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Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life

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What if you could profoundly change your life just by becoming more mindful of your breathing? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, you can. What if paying attention on purpose (and nonjudgmentally) could improve your health? Again, according to Dr. Kabat-Zinn--it can.

On Mindfulness for Beginners, this internationally known scientist, bestselling author, and teacher who brought mindfulness meditation into the mainstream of medicine and society gives you immediate access to a practice that can potentially add years to your life, and will certainly enhance the quality of your moments and your years.

Join Dr. Kabat-Zinn to:

Explore five guided meditations that lead you breath-by-breath into the essence of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a program offered in medical clinics and hospitals around the world
- Cultivate the Seven Key Attitudinal Factors of MBSR--qualities of heart and mind that lay the foundation for mindfulness practice and for seeing and accepting things as they are as a first step to working wisely and compassionately with stress, pain, illness, and sorrow as well as life's joys and pleasures
- Free yourself from limiting perspectives, and become more intimate with your own boundless awareness

You're already in the perfect moment for inhabiting this liberating awareness, which is always available, teaches Jon Kabat-Zinn. With Mindfulness for Beginners, he invites you to cultivate mindfulness as if your life depended on it, which it surely does, and experience the magnitude and beauty of who you already are.

Course objectives:

Apply an understanding of the concept of mindfulness
- Utilize simple guided meditations led by Kabat-Zinn
- List the ethical and attitudinal foundations necessary to cultivating mindfulness
- Assess how we can choose where to focus our awareness
- Plan to use mindfulness to help us develop compassion and insight into our true nature

170 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Jon Kabat-Zinn

161 books1,686 followers
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) in various venues around the world. He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT in 1971 in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Salvador Luria.

He is the author of numerous scientific papers on the clinical applications of mindfulness in medicine and health care, and of a number of books for the lay public: Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness (Delta, 1991); Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (Hyperion, 1994); Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2005); and Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2007). He is also co-author, with his wife Myla, of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting (Hyperion, 1997); and with Williams, Teasdale, and Segal, of The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Guilford, 2007). Overall, his books have been translated into over 30 languages.

His major research interests have focused on mind/body interactions for healing, clinical applications of mindfulness meditation training, the effects of MBSR on the brain, on the immune system, and on healthy emotional expression while under stress; on healing (skin clearing rates) in people with psoriasis; on patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation; with prison inmates and staff; in multicultural settings; and on stress in various corporate settings and work environments. His work in the Stress Reduction Clinic was featured in Bill Moyers’ PBS Special, “Healing and the Mind” and in the book of the same title, as well as on Good Morning America, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and NPR. It has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness into mainstream institutions such as medicine, and psychology, health care and hospitals, schools, corporations, the legal profession, prisons, and professional sports.

He has trained groups of CEOs, judges, members of the clergy, and Olympic athletes (the 1984 Olympic Men’s Rowing Team) and congressional staff in mindfulness. The Stress Reduction Clinic has served as the model for mindfulness-based clinical intervention programs at over 200 medical centers and clinics nation-wide and abroad.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn has received numerous awards over the span of his career. He is a founding fellow of the Fetzer Institute, and a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He received the Interface Foundation Career Achievement Award, and the New York Open Center’s Tenth Year Anniversary Achievement in Medicine and Health Award (1994); the Art, Science, and Soul of Healing Award from the Institute for Health and Healing, California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco (1998); the 2nd Annual Trailblazer Award for “pioneering work in the field of integrative medicine” from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California (2001); the Distinguished Friend Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2005), and an Inaugural Pioneer in Integrative Medicine Award from the Bravewell Philanthropic Collaborative for Integrative Medicine (2007).

