Chapter

Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness

pp 17-35

Mindfulness: What Is It? Where Did It Come From?

  • Ronald D SiegelAffiliated withPrivate clinical practice in Lincoln
  • , Christopher K. Germer
  • , Andrew Olendzki

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Throughout history, human beings have sought to discover the causes of suffering and the means to alleviate it. Sooner or later, we all ask the same questions: “Why am I not feeling better?” “What can I do about it?” Inhabiting a physical body inevitably exposes us to pain associated with sickness, old age, and death. We also struggle emotionally when confronted with adverse circumstances or with benign circumstances that we see as adverse. Even when our lives are relatively easy, we suffer when we don’t get what we want, when we lose what we once had, and when we have to deal with what we do not want. From birth until death, we are relentlessly trying to feel better.