was designed about 40 years ago and has since been practiced worldwide. Its purpose is to enable the above mentioned disturbed people to release their repressed emotions, and thereby get out of the yellow and red.

It takes one hour, and starts with half an hour of catharsis to empty our garbage can, so that we can go into the green in the second half hour. A study of it on patients who did it daily for 7 days showed significant decreases in anxious-depressive syndrome, somatic complaints, aggressive behaviours and depression. (20) A summary of this report is given in appendix 2.

Catharsis is an effective anger management technique, which used to be practiced in the padded cells of lunatic asylums. Angry people should continue to practice dynamic meditation until we have no more emotions left in us to cathart, (an empty garbage can) which may take years.

Then one lives permanently in the green because one has nothing left to fear. There is no repressed emotion left in our unconscious mind to erupt, so there is no possibility of ever losing control of ourself. Our frontal lobes are permanently engaged, so we can watch anything with equanimity, even the death of those dear to us, including our own body.

19 Enhanced sandwich MBCT course
Although I have tried all the above mentioned mediations in paragraph 15, the one I know best is Osho dynamic. This is a one hour meditation done in the morning to a compact disc (CD). I lead it 3 times per week, as I have done for the last 6 years.

If you want to try it, drop in and do so at Revitalise café opposite Hove town hall, using the back door. It starts at 730 am on every Tuesday and Thursday, so that people can go to work afterwards, and at 8am on Saturdays. I have written several articles about it, ( ) the conclusions of which are summarized below.

The disturbed people mentioned in paragraph 16 above could still benefit from the MBCT course if they did Osho dynamic meditation immediately before it, to empty their emotional garbage can. This would enable them to get in the green for long enough to hear and receive what the MBCT tutor is teaching.

Preceded by dynamic, and succeeded by kundalini, the MBCT course would become an ‘enhanced sandwich course’. Kundalini meditation was designed by Osho to consolidate the understandings learnt in the course.

All Osho therapy groups use this ‘sandwich course’ format, starting with dynamic, and ending with kundalini, with different course contents between. These groups have been going strong for more than 30 years at centres all over the world. (18)

The protocol for the MBCT course is 2 hours tuition once per week for 8 successive weeks, preferably in the morning when people are fresher. The same protocol should apply to the enhanced sandwich course, with the following approximate timings:

• 8-9 am Osho dynamic meditation,
• 9-10am Breakfast break, sharing,
• 10-12am MBCT course,
• 12-1pm Osho kundalini meditation
• 1-2 pm Lunch together to share experiences and disperse.

The aim of dynamic is to release emotions, which cause us the fear which pushes us into the yellow or red. We then get a glimpse of the good feeling when we get into the green or white. We then know that is possible to feel good, and know how we can get back to it – by doing these meditations again, which become the highlight of our week.

The aim of the MBCT course is for us to get a glimpse of the cause of our disease, namely limiting beliefs which came from our conditioning. We come to see that they are just ideas in our minds, with no substance or reality, and we can change them.

The aim of the enhanced sandwich course intervention is to empower ourselves with techniques to heal ourselves for the rest of their lives. If we practice, we can give ourself a ‘reverse lobotomy’ to re-engage our frontal lobes, improve our digestion and immune system, healing our dis-ease.

20 How does healing happen?
Of course, healing cannot be guaranteed or predicted by any intervention, however good, because it depends on the receptivity (or resistance) of the participants. In my experience in doing more than 200 days of Osho therapy groups, healing usually occurs spontaneously as revelations during dynamic and kundalini meditation. We are more relaxed then, helped by the music and movement. During the course we have toe concentrate, making us more tense.

Healing is the reprogramming of our software. It dehypnotizes, de-spells us, and releasing us from whatever ideas are possessing us. We perceive healing as revelations, which bubble up from our unconscious and surface into our consciousness. This can be visualized using Freud’s iceberg model, as black lumps of coal floating up through the ice to break out at the top, where they fall into the sea to disappear for ever.

Revelations happen when the ‘penny drops’, we ‘see the light’ and understand a new meaning in the situation. We feel suddenly unburdened, as if a weight has been taken off our backs. We know that healing has happened because our attitude to the situation has changed. Those who are close to us and perceptive may spot this change of attitude.

Healing occurs in the part of our aura known as our mental body. Our physical body responds rapidly (perhaps within seconds) by the relief of our physical symptoms.

As healing has removed the cause of our disease, the change tends to be permanent, justifying the word ‘cure’.

Healing may occur in conditions which conventional medicine regards as incurable. By doing Osho courses over the last 6 years I have cured my OCD, cataract, osteoporosis and arthritis, all of which I was told were incurable and degenerative. (21).

