221 Top Quotes by Mindfulness Expert Jon Kabat-Zinn
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Wikipedia Summary for Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn (born Jon Kabat, June 5, 1944) is an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Buddhist teachers such as Philip Kapleau, Thich Nhat Hanh and Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with scientific findings.
He teaches mindfulness, which he says can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness. The stress reduction program created by Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), is offered by medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations, and is described in his book Full Catastrophe Living.
The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.
Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.
Mindfulness is to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, at the present time and without judging.
Simply put, meditation is the path to clarity, compassion, and a path of wisdom leading to the eradication of suffering.
See if you can give yourself gifts that may be true blessings, such as self-acceptance , or some time each day with no purpose. Practice feeling deserving enough to accept these gifts without obligation -- to simply receive from yourself, and from the universe.
Nourishing the soul is the process of drinking at the life stream, coming back to one's true self, embracing the whole of one's experience -- good, bad, or ugly; painful or exalted; dull or boring.
As so often is the case, the public hero that others admire can leave quite a trail of private hurt in his wake.
Instead of Let it go, we should probably say Let it be; this recognizes that the mind won't let go and the problem may not go away, and it allows you to form a healthier relationship with what's bothering you.
The main things are to commit to some simple behaviors—meditating, exercising, getting enough sleep—and to practice altruism.… And nurture your social connections.
If I wanted to predict your happiness, and I could know only one thing about you, I wouldn’t want to know your gender, religion, health, or income. I’d want to know about your social network—about your friends and family, and the strength of your bonds with them.
Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers. My friend, don’t bother with that excursion. Inside your body there are flowers. One flower has a thousand petals. That will do for a place to sit.
You can’t sail straight into the wind, and if you only know how to sail with the wind at your back, you will only go where the wind blows you. But if you know how to use the wind’s energy and are patient, you can sometimes get where you want to go. You can still be in control
Awareness requires only that we pay attention and see things as they are. It doesn't require that we change anything.
If we are unaware of what we are doing a good deal of the time, and we don’t particularly like the way things turn out in our lives, perhaps it’s time to pay closer attention, to be more in touch, to observe the choices we make and their consequences down the road.
Carl Jung put it this way: "The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.” With
If we are to grasp the reality of our life while we have it, we will need to wake up to our moments. Otherwise, whole days, even a whole life, could slip past unnoticed.
Meditation is a way of being, not a technique. Meditation is not about trying to get anywhere else. It is about allowing yourself to be exactly where you are and as you are, and the world to be exactly as it is in this moment, as well.
When you see and feel the sensations you are experiencing as sensations, pure and simple, you may see that these thoughts about the sensation are useless to you at that moment and that they can actually make things worse than they need be.
When we commit ourselves to paying attention in an open way, without falling prey to our own likes and dislikes, opinions and prejudices, projections and expectations, new possibilities open up and we have a chance to free ourselves from the straitjacket of unconsciousness.
So when we make contact with the domain of being in the meditation practice, we are already, in a profound sense, beyond the scarring, beyond the isolation and fragmentation and suffering we may be experiencing.
Meditation is not so concerned with how much thinking is going on as it is with how much room you are making for it to take place within the field of your awareness from one moment to the next.
It's very important as a beginner that you understand right from the start that meditation is about befriending your thinking, about holding it gently in awareness, no matter what is on your mind in a particular moment. It is not about shutting off your thoughts or changing them in any way.
So it can be particularly helpful to keep in mind from moment to moment that it is not so much the stressors in our lives but how we see them and what we do with them, how we are in relationship to them, that determines how much we are at their mercy.
The challenge for mindfulness is to be present for your experience as it is rather than immediately jumping in to change it or try to force it to be different.
We all have limitations. They are worth befriending. They teach us a lot. They can show us what we most need to pay attention to and honor. They become our cutting edge for learning and growing and gentling ourselves into the present moment as it is.
Rather, it is bearing in mind what is most important to you so that it is not lost or betrayed in the heat and reactivity of a particular moment.
There can be no resolution leading to growth until the present situation has been faced completely and you have opened to it with mindfulness, allowing the roughness of the situation itself to sand down your own rough edges. In other words, you must be willing to let life itself become your teacher.
