Wellness, Home & Lifestyle

A Guide to Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Lesson time 15:16 min

Discover what mindfulness is really all about and the tremendous impact it can have in your life.

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

Topics include: Mindfulness Is Universal • Mindfulness Is a Way of Being, Not Doing • Mindfulness Is Relationality


[SOFT MUSIC] - What mindfulness is has been in dispute for thousands of years. Different traditions speak about it in slightly different ways. But I came a long time ago to formulate this operational definition that we could employ in medicine and health care that would be commonsensical and understandable to people and yet also be mysterious and, in a certain way, something where you couldn't just get it by thinking, that it's designed to point to something beyond mere cognition. So it's, mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose in the present moment and nonjudgmentally. So it sounds perfectly understandable. Anybody can get that. Paying attention-- anybody can do that. On purpose-- well, we have to sometimes be intentional about what we're doing. In the present moment-- it turns out this is much harder to actually live than you would think. But everybody understands at least what 'in the present moment' invites out of us. It means to be in the present, here now. And then the nonjudgmentally part, which people really misunderstand because the nonjudgmental part doesn't mean that you won't have judgments. The nonjudgmental part means that you'll, in some sense, become aware of how unbelievably judgmental we all are. And we've got ideas and opinions about virtually everything, likes and dislikes. So the nonjudgmental piece means that we will realize how judgmental we are, and we won't judge the judging. But we'll let it all play out in the present moment, embrace it in awareness through paying attention in this particular kind of friendly way, and see what unfolds, what is to be realized or experienced or recognized when you start to cultivate intimacy with awareness. And we talk about awareness as if, yeah, you know, what's the big deal? I mean, I'm aware. I'm aware it's snowing. I'm aware it's cold. I'm aware that I'm annoyed, or whatever. But awareness really has not gotten anywhere near the kind of attention and investigation and appreciation that it deserves. It's one of our human superpowers. And it's much more powerful than thought because you can take any thought no matter how big, like the nature of the universe or the nature of the multiverse or whatever it is, infinity. And you can hold that thought and whatever pictures arise in the mind because of that thought in awareness. And how could you hold it in awareness if awareness wasn't a larger space for holding conceptual thought? So it's another profound form of human intelligence but that, in our society at least, has gotten very little airtime, very little appreciation. So we exercise the muscle of discernment and discriminative thinking and analytical thinking to a huge degree. But we never really attend to this other form of deep inquiry and discernment that has to do with the direct recognition of things in awareness, which only happens in the present moment. [SOFT MUSIC] There are a lot of misconceptions and ...

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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