21 Evidence base for the enhanced sandwich course
The enhanced sandwich course is a marriage of two ancient meditation traditions from thousands of years ago. The MBCT course is based on the ‘path of awareness,’ as taught by the Buddha, which gave rise to Buddhism. Dynamic is based on the ‘path of love’ as taught by the flute playing Chrishna, which forms some of the teachings of Hinduism. Osho (1931-90) gave a discourse in 1981 about the need to integrate both paths (22) as follows:

‘Awareness is a boat crossing to the other shore, and love is a bridge to come back, uniting the banks of the river of life. …..Your so-called saints have only gone half way. They may have attained a certain awareness, but they are not capable of coming back to the old shore with a shower or love.

A lover who knows nothing of awareness is also living half-heartedly. Your saints are repressing their love; your lovers are repressing their awareness. I want you to be both together. Then only is the circle of life complete.

Zorba is love, Buddha is awareness. And when you are Zorba the Buddha you have attained the greatest height that is possible in existence.
But unfortunately men have lived for centuries divided. Zorbas think they are against Buddhas; and Buddhas think they are against Zorbas. And because of this antagonism, the Zorba is repressing his Buddha, and the Buddha is repressing his Zorba.

The Zorba is beautiful in his love, in his song and dance, but his awareness is nil. The Buddha’s awareness is very clear, but very dry. There is no juice in it. It is like a desert where no roses blossom, no greenery can be seen.

Both are deprived. The Zorba lives an unconscious life. The Buddha lives a life without love. The meeting of both will create the whole man, and the whole man is the only holy man.

My whole life’s effort, my whole dedication is to bring Zorba the Buddha hand in hand dancing in a disco. I am creating living human beings who are Zorba the Buddha.’

22 Recommendation – offer enhanced sandwich MBCT courses free on the NHS
The proper mental health service mentioned in paragraph 3 could be implemented if enhanced sandwich MCBT courses for treatment and prevention were provided free on the NHS. The PCT should commission the Sussex Partnership Trust (SPT) to provide sufficient numbers of these courses to satisfy demand without anyone having to wait more than a few weeks.

All referral routes should be open, including self referral. The aim of the course should be to get participants to the self-help state, when they can understand why they are ill and progress their own healing by accessing the drop-in meditation groups mentioned above in paragraph 15. Those who have not reached that self-help state by the end of the course should repeat it.

The two paragraphs above are a statement of the ultimate objective. It is ambitious, so should be planned and built up in stages, as follows.

Stage 1 could be regarded as a pilot. It should be offered to all SPT staff, particularly psychiatrists, who have double the average suicide rate. They should be given paid time off to do the course as soon as their duties allow. This should improve staff sickness rates from the present 4.6%. The staff will then be better mental health practitioners, and can share the insights they have learned to help heal their patients.

Stage 2 should be for the staff of hospitals, clinics and surgeries in Sussex, who number about 10,000. They have an average staff sickness rate of 5%. Doing this course should reduce this, and as above, enable them to be more compassionate with their patients.

Stage 3 should be to offer the course to the mental health patients in Sussex numbering 60.000, aiming to get them drug-free.

Stage 4 should be to offer the course to all those with long term conditions.

Stage 5 should be for healthy people who want to prevent illness.

As mentioned above, the MBCT course is already widely available in the private sector in UK. The addition of Osho dynamic and kundalini meditations makes the enhanced sandwich course accessible to more people, so I hope that it will soon also be available in the private and corporate sectors, at a price around £300. It is particularly suitable to staff who are off sick or soldiering on with burnout.

23 Staff sickness rate targets
NHS staff sickness target rates should be set lower than the national average, which is 3.3%. The present SPT target is 4.5%, which is too high. Providers of mental health services should set a good example, and walk their talk by setting a target of around 2%. This is achievable if all staff were given easy access to this course, and also to free dynamic and kundalini meditation before and after work at their work place.

In the corporate sector Osho meditation has been provided free to all staff to good effect, such as in a bank in Oslo, and a bus company in Stockholm, where it halved the accident rate ( 23).

24 Tutor qualifications
The course tutors do not need to be qualified psychotherapists, as it is not a therapy, but a meditation course. Meditation teachers from Yoga, Buddhist and Osho schools should be invited to take the training. To qualify as a course tutors the trainee should have done the enhanced course, plus a tutor training of about the same length as the course, around a day per week for 8 days.

The criterion for attaining the tutor qualification should be that the candidate can hold a safe space for participants to explore their own inner experiences. This requires the tutor to stay in the green for the duration of the course. His job is to get and keep the participants in the green, so that they can express and share their thoughts and feelings. Only experienced meditators can do this, so only they are the only ones who should be qualified to teach this course.

The moment that participants feel that they are being judged, (which includes being given advice) they instinctively go back into the yellow or red, defeating the object of the course. They cannot control this reaction, as it is a habit that they have practiced since childhood.

To keep participants in the green, tutors have to be able to accept participants the way that they are without even wanting them to change. This means being non-judgemental. When we judge someone we project our own prejudices on to them.

