On the 10th anniversary of the publication of Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World, Jon Kabat-Zinn will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Networker Symposium this March in Washington, DC. He’ll explore the connection between the intensely private experience of living a meditative life and responding to the vast deluge of global and social problems we collectively face. In the interview below, he shares how he manages to balance the demands of both the personal and public domains in his own life.
The topic of mindfulness is everywhere these days. You’ve been as responsible for bringing mindfulness into the cultural mainstream as anyone. What’s it like for you watch all this mushrooming fascination with mindfulness practice?
Jon Kabat-Zinn: I only want to take credit for the good stuff. The nonsense I completely abjure.
When something achieves the kind of cultural currency mindfulness has reached, the definition often becomes a bit blurry. A few years ago, one of our Networker authors described mindfulness as nothing more or less than another form of self-hypnosis. In fact, he even included a transcript of a talk you once gave for Google as an example of an extremely gifted clinical hypnotist at work. What’s the difference between mindfulness and self-hypnosis?
Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness is often compared to lots of other things with sexier names, but…