For decades, George Mumford had to deal with migraines and chronic back pain from sports-related injuries. To ease the pain, he relied heavily on medication and eventually became addicted.
In the mid-80s, he took control of the addiction, changed his lifestyle and freed his body from drugs. He discovered and studied the power of meditation — something he desperately needed in his overstressed career as a financial analyst.
“You have to learn to be who you are. Your heart will tell you when you are on the right track,” said Mumford. “When you pay attention and really listen to yourself, it will tell you a lot.”
Following his calling as a teacher, Mumford left the corporate world to teach a mindfulness-based stress-reduction program to prisoners and staff at several Massachusetts correctional facilities.
He was then led to the NBA® and NCAA®, where he worked as a sports psychologist with teams such as the Chicago Bulls®, Los Angeles Lakers®, Boston College and Holy Cross. Through insight meditation, he teaches players how to deal with the stress of success by opening their minds to good and bad experiences.
“Basketball players have the same stresses as everyone else. As bad as the critics are on the outside, the inner critic is much worse. With the players, I focus on their performance and interactions with others. When you feel a reaction coming, you have to get clear; strategically plan how to be in that situation and find balance.”
Mumford said there are two kinds of stress — one that makes you stronger and one that can debilitate. “There is no avoiding stress. I teach people how to be mindful of it and how to deal with it in a positive way.”
Insight Meditation: Meditation to achieve awareness of the mind/body process.