Tami Simon: You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today my guest is Jon Kabat-Zinn. Jon is the founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Associate Director of Medicine in the Division of Preventative and Behavioral Medicine. He’s the author of Wherever You Go, There You Are; Full Catastrophy Living: Using Your Body and Mind to Face Stress; and a new book and accompanying CD of guided practice called Mindfulness for Beginners from Sounds True. Additionally with Sounds True, Jon has released a four-CD guided practice called Guided Mindfulness Meditation, along with a two-session audio on Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief, as well as a program with three other authors on The Mindful Way Through Depression.
In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Jon and I spoke about his work as a pioneer of mindfulness-based stress reduction and the introduction of meditation to a mainstream audience. We also talked about the important distinction that people need to make between awareness and the thinking mind, and what Jon calls an “orthogonal” or 180-degree rotation that allows us to rest in awareness instead of identifying with our thoughts. We also talked about the role of science in validating the practice of mindfulness, and the potential renaissance in the world that can come from a mindfulness revolution. Here’s my conversation with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Scientists should ask themselves if they can match the effort of gnostic Islam to start a mindfulness movement based on the outer Islamic movement and the inner ‘sufi’ movement. The latter attempt a far more comprehensive effort to make such a movement global, with a jihadic energy to work with the whole of humanity, not just a watered down scientism experiment masterminded by operators trying to get control of ‘Xtianity’-style movements, with the hype over consciousness.
Consider figures like Gurdjieff with their cynical effort to deprive humanity of such consciousness, they are food for the moon. Can a mindfulness movement succeed?
Let’s not be too hasty in giving up the buddhist brand with its theme of liberation, a bit beyond the stress reduction pipe dream
Science should be studying why such movements fail.
I should restate my gallows humor example in specific terms with a question, am I serious? compare a global mindfulness movement with the religion of Islam: the latter has a starting dozen of features the former doesn’t have, a comprehesive theology, psychology, soul doctrine, ethical doctrine, a military world plan, an commitment to equality, and a core gnostic movement with a far more comprehensive resolution of the mindfulness question in its sufistic canon. It deals not just with the flash in the pan ‘mindfulness’ energy but the whole spectrum of energies with a discourse on the human will and its redemption/salvation.
Neuroscience isn’t even in the right ballpark with a fragmented set of reductionist idiot-card shibboleths, no jihadic worldplan, no commitment to equality in a commercialized cult closed to the poor, and the core idea of liberation or salvation deleted from the theme set.