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A Guide to Meditation

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Lesson time 14:42 min

Jon refutes common misconceptions about meditation and teaches you how to be awake to every moment.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Get Your Ass on the Cushion • Be Awake to Every Moment • Let Go of Outcomes • Too Serious to Take Too Seriously

Preview

[MUSIC PLAYING] - So sometimes I use the terminology of formal meditation practice and informal meditation practice. Formal meditation practice are the meditation practices that have names like the body scan, sitting meditation, mindful Hatha yoga, mindful walking. Those are all formal meditation practices. Another way to look at it is you have to carve out time for them. Informal meditation is life itself. And what we're really talking about is cultivating awareness. And sense awareness is part of the repertoire of our humanity, this is, kind of, a systematic way of befriending and reconnecting and familiarizing ourselves with this capacity that we're all born with and that never gets any airtime in school. Again, I'm not saying that we need to cultivate awareness. We already are aware. So we don't have to exercise the muscle of awareness. It's a gift, and we have it. What we need to do is cultivate access to that awareness, because it's so easily eclipsed by thinking. Because that's what we learn in school is how to be really, really good thinkers. So awareness is like an incredibly powerful human faculty, and mindfulness meditation is cultivating access to awareness. And as soon as you take your seat and as soon as you drop in on the breath and as soon as you start attending on purpose in the present moment as nonjudgmentally as possible, then it's already here. It's not like if you sit now and practice and move to a monastery in the Himalayas, 50 years from now maybe you'll obtain awareness. No, it's already. And so you know there's a way in which meditation really is not what you think. It's literally not what you think, but it's also not all those ideas and opinions that you may have accrued over the course of your lifetime about what meditation is. Because all of that is kind of oriented towards making it into a thing, and it's not a thing. It's a way. Let's even say with a capital W. It's a way of being. And we can do it, but it does require exercising the muscle. It does require a certain kind of discipline to engage in the meditative practices, the formal meditation practices as if your life depended on it. [MUSIC PLAYING] You know, there are people who will say, well, I'm really into mindfulness, but I just live my life moment by moment. And I don't do any of that real practice or formal practice, because it takes too much time, and I'm too busy. I don't have any time for that. I think for the most part, this is kidding oneself. You can't do the life is practice unless you're grounding it in the formal practice, because all you need to do is get your ass on the cushion once and you'll see the nature of your own mental disturbances even if it's just like the wandering mind being all over the map and meanwhile you're supposed to be attending to your breath, and you couldn't string two or three breaths together. But to actually realize that the mind is that labial, that's a profound gift. That's a profo...

About the Instructor

A pioneer of the Western mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn has spent more than 40 years studying, teaching, and advocating the benefits of mindfulness. In his MasterClass, he teaches you how to cultivate a mindfulness practice, reduce your stress, and soothe your thoughts with meditation and movement. Jon shares expert tips and guidance that meets you where you are. Let this class help you make the most of being alive.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches you how to incorporate meditation into your everyday life to improve your health and happiness.

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