This study investigated the lived experience of Buddhist-informed mindfulness practice and its utilization in recovery from bipolar disorder (BD) in 9 adult participants. Established mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) decontextualize mindfulness practice from a Buddhist theory base, omitting conceptual frameworks that may have adaptive value in recovery from BD. In interviews, participants reported blending techniques learned from various Buddhist lineages throughout the course of their recovery, as well as a variety of other contemplative practices such as techniques to cultivate adaptive emotions, devotional practices, visualization practices, embodiment practices, investigative practices, and informal daily practice. Mindfulness practice for recovery from BD is perhaps best viewed as a personalized craft of recovery, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Seeking ongoing optimization and expert guidance helped participants adapt their meditation practice to different mood states and the unfolding stages of their recovery. While evidence for the efficacy of MBIs for BD is equivocal, these results illustrate the idiosyncratic nature of recovery pathways and how mindfulness may improve self-management and integrate with other wellness practices in recovery from BD.

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