He is the founding convener of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, and serves on the Board of the Mind and Life Institute, a group that organizes dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists to promote deeper understanding of different ways of knowing and probing the nature of mind, emotions, and reality. He was co-program chair of the 2005 Mind and Life Dialogue: The Clinical Appl

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 492 reviews
Profile Image for Kazi.
55 reviews6 followers
April 27, 2015
Easily the best book on meditation that I've read. For people like me, who have really struggled with meditation, are extremely suspicious of new-age speak and approach meditation from a very analytical rather than an emotional or free-spirited way of thinking, it's perfect. Kabat-Zinn is really good at outlining the rational justifications for mindfulness and the practical applications of it, as well as explaining how lack of mindfulness can impact and rule one's life, and as much as I hate to say it, he makes sense.
Profile Image for I. Mónica del P Pinzon Verano.
199 reviews70 followers
May 14, 2019
No me encontré con el contenido de este libro. Hace años, cuando emprendí la práctica de la meditación me topé con la escuela mindfulness, revisé algunas cosas pero finalmente me decanté por simplemente meditar y seguir mi propio proceso. Hace poco volví a encontrarme con el mindfulness, ya que estaba referenciado en el libro de Félix Torán Consciencia Cuántica (libro que me gustó mucho y me despertó el interés por muchos temas); entonces, para iniciar la relectura del mismo y comenzarlo a trabajar, quise acercarme a varios tópicos que el autor trata, entre ellos el mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn es casi un prócer del mindfulness, pese a que no me haya gustado el libro no me queda duda de ello. Sin embargo, considero que la estructura del contenido no funcionó. El libro es corto, tiene muchos capítulos que parece ser buscan encapsular ideas que tienen una secuencia para llegar a la practica meditativa. El asunto, desde mi juicio, es que estas “capsulas” quedan como tips cuyo mensaje se diluye. Arrancas el capítulo e identificas el objetivo, pero cuando llegas al final te das cuanta que no has llegado a ningún sitio. El problema no solo es el formato tips, me parece desafortunada la sintaxis, la redacción.

De la lectura me quedan un par de ideas. También para rescatar las meditaciones propuestas al final (cuyos audios e pueden conseguir en internet) y la bibliografía recomendada. No he leído más de mindfulness, pero estoy segura que hay mejores libros.
Profile Image for MrsJoseph *grouchy*.
1,011 reviews83 followers
December 17, 2015

Awarenessing. Awarenessing is what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls the act of being aware and present.

I suck at mediation. I've tried it in the past but it's always been difficult for me. I have a very active brain. Very, very active. It's the reason why I'm not really into watching TV/movies - I don't need any additional stimulation. O_O

I first learned about Mindfulness via a televised interview of Jon Kabat-Zinn. My husband was intrigued and immediately started research on the subject. He went to Jon Kabat-Zinn's website and decided to buy a couple of the books - he even took the information to work to share with his employees.

I ignored [Mindfulness] for the most part even though my husband encouraged me to try it.

Sadly, I decided to read Mindfulness for Beginners after a very traumatic family event: we lost someone to a car accident on the very same day another family member had to be rushed to ICU - and that person is still critically ill.

Let's just say I became overwhelmingly stressed out. It was at that point I took my husband's advice. I hoped that maybe Mindfulness for Beginners would give me some tools to calm down my chaotic life. Or at least take my mind off of my troubles for a period of time.

Reading Mindfulness for Beginners was difficult for me. Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks in the same way he breathes - soothingly, slowly and deliberately - listening to him is quite like meditation. As I said before, I suck at meditation. Seriously suck at it. Whenever I try to meditate, my mind always wanders off to random subjects. And that's also what happens when I listen to this book. My mind starts to wander and I lose track of what's being said. Sometimes I rewind to (try to) listen again. Sometimes I just go with the flow. Sometimes I fall asleep.

Kabat-Zinn says that it is normal for the mind to wander when mediating. You are to - gently and with kindness - redirect your mind back to your breath when this happens. This one moment, this one breath.

Read the rest here: http://bookslifewine.com/r-mindfulnes...
Profile Image for Andy.
20 reviews
February 6, 2014
I give up. One can only read so many pages before the constant stream of meaningless babble wear you out. 50 pages in and all this book has done is think of different ways of stating, "slow down and pay attention to your thoughts".
Profile Image for Kitty.
203 reviews7 followers
May 19, 2018
I can't recommend the audiobook of this highly enough. It's short, simple, surprisingly funny at times, and a great introduction to mindfulness. Even if you're already familiar with the concepts, it is always helpful to bring a "beginner's mind" to the practice.
Profile Image for Leslie.
287 reviews105 followers
August 25, 2017
"We are very much in the habit of thinking of ourselves in small, contracted ways---and of identifying with the content of our thoughts, emotions, and the narrative we build about ourselves---based on how much we like or dislike what is happening to us. This is our default mode. The power of mindfulness is the power to examine those self-identifications and their consequences and the power to examine the views and perspectives we adopt so reflexively and automatically and then proceed to think they are us. The power of mindfulness lies in paying attention in a different, larger way to the actuality of life unfolding moment by moment by moment. It allows us to shift from mindlessness to mindfulness." - from the Epilogue
Profile Image for May Ling.
1,071 reviews287 followers
March 17, 2020
Summary: Great book about mindfulness. It left me with a lot of questions. But this is a good thing.