This quality cannot be acted, as participants can read tutor’s thought and body language like a book. The tutor must therefore be aware of his every thought and gesture, and sensitive to those of the participants. To do this is very difficult, particularly for conventional practitioners, as all their training has been the other way.

Indeed, our cultural conditioning urges everyone to be judgemental all the time. This has to be unlearned. Customer-centred businesses, including alternative practitioners have learned to be non-judgemental, because they find it is better for business, empowering both their clients and themselves.

This is why giving advice, however good, usually does not work. Examples are government health warnings, such as ‘smoking causes fatal lung cancer’ on cigarette packets. Most of us instinctively revert to when we were a ‘terrible two’ being told what to do by our parents. We rebel against advice because it usually means that we are being judged. We find this demeaning, as it makes us put down, and made to feel small, which nobody likes.

The staff culture of a world class healthcare service will be patient-centred. They will not judge themselves, their colleagues or their patients, but will be there for them as and when needed, with minimum waiting time.

25 The venue for the course
The venue for the course is important, as the fabric of the building retains a memory of the emotional energy of the previous occupants. This is the common experience of sensitive people. The scientific evidence for this is contained in studies on the molecular structure of water, which is demonstrably different depending on the emotion to which it was subject, eg love, hate. (24) Brickwork, plaster, furniture contains at least 10% water, so remembers the emotional energy to which it was subjected.

Living creatures including people are 80% water. This explains why our emotional environment is so important to us. The communal health of different districts of a town can have large health inequalities amounting to a decade less expectation of life (such as Whitehawk compared to Hove Park) This is partly due to the emotional environment, which is infectious. Sick people together tend to get sicker, and healthy people together tend to get healthier.

The venue for the course should therefore ideally be a meditation or alternative therapy centre. It will have a meditative atmosphere making it easier to get into the meditative space. (the white). Next best places would be those where healthy people gather to enjoy themselves, such as community halls, cafes.

The worst emotional environments are hospitals, clinics, surgeries, because they are frequented by sick people. They tend to have a disturbed energy, which infect its occupants. This is another reason why the NHS staff sickness rate is so high. If, because of logistics, these are the only practicable venues for the course, the room chosen should have the least disturbed energy, such as a staff room, or staff canteen.

26 Contra-indications policy and rules
I have been told by psychotherapists that meditation and catharsis may provoke a breakdown in psychotic patients. The conventional medical opinion is therefore that meditation is contra-indicated for these patients. These courses should not be offered to them, and if they want to self-refer, they should be prevented. I do not agree with this policy for the following reasons.

Psychotic patients need curative treatments most of all, so should not be denied this course. As mentioned in paragraph 2 above, a health service worthy of the name should offer every patient the best available treatment.

If a therapist is afraid of his patient having a breakdown it indicates that the therapist is putting his own interest above that of his patients. This is another example that the service is being run for the benefit of the staff rather than that of the patients, as mentioned in paragraph 4 above. A world class healthcare service will not adopt this policy.

It also indicates that the therapist is living in the yellow, fear reaction. This could be the unfortunate result of defensive medicine. However, it is not good for the patients, as it prevents him from healing. Ultimately it is not good for the therapist either, as it eventually causes him to burn out.

All therapists should live in the green by practicing meditation. If they were meditators they would not be worried about their patients having breakdowns. They would not regard a breakdown something wrong or bad, but just a way for the patient to break out of the trap mentioned at the end of paragraph 10, and heal.

For over 30 years Osho cathartic meditations and therapy courses have been provided on a self-referral basis.(18) There are no contra-indications, and nobody is prevented from doing the meditations. I have never experienced, nor head of any problems with this policy. I therefore recommend that anyone who wants to do the course (ie self-refers) should be allowed to do it.

The only rule should be that no-one should be allowed to interfere with another member of the class. That rule should be enforced, and the tutor should have the sanction of suspending anyone who breaks it.

27 Myths about catharsis
There is a misconception about catharsis. Psychologists seem to believe that doing catharsis will make patients lose control of themselves. The opposite is the case. When used in therapy, as in dynamic, we watch ourselves catharting. We know that we are always in control, and can stop at any time we like, as when the music changes.

This does not apply to tantrums, road rage, domestic violence etc. Something triggers the repressed emotion and it erupts. We go into the yellow, lose our frontal lobes, and We cannot control these. We are not even aware that they are happening to us at the time, and cannot remember that they occurred when they are over.

We may find that the fear of us losing our temper gives us a secondary gain. People give way to us rather than risk that, so it becomes a learned behaviour and a habit. This is not abnormal when we are a small child, but if we continue to do it as an adult it just shows we have not grown up.

The reason people get mad and go mad is that they are not allowed to express their emotions. If everybody was given the opportunity to go mad in a safe space and cathart out their repressed emotions, (by doing dynamic meditation), nobody would be sick or mad. This is explained in reference (19)

28 Number of tutors required
The approximate numbers of courses and tutors required to deliver the course are estimated as follows. One full time tutor could teach one class of say 20 participant/patient/clients every Monday, another class every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He could thus teach 5 classes per week, totalling 100 clients per week in a batch lasting 8 weeks. Each year, one full time tutor could teach 6 batches, totalling 30 courses, and 600 clients per year.

