Mindfulness – Is There Life Before Death?

Watch and read our exclusive interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn.

In a sense, if the great yogi Bob Dylan, said, “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying,” we’re all busy dying.  The question is not, “Is there life after death?” but, “Is there life before death?”  Because a lot of the time, we could zone along on auto pilot dealing with all the stress and, you know, challenges of life and blast through 20, 30, 40, 50 years of life relatively mindlessly practicing being unaware, getting better and better and better at being unaware.  And then on our death bed, waking up perhaps saying, “Oh my God!  That was almost all kind of asleep, hypnotic trance through the entirety of my life… I missed my children, I missed expressing love.  I missed interests that I might have developed but I was too absorbed in my work or whatever.”

One cliché is, you know, climbing the ladder of success or getting where you want to be in life, only at the end discovering that you put it against the wrong wall.  Why?  Because you were carried away or lost in thought, without actually bringing this other, larger capacity that we have to mobilize awareness, to just hold all those thoughts and then see them more clearly.  So Thoreau expressed this in Walden in a very beautiful way. He said, 
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately to confront only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what they had to teach and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  So, if you read Walden, you’ll see that it is actually a rhapsody to mindfulness.  And to the power of living life in the present moment, non-judgmentally, not so caught up in our ideas and opinions, but in a larger embrace.

Order the Full DVD Interview:

Mindfulness for Life: An Interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn

In this DVD, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as a way of “connecting to your life.” He discusses the “hard work” of living in the present moment, the personal and psychological impacts of developing a practice of mindfulness, and the benefits of utilizing mindfulness in therapy. He also touches upon mindfulness in parenting. Drawing upon his years of experience and research in the field of mindfulness, Dr. Kabat-Zinn offers an inspiring and instructive approach for mental health professionals and curious individuals alike.


About the Author

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. JON KABAT-ZINN, PH.D., is founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founding director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in various venues around the world.  He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT in 1971 in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Salvador Luria. He is the author of numerous scientific papers on the clinical applications of mindfulness in medicine and health care, and of a number of books for the lay public:  Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness (Delta, 1991); Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (Hyperion, 1994); Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2005); and Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness (Hyperion, 2007).  He is also co-author, with his wife Myla, of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting (Hyperion, 1997); and with Williams, Teasdale, and Segal, of The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Guilford, 2007).  Overall, his books have been translated into over 30 languages.

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