iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Mindfulness

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio


30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 15 April 2012

Mark Tully meditates on the art of being still, and the benefits of quiet contemplation, as medical science borrows from the practices of religious traditions.

He talks to Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford who teaches 'Mindfulness' techniques and whose research has shown that daily meditation can reduce the occurrence of severe depression at least as much as anti-depressants do.

Featuring music by Edward Elgar, Arvo Part and Jules Massenet, and words by Rainer Maria Rilke and Octavio Paz, this programme looks at how else regular contemplative sessions can enrich our lives in an increasingly busy world. For some it is a way of experiencing God, for others a means of coming to terms with their own failures, and for many it can produce profound changes in their lives.

As Mark Tully perceives, through the practice of Mindfulness people can drink from the well of religious insight whether they have a religious faith or not. He even accepts in the end that he should, perhaps, overcome his own reluctance to make the commitment that meditation requires, and curb the distractions that can make our minds rampage, 'like an untrained elephant'.

The readers are Emily Raymond and David Holt.

Producer: Adam Fowler
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

Music Played

7 items
  • Image for Edward Elgar

    Edward Elgar Psalm 1

    Performer: St Paul’s Cathedral Choir/John Scott

    Psalms From St Pauls, Hyperion Records Limited, CDP110011

  • Image for Lasse Thoresen

    Lasse Thoresen Forfrisk og gled min

    Performer: Nordic Voices

    Himmelkvad, 2L, W 278358

  • Image for Morton Feldman

    Morton Feldman Rothko Chapel

    Performer: University of California Berkeley Chamber Chorus

    Rothko Chapel, Why Patterns?, New Albion, na039cd

  • Image for Arvo Pärt

    Arvo Pärt Spiegel im Spiegel

    Performer: Tamsin Little, Martin Roscoe, Bournemouth Sinfoniette, Richard Studt

    Arvo Part: Fratres, Etc, EMI, 7243 5 73117 2 4

  • Image for Octavio Paz

    Octavio Paz Water Night

    Performer: Eric Whitacre

    Cloudburst and Other Choral Works/Whitacre, Hyperion, CDA67543

  • Image for Stephen Paulus

    Stephen Paulus Hymn to the Eternal Flame from the Oratorio

    Performer: The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

    Beyond All Mortal Dreams: American A Cappella/Layton, Hyperion, CDA67832

  • Image for Jules Massenet

    Jules Massenet Meditation From Thais

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vilem Tausky

    Music You Have Loved, Radiant Mastery, PCD 839

  • Readings and Music

    Title: La Vie Profunde
    Author: Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes
    Publisher: Constable, 1912
    ISBN-10: out of print

    Title: Gravity’s Law – Book of Hours
    Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
    Publisher: Riverhead Trade (November 1, 2005)
    ISBN-10: 1594481563

    Title: Guarding Alertness – A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, c 700 AD in Sanskirt verse
    Author: Shantideva
    Publisher: Snow Lion Publications; 6th Revised edition edition (1 Dec 1992)
    ISBN-10: 8185102597

    Title: The Art of Meditation
    Author: Matthieu Ricard
    Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Jan 2010)
    ISBN-10: 1848870752


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss