Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) helps people to manage stress reactivity through contemplative practices such as meditation. The creator of the program, Kabat-Zinn, (1994) defines mindfulness as “…paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (p. 4). Shapiro et al. (2006) clarified this definition as consisting of three mechanisms of mindfulness. In particular, their mechanism “intention” captures Kabat-Zinn’s phrase “on purpose.” Historically, mindfulness practices were intended to cultivate compassion and enlightenment; thus, these should be included in a psychological model of mindfulness (Shapiro & Schwartz, 2000). In keeping with their approach, this project explored the concept of intentionality as used by MBSR practitioners. The literature shows most participants begin the course expecting to achieve concrete outcomes. During the course, there is often a shift in their understanding of mindfulness practice: from goal-attainment to a way of being. The guiding research question therefore was, “After taking the MBSR course, how do participants discuss shifts in their intention to practice mindfulness?” The data were semi-structured conversations conducted with participants (N = 14) who completed the MBSR program. The method of analysis used was Grounded Theory (GT), a systematic method of content analysis (Charmaz, 1995). This entailed four procedures: (1) interviews were recorded, (2) audio recordings were carefully transcribedverbatim, (3) Open Coding exhaustively captured the content of participants’ responses, (4) Focused Coding explored a subset of the coded content. Using a process of constant comparison, codes were sub-divided, revised and integrated to create Themes across participants. Analyses were conducted utilizing four recurring codes: “intention,” “expectation,” “pre/post-course changes,” and “mindfulness definition.” Two themes emerged: content-oriented and process-oriented shifts in intentions to practice. These findings support the idea that any model of mindfulness ought to take practitioners’ intentions into account.
From Goal-Striving to "Right Intention": A Grounded Theory Analysis of Interviews with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Participants.
Undergraduate Review, 11, 58-65.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol11/iss1/12
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