Trevor's Reviews > Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
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's review
Aug 16, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: psychology

I was recommended this book - but I really struggled with it. The problem might have been increased by the fact that I found a talking book version read by the author. Authors probably should know better.

Anyway, it also had lots of that kind of music you might hear while getting a massage. I think that was also a mistake.

I just can't imagine myself sitting focused on my own breathing for any length of time - I do get what is being attempted here, but it just isn't me.

I also acknowledge that I have a range of prejudices associated with this sort of 'practice' (not least based on the sorts of people I have met in the past who are practitioners). I also find that talk of 'mindfulness' and other such notions - 'atonement with the fundamental oneness of the universe' for example - tend to immediately put me off. Just as talk of body postures and energy fields seem hard to take seriously.

But what I really struggle with is the implied (well, and explicit) 'spiritualism' of such ideas. My reaction to this sort of thing is, admittedly, over-wrought, but I really have to accept that as a core part of what it is to be McCandless.

I think I have decided that I would rather learn concentration by concentrating on something I can also enjoy - music, literature, books - and relaxation from walking, rather than concentrating on my breath.

I didn't finish this book - which I thought I would, and there wasn't much left to go. I blame the organ and the tinkling piano.
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04/09 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Lorena (new)

Lorena this is a joke yeh?

Trevor See the prejudice I have to overcome every day, Bruce?

message 3: by Lorena (new)

Lorena you are seriously evolving

message 4: by Bruce (new)

Bruce I apologize for this recommendation, Trevor. It clearly didn't hit the spot, did it? :-) I found myself chuckling at your wonderful descriptions of your reactions - it must have been an awful experience. I don't think I would have liked the taped version, either, although probably would have tolerated it a bit more easily than you did.

I don't recall the author's talking about energy fields and atonement with the fundamental oneness of the universe, but maybe I've simply forgotten that part of the book. I do find that an hour's worth of mindful sitting each morning anchors me and my day and provides the serenity I need not to get rattled by the inevitable unpredictability of life that I would otherwise tolerate poorly.

But each of us is unique, and what appeals to one doesn't necessarily strike the same chord with another. De gustibus...

It's rather fun, isn't it, to find out more about each other and be able to appreciate and even celebrate those revealed differences. I applaud your having given this a try!

Trevor Oh, there's no need to apologize - as I said, I'm hypersensitive. I might have made up the bit about the atonement - but the energy stuff is related to the postures. I understand what he is saying and it is not silly, just not me.

message 6: by Lorena (new)

Lorena you do amuse me!

message 7: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth I hope I have better luck with this one. I have another book by the same author that I remember really enjoying.

Riku Sayuj I really enjoyed the book... You reaction may have been because the audio is a drastically abridged version?

Riku Sayuj Moonbutterfly wrote: "I actually use meditation as a form of concentration. I simply count 1 to ten and then repeat; it like focusing a laser beam on a repetitious banal task. Its boring, difficult, and time consuming b..."

Reading a book can be made into meditation too... As you bring awareness to what you are doing. that awareness is what really matters.

Trevor Yes, Riku - I've a feeling the audio version of this put me off it - the music as much as anything. I've always really wanted to learn more about mediation - the problem has always been that when I have gone to places where they talk about mediation they also tell me about my chukras (sp?) and rather than relaxing me it sends my blood pressure through the roof.

Now, Riku, have you met Bruce yet? Bruce writes stunning reviews of classic works of fiction and poetry. Whenever I notice them I make sure I read them. Like your reviews they are becoming mandatory reading.

Bruce, Riku's reviews are remarkably concise and a model of comprehensiveness. Moonbutterfly also writes wonderful reviews and has the kind of book shelf that inspires all the things that the best of good reads inspires.

message 11: by Riku (last edited Mar 08, 2012 08:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Riku Sayuj Trevor wrote: "Yes, Riku - I've a feeling the audio version of this put me off it - the music as much as anything. I've always really wanted to learn more about mediation - the problem has always been that when ..."

Thanks Trevor, for your kind words.

And Kundalini meditation is an entirely specialized form of meditation and only that involves chakras.

I am surprised they tried to sell you on that. You might like to go through my brief overview of the sort of meditation advocated in this book, you can find it here or here, if you want a more comprehensive version.

Monica I really liked Kabat-Zinn's earlier book "Full Catastrophe" but like you, I am struggling to finish it. Although I pratise yoga and meditation and one would think that I am naturally drawn to books of such nature, I find that the approach is not very clear, loose, not quite there.

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