Friday, April 29, 2011

Life is short

Our visit to this planet is short, so we should use our time meaningfully, which we can do by helping others wherever possible. And if we cannot help others, at least we should try not to create pain and suffering for them.  

- Dalai Lama

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Moment to Moment

Knowing what you are doing while you are doing it is the essence of mindfulness practice. We call the raisin-eating exercise "eating meditation." It helps make the point that there is nothing particularly unusual or mystical about meditating or being mindful. All it involves is paying attention to your experience from moment to moment. This leads directly to new ways of seeing and being in your life because the present moment, whenever it is recognized and honored, reveals a very special, indeed magical power: it is the only time that any of us ever has. The present is the only time that we have to know anything. It is the only time we have to perceive, to learn, to act, to change, to heal. That is why we value moment-to-moment awareness so highly. While we may have to teach ourselves how to do it through practicing, the effort itself is its own end. It makes our experiences more vivid and our lives more real.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 29

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Active Collaboration

 When something goes wrong with our body or our mind, we have the natural expectation that medicine can make it right, and often it can. But as we will see farther on, our active collaboration is essential in almost all forms of medical therapy. It is particularly vital in the case of chronic diseases or conditions for which medicine has no cures. In such cases the quality of your life may greatly depend on your own ability to know your body and mind well enough to work at optimizing your own health within the bounds, always unknown, of what may be possible. Taking responsibility for learning more about your own body by listening to it carefully and by cultivating your inner resources for healing and for maintaining health is the best way to hold up your end of this collaboration with your doctors and with medicine. This is where the meditation practice comes in. It gives power and substance to such efforts. It catalyzes the work of healing.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 27

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Awareness of the body

One very important domain of our lives and experience that we tend to miss, ignore, abuse or lose control of as a result of being in the automatic-pilot mode is our own body. We may be barely in touch with our body, unaware of how it is feeling most of the time. As a consequence we can be insensitive to how our body is being affected by environment, by our actions, and even by our own thoughts and emotions. If we are unaware of these connections, we might easily feel that our body is out of control and we will have no idea why... When we are more in touch with our body as a result of paying attention to it systematically, we will be far more attuned to what it is telling us and better equipped to respond appropriately. Learning to listen to your own body is vital to improving your health and the quality of your life.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 26

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Agitated Undercurrent

When the mind is dominated by dissatisfaction and unawareness, which is much more often than most of us are willing to admit, it is difficult to feel calm or relaxed. Instead, we are like to feel fragmented and driven. We will think this and that, we want this and that. Often the this and the that are in conflict. This mid state can severely affect our ability to do anything or even to see situations clearly. In such moments we may not know what we are thinking, feeling, or doing. What is worse, we probably won't know that we don't know. We may think we know what we are thinking and feeling and doing and what is happening. But it is an incomplete knowing at best. In reality we are being driven by our likes and dislikes, totally unaware of the tyranny of our own thoughts and the self-destructive behaviors they often result in.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 25

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


But once you see the critical need to nourish your being, once you see the need to calm your heart and your mind and to find an inner balance with which to face the storms of life, your commitment to make that time a priority and the requisite discipline to make it a reality develop naturally. Making time to meditate becomes easier. After all, if you discover for yourself that it really does nourish what is deepest in you, you will certainly find a way.

Full Catastrophe Living,  Jon Kabat-Zinn

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mindfulness is universal

Although at this time mindfulness meditation is most commonly taught and practiced within the context of Buddhism, its essence is universal. Mindfulness is basically just a particular way of paying attention. It is a way of looking deeply into oneself in the spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding. For this reason it can be learned and practiced... without appealing to Oriental culture or Buddhist authority to enrich it or authenticate it. Mindfulness stands on its own as a powerful vehicle for self-understanding and healing. In fact one of its major strengths is that it is not dependent on any belief system or ideology, so that its benefits are therefore accessible for anyone to test for himself or herself. Yet it is no accident that mindfulness comes out of Buddhism, which has as its overriding concerns the relief of suffering and the dispelling of illusions.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 12