Please consider my vlog at: IG: WhereIsMayLing or Youtube: Diary of a Speed Reader

p. 43 - We do not ever learn awareness. This is despite the fact that it colors our critical thinking and our experience.

p. 54- We do not learn the separation of thinking and the emotions that are visiting.

p. 56 - Proprioception - "Sense of knowing and feeling the body's position in space both statically and in motion." If you are taking a drug that makes you loose this, you can see everything but you don't have body awareness.
Interoception - "knowing how your body is feeling from the inside" This is body awareness, which cannot be done unless you are in the present. Like noticing your breathing. Appreciating pain and pleasure response, etc.

p. 68 - Narrative focus - This is the story we create about what we're doing and why
Experiential Focus - grounded in what is being experienced in the present moment.

p. 108 - He talks about the 3 destructive mind states:
- Greed - is the impulse to acquire whatever it is you desire.
- Aversion - This is the impulse that we describe as fear, hate, irritability, resentment, annoyance, fear, rage, etc.
- Delusion - not apprehending, not comprehending, relationships, complex events, and what is actually going on. (unexamined or deluded story lines lead to self-fulfilling prophecies).

p. 131 - The power of acceptance... what it actually is, i.e. not having to have things be a particular way in order to be happy. A state of not clinging.
p. 132 - Letting go is important to the acceptance.

p. 153 - "In the end, the healing and transformative power of mindfulness lies in paying attention to the miracle and beauty of our very being and in the expanded possibility for being knowing, and doing within a life that is lived and met and held in awareness and deep kindness in each unfolding moment.
Profile Image for Nata.
405 reviews105 followers
November 17, 2019
Mi-a plăcut ideea acestui concept, tehnică dec meditație și am hotărât să încep cu începutul pentru a o cunoaște mai în detalii.

Mi-a plăcut în mod special că se bazează pe conștientizare și atenție, a trăi momentele din viața ta aici și acum.

O să mai citesc și alte cărți, să îmi aprofundez informațiile.

E o carte cu frânturi din una mai mare, și dacă vreți să aflați mai multe detalii despre mindfullness, cumpărați altele, complete, cu informații integrale.

Pe asta nu vă sugerez să cheltuiți bani, pentru că doar amintește de niște reguli de bază ale acestei tehnici de meditație, atât.
Profile Image for Wendy.
501 reviews10 followers
June 18, 2009
This is a good introduction to mindfulness and meditation practice, especially for absolute beginners or people who are curious about exploring meditation without getting heavily into any associated religious practice. If you've read or listened to much other material on Buddhism or meditation practice, a lot of the concepts in the first half are going to seem pretty basic and familiar, although you might still get value out of the meditation exercises in the second half.

From reading other reviews, I know that Kabat-Zinn's voice puts some people on edge. Basically, he sounds like a nerdy New England physician. He reminds me of my pediatrician when I was a kid, so personally, I find his voice kind of reassuring, but he's not going to most people's idea of the most relaxing voice. Nor does he have the most perfectly smooth vocal delivery - he sounds a bit stilted in places, as if he's reading from a script. If you can, listen to a sound sample first to get a feel for whether you can listen to 2+ hours of this guy.
Profile Image for John.
1,517 reviews5 followers
December 23, 2016
This was a quick read for me.
But I enjoyed the honesty of it. "Those who try to pick up meditation thinking they will be like the Dali Lama might as well stop. They have no chance in Hell of pulling that off."
And the fact that if you try meditation, don't tell people about it. If you feel the need to brag about meditating, you really need to meditate some more.
This is a beginning book. More steps to follow latter.
There is no Cliff notes for meditating. There is only doing.
Profile Image for Iona  Stewart.
781 reviews246 followers
June 25, 2019
Apparently, Jon Kabat-Zinn is an, or the, expert within the field of mindfulness.

