Some of the mediation we have practiced at our yoga breaks recently have been influenced by Dr. Jon Kabat Zimm. Kabat Zimm started up a mindfulness centre in 1979 and has done some profound work for mindfulness, healing and stress reduction. We wanted to share some of his thoughts, have a leisurely read…
Has this ever happened to you while driving to work: you have a long and heated argument with somebody about your work, only to find at some point that you are alone in the car?
So far, the meeting and the argument are taking place only in your own mind! But you are already tense, perhaps even angry, feeling the stress of events that may not happen at all, or that will no doubt unfold differently from the way you have imagined. Afterwards, you can barely remember how you got to work. You certainly weren’t all there for the ride.
Or, you come out of a meeting in which you failed to speak up. Then you spend the rest of the day arguing your points with people in your mind. The meeting is over, but you are experiencing the stress of these mental arguments for the rest of the day. They are going nowhere, and you are out of touch, lost in a fog of your own creation — however important the real issues may be.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. We all spend much of our lives unconsciously absorbed in a future that hasn’t happened yet or in a past that is already gone and in the process, spend much of the day out of touch with the present moment, which is the only time we ever get in which to live or act. And so, we can easily miss out on the opportunities that the present moment is constantly offering us.
Certainly, mental rehearsal and thoughtful reflection can be useful at times. But there are better ways to do it than through the haze of unconscious preoccupation and absorption. If you have real problems, it will be important to work them with a clear mind.
If you are routinely out of touch with the present, you may miss more than the morning commute. You might be thinking of other things while playing with your children, lost in thought when you are with friends, missing tender moments with your lover, oblivious to the beauty of a sunny day or the place you are in short, missing out on life.
Mindfulness Meditation is about learning to experience life fully as it unfolds—moment by moment. One popular misconception about meditation is that it is a way to make your mind blank so you can escape from what you are feeling. However, author Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn wants you to understand that meditation is an invitation to wake up, experience the fullness of your life, and transform your relationship with your problems, your fears, and any pain and stress in your life so that they don’t wind up controlling you and eroding the quality of your life and your creativity. It is not about running away, or manipulating mental states.
Through the practice of mindfulness, you can learn to develop greater calmness, clarity and insight in facing and embracing all your life experiences, even life’s trials, and turning them into occasions for learning, growing and deepening your own strength and wisdom.
In this program, internationally-known meditation teacher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn shows you how to:
- Access your own deep inner resources for learning, growing and healing
- Enrich your experience of everyday living by being fully present in the moment
- Reduce stress by responding creatively rather than reacting mindlessly
- Bring greater clarity and understanding to everything you do
- Function more effectively within your apparent limitations and problems by cultivating your fundamental strengths
- Reestablish contact with your physical body to heighten and expand experiences of pleasure and vitality
- Reduce or overcome addictive or self-destructive behavior patterns
- Develop a strong daily meditation practice