My life is not this steeply sloping hour in which you see me hurrying."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

("The Mental Health Story of the Century" article included below)
An Invitation to Learn
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Photo by Sandy Renna

Learn to live with greater vitality, health and well-being through Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Presented by the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey, the program offers powerful methods for reducing stress in your everyday life.


Diane Handlin, Ph.D. is the only instructor in New Jersey and one of the few in the world (not just trained) but actually Certified by Jon Kabat-Zinn's and Saki Santorelli's Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. 





  Let yourself be

silently drawn

 by the strange pull

of what you really love.

    It will not lead you astray.



(Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)








And you --
what of your rushed
and useful life?
Imagine setting it all down-
papers, plans, appointments,
leaving only a note
"Gone to the fields to be lovely.

Be back when I'm through
with blooming."

from "Camas Lillies" by Lynn Ungar
from Blessing the Bread 


Sonnets to Orpheus
Part Two, XII

Want the change.
Be inspired by the flame
Where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
As the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray
and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive.And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)


Sssh the sea says
Sssh the small waves at the shore say, sssh
not so violent, not
so haughty, not
so remarkable.
say the tips of the waves
crowding around the headland's
surf. Sssh
they say to people
this is our earth,
our eternity.

Rolf Jacobsen

Upcoming Events


Summer 2015 Course in Edison NJ

Monday evenings, begins July 6

All are welcome

Reservations are required.

Free Fall 2015 Talk and Winter 2016 Course in Summit NJ

Dates to be announced soon


For more information or to reserve a place for the course or talk, please contact Dr. Diane Handlin at
732-549-9100 or 


For more information go to  


(Please note that MBSR is an educational course and not psychotherapy.If you suspect that you have medical or psychological issues, pleasepursue appropriate treatment.) 


Worthy of Note


  • For the recent CBS News 60 Minutes Interview of Jon-Kabat Zinn by Anderson Cooper and related Overtime segments, click here . 
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn will be the Keynote Speaker on March 27th at the Networker Symposium in Washington, D.C. His topic is, "Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do."
  • Psychotherapy Networker, January, February 2015 issue:  "Mindfulness Goes Viral...What would Buddha Say"
  • To read the recent article, "At Aetna, a C.E.O's Management by Mantra," by David Gelles in The New York Times, Business Day, February 27, 2015, click here
  • To read the recent article: "Meditation for a Good Night's Sleep" in The New York Times, Science "Well" section, Feb. 24 p. D4, click here

(For more articles on the scientific research on MBSR, please visit the Readings page at our website,

Videos with Jon Kabat-Zinn


Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses MBSR

and the stress of modern life, YouTube.


Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses the significance

of MBSR for leading a healthy life,
Google talk, YouTube, Oct 11, 2007.


Bill Moyers PBS video on
from the series Healing and the Mind

Interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Podcast from

Books by Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Full Catastrophe Living; Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness. Revised Edition  (released in fall of 2013, thoroughly updated and with the most recent research)
  • Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment--and Your Life (with CD)Wherever You Go, There You Are
  • Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness

For more readings and resources, please see the Readings section of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center's website:

MBSR related articles included in selected past issues of The Living Moment newsletter (click to select)





Dear Reader,

"The Mental Health Story of the Century"


I had been preparing to write this newsletter using several research studies on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) when I found myself watching Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier, How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Worked-A True Story, as interviewed by Charlie Rose (following the John Brennan interview) on PBS, March 13, 2015.  I must admit I am never comfortable with what appears to be a quick fix program or what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls a "dime store remedy." A lifelong meditator myself, I had found Kabat-Zinn's MBSR program, the most efficient, well-designed, skill-based way to share the principles of meditation. (Kabat-Zinn, an engaging speaker, scientist and person of great integrity, developed the MBSR curriculum which lies at the heart of the most significant research studies on meditation in existence today.


People I respected had told me about Dan Harris' book, but I had never actually read it. Yet, here I was, supposed to be writing my Spring newsletter, finding myself engaged by Dan Harris, and putting my work

on hold as I listened, was impressed, and then jettisoned my previous content, deciding to transcribe most of the interview for you. 


To watch the full interview of Dan Harris by Charlie Rose, click here.


Dan Harris: It was a full panic attack that occurred and completely derailed me as I was reading the news for ABC's "Good Morning America." That, and something else were responsible for my seeming stumble upon meditation. The severe panic attack led me to see a physician who asked me if I I did drugs. Indeed, I had been self-medicating since my journalistic work covering the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The something else was that my boss, Peter Jennings had asked me to cover Faith and Spirituality for ABC news which I hadn't wanted to do, but he insisted. Going to mosques, churches and mega temples gave me an education about how the world works, the lenses through which people things, and how ignorant I was. I hadn't had a serious conversation with a person of faith until that assignment and for the first time, I saw the value of having a worldview that transcends your own interests. 


What I like about meditation in particular (there are a lot of things I don't like about it) is that it's a way of hammering home that understanding into your cells daily, and that appeals to me. It's a very practical thing to do to provide you with perspective. I do it 30 minutes a day, but I hesitate to admit that because people then feel they don't have time for this. I think 5 to 10 minutes a day is enough. I started with that.