. To teach all 10,000 staff and 60,000 patients (70,000 from stages 1,2 and 3 of paragraph 20) in 1 year would need around 120 full time tutors, or 240 half-time tutors teaching about 3,500 courses of 20 participants per course.

To allow for drop outs, the target should be to train about 300 tutors. The candidates should be recruited from existing MBCT tutors now working in the private sector, who probably number around 50, and from existing meditation leaders from the yoga, Buddhist and Osho traditions, who probably number around 1000. The opportunity to get steady paid employment would bring then out of the woodwork. Brighton has one of the highest percentages of alternative therapists in the country.

29 Cost of commissioning and providing each course
The business plan for this could be drafted on the following lines. The estimated cost of commissioning 70,000 interventions in 3,500 courses per year would be about £20 million pa, at about £300 per intervention. The breakdown of this is detailed below, and amounts to about half of the present budget for mental health services commissioned by BHC PCT, which totals about £40 mpa.

Cost per course

Tutor for 6 hours per day for 8 days over 8 weeks, 48 hours @ £30 per hour
Room hire 8 days @ £100 per day at health centres in the community
Course handouts for 20 students @ £30 per student
Total cost of providing each course
Management administration mark up for providing the course @ 100%
Total cost to the PCT for commissioning the course
Cost of commissioning the course per student @ 20 students per course
Cost of commissioning 3,500 courses pa at £5,680 per course


30 Conclusion – Improving health with world class healthcare service
The PCT’s vision of improving health with world class healthcare service could become manifest by making the decision to commission these courses. The objective is to empower the participants to take responsibility for their own health (as does the Expert Patient Programme)

It teaches participants how to meditate, and how to follow up the course by accessing drop-in meditation classes, so that they do not fall back into their old habits or regress into illness. No lesson is a more important life skill than this.

This intervention provides the prospect of a cure for whatever condition the participant may be suffering. There are no contra-indications, and no risk of harm in taking the course.

At a cost to the PCT of around £300 it is good value for the public money spent. It also gives prospect of substantial reductions in staff sickness costs, the number of GP visits, hospital admissions, and prescribing costs.

If the PCT commissions 3,500 courses each year for 70,000 people for the next 3 years, a total of 210, 000 people could have taken the course by the end of 2011, which is a third of the population in Sussex.

The health of many could be so improved that they become drug free, saving side effects and lives from mortal adverse drug reactions. The influence of their good example could have spread the message of how to improve health to practically everyone, particularly children.

It would make Sussex a beacon of good healthcare practice throughout the UK and the world.

31 References
1 Conference ‘Improving Health’ held in Brighton on 2.7.08 attended by 168 people
2 Speech by Patricia Hewitt MP to Mental Health conference May 2006
3 News report 25.2.08 ‘Anti-depressants don’t work’ based on the work of Prof Irving Kitch, who reviewed 35 studies from 1987-99, on over 5,000 trial patients 4 TV programme ‘Vision of the Future’ by Prof Michio Kako, 15.6.08
5 See ‘Saving the Planet by a Paradigm Shift from materialism to Holism’ by John Kapp,, section 9.19
6 Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, writing in forward to the NHS Expert Patients Programme book, 2002.
7 Report ‘Death by Medicine’ 2005 by Dr Gary Null et al, see
8 Dr Eckhart Tolle book ‘The New Earth’ 2008, reported in TV March 08
9 Dr Stephen Porges, University of Chicago, speaking at Relational Heart conference London on 25.7.08
10 Alan Watkins, speaking at Relational Heart conference 25.7.08 re Heart Rate Variability (HRV) see
11 TV programme series on enlightenment in India by Rev Peter Owen Jones, autumn 2007.
12 Book ‘Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial’ by Prof Ernst and Simon Singh 2008, reviewed by John Kapp see section 9.26
13 Transcendental Meditation, see
14 Prof Kathy Sykes TV series on Alternative Therapies quoting Dr Mark Williams on 31.3.08
15 News report 30.6.08 announcing Lord Darzi’s report on NHS.
16 Book ‘Coming to our Senses’ by Prof Jon Kabat-Zinn, Univ. of Massacheusetts 2005.
17 Centre for Mindfulness Education, 28, New Rd Brighton, 01273 681333,
18 Paper ‘The Evidence Base for Osho Meditation’, by John Kapp see, section 9.3
19 ‘Cathartic Meditation for Prevention and Therapy’, section 9.27
20 Effect of 7 day Osho dynamic study Avni Vyas PhD ISBN 978-960-6672-26-2
21 Paper ‘Discovery of the Cause and Cure for my Arthritis’ by John Kapp, section 9.11
22 Osho discourse ‘The Rebellious Spirit’, chapter 16, p155
23 Stockholm news report, 1994 (video clip in possession of author)
24 The work of Prof Masero Emoto reported in film ‘What the Bleep do we know?’

