Shortly before I dove into production on the Web site for this week’s program, Shiraz popped up in my Twitter feed with a little note:

is appreciating Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness presentation at Google. I wish I had heard of him 1,000 days ago.

This is how it often works. As the production process works its way forward, the material we’re covering hits us at different times. Krista watched this video even earlier during her interview preparation, and she brought it up in her conversation with Kabat-Zinn — asking him to do a guided meditation like the one in his presentation. (We actually ended up going with a clip from the video instead, but you can download an mp3 of the unedited interview if you’d like to hear his impromptu version.)

Kind of like Seane Corn’s demonstration of “body prayer” in our yoga program, it seemed necessary to give a sampling of meditation and mindfulness in practice, not just in theory. The necessity of this was pretty well articulated in the cuts & copy session last week; we had made it about halfway through the script, and most of us were soaking up Kabbat-Zinn’s words of wisdom when Trent stepped forward as a voice of dissent. His point was worth considering, which I’ll attempt to paraphrase: What’s the point of spending all of this time talking about mindfulness, rather than just doing it? The hope is that the clip from this video in the program gives listeners at least a little taste of the doing.

We all absorb things differently here — at different times, in different ways, and to different degrees. And sometimes there’s a bit of dissonance as well. Earlier this week I found myself stressed out while writing some language for the script, and very “mindful” of the irony of my situation. What to do when you’re producing a program that discusses tools for relieving stress and anxiety, and it’s causing you to experience stress and anxiety? Well, for starters, breathe…


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Reflections

Jon Kabat-Zinn helped me feel very relaxaed within a sustained attention.

I haven't been irritated so in a long, long time. Two privileged people who don't know that there non-privileged, non-primitive people in the world preach how to become enlightened. No, dear doctor, most people don't think about Wall Street. No, dear doctor, most people in this country live in constant insecurity, in fear of losing job, in fear of losing health care, in constant monitoring in the workplace, in constant manipulation by banks, doctors, pundits etc. There is a world you conveniently don't know about. Learn about it. It's always the barbaric privileged who bring us Budda and caste societies. Have some decency, have some compassion, study history, understand the society, hit the streets, go on a hunger strike, become human..
Dr anna

Where's my comment?

Hochstaplers

People work some 70-80 hours a week not because of ambitions, escapism, filling of emptiness, but because they are terrorized. In addition, unlike you, they don't have servants, secretaries, private lawyers, bankers, doctors, teachers etc. to deal with this reality. By ignoring the real life of the vast majority of Americans, and by preaching mindfulness to them you are blaming the victims. Give them a moment to sit (without fear) and they will mindful. Preaching "stress management" INSTEAD of 40 hour week, decent vacations, sick days etc. is repulsive.
Frankly, I don't know why this program and similar which have nothing to do with "faith" and everything with opportunism/self interest are part of the series "Speaking of faith."
Personally, I am sick and tired of American constant destructive/distractive psychobabbling.

Type your comment here.Anna: Writing as one of the people you reference who is frequently stressed, worried, and afraid, mindfulness and faith are so closely related they are almost the same thing. I know nothing of Buddhism--I am a Christian who has spent his life trying unsuccessfully to inhabit the peace and love promised by Jesus, ending up usually with worrty and frustration. Only very recently have I found that attentiveness and what the doctor calls mindfulness are central parts of faith. As long as I (or you) blame external circumstances, whatever they are, for my lack of peace, I make no progress. When I realize that the promise of faifth is not the removal of suffering, but rather the ability to prosper despite fear and worry, then everything changes. What the doctor is speaking of in this video is as far from stress management as you can get. It is faith and spirituality at its best.

The fact that you've reduced everything in that lecture to 'stress management' makes it clear that you haven't really listened to anything he said. You strike me as someone who has not read any of the literature on meditation or awareness or mindfulness or whatever word you prefer. It has nothing whatsoever to do with accommodating the practice of mindfulness into your daily life at the expense of anything else; your life in all its aspects and mindfulness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it's the exact opposite--every second of your waking life you have awareness, this is simply talking about fully embracing that aspect of your existence. It has nothing to do with avoiding history (past or future), nothing to do with condescending to any social class, nothing to do with ignoring the real life of the vast majority of Americans. Advocating mindfulness is not pointing a finger in blame, it's not accusing anyone of any misdoing or insulting anyone's intelligence or morality, it is anything but accusatory. You've missed the point. It seems that when expected this video to be about workers' rights or something, where you got that idea I'm not sure but that's a different forum and one that is probably quite accessible on the internet. Don't complain about the content, it's Jon Kabat-Zinn talking here not Lenin. What's ironic is that people who feel overworked or stressed out would benefit THE MOST from this type of exercise in awareness. I know I did.

