Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Jon Kabat-Zinn (2018)

Jon Kabat-Zinn (born Jon Kabat, June 5, 1944) is an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness, which he says can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness.


  • I bent over backwards to structure it and find ways to speak about it that avoided as much as possible the risk of its being seen as Buddhist, New Age, Eastern mysticism or just plain flaky.
    • quoted from Malhotra, R. & Viswanathan V. (2022). Snakes in the Ganga : Breaking India 2.0.

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (2005)


Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (2005) [1]

  • A good place to start is with yourself. See if you can give yourself gifts that may be true blessings, such as self-acceptance, or some time each day with no purpose. Practice feeling deserving enough to accept these gifts without obligation—to simply receive from yourself, and from the universe.
  • If you know anything about Buddhism, you will know that the most important point is to be yourself and not try to become anything that you are not already. Buddhism is fundamentally about being in touch with your own deepest nature and letting it flow out of you unimpeded.
  • Such is the power of mindful, selfless generosity. At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient…only the universe rearranging itself.
  • Breathe and let be... Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are.
  • It helps to have a focus for your attention, an anchor line to tether you to the present moment and to guide you back when the mind wanders. The breath serves this purpose exceedingly well. It can be a true ally. Bringing awareness to our breathing, we remind ourselves that we are here now, so we might as well be fully awake for whatever is already happening.
  • Be a light unto yourself.
  • Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.
  • To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.
  • The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.

Quotes about Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn describes overwhelm as the all-too-common feeling “that our lives are somehow unfolding faster than the human nervous system and psyche are able to manage well.”
    • Brené Brown Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (2021)
  • He has made millions by commercially franchising the ancient Vipassana system that Buddha himself taught. However, Kabat-Zinn markets the technique as his recent discovery. He learned to distance his work from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and position it entirely as secular science with himself as the discoverer. When discussing with other scholars in the field, he admits to what he calls the ‘Asian’ origins of his methods, which he describes as a combination of three components: (1) Vipassana, a Theravada form of Buddhism; (2) Zen practices; and (3) Hatha Yoga, a kind of yoga that is more physical. Though these are clearly Indian systems with spiritual origins, those terms would undermine the clinical nature of his claims.
    • Malhotra, R. & Viswanathan V. (2022). Snakes in the Ganga : Breaking India 2.0.
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