A CD containing guided meditations accompanies the book. I have to say I was unable to meditate while listening to these though Jon Kabat-Zinn seemed to be saying some sensible/inspiring things. I was not disturbed by any thoughts as he suggested I would be, but I was disturbed by his bla bla blabbings (that’s what they felt like when I was attempting to meditate).

When beginning the book I was seeking some practical/precise instructions about how to “do” mindfulness but didn’t feel these were provided. At the end, however, we were given the texts of the meditations on the CD, which was what I was looking for in the first place. They just came too late. I had needed these instructions BEFORE listening to the CD. But how is one supposed to meditate quietly with mindfulness while listening to someone bla bla blabbing, no matter how insightful the content of what is said?

The book is well-written and interesting though more abstract, cerebral and philosophical than what I was looking for. The chapters were pleasantly short.

The author mentions opening to “an interior stillness”. Again, why would he think one could do that with someone constantly talking in one’s ear?

A basic exercise of mindfulness is paying attention to the sensations of breathing in the body. What is important is not the breath, but awareness of the breath.

I recall when I was four that I suddenly became aware of my breathing and thought that I needed to consciously breathe, otherwise I would die. Nobody had ever talked to me about breathing and nobody ever did.

But I didn’t die and I eventually realized, as the author states, that “we are being breathed”– the body breathes itself.

We are given a definition of mindfulness – “paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally”.

Mindfulness is “what arises when you pay attention --- in the present moment”. “And what arises is nothing other than awareness itself.” We need to learn “the being mode of mind”.

We should avoid being “more of a human doing than a human being”.

Mindfulness reminds us that it is possible to shift from a doing mode through the application of attention and awareness.

For years I have been doing Holosync meditation, which involves listening to a series of special mp3s that help to synchronize the two halves of the brain. The purpose and effect of doing this form of meditation, reportedly 8 times as strong as ordinary meditation, are the obtaining of more AWARENESS.

And now I got hold of this book on mindfulness which also turns out to be all about AWARENESS.

“What is most important --- is the awareness that feels and knows directly, without thinking, that breathing is going on in this moment, that hearing is going on in this moment, that thoughts are moving through the sky-like space of the mind at this moment.”

We’re informed about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for those facing stress, pain, illness and disease. This is something one can do oneself instead of relying on a lacking health care system.

We are advised to bring an affectionate quality to our attention.

The author reminds us that “there is no place to go, nothing to do, nothing to attain”.

The guided meditations consist of 1) Eating Meditation (which I gave a miss) 2) Mindfulness of Breathing 3) Mindfulness of the Body as a whole 4) Mindfulness of Sounds, Thoughts and Emotions and 5) Mindfulness of Pure Awareness.

The final meditation is sometimes referred to as “objectless attention”, “choiceless awareness” or “open presence”. We do nothing but rest in choiceless awareness, moment by moment. This practice of choiceless awareness is “an occasion to let yourself be invited into the receptive, empty, spacious, knowing quality of awareness”. It is an invitation to “dwell --- in this timeless moment we call ‘now’ --- and wake up to the actuality of who we are”.

As stated, I didn’t get anything out of the spoken meditations, but learnt how to do them through the texts.

Altogether, this book introduces us to the practice of mindfulness and tells us, finally, how to “do” it. It is a deep book and, personally, I would need to re-read it at least once.

I may also take a gander at some of the author’s other books.

P.S. I have not read this book twice as Goodreads states.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
May 21, 2019
interesting quotes (page numbers from edition with ISBN13):

"If you're breathing, you have more going right for you than not."

