The introduction traces the astonishing growth of the Mindfulness movement over the past four decades and sketches the usual narrative about how it began in the 1970s, when Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) protocol. This book seeks to change that narrative. It traces the origins of efforts to promote meditation and yoga therapeutically back to nineteenth-century teachers of Mind Cure, a religious movement led largely by American women who had learned these methods from Buddhist and Hindu missionaries; and further back, to eighteenth-century research on magnetism, the unconscious, and psychic phenomena. The introduction offers an overview of the book: four chapters of history, two chapters offering critical analysis of the modern Mindfulness movement, an epilogue, and an appendix describing the theoretical and historical challenges of piecing this complex story together. This account draws upon multiple academic disciplines, including the histories of science, medicine, psychology, Buddhism, Hinduism, Western esotericism, and American religions.
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