For our final issue of Mindful’s first year of publication, we thought we would spend some time with one of the pioneers in bringing mindfulness into mainstream settings. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s reputation precedes him. After starting Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in 1979, he has worked tirelessly for 35 years to bring help and benefit to people in pain. In a lengthy conversation in his home, Jon talked to me about what has caused so many people to take an interest in mindfulness.
At the center of it all, in Jon’s view, is a very personal connection of one person with another and with another and another. If the person who introduces you to mindfulness does it out of love and care, because they have fallen in love with it, you will catch the fire, and if it’s in a class, you will notice that the other people are there for the same fundamental reasons as you. Mindfulness is not a mechanical technique that’s communicated by following a rote script. It’s deep personal understanding about how to be that people share with each other. And yes, people do it to receive benefit, and yet, as Jon said in the interview,
“There are tremendous benefits that arise from mindfulness practice, but it works precisely because we don’t try to attain benefit. Instead, we befriend ourselves as we are. We learn how to drop in on ourselves, visit, and hang out in awareness.”
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
For more than just this Glimpse:
- See the full table of contents for Mindful‘s February 2014 issue.