Showing posts with label John Kabat-Zinn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Kabat-Zinn. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rosy the Reviewer's Master Review of MasterClass - Part 2: Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation

As I said in a past blog post, "
A Little Meditation on a Little Meditation by an Unlikely Meditator," I am not the kind of person you would necessarily think was into meditation. If you had asked me 50 years ago when I was (mumble) years old, I would have said "No way." I have never been a very New Age type, not really much into most kinds of "woo woo" and I am kind of a bossy, A-Type personality so you would not think I would be into meditation, but you see I realized at some point the importance of self-awareness (that's how I can admit to being bossy), and I learned that you can't become self-aware without mindfulness, and you can't really become mindful without spending some time with yourself in meditation.

So here I am, continuing my journey with MasterClass (after spending a few hours in my first class with Gordon Ramsay), this time wanting to get deeper into meditation and who better to teach me than Kabat-Zinn, one of the foremost experts on mindfulness? He is an American professor emeritus of medicine and a founding member of the Cambridge Zen Center.  He studied with Zen Buddhist teachers which led him to integrate yoga and those teachings with medicine which in turn led to him creating the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine. So I would say this guy knows what he is doing.

Now I know you are all busy, so I thought I would do the heavy-lifting for you.  I have watched 20 videos (some long, some short) and spent over six hours with Zinn, and here it is laid out for you in hopes that you will be intrigued enough to either take this MasterClass or at least do some investigating on your own into the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.  I know it has helped me.  In addition to becoming more aware about myself, I have also become a better listener, I have become less of a know-it-all and I have stopped criticizing Hubby. Well, mostly. That's HUGE, right?

So here is a taste of what I learned:

What is mindfulness?  

Basically, according to Kabat-Zinn, it is an awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment.  It is "to befriend the present moment as it is...and to WAKE UP."  How many of us are just sleeping through our lives, living out our routines with nary a thought to how we are feeling in the given moment?  So this is an invitation to "befriend yourself" and live your fullest life from where you are now. Thoreau went to Walden Pond to live a deliberate life so he wouldn't be on his death bed wishing he had really lived.  Mindfulness helps us live deliberately, to really live.

So to be mindful, Kabat-Zinn says there are certain attitudes we should cultivate:

Non-judging. This doesn't mean you won't judge.  It just reminds us of how judging we are.  Meditation teaches that we don't need to be imprisoned by our own likes and dislikes.

For example, I might judge someone on their clothes or how they dance or whether or not they like sports, but at least I am mindful that I am being judgy. I say to myself, "Rosy, you are being judgy.  Now stop it!"

Patience.  Meditation reminds us of how impatient we are and how we lose the present moment by anticipating some other better present moment. Mindfulness of our impatience throughout the day helps us to become less impatient.

For example, when someone in the car ahead of me holds up traffic to let someone into our lane and ahead of me, and I miss the present moment of getting through the light before it turns red because I am dreading a future present moment sitting at the damn light again, I might give him or her the finger but at least I am aware that my impatience made me do it.

The Beginner's Mind.  Being an expert on everything, thinking we already know the answer keeps us from really knowing.  Maybe we don't know as much as we think and if we keep our minds open - a beginner's mind - we might just learn something.

For example, does "mansplaining" ring a bell? You know who you are. And, you notice there is no female equivalent, right? I learned long ago that I didn't know everything and have learned to keep my mouth shut when I think I do, which in turn has made me a better listener!

Trust. We need to trust our own trustworthiness, that our intentions are authentic.

For example, I may screw up but my intentions are good and I have no problem recognizing when I screw up and trying to make it right!

Non-striving. This can sound like sitting on our butts and doing nothing.  It's almost un-American to not want to be a go-getter, right? -  but what this really means is that there really is no place to go, nothing to do and nothing to attain, and when we adopt those thoughts, the opposite happens, everything becomes attainable.  Yes, it's a paradox but we can attain more and do better work by not striving for the outcome but rather taking care in the journey.

For example, since I have retired, I take great care to sleep late; I can spend an entire day doing nothing; and I can be content going nowhere.  I am now waiting for the paradox to kick in.

Acceptance. This doesn't mean you don't work for change.  It just means you see the reality of the situation, it registers, you recognize it, you accept it and then you ask yourself if you can live with it.  If you can't, you change it.  For us to act, the reality has to register and then we have to accept that reality.  It's a recognition of things as they are, good and bad.

For example, I know that the reality of my life is that I will never be besties with Oprah, that I will never win the lottery and I will never lose that last 20 pounds.  I accept that but that doesn't mean I will give up. Acceptance of my reality allows me to take action, so I will continue to stalk Oprah, buy lottery tickets and wish I could lost 20 pounds.

So once you have some attitudes that are condusive to meditation, the next step is to get your butt on the cushion. 


Well, Kabat-Zinn said "ass," but you get the drift.  And it doesn't need to be on the floor.  You can sit in a chair or lie down but the main message is to do the practice.

Kabat-Zinn then goes into the practical basics of meditation practice, both formal and informal, how to breathe and how to deal with all of those thoughts running through your mind (you just let them come and go) followed by some guided meditations that will help you practice.  And the more you practice, the more the practice of meditation will become a rich part of your life. You will realize the importance of BEING over DOING. It's an act of love for yourself.

Kabat-Zinn also tackles dealing with pain and suffering (make friends with it), starting your morning with some hatha yoga (he shares his morning routine but he lost me at getting down on the floor!), the science behind meditation and how it positively affects our bodies. Meditation is an act of loving kindness to ourselves. 

He then ends the course with how mindfulness can heal the world! The world heals when we step out of our small-minded, self-interested personas and see the world as more than just our own tribe. Small shifts in our own attitudes can have huge effects. The present moment is all we have and we want to be present. Meditation and mindfulness helps us to do that.

When I talk about meditation, many people say "I would like to try it, but I just can't control my thoughts" or "I'm just not good at it."  Kabat-Zinn reminds us that there is no need to strive for perfection in meditation (or anything else for that matter) because we are already whole, we are already perfect just as we are.

So, was it worth it?

Yes!  Who doesn't want to be awake for one's own life? My only criticism would be that the course is long, but if you have been interested in getting started with meditation and mindfulness or you just want a refresher, this is a worthwhile and inspiring course. The guided meditations alone will help you.

Meditation has made me a better listener and a more compassionate and caring person. And after taking this course, I feel that the even better, more improved, non-judging, patient, open, trusting, non-striving, accepting and just plain groovy Rosy is right around the corner! After that, I'm going to help heal the world!

Now on to MasterClass #3 -  Tan France Teaching Style for Everyone!  You knew I would have to get into fashion at some point, right?

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!

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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!