Well, The Chair,
There is a problem. Maybe, just maybe you did the wrong thing ... by lifelong collaboration with evil.
I don't know to what denomination you belong, but Christianity is diverse and fighting evil of abuse of power is part of some of the traditions. Take for example, the Catholic Church's support of unions (no, I am not a Catholic and I actually a have a serious "historical" problem with the Church).
So now, if I understand is correctly, you watch Katrina .... and you are peaceful, you know that countless die from cancer in the street without medical attention ... and are peaceful. Wow, Christianity is about prosperity ... here, now, really? Is that true, Krista?

That "Law of Impermanence", which Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks of came screaming in my life with a diagnosis of cancer some years ago. It was at that intersection of immediate change and suffering that I "crossed over" to an even deeper contemplative life of awareness and living life "minding" the moments; the scent of honeysuckle wafting through the air, the vibrancy of colors and depths of textures in blooming blossoms, the softness of babies cheeks....and I really thought I was "aware" and "mindful" of the gifts of life around me before "diagnosis" but "holding the moments of life in awareness" became even more precious as I traversed through the journey of cancer... and I'm sure this might be true for anyone with such a diagnosis or grave loss. Today, with each day I am gifted to be alive, my "mindfulness" of what's around me, who is around me, my own breath and beating heart increases...it, i.e., mindful living, even now, with cancer in remission, is not however, an easy practice as the "routines" of managing life still rush in about me. I'm just quicker to stop the "treadmill" of my life's responsibilities and breath into living and seeing and smelling and hearing life vibrating around me and "take in" rather than do a "drive-by" glimpse at life around me. The "practice" of mindfulness has become a deeper level awareness of me "in the moments" and a practice of finding me "in joy" of anyone and all things around me since the diagnosis of cancer.

The Chair, you didn't do "mindful" reading of my posts.
Again - how one can be "mindful" when one is FORCED to produce and produce and produce ... schnell, schnell, schnell for 80 hours a week. Here, probably, the doctor and I agree. It's impossible.
Now, a "good" doctor" tells the workers to be mindful, peaceful, smiling (nice, nice, nice), but doesn't tell criminal CEOs and criminal lawmakers to go prison. Do you see a difference? It's a difference between a hypocrisy /opportunism and responsible evaluation of reality. Faith/most certainly Christianity has nothing to do with it.

Mindfulness has nothing to do with a 'state of being' or any emotion. You can be mindful at a funeral, but that doesn't mean that you are in a positive emotional state. It's awareness. We are aware when we are happy, sad, angry, etc etc--any emotional state. It's about recognizing the instability of life and accepting that things are constantly changing. Awareness and work, if you are forced to produce and produce and produce go hand and hand. They are not mutually exclusive because you actually ARE awareness. There's a simplicity and a beauty in realizing that and it increases your love for every moment, you find a kind of expression in everything, even the worst moments of your life. Again, you won't be happy watching Katrina, if anything you would feel an even deeper sense of whatever emotion you do feel because you will fully in the moment.

The "Law of Impermanence", which Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks of came screaming in my life with a diagnosis of cancer some years ago. It was at that intersection of change and suffering that I "crossed over" to an even deeper contemplative life of awareness and living life "minding" the moments; the scent of honeysuckle wafting through the air at the advent of summer, the vibrancy of colors and depths of textures in the blooming blossoms of Springtime, the softness of babies cheeks...and I really thought I was "aware and mindful" of these gifts of life around me before the diagnosis of cancer but holding the moments of life in awareness became even more profound and precious as I traversed through the journey of cancer...and I'm sure this might be true for anyone with such a diagnosis or grave loss. Today, each day I am gifted to be alive, my "mindfulness" of what's around me, who is around me, my own breath and beating heart increases it, i.e., mindful living. Yet even now with cancer in remission and those daunting early days of managing the cancer train, it is not, however, an easy practice as the "routines" of managing life still rush in about me. I'm just quicker to stop the "treadmill" of my life's responsibilities and breath into living and seeing and smelling and hearing life vibrating around me and "take in" rather than do a "drive-by" glimpse of life around me. The practice of "Mindfulness" has become a deeper level of awareness of me "in the moments" and a practice of finding the joy of anyone and all things around me, since the diagnosis of cancer.

