What is Contemplative Medicine?


What is Contemplative Medicine?

A New Year offers so much – a chance to reflect, to find renewal, to close chapters but also turn to new pages in our lives. Perhaps it’s also a time for atonement for those missteps in the past while setting healthy, mindful intentions for the future.

I am reflecting much deeper than usual this January as I continue my work in Contemplative Medicine at the New York Zen Center, a Fellowship program I started in July 2023. Here, healthcare providers like myself are learning how to transform the culture of healthcare through Zen Buddhist principles and ancient human wisdom. Our teachers are leaders in the mindfulness community, and we meet in a variety of large and small groups several times throughout the month. The work has proven to be transformative for me personally, and I hope to expand this to the NVFP community.

But what exactly is Contemplative Medicine? Think of this as a conduit to infusing compassion and connection into the healthcare that we provide. Being healthy is multifaceted, and it involves more than merely the absence of disease or infirmity. One’s health is both physical and mental, emotional and social, and without an appreciation of the interplay of these features we cannot achieve true wellness.

I hope to explore this more with each of you in the coming months. Stay tuned for additional discussions and offerings. Be well in 2024!

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” (Albert Einstein)

Dr. Cecily Havert

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