Jon Kabat-Zinn

Photo of ()\

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the founder and director of its renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic. His clinic was featured in 1993 in the public television series Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the author of 15 books, in print in over 45 languages. These include Full Catastrophe LivingWherever You Go, There You Are; Coming to Our Senses; and Mindfulness for Beginners.

Author photo © Jaume Cosialls

Also By Author

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Befriending Pain

Current statistics tell us that 20% of the US population has some form of chronic pain, defined as severe discomfort that has continued for six months or more. That’s more than 50 million people. Jon Kabat-Zinn has received international acclaim for his leading work in bringing the life-changing practices of meditation and mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. In this inspiring podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Jon about his empowering new book, Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief, and how we can greatly improve our lives (and our entire world) by reframing the way we relate to our thoughts, our minds, and the sensations of our bodies. 

Listen in as they discuss the epidemic of chronic pain and the power of mindfulness to ease suffering of all kinds, the myth of the “good meditator,” the body as the starting point for practice, exploring your “emotionally freighted thoughts,” our longing to be who we really are, working with the mind and learning to inhabit a space of embodied awareness, the refuge that is meditation practice, letting go of our stories, befriending the sensory field of what we call pain, the miracle of life on Earth, the Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness as the direct path to liberation, surfing the waves of your own experience, unity within diversity and the arising of compassion, focusing on what’s right instead of what’s wrong, how we are all on a growth curve on life’s journey, and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

On The Mindfulness Revolution and Our Fear of Authenti...

The Mindfulness Revolution Header Image

Deepen your personal healing practice with guided meditations, audio presentations, and learning intensives by Jon Kabat-Zinn on Sounds True »

Have you ever wondered who coined the term ‘mindfulness’? That was Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. He describes it as “paying attention on purpose with a non-judgmental attitude.”

“I take an enormous amount of pleasure in actually not trying to get anywhere” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

Partly because of his work and research, this concept of ‘mindfulness’ has become mainstream. We see it at colleges, small businesses and large corporations, and—perhaps most notably—in medicine (Kabat-Zinn also founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School).

In Tami’s interview with Kabat-Zinn on Insights at the Edge, the two begin asking: Why is mindfulness gaining popularity in the first place? In the process, they explore what’s simple, profound, and relatable about it.

AGE OF MINDFULNESS

mindfulness revolution woman

“Once you realize that we are completely embedded in an interconnected world … the only real response is a sense of profound appreciation or affection for the fact that we are not separate” 

Mindfulness has always been a part of humanity. It has been called different names and interpreted by different lenses, but the concept of some greater unity of which we are all a part—that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

So, even if it’s a trend, couldn’t there be more to it? In a way, mindfulness seems to take on the breath of intuition, not necessarily logic or reason. It is truly the air of possibility.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS

mindfulness revolution thoughts

You cannot get rid of your thoughts. But when you create distance between yourself and your thoughts, you can let them wash through you. You do not have to fight to maintain them or believe them. And, you do not have to fight to let them go.

“Suppose the sky is awareness. If a bird flew through, then the sky would know it. … [The sky] has its own sort of ground condition of just being the sky, just being awareness”

He describes this awareness not as a state of being, but as a shift in seeing. There was always space there. We just needed to rotate a lens.

Have you ever retreated your vision while meditating, so that you were gazing out from between your two closed eyes? Like that. That field of awareness stretches infinitely—as conscious beings, it weaves us together.

This feeling is both humbling and terrifying in its awesomeness. When the sky is so big, we don’t know what we are. But we can accept this uncertainty. Our minds, our egos, our bodies—can expand with it.

WE ARE ALL GENIUSES

mindfulness revolution connected

Homo sapien sapien literally translates from Latin to “the species that knows and knows that it knows.”

In the episode, Jon and Tami talk beautifully about mindfulness’s fundamental humanness. There is an utter connection between our feet grounded on this Earth, and the spaces we don’t understand.

“There is something about mindfulness that is absolutely core to our humanity … the final common pathway of what makes us human”

Sometimes, meditation helps us feel the truth of this. Once we know this awareness is there, we can integrate it into the ways we think and make decisions.

FEAR OF AUTHENTICITY

mindfulness revolution authenticityWe reach for purpose; we wish to understand our place in the universe. (It isn’t weird for us to do this. If I were an alien, and I heard humans were doing this, I would be like, well, yeah.)

Yet, we are afraid to be ourselves. We don’t want ourselves to disappear. So we keep inside our deepest sorrows, anxieties, and emotions.

