Excerpt 1 from Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday LifePosted November 04 2012
Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the foremost instructors of mindfulness meditation in this country. In this transcribed excerpt from Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Kabat-Zinn breaks down the utter simplicity and importance of participating in a meditation practice, whether as a beginner or long-time practitioner.
I had it in my mind and it may actually execute if we could figure out some way to do it, to do that little raisin eating exercise which you saw on (Bill) Moyers, or may have seen on Moyers, just because it serves a very important function in the way that we teach meditation in the hospital and in other areas of sort of more mainstream societies and Buddhist meditation centers, where they also use that exercise, which is where I learned it. I was just taking one little aspect of our experience, in this case a raisin, and instead of eating raisins the way we usually do, to eat one raisin mindfully. By the way, take one and do not eat it okay? Part of you is going to want to or throw it at somebody or whatever. Just hold onto it for now.
There is something about talking about meditation that is very seductive. I like doing it and other people like doing it and listening about it. It is really quite wonderful, but then when all is said and done, you have had a lot of talk and what this work is really about is connecting up with the present moment in a particular kind of way. It really is a funny kind of dualism between something that it is wonderful to do together with the support of other people but absolutely essential that you can, in fact, do this on your own when no one else is around. Absolutely essential.
Although we are social beings, we also inhabit the trajectory of our own lives, and mindfulness and meditation are really a fundamental inquiry into the question of what it means to be a human being or who am I or where am I going. This practice -- whether you are brand new to it and coming here for the first time to maybe hear something about it and you have your doubts whether you will ever want to come back and learn anything else about it, you know -- but something brought you here. And perhaps also if you had been practicing for twenty, thirty, or forty years, and something also brought you here. The relationship is still the same and it is to the beauty and the value of the present moment of the only time any of us actually get to live and to experience anything. So it involves, really, a willingness to come to this moment carrying whatever it is that you are carrying and allow it to be as it is in this moment without judging.