Anna,

It's just a different perspective of life. I too live an extremely stressed life but I know that it is because of my perspective. There are things that are out of our control. By constant worry of getting laid off is not in any way preventing the lay off but we all do it. Being mindful is being in the here and now. When you worry about the lay off, you are thinking of the moment that is not here. When the lay off occurs, you deal with it.

It's a really dangerous that the most powerful nation on Earth (still) is truly illiterate.

"Law of Impermanence." Such a discovery. Sure, religious traditions don't have this concept. Maybe, just maybe, the good doctor should check his own traditions.
Someone mentioned Tolle. I actually listened to Krista's program (or part of it) with him and ... vomited for a couple of days afterward. Clearly, my historically minded stomach doesn't like Hochstaplers.

During Krista's conversation with Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness Krista asked him if he thought that the rapid shift in the past 15 years from a slower non-digital more local, less global world to a global digital world in which people have less time when they are not workng, is the reason that people lost touch with their own authentich core natural empathy - which he and she had talked about. Kabat-Zinn responded that perhaps it was, but that from his point of view the problems we are now facing are also caused by simple greed. I would like to offer an additional thought on these comments. My own work for 30 years as a neuroscientist has been on Jung's Falsification of Type and its costs. Falsification of Type is a huge global and human problem. And it does create obstacles to authentic spirituality . But Falsification of Type has been going on for more than 15 or 20 years. It has been going on for 200 to 400 years with the industrial revolution and its impact on working habits and the invention of paper and printing capability which both support written language and communication. The values and needs which shaped society during this period of time have the need for logically adept leaders and supported by workers adept at routine procedure. In this situation the distribution of the workforce 10 percent in management using logic and 80-90 percent in labor using detailed routine procedures. The result has been this. Globally as every place becomes industrialized, it adopts this bi-modal system of training, using and rewarding these two sets of human thinking skills. People have natural specialized ways of thinking which their brain does so effectively they are joyful and happy when working, but in this period, to hold jobs, to satisfy normal challenges most people had to falsify type. The result is chronic exhaustion, chronic anger, chronic fear...

Importantly for those seeking to help humanity connect with deeper values, when we use our natural gifts we are joyous and experience enthusiasm, which means that we do not trigger fight or flight or conserve withdraw. We are truly free to live and enjoy life using our gifts. We but truly in free to live and deciding base on our own brains needs to use its own gifts, what we want to do. When we do so we are in natural enthusiasm (not covert anger, or anger, or fear). From this position of positive, validated enthusiasm, we naturally open to feeling empathy which Krista and Jon Kabat-Zinn mention and would like all of us to be able to connect with as it in some ways helps us also connect with being mindful.

Also, it is true that people whose natural gifts are in what Jung called Feeling (that is their brain is naturally efficient in the Right Poster Cortical Convexity) and they get the need for empathy and midfulness because you might say, it is "their job" to build peace and good will and trust. Sadly many natural feelers because they are falsifying type use their gifts to harm others not help. But if and when we understand this and begin to identify and use our own natural preferences, not the skills we have mastered because it is the one which is rewarded, we can all enjoy more connection, more of a sense of empathy for ourselves and others.

Another aspect of what happens to those who are falsifying type is important to connecting with others with truth. Because people know what they love to do and know when they are truly enjoying what they do, if they are supported to use and develop and contribute their gifts and are in some ways rewarded for their natural gifts, they use and develop them. But when they are not, the first thing they have to do is begin to lie to themselves. This happens because to continue doing for hours and days and weeks and years thing your brain does not enjoy but finds exhausting, frustrating etc, means you have to stop telling yourself the truth. Once you are lying to yourself and disconnected from this truth, lying to someone else, or cheating someone else is must easier. Once people reconnect with their natural gifts and their natural enthusiasm, they are naturally positive and affirming of others, and naturally open with empathy to others.

