« Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness 101

2018-09-24 | 🔗

With the demands of modern times, it can be difficult to live a life that feels truly balanced. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author and professor emeritus of medicine, says mindfulness can be a vital tool in cutting through the noise of daily life. Jon, the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, offers an introduction to the practice of mindfulness and reveals how it can be used to help manage stress, anxiety, pain and chronic illness. He also discusses his books, including the best-seller "Wherever You Go, There You Are" and "Coming to Our Senses," and shares a simple test to help you begin cultivating your own mindfulness practice.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey, welcome to supersede conversations the podcast I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present, your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now, John Cabbages was born in New York City and nineteen. Forty, for he was a gifted student. Entered, have offered college when he was sixteen years old. He went on to earn his phd in molecular biology at MIT in graduate school. John first attended a lecture about Zinn Buddhism and Mindfulness meditation, nineteen, seventy nine John founded the mindfulness base stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
course. He became a pioneer in this field, developing a healing program that integrated western medicine with eastern mindfulness over the last thirty five years. Johns trailblazing approach to health and healing has gone mainstream, bringing relief to countless patients, suffering chronic illnesses and pain. Today, his eight weak mindfulness base stress reduction course is available in more than seven hundred medical centres, hospitals and clinics around the world, but this groundbreaking scientists and teachers also best selling author, his tent book mindfulness for beginners reassures us that, even though we may long for homeless, the truth is its already here and already hours itself fascinating to me that when we first met and ninety ninety two, the word mindful was actually cut
edge. People are like what are you talking about they, even though what worked tyrant and now it's would have become the buzz word for the time I mean a lot of people use it in terms of their daily practice, their classes about in their schools where their teaching, mindful MR children, all because of you. It feels like this was your calling. Would you say, total yeah, totally totally and my intention from very early on, I got into the practice of mindfulness when I was twenty. Two years old- and I am seventy now- So most of the things I got into when I was in my twenties, I didn't actually keep going, but this is something that really stayed so it is, in some sense, took root in a very deep way for me. While so what is it really because
I love that you now have done mindfulness for beginners, because I think when we last spoke you'd written coming to our senses. Yank book big book intervene in for a lot of people this this year. This is this: is your entry easier, and here they live tat. Yes, absolutely so mindfulness for beginners in it, you say, I see mindfulness as a love affair, with life wow, what a powerful sentence with reality and imagination. I see mindfulness as a love affair, with life with reality and imagination, with the beauty of your own being with your heart and body and mind and with the world now that sounds like a lot to take in which it is, and that is why can be so valuable to experiment systematically with cultivating mindfulness in your life? So what does it mean for us to cultivate?
I'm fulness is actually very simple. The simplest thing we can ever do is totally simple, but it's not so easy, and this is one of the beauty of it. Is that having work now in the medical field for over thirty five years, seeing that, even though it's not easy, thousands and tens of thousands of people are willing to roll up their sleeves and actually cultivated. So what my from this is a particular way of being in relationship to your life and the place. The start, of course the fact that we are only live in this moment. The future hasn't happened yet the past his memory and is over If you start to pay attention to wear your mind, is most of the time is not in the present moment it's off someplace else, obsessing about the past store planning more worrying about the future. So what mindful says is a particular way of paying attention
and the awareness that arises from paying attention in that way, and that way is on purpose in the present moment now judge mentally so is of the same thing as meditation. Yet it is a form of meditation because it's in easier in ease You're enjoy glides. I like lie path. It's an easier, glide path. I think for people to accept, I want to be more mindful than I want to meditate, because whenever we done shows with deep park and others about meditation, people like I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it right when, in fact, how it whatever is happening, is what supposed to be here. This is the biggest problem, building something supposed to here, and I know it's not happening because I'm just sitting here miserable and bored at an end, The breath is so stupid and why do I have to pay attention to that were or my mind is so inflamed anything? Oh, if I were
the Mediterranean my mind would be a blank. My breath would be easy, I'd feel so wonderful. So the easiest thing for people think about mine from this is that it equals awareness you and I sitting here, having a conversation yeah. They thought my cross. One of our minds were when we gonna get down to meditating. The fact is we are, and then your life in some sense becomes the meditation pray she rather than something I have to do for twenty minutes, twenty minutes or whatever you're, always under it. If you are awake, if you are willing to be in your body, if you're willing to pay in this moment, to whatever degree you can manage, because a lot of the time we got a lot of things cling at the same color you I just had a conversation MIKE Apollon who says, wrote a book called cookie missing when you're in the kitchen cooking. If you're stirring the pot just stirred the pot, it's like you think you understand what it means, but it has infinite depth yet so when yours