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cultivating mindfulness

Cultivating mindfulness can lead to the discovery of deep realms of relaxation, calmness, and insight within yourself. It is as if you were to come upon a new territory, previously unknown to you or only vaguely suspected, which contains a veritable wellspring of positive energy for self-understanding and healing. Moreover it is easy to get to this territory. The path to it in any moment lies no farther than your own body and mind and your own breathing. And this territory is always accessible. It is always here, independent of your problems. Whether you are facing heart disease or cancer or pain or just a very stressful life, its energies can be of great value to you.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 12

Thursday, April 14, 2011


... live life as if each moment is important, as if each moment counts and can be worked with, even if it is a moment of pain, sadness, despair, or fear. This "work" involves above all the regular, disciplined practice of moment-to-moment awareness or mindfulness, the complete "owning" of each moment of your experience, good, bad, or ugly.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 11

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Catastrophe here does not mean disaster. Rather it means the poignant enormity of our life experience. It includes crises and disaster but also all the little things that go wrong and that add up. The phrase reminds us that life is always in flux, that everything we think is permanent is actually only temporary and constantly changing. This includes our ideas, our opinions, our relationships, our jobs, our possessions, our creations, our bodies, everything.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 6

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Facing difficulties

There is an art to facing difficulties in ways that lead to effective solutions and to inner peace and harmony. When we are able to mobilize our inner resources to face our problems artfully, we find we are usually able to orient ourselves in such a way that we can use the pressure of the problem itself to propel us through it, just as a sailor can position a sail to make the best use of the pressure of the wind to propel the boat.

Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabbat-Zinn PhD, pg 3

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stress, Pain, and Illness: Facing the Full Catastrophe

An excerpt from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD (pg 2)

The problem of stress does not admit to simpleminded solutions or quick fixes. At root, stress is a natural part of living from which there is no more escape than from the human condition itself. Yet some people try to avoid stress by walling themselves off from life experience; others attempt to anesthetize themselves one way or another to escape it. Of course, it is only sensible to avoid undergoing unnecessary pain and hardship. Certainly we all need to distance ourselves from our troubles now and again. But if escape and avoidance become our habitual ways of dealing with our problems, the problems just multiply. They don't magically go away. What does go away, or get covered over when we tune out our problems or run away from them, is our power to grown and to change and to heal. When it comes right down to it, facing our problems is usually the only way to get past them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Live Consciously Conscious

An excerpt from The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets  by Yogi Bhajan (page 109)

Everything else you have been told so far is totally W-R-O-N-G! You are not a body, not a mind, not a soul, not God, and definitely not a devil. Every normal person thinks, imagines, and projects through his mind. He ultimately identifies with the mind and becomes dependent on the mind. The reality is that he should not depend on his mind. Instead, he should project from the point of view of his consciousness. When you live consciously conscious with mind and consciousness balanced, you develop a capacity for sensitivity we call reverence. Then relationships are healing, wise, and productive.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recognize Your Reality

An excerpt from The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets  by Yogi Bhajan (page 101)

Sadhana. That is where you sit, dwell in the thoughts and words of the soul, and peel away all your non-reality with the vastness of your spirit. If you train your mind this way, then you will discover something for yourself. If you live in absolute fearlessness, God will live in you because fear and truth cannot go together.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Select Your Path

An excerpt from The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets  by Yogi Bhajan (page 91)

Many people believe that the spiritual path is difficult and the neurotic path is easy. Students profess it and even some teachers encourage this idea. I have never agreed to it nor am I willing to agree to it now. It takes the same effort and energy to walk either path. The difficulty lies in the nature of the mind and how it grasps things and becomes entranced by feelings and sensations. The problem lies in being subject to time rather than being one step ahead of time.

We often fight the wrong battle. We do not identify the real problem. The problem is not the spiritual path. It is the way we react to immediate feelings rather than to the things that will be with us through time and beyond time. We make sense of our soul, remote or close, according to how we handle our mind. Direct the mind with immediate sensations and convoluted negotiations, and we create neurosis and confusion. Direct it with the power of an Infinite word, words of truth, and we will excel with clarity, kindness, and love.