Charlie Rose: I have not been able to overcome one thing about this. Friends of mine, serious people of great accomplishment say this is one of the most important things about their life and that it has added to their lives in monumental ways. What does it do that napping doesn't? Convert me.


DH: Like you, I also host a morning show and I have a newborn. I am just saying that this is something you add on top, not saying you shouldn't nap. The word meditation is like the word sports. It describes a whole variety of things. When I am talking about meditation, I am talking about mindfulness meditation. There are two big benefits.


CR: "Here comes your introduction to meditation."


DH:  The first big benefit is your ability to focus. We live in an era which could be described as the info blitzkrieg. We are besieged by tweets and texts and status updates.


CR:  And information overload.


DH: What you're doing in most meditation is you're going to try to focus on one thing and then you're going to get lost. You're going to start thinking about what am I going to have for lunch? Why did I say that dumb thing to my boss? Why didn't Dances with Wolves beat Goodfellas for best picture in 1991. Your mind is going to go nuts. The whole game is to notice when you got lost and to start over.  And that's a muscle. You are exercising the focus muscle in your mind and that is very useful when your attention is being besieged all the time. That's benefit number 1.


Benefit number 2 is mindfulness. It's an ancient term, kind of a boring sounding term, but in my view it's a game changer. There are many definitions but one of them is to know what's going on in your head right now without getting carried away by it.


CR: Without getting carried away by it?


DH: Yes, the ability to see what's happening in your mind without necessarily being the fish that bites the hook and gets yanked around by it.  So, you, whether you're aware of it or not, have an internal Charlie Rose that is yammering at you as soon as you open your eyes in the morning, maybe before. All day long this voice in your head has you wanting stuff, not wanting stuff, judging other people, making choices, many of them impulsive, comparing yourself to other people, thinking about yourself. My friend, Sam Harris who also wrote a book about meditation says that when he hears the voices in his head he feels like he's been kidnapped by the most boring person alive who just says the same stuff over and over again, most of it negative.

CR: So how are the voices in your head different from the voices in mine?


DH: I think there are a lot of similarities between everybody's voices because they seem to have a number of shared characteristics:

They tend to be focused on the past or the future to the detriment of the present. They are focused on you. They are largely negative and very repetitive. Mindfulness is or can be kryptonite to the voice.


CR: How did you come to find meditation and the right form for you and  "how to tame the voice in your head, reduce stress without losing your edge and find self-help that actually works?"


DH: When I was assigned to cover religion by Peter, I stumbled into self -help and got turned on to Eckhart Tolle, who is a massively successful self-help guru. He'd rather call himself a spiritual teacher. At first I thought his book was irredeemable garbage, but then he started to unfurl a theory about the human condition that I'd never heard before, that we all have a voice in our head that most of us are unaware of. I was intrigued and went to interview him and asked him, "What do you do about the voice in your head?  He said, "Take one conscious breath." The voice in my head said, "What the hell does that mean?"  It was like he had pointed out that my hair was on fire and refused to give me a fire extinguisher. So then I started hanging around with a lot of self-help people who believed you can get whatever you want with the power of positive thinking, which I think is a horrible, horrible idea. But, then, finally, my then fiancé, now wife and baby mama, (who happens to be a physician) said it sounded like a book she'd read a few years ago, and she handed me book by a Buddhist psychiatrist. I started reading it and I realized that all the stuff I loved the best about Eckhart Tolle seemed to be taken from the Buddhist tradition.


The Buddhists, unlike Eckhart Tolle, have a really practical program for dealing with the voice in your head. I didn't want to do it. I thought it was only for hippies, freaks and weirdos and people who are really into Cat Stevens and use the word, "Namaste" with no irony - completely ridiculous.


My parents were hippies and they made me go to yoga where I had a negative experience that turned me off to all things new agey.

But, on my journey researching mindfulness meditation, I found out there is an enormous amount of science that shows that meditation can actually lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system, and literally re-wire key parts of your brain that have to do with focus, compassion, and basic well-being. I then decided to do it.


CR: How long did it take you to get into it?


DH: It's a more complicated question than you might imagine because the first time I did it, I hated it, but I also realized it was not hippy nonsense, but it was in fact, exercise for the brain. I had two simultaneous reactions: (1)This is really hard and I suck at it; (2) I get this is why it can be really helpful, and I'm going to do it. And I resolved that I was gong to do 5 to 10 minutes a day in perpetuity and I stuck with it and it has made a big difference.


CR: What difference?


DH: I think the key difference is this word mindfulness.  Most of the things we do in our lives about which we're most ashamed are the results of impulsive, mindless actions.


CR: I agree with that.


DH: So for me, it was, "What was the most mindless thing I ever did?" For me as an ambitious young journalist, it was going to war zones without thinking about the consequences, coming back home, and getting depressed and  being too unaware to know it, and then mindlessly self-medicating with cocaine and ecstasy. I think if I had had meditation onboard then, I would have avoided it. Mindfulness meditation helps me navigate a very stressful career in ways that reduce my emotional reactivity and make me calmer, a better listener, a better colleague, a better husband. I'm less likely to eat the 18th cookie, I'm less likely to say the barbed comment to my wife that will ruin the next 48 hours of my marriage. I'm more likely to just look at my baby cooing rather than checking my email. Those are the benefits.