The parts of us we try and protect so carefully end up banging on the walls inside of us, stuck.

“It’s not like we can never suppress that shadow side … but if we can come to understand it in a deeper way, then I think there is a potential … [to] elevate what is most beautiful and good about all human beings”

What if we gave all of it—ourselves, and our connection to the world—the space to breathe?

(And the possibilities begin to shimmer.)

 

ABOUT JON KABAT-ZINN

Jon Kabat-Zinn Author Photo

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society in 1995, and its world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic in 1979. His trailblazing research has helped bring mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He is the author of 10 books, including the bestsellers Full Catastrophe Living; Wherever You Go, There You Are; and Mindfulness for Beginners.

Take a look at Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book and accompanying CD of guided practices, Mindfulness for Beginners, published by Sounds True!

★★★★★ Easy to read and informative as well as inspiring. —gus c
★★★★★ In my opinion, a must-read for all humans. —Yves N

ABOUT THE AUTHORDani Ferrara Blogger Author Photo

When she isn’t writing, playing music or teaching, Dani Ferrara blogs at Sounds True and researches the alchemy of healing. Explore her art at daniferrarapoet.com.

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn: The Mindfulness Revolution

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is the internationally renowned founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, whose trailblazing research has helped bring mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. Jon is the author of many books and audio programs, including Wherever You Go, There You Are and the Guided Mindfulness Meditation series. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Jon about the role of science in validating mindfulness practice, the 180-degree shift that lets us rest in awareness instead of identifying with our thoughts, and the potential cultural renaissance that could arise from a “mindfulness revolution.” (72 minutes)

You Might Also Enjoy

Stephen Aizenstat: Increasing Your Imaginal Intelligen...

When we’re children, we’re encouraged to use our imagination. Yet over time, we tend to leave the imagination behind and emphasize logic and rational thinking. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Pacifica Graduate Institute founder Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., about reclaiming the vast resources of our imagination and boosting what he refers to as imaginal intelligence

Covering fascinating insights in his new book, The Imagination Matrix, Tami and Professor Aizenstat discuss: imaginal intelligence—the capacity to evoke imagination; how curiosity opens a different quality of being in the world; imagination and the neuroplasticity of the mind; the Dig—Aizenstat’s term for journeying into the matrix of the imagination; the practice of Dream Tending; active imagination and the work of Carl Jung; the autonomy of the deep imagination; two questions that shift us from the person-centric view of our dreams; the sense of support and belonging we find through dreamwork; how imagination evokes innovation, creativity, and motivation; the four quadrants of the Imagination Matrix—Earth, Mind, Machine, and Universe; “the place of confluence” and accessing the gifts of the imaginal realms; dreamwork as complementary medicine; the Wounded Healer; listening to the stories coming forward at this time in human history; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com

Justin Michael Williams, Shelly Tygielski, and Mario V...

The end of racism—really? When your eyes stop rolling, tune in to this podcast to hear why it’s actually possible—in our lifetimes—to free our society from systemic racial oppression and  injustice. In part one of this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Justin Michael Williams and Shelly Tygielski about their new book, How We Ended Racism. In part two, filmmaker and activist Mario Van Peebles joins the conversation to share his own hope-giving perspective. 

This stirring and uplifting podcast explores the five assumptions that perpetuate racism; the eight pillars of possibility; the pledge to help end racism; how our inner work relates to the outer change that we’re working toward; assertion versus assessment, and learning to recognize our own biases; shadow work and confronting the concept of supremacy; taking action where we’re standing right now; “loving with bigger arms”; crossing the divide within families; the metaphor of the inherited house; the practice of calling forward; intraconnection; the link between exposure and empathy; the SUSS process: State, Uncover, Synergize, and Select; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Spring Washam: Partnering with Ancestors for Support a...

Our collective human family faces unprecedented challenges—but we need not face them alone. We can call on the living spirit of our ancestors to collaborate on the creation of a more just and peaceful world. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with meditation teacher and author Spring Washam about her book The Spirit of Harriet Tubman and the opportunity at this time for us to rediscover our connection to our sacred and always supportive lineages. 

Give a listen as Tami and Spring discuss: Meditation and dropping into “observation mode;” partnering with an ancestral presence; creating your ancestral shrine; fortification and empowerment from the unseen world; receiving a transmission of courage and strength to do what seems impossible; prophetic vision; surrendering to the hard work we’re called to do; compassion, empathy, and the fierce heart; reconciling the heartbreak in our history; healing trauma; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

>