The MIM community: Kaveh Monshat a mindful Psychiatrist

Kaveh Monshat, MPsychMed MBBS BSc(Med)Hons FRANZCP, is a consultant psychiatrist and academic focussed on mindfulness training as a way to promote health. He is Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne where he is engaged in teaching medical students and research in the role of mindfulness training in patients with chronic illness. He has also been involved in design and evaluation of mindfulness training for healthy young people at Orygen Youth Health. He sees patients as a private practitioner in North Carlton with a focus on psychological treatment.

 

What led you to meditation?

 

Feeling chronically stressed and coming across friends and colleagues who seemed to have a calm presence about them: turned out they were meditating!

What value has practising meditation brought to your life?

 

I feel clearer in my mind. Better able to let go of stresses and worries my mind gets stuck on. I sleep a little better. I feel like I am on a path of ever-increasing understanding, of myself, others and ‘what it’s all about’ through ongoing meditation and learning about the broader (particularly Buddhist) principles of mindfulness.

 

How has meditation supported you in your professional life ?

 

It is a fantastic form of self-care when faced with the multi-tasking lives we have to live. With patients in particular being able to ground and centre myself, both through daily sitting meditation and through moment to moment mindfulness when in the clinic, helps reduce burnout and nurtures a continuation of a caring and compassionate orientation.

 

What are the biggest obstacles to your practice? 

 

The paradox, fundamental to mindfulness, of being disciplined and prepared to work hard yet without being attached to getting to any certain place or achieving any certain outcome and doing it all without a tense sense of effort and striving.

 

 What is a quote that most inspires you and why?

 

 “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, the 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.  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.  Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation of inner security.” Albert Einstein

This reminds me of the potential depth and breadth of mindfulness as an experience: an increasing felt sense of non-separateness from all that exists, as well as spontaneous arising of a loving and compassionate orientation towards it all.

 

What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth and why?

 

Insight Meditation: the practice of freedom by Joseph Goldstein. This wonderful little book is a series of 1-4 page tips on what mindfulness is all about and how best to practise meditation. I’ve found it helpful both when I read it at the very beginning of my relationship with meditation and after practising daily for a few years.

 

What Mindful Music do you listen to? (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment.) 

 

I find any music, especially of a gentle character, that I really like can be, when listened to ‘intentionally’ be a helpful doorway to the present moment. The ‘really like’ is probably the key for grabbing my attention. An example would be the Flower Duet (Lakmé)
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