1 Reflections on a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course by Brenda Roberts and Rosalind Johnston
2 Effects of Seven-Day Osho Dynamic Study: A Pilot Study by Dr Avni Vyas


Reflections on a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course:
The Silence that Hides in the Roar.

By Brenda Roberts and Rosalind Johnston

The recent publication of “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression” (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002) has triggered an explosion of interest and research. Both providers and recipients of health care in its widest sense have been eager to explore possible applications to their particular situations. The burgeoning field of “Mindfulness-Based Approaches” (see Baer, 2005) now encompasses a variety of practices including MBCT and its older sister Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990 & 2005).

In response to the high levels of interest and demand expressed among many groups in an NHS Trust, the first author (BR) has been running MBCT courses for Trust staff (clinical, managerial or administrative), workers in relevant charities (such as Mind and ReThink) and patients. In keeping with the understanding of MBCT as a taught course and of the facilitator as a teacher, all course participants will be hereafter referred to as students.

The course was slightly adapted to accommodate the broad range of students (Roberts and Hartley, prepress). Staff and charity workers are taught in one stream, and patients in another. However, the All-Day session which takes place between weeks 6 and 7 of the eight-week course is open to all current and previous students. Briefer reunion meetings, also open to all previous students, take place between courses so that overall, students can attend a reunion every couple of months.

Measuring outcomes of courses of this kind may use pre-determined concepts such as scores on questionnaires, use of medication or further requests for professional intervention. However, the use of such measures is unlikely to capture the crucial dimension of students’ changing subjective experiences as they develop different ways of understanding themselves and their lives.

This paper offers a provisional framework for further research based on an analysis of approximately 70 students’ comments and end-of-course evaluation forms plus the reflections of the present authors. Six key themes emerged which appeared to capture the bulk of psychological changes experienced by students as a result of following the course. Nothing in the material indicated any need to consider the various groups separately, as the same six key themes appeared equally salient across groups.

Respondent validity was sought by circulating early drafts of this paper to over 50 past students and inviting feedback. A few respondents suggested additional themes (such as increased creativity, a sense of transformation, a greater sense of integration) but no additional theme was suggested more than once. None of the respondents communicated a sense of being unable to recognise their experiences within the framework suggested, and many gave further examples of their experiences which seemed to them to fit well into the framework.

The second author (RJ), translator of verse and aspiring poet, offers her illustrations (Italic script) of these themes inspired by her own experiences on the programme.

Theme 1: An increased sense of compassion towards oneself
Throughout the course, students are invited to observe their own experiences in a gentle and kindly way. The message is repeated frequently:

  maintain a soft, open curiosity about your experiences, whatever they are;
  bring a friendly enquiring attitude to bear on your observations;
  whenever you notice your attention wandering, simply bring it back, with patience and good humour.

It is important to distinguish between this compassionate non-judgement and positive thinking. The instruction is not to try to banish unpleasant or negative experiences and replace them with positive affirmations, but to observe, with infinite tolerance (as best we can), whatever arises, whether it feels pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

Almost all students find this a novel undertaking, and many find it a very difficult challenge. For many people, the concepts of self-discipline and self-criticism seem identical and they may fear the consequences of loosening the grip of judgemental vigilance. Without the constant inner measurement of their experiences against some ideal standard, will they lose their bearings and become sloppy? If you let go of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in favour of simply noticing what is, won’t this lead to moral confusion and experiential anarchy?

Where students are unable to trust the process, their self reports tend to remain abstract, evaluative and dichotomised:

  I got it right/wrong.
  It worked/didn’t work.
  That was good/no good for me.

However, after a few weeks most students begin to report more specific, discrete and variable experiences:

  Every time I do it, it’s different!
  In one session, I was really aware of the back of my neck.
  I was feeling really guilty because I’d missed my practice and then I suddenly thought, I can either carry on giving myself a hard time or I can just accept it and start again.

One of the first experiences of the MBCT course was this discovery of compassion. I came to the course crushed by circumstance: suffering prolonged physical illness, condemnation, failure and self-judgement. My sense of isolation was so severe that I felt I inhabited an island where I had been washed up after a shipwreck and had found myself unable to escape.

The opening session recognised this without having the emotional wipe-out of one to one compassion or sympathy. Instead, it was as though a window was opened into the compassion of the universe, which allowed light to flood into the heart of the participant. Mysteriously, this hidden treasure of compassion was equally generated from within the self, independent of any other person and therefore readily available. This compassion is not to be confused with self-pity, which is a destructive emotion, but rather a kind of acceptance of reality and hence a firm base from which to start the healing process.

Theme 2: An increased capacity to calm or soothe the self

It is no more than common sense to know that if one person makes critical comments to another, the second person is likely to feel anxious. Being snarled at unnerves us all. Conversely, most of us know we can help to reduce another’s anxiety through a friendly smile, a warm look and an accepting manner.

Nonetheless, it is extremely surprising to many students to learn that what is true between people is also true within the self (Gilbert & Procter 2006). The quality of attention we offer ourselves has an enormous impact on our experiences. Watching out, tense and tight, for errors and weaknesses ratchets up our anxiety. Offering ourselves a reliable, benign interest is intrinsically calming.

Compassion leads to the steady diminishing of the negative voices which habitually condemn and plunge the subject into despondency. Mindfulness practice releases a new, true, inner voice which, like the sun on spring shoots, encourages growth and an unfurling towards the light. I have called this voice ‘the Comforter’. Comfort is thus available without recourse to another individual. I found that I carried the Comforter within me to any place or situation. This new ability to calm and soothe myself required no striving, no great thoughts or supreme physical skills, no belief system or outward evaluation. It was utterly liberating. Mindfulness is truly universal in its availability.

Theme 3: An increased ability to resist getting entangled in other people’s emotions

There is no explicit teaching of this topic on the course. Neither the meditative nor the cognitive components address the question of relationships in any direct way. Yet it is very common, in the second half of the course, for students to report that they are beginning to interact with others very differently. They begin to recognise not only their own habitual patterns of relating, but also their tendencies to get caught up in other people’s habitual patterns.

  I suddenly realised that we were just going over the same ground, and that the truth is no matter how much we both want it, I can’t actually make my daughter happy. It just isn’t up to me. So now I don’t try so hard. And she’s glad because she says I’ve stopped nagging her.
  This official was so rude and unhelpful. A little while ago, I know that would have really upset me. I’d have thought it was my fault. At least I’d have felt it was up to me to try and smooth things over. But this time, I just thought - well, I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad but it’s not really my business, it’s yours. And I stayed calm, and we sorted out the bill.

Mindfulness practice fosters a sense of separate wholeness and thus encourages detachment from the destructive emotions of others. For years, it was as though I lived in a runaway carriage, driven by someone else towards a looming precipice. I experienced terror, apprehension and the loss of personal control of my life. The MBCT course furnished me with my own carriage again; far more robust than the one I had in young adulthood. This new carriage is custom-made, light and easy to handle. I am most definitely the driver. This leads to a new-found sense of direction and purpose.

Theme 4: A stronger sense of presence in the here and now

An extraordinary number of consequences flow directly from the simple (but not easy) practice of trying to remain consciously present but unattached to the contents of consciousness as they ‘rise and fall without cease‘ (Lao Tsu, 1972). A few of the most commonly reported are given below.

A) A release from the usual sense of urgency.
For much of our lives we may feel as if we are under the jurisdiction of the Red Queen: - “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that” (Gardner, 1960). This urgency may be so familiar that we may not fully notice how exhausting and depleting it is. Slowing down one’s attention to this in-breath and this out-breath can feel initially boring and even frightening, but repeated practice reveals a surprising variety of experiences of the breath. Fluctuations of speed, depth, rhythm and pace can produce a marvellous and unsuspected richness of information about the way in which we are engaging with the process of living.

B) A greater emotional availability to others.
When specifically asked if following the course had brought any professional benefits, many staff commented they felt more able to bring patience and empathy to their contact with patients which helped them to resist the formidable pressures on them to prematurely intervene before they’d really appreciated the patient’s position.

C) An appreciation of the transitory beauties of life, particularly sensory experiences such as the colour of berries, the taste of a sandwich or the feel of the wind.

D) An awareness that painful mental and physical states are also intrinsically unstable.
Deliberate, sustained but non-evaluative observation reveals that even the most persistent distress contains rhythms of some kind: waxings and wanings which are uncontrollable because they are unpredictable, but they are also unmistakeable when experienced. Sudden gaps open up which may provide a profound, if fleeting, respite. These gaps - in pain, in tension, in depression, in ruminations - cannot be grasped, held or even understood. Yet students usually deeply value even these momentary releases.

  A sense of absolute peace and freedom passed through me. I wish I could bring it back, but even though I can’t, I’m grateful to have touched it. It gives me a bit of hope that things might change for the better one day.

Mindfulness focuses on the moment; and in so doing has an almost miraculous effect on one’s perception of time. Time ceases to be heavy and restricting; instead of the feeling of being pursued by the weight of the past and confined by the fear of the future to the point of oblivion, the moment becomes tangible. One can taste life and hold it, finding it light and beautiful, full of possibilities, like a boat gliding effortlessly downstream. There is also a sense of connection to the universe created by meditation. One trains oneself to really listen and notice one’s surroundings, to feel an awareness of gravity (a new concept to me!) which instils security and rest. The pinnacle of this awareness resides in the breath, coming as it does from beyond, being totally reliable in its continuation like the waves of the sea, and encompassing as it does the very essence of life.

