A question I’ve been asked a few times is:

Mindfulness asks us to notice and accept our current experience, including our symptoms and to not try and change them.  How does this fit with the Lightning Process approach of transforming those symptoms to improve physiology and health?

To answer it we need to explore the history of Buddhist philosophy and the various interpretations that have been adopted by the west.

Van Gordon and others (see references) write extensively about this more western development of this philosophy which focuses especially on the practice of mindfulness and non-judgemental acceptance.  He points out that more traditional Buddhist practices are not non-judgemental and instead ask us to consider if our thoughts and actions are ‘right or wrong’ – meaning do they increase our ability to be present and the amount of compassion in the world.

It also suggests a practice that is much more aligned with the Lightning Process of choosing how to bring yourself to each moment to be fully present to it.  This moves it away from the more passive acceptance of whatever is in your conscious awareness and instead brings us into an active practice of choosing how to make the best use of this moment, which according to Buddhist thought, is all that there is.

Trying to merge the Lightning Process with the western version of mindfulness is quite a challenge because they appear to suggest different skillsets although the intention of both is to bring you to a place of peace and compassion with whatever is. However, the more traditional Buddhist practice of deciding how to bring yourself to this moment is entirely aligned with the Lightning Process.

If a Buddhist approach is part of your life then there is a decision you will have to make as to which path works for you.

If the, more western version of ‘acceptance of everything as it is’ path isn’t providing you with the solutions you seek, then the more traditional approach way, also accessible through the Lightning Process, might be worth engaging in.

I hope this helps




Monteiro, L. M., Musten, R. F., & Compson, J. (2015). Traditional and Contemporary Mindfulness: Finding the Middle Path in the Tangle of Concerns. Mindfulness, 6(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0301-7

Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). The emerging role of Buddhism in clinical psychology: Toward effective integration. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6(2), 123–137. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035859

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., & Garcia-Campayo, J. (2017). Are there adverse effects associated with mindfulness? Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 51(10), 977–979. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867417716309

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). Towards a second generation of mindfulness-based interventions. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 49(7), 591–592. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867415577437

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., & Griffiths, M. D. (2016). Are contemporary mindfulness-based interventions unethical? British Journal of General Practice, 66(643), 94–94. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp16X683677