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Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
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Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  36,289 ratings  ·  1,594 reviews
In this book, the author maps out a simple path for cultivating mindfulness in one's own life. It speaks both to those coming to meditation for the first time and to longtime practitioners, anyone who cares deeply about reclaiming the richness of his or her moments.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2005 by Hachette Books (first published 1994)
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Tom Leland Really only in the sense that the same concept: the present is the only reality, and happiness depends on our ability to be in it -- is presented with…moreReally only in the sense that the same concept: the present is the only reality, and happiness depends on our ability to be in it -- is presented with meditation as a great method for achieving that. (less)

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 ·  36,289 ratings  ·  1,594 reviews


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Riku Sayuj
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, r-r-rs

Dear Brother,

When you first asked me about how to practice meditation (was it last week?), I gave you a few vague answers and then dismissed it from my mind, thinking that while it is impressive that you consider it seriously, it is not really vital to you right now. But, yesterday when you spoke about how difficult it is to study for more than two hours continuously, I realized that there might be more to it. That conversation set me thinking about a concept called " Digital Natives ". You w
...more
Helynne
May 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a particularly nice guidance book on meditation and mindfulness. I especially like Zinn's focus on "non-doing," which has nothing to do with being lazy or indolent, but the ability to "simply let things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way" (44). In short, this is the art of mindfullness, which Zinn says has to be kindled and nurtured because "you can only get there if you are fully here" (131) I also like his descriptions of "mountain" and "lake" meditations where one imagine ...more
Dan Harris
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think this guy may go down as a historical figure. He was the prime mover in turning meditation into a mainstream, secular, scientifically tested way to rewire your brain for happiness. This is a great book for beginners and the curious.
Celia
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ABSOLUTELY
If you want to know how to actually live in the present moment, then this book is for you
I have become more midnful of my thoughts and actions, and the amount of time I spend daydreaming or assuming what someone or something else's reality is. Instead, I allow those thoughts to pass quickly, without judgement, and come back to the present, whatever it is I am doing that moment be it playing peek-a-boo with my son, cooking a meal, having a talk with my husband or friend or running a few miles.
Jan-Maat
I found this in one of those remainder book shops which sell off the unsellable at reduced rates, there I also picked up Pompeii and Cnut, this one did not impress me so favourably.

The author notes in a preface that it is his favourite of his own books, I can't see what he sees in it. I found it like a tasting menu in which the feeling grew that the tasting menu itself was denying me the opportunity to enjoy a full meal. When I offered a crumb or a flake of something that was good, the only cer
...more
David Schaafsma
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism, meditation
“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”

So I like the title of this book that the author, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, reading it aloud in a ten year anniversary edition, tells us has been translated into more than ten languages, and has been an international bestseller. In spite of the fact that I am meditating and reading or listening to a few of these books
...more
Thomas
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A solid book for those interested in learning about and pursuing mindfulness. I have no experience with anything related to meditation aside from watching yoga commercials and hearing my mom talk about Buddha, but this book broke down my preconceptions and replaced them with tangible ways to improve my mindset. For example, this passage from an early part of the book discusses how mindfulness does not always mean suppressing brain activity; rather, it involves accepting things as they come:

"Peop
...more
Dannii Elle
I have been so conflicted on how to rate this book. Its central message is that whatever you focus on now, whatever takes up your time and wherever your thoughts wander, is exactly where you are going in life. It is of little use to idly wish of a future vision for yourself unless you put in the groundwork to making it happen, right now.

Despite seeming rather obvious, when put in as so few words as this, I actually found it an extremely enlightening read. The initial section delivered everything
...more
Jane
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"There is no running away from anything! The romantic notion that if it's no good over here, you have only to go over there and things will be different. If the jobs are no good, change jobs. If this wife is no good, change wives. If this town is no good, change towns. This underlying thinking is the reason for your troubles.
You cannot escape yourself, try as you might. Sooner or later, the same problems arise- patterns of seeing, thinking, and behaving. Our lives cease working because we cease
...more
Trevor
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 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 ha
...more
Kate
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
"Mindfulness is considered the heart of Buddhist meditation but its essence is universal and of deep practical benefit to all. In essence, mindfulness is about wakefulness. Out minds are such that we are often more asleep than awake to the unique beauty and possibilities of each present moment as it unfolds. While it is in the nature of our mind to go on automatic pilot and lose touch with the only time we actually have to live, to grow, to feel, to love, to learn, to give shape to things, to he
...more
Nicky
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
If you're looking for something about meditation and mindfulness that's devoid of spiritual interpretations and the like, this is one of the closest approaches I've seen that still focused on the meditation aspect and not just generally being "more aware". It has some helpful suggestions for visualisation, including details not just of picturing things but of feeling things, like his suggestions for standing meditation of imagining yourself as a tree, the part where he mentioned approaching the ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is like the handbook for mindfulness, a great place for people new to meditation or other contemplative practices to start. It is written in tiny chapters, most useful read alone. In other words there should be a lot of contemplating and meditating on the book itself. There are practical bits on "how" and some thoughts on "why" and specific situations and scenarios to consider. My only beef with Kabat-Zinn is that he has a lot of dangling quotations, where it's like what he's including is s ...more
Mark Dante Troiano
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My girlfriend in college suggested I read this book on everyday Mindfulness Meditation by Jon-Kabit Zinn - since then he has become one of my favorite authors on the subject. I approach every day as a meditation in movement. I'm currently working on being more non-reactive and awake and alive in the present moment without having any expectations of it and allowing the moment to simply "be" as it is. It is what it is. Good, bad, or indifferent - trying not to "force the river" - just allowing thi ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
The introduction tells us this book "is meant to provide brief and easy access to the essence of mindfulness meditation and its applications." By "mindfulness" is meant focused awareness of the "present moment." And meditation is "the process by which we go about deepening our attention and awareness, refining them, and putting them to greater practical use in our lives." The book is divided in three parts. Part One, "The Bloom of the Present Moment" seeks to give some background and definitions ...more
edward
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
If I could only have one book, this would be it. Not a novel, but a really great short chaptered book that teaches more than meditation. It asks the big questions about life and incorporates a lot from Thoreau's Walden with quotes and passages. A good mix of Eastern philosohpy and transcendentalism makes this a great book to read a chapter at a time. It will always be by my bedside.
Ying Ying
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a peaceful reading. It feels like going to a meditation session with the author. You are invited to bring mindfulness into the now, to practice mountain or lake meditation, to understand that you are connected with the whole, to minimise harm and cultivate generosity, love and patience, and to accept whatever is coming.
Elyse  Walters
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a long time ago --(I had forgotten I read it until my friend, Karen, recommended it to me). I once took a 10 day retreat where the last 2 days were 'silent'. This was one of the books we read.