"Seven attitudinal factors that are really foundational in mindfulness practice:
1. Non-judging
2. Patience
3. Beginner's mind
4. Trust
5. Non-striving
6. Acceptance
7. Non-attachment"
(p. )

"...we can learn how to step out of time. Through mindfulness. That gives us a lot more time, actually, because when you're mindful and you catch your moments...Well, we have an infinite number of them between now and the time we are going to die. The more you miss, the faster the trip." (p. )

"Resting in an awareness of not knowing is incredibly important for seeing with any clarity, with any creativity, and for living our truth in ways that have integrity." (p. )
"We should retitle the species human 'doings.'" (p. )

"" (p. )

"" (p. )

"" (p. )

"" (p. )
Profile Image for Diego Arredondo.
134 reviews4 followers
July 15, 2021
nice intro.

For me, the journey into mindfulness was "I must experienced it!"

I suggest you to reach for someone who can start the journey with you... You would need a lot of character to tame this alone.

Maybe you can see more and know others in his masterclass.
Profile Image for Mehmet Fatih.
26 reviews1 follower
January 10, 2021
Kitap çok boş. Ama uygulamalı egzersizleri henüz yapmadım. Umarım onlar başarılıdır,
43 reviews
December 17, 2022
Primer libro sobre Mindfulness que leo. Como indica el título, libro para principiantes que incide sobre todo en la importancia de conectar con nosotros mismos y con el momento presente. Se lee fácil y tiene una prácticas guiadas de meditación al final.
Lo recomiendo si te interesa el tema.
701 reviews26 followers
December 24, 2015
This book is great. I finished reading it, but it comes with a CD of guided meditations, so I am not done with the experience. In fact, I might return this copy to the library where I found it, and buy a copy so I always have the CD.

I had tried to read another book by this author (Full Catastrophe Living), but I was reading it on my kindle and the experience was so bad I finally gave up. I read this book on paper, and enjoyed it and appreciated it, and learned from it, and would consider reading it again. Somehow, reading on a kindle feels like a cruel chore, whereas reading a book is pretty much my favorite thing, so I think I can safely blame the kindle rather than the authors whose work I have read on the thing. Good to know!

The author developed Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is used/taught at many hospitals and clinics (including UCSF, so I'm told). This book is a very accessible intro, and it is a quick and easy read, for those who are curious. More than a good read, it is good for whatever ails you.
Profile Image for Mack Hayden.
440 reviews18 followers
February 15, 2019
I listened to this on audio and, aside from the Headspace app, I really think this'll be my go-to recommendation for anyone interested in mindfulness or meditation. Kabat-Zinn comes across as so approachable, humble, and down-to-earth—as someone who can get turned off by most super New Agey things, he's the ideal teacher for someone like me. The idea of mindfulness as a verb—"awarenessing"—is so simple, but it really anchored the practice even more for me. Would definitely recommend the audio specifically so you can follow along with the guided meditation in real time; not to mention, he's got a really soothing voice. Great introductory text to a subject I think everyone on the planet earth could benefit from.
Profile Image for Ashley.
43 reviews3 followers
August 13, 2008
Eh.. That's how I feel about it. I think part of the problem is listening to the man. His voice is a bit more droaning than it is enjoyable to listen to. BUT, when trying to be mindful I could be mindful of his voice so maybe I actually acomplished something. Not a favorite. I would have rather the first CD been a book with the second CD as a part of the book.
Profile Image for Lisa Butterworth.
892 reviews26 followers
January 3, 2020
I recommend this book all the time, so it seemed like time for a reread 2 years later, and turns out, it's still a five star.

I'm not sure if this audio book is 5 stars, or if I was just in the exact mood for it. but the audio version of the meditations hit my sweet spot and I loved loved loved.

Profile Image for Polly.
272 reviews5 followers
October 14, 2014
Make sure to get an audio book. The whole second half is an hour long mindfulness session. Great book, and great start to mindfulness.
Profile Image for Justin Tapp.
637 reviews64 followers
June 18, 2015
I provide a bit more to this than a normal book review. I give this book 4 stars, it is exactly as advertised.

Pray. Meditate. Don't worry. Relax. Breathe. Have a quiet time. These are all things we know we're supposed to do but neglect to do. They require intentional desire and discipline. This book is about how to practice being intentional about it.

