Jon Kabat Zinn
Since the Seventies, Jon Kabat Zinn has been a prominent figure in promoting mindfulness and expounding the benefits of meditation practice.
Somewhat instrumental in introducing one of the key components of Buddhism to the West, his work is a definitive guide to Mindfulness and Meditation.
And his work is accessible to both the experienced meditator, and the beginner, or someone who is simply curious and interested in finding out more.
Essentially, he took the regular practice of mindfulness and made it less of a religious thing, with more of a scientific emphasis.
Cultivating a deeper sense of awareness, and practising a sense of being present in the moment, requires effort and energy.
And acceptance of who and what we are.
JKZ talks about shifting "from doing, to being." and exploring the benefits of "being awake", in order to counteract the mind's endemic restlessness.
He was a student of Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center.
His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of science.
Jon is currently a Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in the United States.
The stress reduction programme created by Kabat-Zinn, called Mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, is now recognised worldwide.
A popular figure in bringing the teachings and practice of meditation to the West, Jon Kabat-Zinn is an engaging character.
He speaks with great clarity and understanding, about meditation and mindfulness as a door into the timeless.
This process can be fulfilling, and potentially important in allowing for personal development, transformation, and healing.
For the most part, JKZ is keen to point out that meditation is not a mystical or mysterious experience.
In other words, there are no rainbows and unicorns!
Rather, it is more of a nuts and bolts thing, working with the stuff that makes us who we are.
This can include letting go where we need to let go, understanding what makes us tick, and gaining a greater insight into what makes us feel the way we feel. Such as when we are attracted to something, or someone, or when we have an aversion.
Rather than blindly reacting to our tendencies, we can think and act more skilfully, by bringing our desires under scrutiny, and becoming present in our awareness.
This awareness in turn, can lead us to make changes in the way we are.
See one of his most popular talks here:
Jon Kabat Zinn has written many books, most of which explore the benefits of a mindfulness practice.
The brilliantly entitled "Wherever You Go, There You Are", is available online as an audiobook:
Perhaps his most famous work, entitled "Full Catastrophe Living", was written over twenty years ago, and brought his concept of MBSR to a wider audience.
Of course, it still contains relevant material in the present day, as we seem to lead ever-increasingly more hectic lives.
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