during the pot just through the pots. What does tat mean powerful? The more you let that run inside you, the it actually trends once your understanding of who you are it's very deep, very deep, so to be mindful means to be it that there is no difference between being mindful and then being fully in this moment now with awareness with awareness, so as not just being its its having this conversation, but also being Owen that we're having the confiscation yeah because conversations a complicated every moment is complicating the sense it in the next moment, you could bring something I would respond one way, if you bought something else up, I might respond another way. I could interrupt. You simple. I am in a million different ways in which is good unfold, but since your home bring it and I'm holding. It is a certain way which were both holding a space that
I'll something to emerge at my Dunham merge, otherwise, and if a if people for having trouble Turning it look at how many conversations people have other kids. Were there not even relief. Or anybody and you'd you just sort of planetary lip service. You're not being for not only that Europe ahead scare kills now and then That's your kids, more so than anybody can feel when who are feeling that when you have the awareness you know when you are present will you any there's there and render gift yeah, there's no greater gift you can give his children than to be present for the media say there are so many misconceptions about. Would meditation really is this is from the inside to wherever you go there. You are, you say when we speak of it patients important for you to know that this is not some weird cryptic activity, as our popular culture might have it. It does not involve becoming some kind of zombie vegetable self absorbed, Narcissist naval, Gazer or space cadet
meditation, is simply about being yourself and knowing something about that is wow that so powerful, it's about being yourself and knowing something about, and the irony is of course you already are yourself. If you can get out of your own way, you could be yourself twenty four that he had so in a sense were what this meditation practice is about as Kenya Continually noticing how much we get in our own way to our thinking for emotion? What is it wiser than so hard for everybody, if it's that simple just about getting out of your own, why? Why does everybody make it so hard? You know, I don't know the answer to that question. I think that you know it may be that didn't used to be that hard, when we were living is hunters and gather, is you have to be mindful or you get eaten when
would sit around fires at the end of the day. Is hunters and gatherers for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years, once we discovered fire well, there was no electric light it's. The only thing that was happening was the fire, sit around with a group of people who stared into the embers. That's might homer. And you say actually in this book that it is the direct opposite of taking life for granted that direct opposite of take. I still agree with what I wrote that, but you so many years was so brilliant. So when we were having this conversation back in the nineties, I mean that was before the internet. That was before social media that was before all the stuff. How is it harder hardship, too big to be less distracted now if there is a distract ability, index or herself distraction index, it's going through the roof do too
increasing acceleration of everything we have to do it with you and also with the internet, and so media and everything coming at US digital? How do we balance the doing with the beer? Well, mindfulness is all about being and cliche goes were called human beings, but we actually have lost with that element of life. That's what we were doing sitting while fires is being, but now it's gotten so much more complex. What mindfulness is saying is find your own way. Listen to your own heart, listen to your own use, with long longing longing, listen to your own yearning, because what we are really trying to do? Is they ve life as if it really mattered cause it does? It does, and I like to say more than you think and then more than you can think, because
King only takes us so far, and it it's kind of gotten more pr than other aspects of our being like awareness itself and also embodied wakefulness. You know that The money gets left out of the equation, whip pretty much appear allowed at the time and even a creation is like pouring stuff into here is facts, but There's no wisdom, socio, but there's no understand there's no way, I think that's gonna change it is changing and the reason I think it has to changes, because I can see the world getting. Easier busier. Your life becoming more and more compounded by stuff and outside forces, only way to survive that is, is is through a since fulfils don't, go anywhere more to come after this short break is episode is supported by hallmark cards, we say I love you too. The people we care about all the time so
much so that sometimes it can start to feel a little bit like a habit if you're king, for a way to make those three little words mean a little more this Valentine's day. Try sing them with a hallmark card, because when you share your love in a hallmark, hard you're taking that everyday reminder and turning it into the kind of love they can hold on to, that stays with them long after Valentine's day since Hallmark has so many kinds of Valentine's day cards you can find one for every important relationship in your life this year. For every Valentine's day cards you buy hallmark, will give up. Hard to someone who could use a little love up to a million cards, Valentine say, is Friday February fourteenth keep the love going and visit hallmark, dot com, Slash super saw defined, on time stay cards for everyone. You care about an use chrome code super soul to get twenty percent off your card purchase it's interesting when people have a difficult time,
standing and I think a shower example is the best you remember that yeah I like to say to people. Ok, here's a little homework for you after we ve talked about mindfulness and in its it's very important, to keep in mind that mindfulness is not a concept. It's a practice! You have that exercise a certain kind of muscle. So I say here is a little mindfulness homework for you, the next time you the shower check and see. If you were in the show. Because you may not be in the shower. You or you may have your whole Monday morning, nine o clock meeting in the shower with you. But you are actually there under the water feeling the water on your skin you're off in the future or off in the past. So that's exercising the muscle. The more you do that the more you realise when I'm