Another aspect of what happens to those who are falsifying type is important to connecting with others with truth. Because people know what they love to do and know when they are truly enjoying what they do, if they are supported to use and develop and contribute their gifts and are in some ways rewarded for their natural gifts, they use and develop them. But when they are not, the first thing they have to do is begin to lie to themselves. This happens because to continue doing for hours and days and weeks and years thing your brain does not enjoy but finds exhausting, frustrating etc, means you have to stop telling yourself the truth. Once you are lying to yourself and disconnected from this truth, lying to someone else, or cheating someone else is must easier. Once people reconnect with their natural gifts and their natural enthusiasm, they are naturally positive and affirming of others, and naturally open with empathy to others.

Dear Dr (?) Benziger,
"The value of this period have been logic drive by leaders and routine procedure drive by workers with the distribution of the workforce 10 percent in management using logic and 80-90 percent in workforce using detailed routine procedures"
Only in a mind of a neuroscientist. In other words, this is fiction or rather pure dogmatism.
"to hold jobs to satisfy normal challenges most people had to falsify type. The result is chronic exhaustion, chronic anger, chronic fear" Does it matter if a person falsifies the type for 40 hours a week or 80 hours a week? Does it matter whether a person is afraid of losing medical care when needed or not? Does it matter whether children are safe when parents work or not? etc.
"And importantly for those seeking to help humanity connect with deeper values"
Why don't American doctors fight for a civilized way to help "humanity connect with deeper values."
This is a good way to show "empathy."

"The value of this period have been logic drive by leaders and routine procedure drive by workers with the distribution of the workforce 10 percent in management using logic and 80-90 percent in workforce using detailed routine procedures."
And Dr Benziger knows this .... how?

OK, if I understand it correctly, Brave New World people are called for help.
Nice, NPR, nice.

i liked this programme. i suspect it'll be a few more listens 'til i've absorbed it as fully as i'd like but i've found some helpful thoughts in it.

i was introduced to some mindfulness practice in the past year in a therapeutic recovery context, which is a little different from the context discussed by krista and jon.
it was applied in part for the purpose of being emotionally and physically aware in the present rather than caught in the trap of replaying traumatic past events. which of course creates a double whammy when those experiences are projected onto the future as fear.
in that context, mindfulness can be helpful for learning how and where emotions "feel" in the body and listening to its cues, and also learning how to be present to reality as it IS in the present. which might seem obvious to some people but can be a difficult experience for those who have been physically threatened or abused, and/or have experienced sustained psychological/emotional stress or abuse.
we carry so much memory in the body and for some, tragically, the body has been violated/abused, or simply carries so much emotional trauma, that it is not a home one feels safe in or one cannot bear to fully feel one's "feelings".
the principles are just as jon was describing but applied in a different setting.

this programme has been an encouragement to start being a little more disciplined in my own practise. thanks too for posting the video.

i thought this makes an interesting companion to the brother thay programme.... and i've just checked the main page and i see you linked it already. :) but it also, in light of the above, has underlying links to the programme, the soul in depression, and also to the programme on the spirituality of addiction recovery. in both those experiences, healing the relationship of mind, body and spirit as an organic whole is deeply important.

anyways, all that to say, i thought i worth noting another application of mindfulness meditation. i don't know how widely it's being utilised by therapeutic practitioners in this way but i've seen and experienced its usefulness.

as always, with gratitude,

1LB

"it was applied in part for the purpose of being emotionally and physically aware in the present rather than caught in the trap of replaying traumatic past events. which of course creates a double whammy when those experiences are projected onto the future as fear" OneLittleBird.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We heard it before: "History is dead." Really, who needs history, personal or collective? Only in America. I have only one request. Can "America" please remove itself from the world arena?

welll i convert it to an .mp3 file for those who want only audio version, cheers : http://www.fileserve.com/file/...

Thank you for posting this video. I was exposed to Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living a couple of years ago, and since then tried to get through some of that book as well as Coming to Our Senses, and listened to his audio version of Mindfulness for Beginners several times. I've been attracted to the idea of mindfulness for a long time, but it's been more of an interesting idea to contemplate than a practice I've felt safe in which to engage. Watching this video and trying to participate in the guided mediation I think has helped me see why this is so. So again, thank you for posting it. 

some great advice on mindfulness here and well written. thanks!

apples