This book is a short summary and introduction into the exercise of mindfulness. The author has a PhD from MIT. I became intrigued by mindfulness after watching the author in this 60 Minutes piece. Tim Ferriss interviews a lot of Silicon Valley entrepreneur types on his show and practicing some form of meditation seems to be a common link among all of them. I blogged about that here.
I recently saw a profile of the CEO of health care giant AETNA, and how he offers yoga and meditation courses to employees, which are quite popular. They've seen a drop in health care costs that they attribute to the practice reducing stress.
"Employees report a 28 percent decrease in stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and 19 percent reduction in pain. "

I listen to several fitness podcasts and the elite athletes and trainers all practice some form of meditation and yoga as part of their mental fitness and physical recovery. Yoga (a difficult form) is included in P90X and is something that I appreciate and don't do correctly or often enough.

Most Christians think of Eastern meditation as emptying one's mind, whereas that does not appear to be the case with mindfulness. Zinn reportedly developed his style by combining his studies with Buddhist practioners "with science." It's instead a practice of focusing one's mind, and as such I find it compatible with a Christian discipline of meditation.

I read a couple books on spiritual disciplines last year, meditation and prayer are two points covered that are similar. Tim Challies has a brief "faith hacking" post on meditation on Scripture.

In another post, he interviews Joel Beeke on how the Puritans used the word "meditation," and I find it quite compatible:
Puritan meditation engages the mind with God’s revealed truth in order to inflame the heart with affections towards God and transform the life unto obedience. Thomas Hooker defined it like this: “Meditation is a serious intention of the mind whereby we come to search out the truth, and settle it effectually upon the heart.” The direction of our minds reveals the truest love of our hearts, and so, Hooker said, he who loves God’s Word meditates on it regularly (Ps. 119:97). Therefore, Puritan meditation is not repeating a sound, emptying the mind, or imagining physical sights and sensations, but a focused exercise of thought and faith upon the Word of God."
"Here is a method for meditation based on Puritan writings. First, pray for the power to focus your mind on the Word with faith. Second, read the Bible and select a verse or two. Third, repeat those verses to yourself in order to memorize them. Fourth, think about what those verses say and imply, probing the book of Scripture (other verses on the same topic), the book of conscience (how you have believed or disbelieved, obeyed or disobeyed), and the book of nature (how this truth appears in experience and the world). Fifth, stir up your affections unto love, desire, grief, hope, zeal, and joy as appropriate. Preach the text to yourself with powerful application. Sixth, arouse your soul to the specific duty which the text requires, making holy resolutions for the glory of God. Seventh, conclude with prayers for divine assistance, thanksgiving for graces given, and singing psalms of praise to God."

The Psalmist wrote (Psalm 131) "But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me"

There's a quietness about it. There's a prayer closet we have to build, either physically or mentally throughout our day, to be like Jesus and move away from the crowds and pray (Mark 1:35-37). To appreciate that God is moving every molecule in our universe, including those in our immediate surroundings. "Multitasking jams the voice of God."

Zinn says that "mindfulness is a way of being, not just a good idea." It's about living in the present moment, not worrying about the past or the future (Matthew 6:34). When the Apostle Paul wrote "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16-18) I think he gave us a command to be mindful of the truth of our salvation and how God is working His will in our lives all the time. Trusting in truth and accepting reality are an essential part of mindfulness, according to Zinn. Where a non-Christian gets his self-identity and truth from are another matter, but for the Christian it's important to think about large chunks of truth like Romans 5 and Romans 8.

Then, once we have taken the time to meditate on these truths, we have a basis on which to act. We can love others because we remember that Christ first loved us. "Let the doing come out of being," says Zinn.

Zinn invents the verb "awarenessing" which involves using your mind and all of your senses to appreciate your surroundings. You can "appreciate the senses individually as miraculous." Even focusing on something as simple as a raisin, as Zinn uses for his example. We Americans simply throw down a handful while we're sitting at our desk hurrying onto the next thing. Instead, think about the raisin that was once a grape that grew in a miraculous process repeated for millenia. It was picked by someone you don't know and literally thousands of people's effort went to bringing it to market for you to purchase. The process of chewing and digesting are all remarkable. When you slow down and think about it and really appreciate it. It's simple, but we don't do it.

Zinn states that a beginner's mind (like a child) sees infinite possibilities, whereas an "expert" mind sees only two: right and wrong. This brings to mind Jesus' admonition to "become like little children" to "enter the kingdom of heaven." A child marvels at the smallest and simplest things. A child doesn't doubt that God is capable of anything, whereas we lose that faith as adults. Mindfulness is somewhat about getting back that childlike marvel.

