Saturday, July 16, 2016

Jon Kabat-Zinn on Mindfulness for Beginners

Subject: Jon Kabat-Zinn on Mindfulness for Beginners
Date: July 15, 2016 at 8:36:39 AM EDT
Reply-To: Sounds True <>

To the folks of the Sounds True extended community:  

I have been asked to say a few things about mindfulness on the occasion of the release of the paperback of Mindfulness for Beginners, after five years in hardcover. I am happy to do so, as I have great respect for Tami Simon and Sounds True, as well as the work that it is doing in the world to help elevate our consciousness and quality of life.  

It strikes me at this particular moment on the planet that the well-being of the world itself depends on our willingness—each and every one of us—to tap into our capacity for embodied wisdom. That is precisely what the cultivation of mindfulness offers. It is a way to, in Derek Walcott’s words, “give back your heart to yourself,” and in doing so, to live and love and work in ways that are inwardly and outwardly healing and transformative.  

This is not an ideal. It is an invitation to investigate for yourself where the deepest sources of satisfaction and purpose lie for you, and to nurture that discovery, tapping into it on a momentary and daily basis in every aspect of your life. What emerges from such a love affair with life unfolding is your own beauty and capacity to live who you are and what you love in ways that illuminate the world, even in the tiniest of ways. The tiniest offering of your full presence, kindness, or generosity to others—as well as to yourself, of course—and a willingness to see your own tacit assumptions and biases about those who are not like you, and not be ruled by those biases, is the beginning of real freedom and compassion. You are always the first beneficiary of such a practice. I would say that is sufficient reason, if we need one, for us all to “take our seat” on a chair or a meditation cushion from time to time—especially in those moments when we most don’t feel like it—as well as to cultivate embodied, open-hearted presence from moment to moment in our everyday lives. It is not a luxury in this era, if it ever was. It is an absolute necessity.  


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