September 4, 2006

"Wherever You Go There You Are"

Mindfulness Meditation
In Everyday Life
Jon Kabat-Zinn

From Library Journal

Kabat-Zinn, the founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, provides an excellent handbook on living fully in the present moment through mindfulness meditation. This meditative technique, widely used in Buddhist practice, is presented in nonsectarian form with sufficient instructions for the beginner. Kabat-Zinn's previous Full Catastrophe Living was directed to those in crisis; this book, which is for everyone, includes reflections on the beauty of the present and meditation's emotional and spiritual applications.

Meaningful Quotes:
Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing something about who that is.

Meditation is the process by which we go about deepening our attention and awareness, refining them, and putting them to greater practical use in our lives.

It is possible through meditation to find shelter from much of the wind that agitates the mind. Over time, a good deal of the turbulence may die down from lack of continuous feeding. But ultimately the winds of life and of the mind will blow, do what we may. Meditation is about knowing something about this and how to work with it.

Non-Doing is a cornerstone of mastery in any realm of activity.

It’s not that feelings of anger don’t arise. It’s that the anger can be used, worked with, harnessed so that its energies can nourish patience, compassion, harmony, and wisdom in ourselves...

Stillness, insight, and wisdom arise only when we can settle into being complete in this moment...

The mind states of liking and disliking can take up permanent residency in us, unconsciously feeding addictive behaviors...

...practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence.

Mindless giving is never healthy or generous.

Voluntary Simplicity...involves intentionally doing only one thing at a time and making sure I am here for it.

I practice saying no to keep my life simple, and I find I never do it enough. A commitment to simplicity in the midst of the world is a delicate balancing act. But I find the notion of voluntary simplicity keeps me mindful of what is important...

Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface, and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy.

But concentration practice, however strong and satisfying, is incomplete without mindfulness to complement and deepen it. What is missing is the energy of curiosity, inquiry, investigation, openness, availability, engagement with the full range of phenomena experienced by human beings. This is the domain of mindfulness practice, in which onepointedness and the ability to bring calmness and stability of mind to the present moment are put in the service of looking deeply into and understanding the interconnectedness of a wide range of life experience.

Mindfulness can put you in touch with the toxicity of the anger to yourself and to others. It its energy can be transmuted to forcefulness and wisdom, without the smoke and fire of self-absorption or self-righteousness, then its power multiplies, and so does its capacity to transform both the object of the anger and the source.

If you believe in love, do you manifest it or just talk a lot? If you believe in compassion, in non-harming, in kindness, in wisdom, in generosity, in calmness, in solitude, in non-doing, in being even-handed and clear, do you manifest these qualities in your daily life?

...it is possible to rely on the practice (of meditation) itself to guide us through the maze. It keeps us on the path, even in the darkest moments, facing the most terrifying of our own mind states and external circumstances. It reminds us of our options. We must be willing to encounter darkness and despair when they come up and face them, over and over again if need be, without running away or numbing ourselves in the thousands of ways we conjure up to avoid the unavoidable.

Try seeing your own life this very day as a journey and as an adventure.

Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy.

Invoking qualities of elevation, massiveness, majesty, unmovingness, rootedness, helps bring these qualities directly into posture and attitude.

...in the meditation practice, it is best to hold to and honor one’s own direct experience... Our feet and our breath both teach us to watch our step, to proceed mindfully, to truly be at home in every moment...

Mountains are held sacred, embodying dread and harmony, harshness and majesty. To traditional peoples, mountains were and still are mother, father, guardian, protector, ally.

“Insist on yourself, never imitate. Do that which is assigned to you and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation.” Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and kindness are here all the time, somewhere, in fact, everywhere. Usually our ability to touch them and be touched by them lies buried below our desperate clinging to the illusion that we are truly separate and alone.

Too often, our lives cease working because we cease working at life, because we are unwilling to take responsibility for things as they are, and to work with our difficulties.

...you must be willing to let life itself become your teacher.

If I can’t do anything useful, at least I would like to do as little harm as possible.