Theme 5: A stronger sense of embodiment

We live in a culture obsessed by the human body as object. We are exposed at an unprecedented rate to images of bodies in every possible position, at every stage of growth and decay, in the most intimate detail imaginable. At the same time, neither academic nor popular culture accords much importance to the body as subject. Even the senses of the body which relate to itself (such as proprioception, interoception and kinaesthesia) are rarely discussed or even named.
The inescapability of the body as a thing in the world coupled with the virtual absence of awareness of the experience of embodiment may produce a number of malignant consequences.
A) Individuals may be far more familiar with thoughts and feelings about their bodies than they are with direct bodily experiences. The first formal meditation practice taught in MBCT is the body scan. Students frequently express enormous difficulty in the apparently simple task of tuning in attention directly to the experiences of the body as opposed to attending to one’s cognitive and emotional reactions to the body. For many, it seems to take several weeks of patient practice before they are able to connect with their bodies and trust that the information the body supplies can be meaningfully explored or intrinsically valued for itself.

  I don’t feel anything at all
  Maybe I’m just imagining it

B) Relating to one’s own body as an object may also facilitate neglect or deliberate damage as an attempt to displace psychic pain. This may be particularly the case when the body has been the site of trauma and the individual has retreated from awareness as a way of avoiding both the distress and even, perhaps, the conscious knowledge of the trauma. In these circumstances, the body scan may reconnect the student with long-hidden sensations. MBCT teachers need to be aware of this possibility, and give some thought to appropriate preparation of students with a known history of bodily trauma, and to appropriate care of students who may unexpectedly access such experiences.

C) Lacking a solid experiential awareness of physicality may also leave individuals vulnerable to staying stuck in vicious circles in which unrecognised physical reactions may maintain or intensify distress (eg low mood and low energy? inactivity and slumped posture? low mood and low energy; or pain? tension? pain).

  During one body scan in the group I broke down in tears when I became aware of the amount of pain and stress in my body. It was a relief to accept it.

D) The cultural privileging of information about the body as object also strengthens unhelpful Cartesian dualism even in our professional training and our health care systems, where people’s bodies and minds are seen as separate entities requiring entirely separate approaches.

And yet, first and foremost, existence is a corporeal state. We live (breathe) and move in time and space. Being in space means we are always located (here), and always subject to the physical force of gravity. Being in time means we are always in transition (now), always work in progress, always subject to change. Despite Descartes, we do not need to think in order to be. For as long as we live, time and space between them offer us the simplest and most basic opportunity for awareness: here and now, in the movement of this breath.

This was yet another area which was opened up to me. Years of painful physical illness meant that I had actually devised strategies to disconnect my mind from my body and escape its limits, only these attitudes didn’t work and I was left with a sense of blame and failure.
By teaching acceptance, MBCT brings wholeness. I was introduced to the fact that my essence was active to the tips of my fingers and toes; that every cell of my body was infused with my unique life and was connected to the breath of the universe by my own breath. Far from failing me, my body, just as it is in all its frailty, is able to carry me to the limits of this marvellous ocean.

Theme 6: A capacity to be refreshed by silence

In contemporary health care practice, silence is rarely viewed positively. Finding nothing to say is generally considered a failure. Choosing to say nothing is generally considered hostile, resistant or perverse.
Students are almost always perplexed and worried in anticipation of the All-Day session, when all are enjoined to refrain from interacting with anyone until the final hour of the day.

  Supposing I go mad?
  What if I run out screaming?

Yet in this deliberate and shared non-communication, we all discover other senses which connect us to our individual and joint humanity more deeply than we believed possible. There is something about the open sharing of silence which, far from robbing us of identity (as many students initially fear), provides a respite from many of our habitual patterns of behaviour. We cannot offer or solicit reassurance, appeasement or validation. We cannot distract ourselves by reading or turning on the television. We are thrown up against ourselves, while at the same time we are in the company of others who share our intentions. When we stop panicking, we discover we are free to be exactly who we are.

  Being together like this, not having to talk, it’s like stepping into a warm bath.
  I don’t really understand this, but as we were all just walking around I suddenly had the realisation that we’re all the same. We’re all just human, that’s all it is.

This is my favourite. MBCT has transformed my isolation into life-giving solitude. Each silent moment of my day does not have to generate loneliness and regret, but rather a depth of rest which is revelatory. Within the silence is a reality where one is free to grow. Modern life with its necessary bustle means that most people have never encountered the beauty of silence. Meditation trains the mind to stop and see; to part the curtain and find the door into a place where one’s real self can exist unconfined.
This is the place at the breath-turn: the place of eternity. It is the antidote to fear, for fear crouches in the dark corners of the mind waiting to spring out and catch the one who hurries past, pursued by thoughts. Those who know how to walk in the light are secure.