shower time in the shower, when I'm brushing my teeth, I'm brushing my teeth. When I'm saying goodbye to my family saying goodbye to my family, it only takes a fraction of a second longer to do with awareness. Okay, so who's watching this right now, next time you get in the shower, if you're going to think am I in the shower or you in the meeting, or you already checked the freeway check and as soon as you check your back and you you have, you have something you can do about it. If you are- obsessed with some kind of thing, worried about how things can go that day or whatever. That's all fine. Your awareness is big enough to hold it all. It's not like now, you have to suppress all that thinking more the meeting in the shower the knowing it is good enough that knowing is what we call awareness and then its laughable, so you'll feel better. Because you obviously not. I believe that if you dont know if I have some of my best ideas in the shower- and I think one of the reasons why I
actually question? Why so many wait? Ideas come in the shower. Somebody said because of the warm water on the back of your neck, but I think it's also because when you fully just in that moment there there creates an opening or clearing for other things to come through an that's intimately associated with mind from us that creativity and imagination, when we get quiet when we get still when we Rest, you could say an awareness and natural impulse to see. Connections that we didn't see than moment before is unimpeded and weak and actually make these connections and realise them in ways that we might not have been able to do the moment before? so being in the shower, when really in the shower meditation pact, that's a meditation, packed in a beautiful once and guess. What doesn't take any more time doesn't take any more time to actually be in the shower know about, like I'm saying
Take a half hour shower aware of how much water, where wasting Togo and yeah that's part of the awareness field as well. When John gave exam began, meditating as a young man, the practice was considered the product of the sixties, counterculture. It wasn't considered science, but in nineteen seventy nine. He had this revolutionary idea to bring meditation in yoga to mainstream medicine. He developed a program called mindfulness stress reduction to help patients transform the experience of pain by changing their relationship to it today, Johns groundbreaking eight we course has helped countless patients through their journeys with cancer, with heart disease and addiction. It is the cornerstone of his work and many of his books. I love the title mindfulness for beginners reclaiming the present moment and your life. How is it that
more mindful can help your pain, and I can understand how can help your stress, but how does it actually help your pain? Because, if you're feeling And in a moment, you're feeling paint physical pain how does being mindful? Not making more aware of the physical pain that you're feeling it does, but at the same time it empowers you to investigate your experience, which you are in some sense describing as pain in your own mind and saying this herds in this house. The worry that's going on is a whole emotional aspects to it, and law the time we're living in the story in the emotion rather than the actual experience, and then you think of yourself as a chronic pain patient, and then your stock- and you have to have someone else deal with it, so inviting people who have chronic pain conditions to actually see if this is not something that they can do for themselves, as a complement to whatever medicine could do, for them is tremendous
a powerful and it turns out that, even though you feel like I don't want to go anywhere near my pay. What you're telling me to put the welcome at out for the sensation all the men, awareness kindness. I don't do that, but when you start to do it through real you, actually I can have the experience that you're much bigger than your pain and the pain and suffering are not exactly the same thing, and so they can be sensation quite intense that you can then accommodate, learn to live with in a way that doctors loved to tell their patients are. You gonna have to learn to live with this, but then they don't tell you how powerful that's powerful. You know it's interesting to about. As I was saying, I can see how mindfulness can leave stress one of my greatest definitions of stress. I remember. Reading from Eckart Tully was saying that stress basically is wanting. Whatever of the moment is to be something that remember that she has the power of the power of now
and wanting this moment to be something that is not whether you're stuck in traffic. Whether year in a row, then he was saying is a form of insanity. It is because a moment can only be when it is now. It can only be what it is now and so, when you literally take a breath- and you except the moment for what it is now and then move take that path and move into. I now accept this moment, as it is the people when they hear the word acceptance They actually think that, maybe you mean be resigned to it, not tried to work with it not tried to grow out of it, but it doesn't mean passive resignation. Acceptance means recognising the actual reality of things without your story. About how bad it is all right or including your story about how bad it is as simple as being stuck in traffic and you're going to be late for whatever the upgraded
yeah, you have a number of ways you could relate to it on a stress yourself out beyond belief. Ok tell yourself that story and then feel, what's going on the body or feel what's going on the body watch yourself telling the story hold the whole thing in awareness and realize it. Life isn't gonna end users of the trap, and even if you are late, if you are late, except that you are and what will I do the next time not to be, and that is it- I mean the moment, you have the acceptance, which is your right not resign to it. But I accept that this is the situation there is. There is sort of like a relieving. This is as wisdom and the body has its ear to the real and drops back down into.