In the end, Zinn leads the listener in an exercise of breathing and focusing on the present moment, meditating on truth, and bringing your mind back in focus when it wanders. Any of us who have sat down to pray have had the problem of a wandering mind, the trick is to "lovingly bring it back."

Some prominent Christians in the media have decried mindfulness meditation as nonsense without understanding what it is, or looking at the scientific data on the health benefits of meditation and yoga generally. Yet they also seem to value having a quiet time, prayer, and meditating on scripture. It's a shame they don't recognize that non-Christians have become the developers of a practice once honed by Christians-- including the Puritans.
Profile Image for Julia.
1,153 reviews23 followers
August 18, 2022
Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word these days. I'm kind of fascinated by the idea and am convinced it's got to be a wholesome practice. I can't say that I will start practicing intentional mindfulness as a ritual every day, at least not yet, as I'm not ready, but reading this book has certainly alerted me to the benefits of this practice. I think I will be more mindful of being mindful!
I appreciate this quote: pg. 64, "Because mindfulness is so popular at the moment, it is very easy to misconstrue what it really involves. "I get it! I will be more present, less judgemental - good idea, clear sailing. From here on, no problem. I'll just be more mindful. But mindfulness is a way of being, one that requires consistent cultivation. It is a discipline all its own that naturally extends into all aspects of life as it is unfolding. It is certainly a good idea to be mindful, but mindfulness is not merely a good idea."
In the end, the healing and transformative power of mindfulness lies in paying attention to the miracle and beauty of our very being and in the expanded possibilities for being, knowing, and doing within a life that is lived and met and held in awareness and deep kindness in each unfolding moment.
Profile Image for jess  (bibliophilicjester).
828 reviews14 followers
September 29, 2019

I really like the idea of mindfulness, and I appreciate what this audiobook is trying to do. I especially liked all the reminders during the guided practice bits that it's okay if your mind wanders as long as you re-focus on whatever you've chosen (breathing, whatever). That's definitely a thing I didn't understand about meditation, which I've unsuccessfully tried many times. I really struggle with sort of corraling my thoughts and wandering and such. This hasn't changed my life or anything, but it definitely made me think about trying to meditate for a bit each day. Idk, it's just nice to hear an expert say getting distracted or wandering is totally natural, and you just need to redirect your intentions, in a way. But yeah, definitely worth a listen.

Also...this is another one I don't know how to rate. 🤨
Profile Image for Dhiraj Kumar.
60 reviews5 followers
May 30, 2020
This book is good as it answers most of the questions that any beginner has when they start their meditation journey. Some of the answers don't become apparent so easily but as time progresses and you ruminate over them you see why it all makes sense. Meditation is not easy as you might have experienced while meditating but this book explains why it's not about easy vs difficult, why meditation is not about anything in particular but one, why meditation worth your time and many other questions.
Profile Image for Courtney.
172 reviews
September 8, 2021
A really helpful and digestable primer for anyone interested in bringing more awareness and mindfulness to their life. Jon Kabat-Zinn writes about mindfulness in a really accessible way, and I think he’s one of the best writers on the topic. This is a good introduction to his work, with my favorite of his being “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” which was a life-changing read for me. Highly recommend his work.
Profile Image for Mehnaz.
231 reviews50 followers
December 15, 2021
For some weird reason, meditation never works on me. People have been known to fall asleep during these sessions, but these straight up give me anxiety. I didn't know that this book was a series of mindfulness meditation lessons before going in. As usual, the lessons didn't work on me.
My mom caught me sniffing a raisin (that too with my eyes closed) and then it turned awkward super quick. Perhaps I need to re-read it sometime later when I am alone :|
Profile Image for Nandes.
240 reviews44 followers
January 29, 2018
Decepcionant, no m'ha aportat res de nou. Buscar neologismes per anomenar coses que fa segles que existeixen em sembla una trista estratègia de màrqueting al servei del capitalisme.
Indicat per aquelles persones a qui les paraules meditació o budisme els fan riure o angúnia, i es senten més a gust amb una paraula anglosaxona moderna.
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