Six key themes have emerged from a consideration of the written and verbal comments of approximately 70 students following a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programme. These themes appeared common across groups of patients, charity workers and Trust staff.

The MBCT programme referred to in this article is run in a room whose windows give a view across rooftops to the sea, and students frequently speak of their learning on the programme in images and concepts derived from this local landscape. We conclude, therefore, with this poem by RJ, written a few weeks after finishing the programme.

New Year’s Day

In the space between Now and Forever
Is a place where the tide’s on the turn
And the ceaseless churning of ‘should have
Finds its death in the glistening foam.

Catch your breath as you walk the still-wet sand,
Turn your face to the oncoming wind,
For there’s nothing to fear in its violence,
As it hurries each wave to its end.

Every turn of the tide is a breath-turn,
A moment of grace to be found
Quite by chance, for the finding’s not seeking,
Like the sea on the shore, it’s a dance.

So give yourself time when there is none,
Have a mind to go down to the shore,
Where there’s nothing to do, except listen
To the silence that hides in the roar.


Baer, Ruth A. (ed.) Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: A Clinician’s Guide. 2005. Academic Press, Inc: US
Gardner, Martin (ed.) The Annotated Alice. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. 1965. Penguin Books: Harmondsworth
Gilbert, Paul and Procter, Sue. Compassionate Mind Training for People with High Shame and Self-Criticism: Overview and Pilot Study of a Group Therapy Approach. 2006. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 13: 353-379.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living. 1990. Dell: New York
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Coming to Our Senses. 2005. Piatkus: London
Lao Tsu, translated by Feng, Gia-Fu & English, Jane. Tao Te Ching. 1972. Knopf: New York
Roberts, Brenda and Hartley, Charlotte. Evaluation of the Acceptability and Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Programme in Secondary Mental Health Services using Attendance Figures and HADS and CORE scores. 2007. In Preparation. (Contact first author for details)
Segal, Z.V., Williams, J.M.G. and Teasdale, J.D. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. 2002. Guilford Press: New York

Brenda Roberts is a consultant clinical psychologist with Sussex Partnership Trust.
Rosalind Johnston is a translator of verse, aspiring poet and a participant in MBCT.
Neither author has any competing interests to declare.
Communications to first author:

Appendix 2

Effects of Seven-Day Osho Dynamic Study:
A Pilot Study

By Avni Vyas, Ph.D.

Psychological Science: Research, Theory and Future Directions Edited by Kostas Andrea Fanti ISBN: 978-960-6672-26-2, 347 pages, Hardback First published in 2007 by ATINER

Running head: Effects of Seven-Day Osho Dynamic Meditation Study
Effects of Seven-Day Osho Dynamic Study:
A Pilot Study 19 pages
Psychological Passages,

This research was conducted to investigate the clinical and corporate effects of a 7-Day Osho Dynamic Meditation. Clinical variables were measured for psychopathological symptoms or syndromes, self esteem, and anger. Corporate variables were burn out rates and occupational stress. Participants meditated daily for 7 days. Psychological instruments were completed at baseline, Day 7, and Day 12. Results of a mixed-effects model with pair-wise comparisons indicated significant decreases in several psychopathological variables such as anxious-depressive syndrome, somatic complaints, aggressive behaviors, and depression. There was a significant decrease in trait-anger and an increase in defensive self-enhancement scores. In the corporate arena, there was a significant reduction of emotional exhaustion, role overload, psychological strain, physical strain, and a significant increase rational/cognitive coping ability. Thus, this study showed that Osho Dynamic Meditation can be used as a psychotherapeutic intervention for a multitude of clinical and corporate issues.

This project demonstrated that Osho Dynamic Meditation had significant effects for many clinical and corporate variables for short term and long term durations. Specifically, in the clinical domain, significant decreases were demonstrated in several psychopathological variables such as anxious-depressive syndrome, somatic complaints, aggressive behaviors, and depression. There was a significant decrease in trait-anger and an increase in defensive self-enhancement scores. In the corporate arena, there was a significant reduction of emotional exhaustion, role overload, psychological strain, physical strain, and a significant increase rational/cognitive coping ability. Therefore, this technique of meditation can be applicable in many psychological settings such as mental health clinics, in or out patient agencies, private practices, as well as professional settings for employees within corporations. The technique itself seems to be very powerful due to the lasting and enduring effects seen not only by the statistical evidence but also by subjective comments of the participants, such as “Feeling more relaxed with myself. I have the overall feeling, that whatever is going to happen, don't be afraid be a witness. I feel like I am living more in the moment. I really dislike several things on my job and last night, I was offered a dream job. I am looking forward to see what happens. I don't feel afraid to take a chance.” or “Very relaxed more than before.” Since this was a pilot project, further research clearly needs to be a true experiment with a control group and/or a placebo in order to establish the reliability of these results. In addition, it appears that this meditation may also have an impact in the medical arena. While Osho Dynamic Meditation takes only an hour the results are impacting along many domains.
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