Kind of stillness, so it's not continually hyper arousing itself. Do you find it more and more? Our first of all, I know that this is what we all yearn for, because as human beings isn't that what we crave, I think so I think we're all yearning for a moment peace, a moment of well being. That is outside of time that doesn't have to do with getting someplace else. But, alas, cells to be where we already are and be at home, and the Good NEWS is, you can be at home, twenty four seven it is at home. Wherever you are well Does I underline this is treatable moment here as lot. The sum paid sixty one of the book
As long as you are breathing a buddy going through a hard time right now, you're gonna want to write this one down. As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you then wrong with you, no matter what is wrong. We say that to our patients in distress, reduction clinic, that's worth repeating. I'm gonna be pleased as long as you are breathing. There is more right with you then wrong with you, no matter what is wrong. While that is such a powerful tat, we say to people and women in this ain't. We program: we're going to pour energy into what's right with you, let the rest of the hospital in your health care medical team. Take care of. What's quote unquote wrong wrong with you and see what happens? I love what you just said that if you're working with patients in the hospital, whether it's pain or stress,
you say we are going to for the next eight eight weeks key word poor energy into what is right with you, so in the form of attention in the form of attention. How do we give that kind of attention to ourselves? Is it possible for me to anyone listening to was watching us right now to start to pouring energy into that which is right with you? I I just the idea that well you can do it like this instead of trying to sort of sustain it over a day, try to just capture it moment by moment brief moments, many times throughout the day. Remember: oh yeah, I'm picking up my child at school. Let me be a hundred percent present and not on my phone. While I'm picking up my childish like that, I'm I'm preparing dinner, let me actually stir the pact's theories of the heart
stir, the via the carrot. It's just went running. My parents had the carrot exactly when I'm steaming the broccoli. Just do you mean the broccoli when appealing the garlic just EL, the garlic, its teaching you to come back to who you actually already are, and it grows over time. So in that sense, life becomes the meditation teach. I love that how you came to know what you know. I knew you grew up in a home where art and science were alive side by side. How did that shape your first was born in New York City in nineteen forty four and my father was what would be called now, molecular knowledge just he was incredibly happy that my mother was a painter who was very prolific and just continue to paint
entire life she's over a hundred years old now and she still redoing her sketches. In her hundreds of sketchbooks I met her. Station. I realized long afterwards and my father's meditation was in some sense his love of science and, in particular an analogy and how that was his meditations. Exactly and as a child. I began to see that these two different ways of knowing the world the art world the world, through the eye of a minority, well will to the eye of a scientist. They actually didn't share their worlds that much they. My father did love to go to museums, although we did, but he was like tone deaf for both music and for
paintings and my mother couldn't understand the complexity of his, you know I like it, you know so stuff, but as a child, I saw that this got to be a way that we can have it all. And- and so I was always looking for that night was on the pill. To becoming a scientist, but at the same time I was really inches in languages and things like that and poet in music and when I first got exposed to meditation. I realize this what I've been looking for and it's a love affair. I camps put it any other way, because science is really a love affair with reality and art is also love affair with reality and they're. Just the reality on is a love affair with lie exactly wow, so is mindfulness science is it art is its spiritual. It's it's a gateway
into the full dimensionality of being human? Being? I love that it's a gateway full dimensionality being human and with out at you. Just missing out well you're missing a lot. You know it if you miss the look in your child's I one day, you ve missed it miss the look in your lovers eyes, the next day, you miss that if you miss the beauty sitting under trees, or you missed that if you some that over many moments. Many years you may wonder missing the most beautiful aspects of your own life who you're gonna blame for that I was too busy well who who was too busy who tells oneself I dont have any time when all you ve got is time. All you ve got is this moment and we might ask
take it while we're alive, because sooner they we're gonna be dead. So is the perfect moment. Is this one here, I think he used example in the book of of China. It was one of these books about trying to put a glass plate over the ocean over the ocean. Yes, well, if you think about the mind, you start to be friend your mind, which is another way to talk about mine from since start befriending, by paying attention to it. You'll know that talks too much hair talks a lot o my god. Oh that never shows. However, that is not where the metaphor comes into the ocean. Okay, so the ocean, depending on the atmospheric conditions, is always waving. Yeah thanks,