Hm?? Maybe I should own it --read it again?
Robert
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, published in 1994, remains a good overview introduction to meditation and its uses. Meditation, obviously, has not changed in the ensuing years, nor have its many facets and their application to contemporary life. I say "obviously" because the fundamental truth is that meditation is about sitting by oneself, concentrating on one's breath or a mantra, and detaching oneself from the anxieties and yearnings an ...more
AJ
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People curious about meditation and mindfulness; individuals desiring greater well-being
Shelves: soul, mind
Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the pioneering medical professionals to integrate east/west practices. This book is a very easy read - yet full of insight and depth. I enjoyed the book immensely due to the luminous knowledge he provides regarding the practice and understanding of meditation and the synthesis of impressions held by various thinkers. I highly recommend this book due to his objective style and candidness, allowing for any faiths, lifestyles, or ages to perceive the truths within.

Excerpts:
...more
Veek
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I'd avoided Kabat-Zinn's works in the past, lumping them into the airy-faerie category of new age fluff. Then I read about him in another book (Bill Moyers' dusty but still relevant Healing and the Mind) and was impressed with both his credentials and his views. This book is targeted to clients whose health issues (such as chronic pain) may benefit from learning to let go of hurts from the past and worries about the future, and live more fully in the present moment. Breathing, imagery, relaxatio ...more
Steve Sarner
Where ever you go, there seems to be more and more content on mindfulness and meditation. So when I saw this well known title on sale during a Goodreads Daily Deal I picked it up without much thought (haha). I can see why this book has both 5 star and 1 star ratings as it varied for me from chapter to chapter and even page to page.

A few things that I particularly liked was him calling BS on many terms and thoughts around meditation such as this:

“The phrase “letting go” has to be high in the run
...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jon Kabat-Zinn is simple, but not easy, to use a title of one of his own chapters on p.5. He can't help it; he writes about mindfulness for intellectual people who expect a man of deep thinking to respect their intelligence and meet them on their level. I personally enjoyed the chapter he has entitled "Stopping". Meditation is about stopping and being being present (p.11). He likes to liken "stopping" to "dying", and I like that. To stop doing is to die, and this brings to my mind what Christ Hi ...more
Brian Johnson
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“When we speak of meditation, it is important for you to know that this is not some weird cryptic activity, as our popular culture might have it. It does not involve becoming some kind of zombie, vegetable, self-absorbed narcissist, navel gazer, “space cadet,” cultist, devotee, mystic, or Eastern philosopher. Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing something about who that is. It is about coming to realize that you are on a path whether you like it or not, namely, the path that is ...more
Ryan Michael
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My father is a practicing Buddhist. As such, this is the fourth book he has sent me on the subject (in one way or another) about practicing Buddhism. He described this book as Kabat-Zinn's way of introducing "Buddhism without the Buddha," which interested me, as, although Buddhism is most absent of certain things that usually turn me off from organized religion, this book would be a way of looking at the practice of mindfulness through more of a lens of human development instead of religious or ...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Oh... this text is an enormous collection of platitudes. The only useful chapter is the first one - 4 pages - that defines mindfulness and explains it's origin from Taoism and Buddism. Chapters are a few pages long, full of quotes/passages - mainly from Thoreau's Walden, other cited authors include Kabuir, Dalai Lama, some of the Taoist or Buddist masters, well... you get the picture. The author Kabat-Zinn basically repeats the message again with different words and explains why it's a nice mess ...more
aarthi
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Favorite quotes, and To Do's:

"look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them.... Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all."

"At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient... only the universe rearranging itself."

"Make a list of what is really important to you. Embody it."

"Our ability to touch love and kindness and be touched by them lies buried below our own fears and hurts, below our gre
...more
Liz
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sirpa Grierson
A gentle, practical book on meditation. Kind of a "read a chapter a day and think about it" layout. It appears very basic, but is a great sumary of truths. I did enjoy many quotes by Thoreau.

I recommend this book to anyone trying to learn to be more mindful and accepting of their lives. So many individuals live in their fantasies --how wonderful/terrible the past was or how they will be happy if only this happens in the future. But really, all you have is this immediate moment to live in fully,
...more
Hákon Gunnarsson
That's a great title, and quite true. The one you can't run away from, no matter how hard you try, is yourself. Like the title says: wherever you go, there you are. The thing is, I thought I was about to read a practical guide to meditation, but maybe that is not the best quality of this book.

At least, that is not what I found in it. It does go into different kinds of meditation, but I didn't feel it was a good guide to how to go about it. It did tell me one thing about meditation I didn't know
...more
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Mindfulness Meditation 1 4 Mar 29, 2020 12:07PM  
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Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founding director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) ...more

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“You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.” 160 likes
“Perhaps the most "spiritual" thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.” 118 likes
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