When Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to the Western world in 1979, he transformed clinical practice, as well as how we regard and work through emotional and physical pain. Also the author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, he made mindfulness digestible for a lay audience seeking to answer the larger questions of who we are and what makes for a happy life. "Mindfulness," he once said, "is a gateway into the full dimensionality of being human."
In the following video clip from his 2015 Networker Symposium keynote address, "Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do," Kabat-Zinn explains how just taking time to stop and "be with ourselves" is a "radical act" nowadays, and what it really means to be mindful. Take a look for yourself and share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, bestselling author, and mindfulness meditation teacher. He’s professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he founded its world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic and its Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.
As Kabat-Zinn notes, the real meditation practice is how we live our lives in the present moment. Being aware of ourselves, how we act, and what we're thinking as we're going about our daily routines has the amazing capacity to reduce anxiety and depression. Equally important, he says, mindful awareness helps us correct the false narrative we often tell ourselves about who we are and what our purpose is.
"The message of mindfulness," he says, "is an invitation to everybody to wake up to the true dimensionality of who we all are, and to move in a direction of maximizing the good that comes from our activities and minimizing the harm both to ourselves and others." This can be done, he adds, on corporate, national, and international levels. "As a species," he says, "we’re starving for authentic experience."
Want to help your clients calm their racing thoughts, eliminate anxiety, and create a fuller sense of themselves? Check out more of our articles on Mindfulness below.
Did you enjoy this video? In "The Reluctant Guru," we sat down with Kabat-Zinn to ask him about his life's work and what mindfulness can teach us about ourselves. And in "A Doorway to Mystery," author and Buddhist practitioner Jack Kornfield explains the importance of the sacred and ritual in the experience of psychotherapy.
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