sometimes their different level having on the atmospheric condition, could be flat like a mirror at other times likes tsunami. You know tumultuous and me a hurricane force, waves and hundred foot waves and so forth, perfect storm, but if you drop down thirty or forty feet in the ocean, even in the midst of these thirty or forty four wave, gentle undulating same with mine drop, underneath your anger, underneath your anxiety, underneath all that, what are you fine, you find awareness capable of holding it all and seeing knowing this is anxiety and it's the same awareness that is connected to everything and everybody and every via, so that, where we're all the same All the same in our awareness, exactly an that's what I'm passion arises, naturally out of that, otherwise a cause the immediate experiences, one of interconnectedness that we
share in the larger space, where we can't like have this conversation I need you and you need me to have this conversation. And we need the people out there. Hearing it or what's the point of doing this for our own. I get I do too, but the point is that the interconnectedness invites compassion invites kindness. Because we see that, no matter how different we are, we not have different Mostly will heed the famous things our minds or unruly with distract ourselves? You know infinitely we're, like you know
out of our minds a lot of the time, but we have the capacity to know it and therefore dropped back, where I think that's true we're out of our mind, no we're out of our awareness most of the time and out of our hearts and out of our hearts. I love her. You say that the negative thoughts, often with it we often hear, are not big enough thoughts. That's a big, aha, explain what you mean by that
lot of the time. We think we know who we are and we have a whole story about who we are and what the point is that the stories just not big enough. How much is the story about how beautiful you are? How much is a story about how large your heart is when it's at its most and happiest yeah? So we write the story of how miserable I am how much I need this or that need more money need more. This we need more, that need more help, all of which may be true one a relative level, but it's just not a big enough story, so the story of like yours, women osity your beauty, the fact that there is more right with you them wrong with you, no matter what's wrong with you, however, that doesn't come on the radar screen, but as soon as we bring it back, we remind ourselves see that's the meadow patient, so are we as human beings? We designed to just judge ourselves by the negative all the time
Why is it then an open guy? Isn't that the negative thought to have such an impact, a lot of it has to do with our upbringing and education that you know. We are educated in a certain way, but we're not being educated, held to be only help to accomplish. So it's all about acquisition. It's about getting stuff. We don't have You say it's when we actually believe our thoughts that we spiral into anxiety and depression exactly as soon as you see that, though, that depression is caused by what was called in psychology. Depressive rumination is like a particular kind of toxic fought pattern. Drills you down deeper and deeper he put into a black hole of nothingness, yeah and as soon as you realize that a thought pattern than the you that realises it is part of the pattern and then you can
stop it you can. You can write yourself a restraining order noon just or like a soap bubble. You know you touch his sober bullet goes puff, odd. When you see them in awareness, when hold them in earnest. Psych touching the soap bubble, we'll just self liberated, it'll go and doesn't spiral down into that choice. In of concatenation of depressive. When you realise that you are not your thoughts, but though awareness of your thumb, exactly not the thinker, but the awareness, the awareness, beautiful beautiful. What do you think happens when we die y know? You have a lot of people by quoting I'll. Give you a very short answer. I don't know, and I actually think about it. I'm interested in life before death is the question. Actually is their life before death. That's the question. Images is their life before because issues owning along on autopilot.
You may miss, as we were saying, most beautiful aspects of your own life in a certain way. You died You that'll exactly years ago. There are a lot of people. I see who ve been dead for a long time and nobody's ever said that is their life. That's the question need be asking yourself: what is your life before death? Is their life before those life before death? Like finish this sentence, I believe I don't do well with belief so to put it more. In terms of I experience, ok, so I experience the beauty If human beings in uncanny ways that Allow me to feel a deep optimum. About what we are capable of as the visuals as
mission as a species and that one push comes to shove, and I hope it just doesn't get to horrible anymore horrible than it is now before it turns. We need to wake up to a much larger understanding of the beauty of being here on this planet together end, and, if you don't mind putting it is we get our act together as a species? I like that
two percent get together is pretty good and you can do it right in this moment that no other moments, I love it. That's a good way of say be. My fuller gets gave a great thank you. It's really good, I'm over Winfrey and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the pod cast. You can follow superficial on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple podcast, unsubscribe rate and reviewed this pledge. Gas join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-01.