CR: Having just said what you said, if you didn't do that, 10 minutes a day, on the 7th day, would you be more likely to be the old Dan?


DH: Yes.


CR: That's amazing. That's what napping does for me. I wake up fresh, fresh, fresh.


DH: I can see that. Also, to Charlie: "Of course, if you don't sleep, you will lose your mind."


CR: There is significant research on the benefits of sleep.


DH: I'm not proposing that meditation is a silver bullet that will solve everything. That's why I went with the title: 10% Happier.

When it comes to happiness, I'm a maximalist, I think we should pull every lever we have, eat well, sleep well, etc.


CR: Is there a substitute for meditation?


DH: I don't think anything does in my experience. People ask me, "What about my gardening or running? I'm not anti-gardening and definitely not anti-running, I think meditation can be anything you pay attention to. It's about paying attention. I just think you need a few minutes a day of formal practice. I'm talking specifically about mindfulness meditation which has been the focus of most of the scientific studies. It is simple and secular. You don't have to join a group or wear special outfits or believe in anything.  It is derived from Buddhism but has basically all the Buddhist language and metaphysics stripped out.


I'm not going to make you do it, but I'm going to explain how to do it.

I taught one of the tech reporters of The New York Times how to do this in fewer letters than it takes to send a tweet, so it's not super-complicated.


The first step is to sit with your spine straight and your eyes closed. The second step is to focus your full attention on the feeling of your breath coming in and going out. The third step is the key: As soon as you start

to focus on the feeling of your breath, your mind is going to go nuts. It's going to start wandering. You're going to be asking yourself questions, you'll be working on your to do list, or whatever. And then, you just want to notice when your mind has gotten carried away and start over, and start over again and again and again. And every time you do that, it's a bicep curl for your brain. You're literally re-wiring your brain.

     And, by the way, it's a radical act because most of us have trouble paying attention in the present moment. Our life is a daydream. We are wrapped up in rumination about the past and projection about the future.


CR: So how has this changed your life?


DH: It's made me calmer and happier, but if my wife was here, she would give you the "90% still a moron speech."


CR: How does that speech go?


DH: She would just list the dumb things I've done in the last 18 hours.


CR: I like your wife even though I've never met her.


DH: She doesn't take me too seriously. Publishing the book has been really interesting. I really worried about the drug stuff. I thought it had the potential to derail my career. And my Mom, to whom I'm really close, sent me an email 4 to 6 weeks before it was published and said, "Don't do it." It was already in the warehouses. I freaked out. Serendipitously, I had two meetings that day, one with Diane Sawyer and the other with Ben Sherwood who ran ABC news at the time. They said, "We love your Mom, but she's wrong and we've got your back. Publish the book." And I'm glad I did it. It's the best and most impactful story I've ever covered, and I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about this public health revolution that's brewing with meditation. It's the good news mental health story of the century. And, to be able to talk about it in a way that some people have reacted to positively has been extremely gratifying and also humbling. You know how people get up when they get an Oscar and say it is humbling? When they say it, I don't believe it. But, when I say it, I truly mean it. All this concern about the reputational issues for me, most people don't really care about me. They find my misadventures mildly titillating, but what they really want to know is, "What do you have for me?"


CR: Exactly.


DH: And that is humbling in a good way. And what I realize is what I'm recommending to people I have more and more faith in every day. 

*   *   *
Sending this with wishes for well-being in your life and the world, as we in New Jersey, begin to leave this winter behind, and open to nature's, and our own, new beginnings.
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist



NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840



The Living Moment 


There is a stillness at dawn
asking for me

I hear the note not played

I see the line not written

I understand the word not spoken
I am in stillness

I am the Living Moment

           Cliff Woodward

     (with Stephen Damon)



Diane Handlin
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.

Founder and

Executive Director

"As to the value of the course, I would note that the group workshop designed to work through Jon Kabat-Zinn's curriculum is very effective. The workshop / course added a great deal of depth and opened my mind to a different way of looking at things and fostered exploration. When mindfullly present, time seems to expand for me. I relax, freed from thinking about the next place I have to be or the next thing I have to do ... I have discovered that if I hold off, I usually do not act along the lines of my first reaction. I've realized that I almost always have time not to act immediately. I've also rediscovered my happy me, what I remember from soooo long ago ..., and that is really wonderful."       - Jane Dobson, Corporate attorney

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although Dr. Handlin is a licensed psychologist and has a separate psychology practice, please note that this is an educational course and not psychotherapy. In addition, information contained in this document is informational and not to be construed as medical advice. If you suspect you have medical issues, please pursue appropriate treatment. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a separate educational course for those interested in developing mind-body connections. MBSR is a non-psychological service offered apart from Dr. Handlin's psychology practice and is not meant to substitute for personal or professional psychological advice which must be received from a licensed mental health professional.

NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™

328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840

Tel:  732-549-9100,