By grounding yourself in mindfulness early in the morning, you are reminding yourself that things are always changing, that good and bad things come and go, and that it is possible to embody a perspective of of constancy, wisdom, and inner peace as you face any conditions that present themselves.
When I was talking to a reporter, she said, "Oh, you mean to live for the moment.” I said, "No, it isn’t that. That has a hedonistic ring to it. I mean to live in the moment.
When we can be centered in ourselves, even for brief periods of time in the face of the pull of the outer world, not having to look elsewhere for something to fill us up or make us happy, we can be at home wherever we find ourselves, at peace with things as they are, moment by moment.
When asked about his apparent lack of anger toward the Chinese by an incredulous reporter at the time he won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama replied something to the effect that: "They have taken everything from us; should I let them take my mind as well?
That sentence is: "Nothing is to be clung to as I, me, or mine.” In other words, no attachments—especially to fixed ideas of yourself and who you are.
It would not be hard to imagine that a happy hermit, living in isolation, might feel connected to everything in nature and all people on the planet and not be at all affected by a dearth of human neighbors.
Above all, meditation is about letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in this moment. It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are.
Meditation is neither shutting things out nor off. It is seeing things clearly, and deliberately positioning yourself differently in relationship to them.
If we are not careful, it is all too easy to fall into becoming more of a human doing than a human being, and forget who is doing all the doing, and why.
Because of this inner busyness, which is going on almost all the time, we are liable either to miss a lot of the texture of our life experience or to discount its value and meaning.
Anybody who is imitating somebody else, no matter who it us, is heading in the wrong direction. It is impossible to become like somebody else. Your only hope is to become more fully yourself.
After all, if you really aren't trying to get anywhere else in this moment, patience takes care of itself.
Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense.
Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes.
By repeatedly bringing your attention back to the breath each time it wanders off, concentration builds and deepens, much as muscles develop by repetitively lifting weights.
Our ability to touch love and kindness and be touched by them lies buried below our own fears and hurts, below our greed and our hatreds, below our desperate clinging to the illusion that we are separate and alone.
Life only unfolds in moments. The healing power of mindfulness lies in living each of those moments as fully as we can, accepting it as it is as we open to what comes next—in the next moment of now.
One very important domain of our lives and experience that we tend to miss, ignore, abuse, or lose control of as a result of being in the automatic pilot mode is our own body.
Awareness is not the same as thinking. It is a complementary form of intelligence, a way of knowing that is at least as wonderful and as powerful, if not more so, than thinking.
If you stop trying to make yourself more than you are, out of fear that you are less than you are, whoever you really are will be a lot lighter and happier and easier to live with, too.
At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient... only the universe rearranging itself.
One practical way to do this is to look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them.
Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are.
Breathe and let be.
Breathe and let be. [...] [G]ive yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are.
Maybe the fear is that
we are less than
we think we are,
actuality of it
is that we are much much more.
Generosity is another quality which, like patience, letting go, non-judging, and trust, provides a solid foundation for mindfulness practice.
Generosity is another quality which, like patience, letting go, non-judging, and trust, provides a solid foundation for mindfulness practice. You might experiment with using the cultivation of generosity as a vehicle for deep self-observation and inquiry as well as an exercise in giving. A good place to start is with yourself. See if you can give yourself gifts that may be true blessings, such as self-acceptance, or some time each day with no purpose. Practice feeling deserving enough to accept these gifts without obligation-to simply receive from yourself, and from the universe.
See If You Can Give Yourself Gifts That May Be True Blessings, Such As Self-Acceptance
See If You Can Give Yourself Gifts That May Be True Blessings, Such As Self-Acceptance.
If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don't really know where we are standing... We may only go in circles.
If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don't really know where we are standing... We may only go in circles...
Meditation is like farming... the right soil is required to grow anything, nothing will grow if the soil is polluted by striving or pushing too hard.
Acknowledging that sometimes, often at very crucial times, you really have no idea where you are going or even where the path lies. A the same time, you can very well know something about where you are now (even if it is knowing that you are lost, confused, enraged or without hope).
Allow your attention to gently alight on your belly, as if you were coming upon a shy animal sunning itself on a tree stump in a clearing in the forest. Feel your belly rise or expand gently on the inbreath, and fall or recede on the outbreath.
Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable. Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy.
Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tibetan, or other historical traditions, are all different streams in the same river, different currents in the same ocean. With the long view, we can trust that the seeds that we're planting are transforming the world.
Societal transformation isn't going to happen in one month, one year, or even one lifetime. But we see it happen person by person in front of us, and we don't have to worry about the future if we're taking care of the present. In some sense, that's the best insurance policy we can have.
You can bring together the body's various systems to fine tune the body and mind in order to navigate life's ups and downs in a way that minimizes stress and maximizes well-being and satisfaction.
The Zen people from Ancient China, When you're walking, just walk. It turns out to be the hardest thing.
Look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them.... Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all.
Meditation means learning how to get out of this current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us.
Discipline provides a constancy which is independent of what kind of day you had yesterday and what kind of day you anticipate today.
We are continuously bombarded with information, appeals, deadlines, communications... We are continually being squeezed or projected into the future as our present moments are assaulted and consumed in the fires of endless urgency.
The real meditative practice is to open up to the full range of what happens in life. And parenting is a fantastic arena for doing that kind of spiritual training. It's as much a potential door into enlightenment as anything else.
The funny thing about stopping is that as soon as you do it, here you are.
The funny thing about stopping is that as soon as you do it, here you are. Things get simpler. In some ways, it’s as if you died and the world continued on. If you did die, all your responsibilities and obligations would immediately evaporate. Their residue would somehow get worked out without you.
How we see and hold the full range of our experiences in our minds and in our hearts makes an enormous difference in the quality of this journey we are on and what it means to us. It can influence where we go, what happens, what we learn, and how we feel along the way.
For men and women alike, this journey is a the trajectory between birth and death, a human life lived. No one escapes the adventure. We only work with it differently.
The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.
So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.
Peace is something that we can bring about if we can actually learn to wake up a bit more as individuals and a lot more as a species; if we can learn to be fully what we actually already are; to reside in the inherent potential of what is possible for us, being human.
In letting go of wanting something special to occur, maybe we can realize that something special is already occurring.
When you're walking, just walk. When you're eating, just eat. Not in front of the TV, not with the newspaper. It turns out, that's huge.
Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.
Stillness, insight, and wisdom arise only when we can settle into being complete in this moment, without having to seek or hold on to or reject anything.
We must be willing to encounter darkness and despair when they come up and face them, over and over again if need be, without running away or numbing ourselves in the thousands of ways we conjure up to avoid the unavoidable.
What is my job on the planet? is one question we might do well to ask ourselves over and over again. Otherwise, we may wind up doing somebody else's job and not even know it. And what's more, that somebody else might be a figment of our own imagination, and maybe a prisoner of it as well.
You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.
Perhaps the most spiritual thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.
See for yourself whether letting go when a part of you really wants to hold on doesn't bring a deeper satisfaction than clinging.
This is something called walking meditation. The goal is to learn to be aware of each and every movement and feeling. I know it seems ridiculous, but it does change the way you experience walking.
Meditation is really a non-doing. It is the only human endeavor I know of being where you already are.
Mindful parenting is the hardest job on the planet, but it's also one that has the potential for the deepest kinds of satisfactions over the life span, and the greatest feelings of interconnectedness and community and belonging.
The only time that any of us have to grow or change or feel or learn anything is in the present moment. But we're continually missing our present moments, almost willfully, by not paying attention.
The awareness is not part of the darkness or the pain; it holds the pain, and knows it, so it has to be more fundamental, and closer to what is healthy and strong and golden within you.
Dying without actually fully living, without waking up to our lives while we have the chance, is an ongoing and significant risk.
If you look at people out on the street, if you look at people at restaurants, nobody's having conversations anymore. They're sitting at dinner looking at their phone, because their brain is so addicted to it.
From the point of view of the meditative traditions the entire society is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking. It's akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding on to.
In any given moment we are either practicing mindfulness, or defacto, we are practicing mindlessness.
Maybe the fear is that we are less than we think we are, when the actuality of it is that we are much much more.
Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy.
Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy. Sometimes we don't feel that way because of the wounds and the scars we carry from the past or because of the uncertainty of the future. It is doubtful that we came to feel undeserving on our own. We were helped to feel unworthy. We were taught it in a thousand ways when we were little, and we learned our lessons well.
But you cannot have harmony without a commitment to ethical behavior. It's the fence that keeps out the goats that will eat all the young shoots in your garden.
Practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence. Share it with yourself, with your family, with the world.
It's the nature of the mind to drift away. The mind is like the Pacific Ocean, it waves. And mindfulness has been shown to drop underneath the waves. If you drop underneath the agitation in the mind, into your breath deep enough calmness, gentle undulations.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, on purpose and non-judgmentally, to what goes on in the present moment in your body, mind and the world around you.
You are whole and also part of larger and larger circles of wholeness you many not even know about. You are never alone. And you already belong. You belong to humanity. You belong to life. You belong to this moment, this breath.
Zen has an expression, nothing special. When you understand nothing special, you realize that everything is special. Everything's special and nothing's special. Everything's spiritual and nothing's spiritual. It's how you see, it's what eyes you're looking through, that matters.
Living in a chronic state of unawareness can cause us to miss much of what is most beautiful and meaningful in our lives.
Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?
No one can listen to your body for you... To grow and heal, you have to take responsibility for listening to it yourself.
Mindfulness is a way to rebalance ourselves. Instead of being lost in thought, or caught up in emotional upheaval, we can tip the scale in the direction of greater equanimity, clarity, wisdom, and self-compassion by actually learning how to inhabit that other dimension of our being.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that we live out our lives in an ocean of fear.
Note that this journey is uniquely yours, no one else's. So the path has to be your own. You cannot imitate somebody else's journey and still be true to yourself. Are you prepared to honor your uniqueness in this way?
Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.
Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing,.
Healing is a coming to terms with things as they are, rather than struggling to force them to be as they once were, or as we would like them to be, to feel secure or to have what we sometimes think of as our own way.
The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You're only here now; you're only alive in this moment.
Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality.
Mindfulness means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention, intentionally, in the present moment, and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can. In the process, we become more in touch with our life as it is unfolding.
Science gave me a cosmic religious feeling, and I would get the same feeling when I was dragged to the Met and the Museum of Modern Art.
I'm challenging everybody on every side of every divide to be more who they are, to cultivate their capacity for awareness.
Meditation had never been tried before in a medical center, so we had no idea whether mainstream Americans would accept a clinic whose foundation was intensive training in meditative discipline.
I started the Stress Reduction Clinic in 1979. The idea of bringing Buddhist meditation without the Buddhism into the mainstream of medicine was tantamount to the Visigoths being at the gates about to tear down the citadel of Western civilization.
Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation. It's not about Buddhism, but about paying attention. That's what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used.
Sometimes shutting off the sound on the television can allow you to actually watch the game and take it in in an entirely different and more direct way - a first-order, first-person experience - rather than filtered through the mind of another.
I was very much a tough New York street kid. I went to a school where you had to learn how to get along with everybody or fight with everybody, and I did my fair share of both.
I was very much a tough New York street kid. I went to a school where you had to learn how to get along with everybody or fight with everybody, and I did my fair share of both. But you have to learn how to get along. I did an awful lot of fighting. I was tough, but I'm also relatively small, so I learned very early on to use my mind.
One way to look at meditation is as a kind of intrapsychic technology that's been developed over thousands of years by traditions that know a lot about the mind/body connection.
Even before smart phones and the Internet, we had many ways to distract our selves. Now that's compounded by a factor of trillions.
Most people think that to meditate, I should feel a particular special something, and if I don't, then I must be doing something wrong.
There are many different aspects to a formal meditation practice. But the real meditation practice is how you interface with life from moment-to-moment, no matter what's happening. Especially when you are awake, which is pretty much most of the time except for deep sleep.
I loved science, and when I discovered Buddhist meditative practices and martial arts, I was able to bridge those ways of knowing the world into my own unique way. From that grew the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which became my karmic assignment.
The 'find it, fix it 'model of medicine doesn't work any more. The U.S. healthcare system is bankrupting the country, bankrolling the insurance companies and exhausting healthcare staff. And despite all that, we are ranked 50th in the world for life expectancy.
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