Meditation Is Not What You Think: Kabat-Zinns Insightful Guide

June 1, 2024

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Contributions

In 2005, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), published "Coming to Our Senses," a significant and comprehensive work delving into the broader context of mindfulness. This 650-page book was years in the making and serves as a culmination of Kabat-Zinn's life’s work in the field of mindfulness.

Core Concept of Mindfulness

Kabat-Zinn positions mindfulness not merely as a mental exercise or a supplementary activity, but as a fundamental human inheritance essential for survival and well-being. He emphasizes the importance of being optimally aware of ourselves, our surroundings, and our state of being to thrive individually, within communities, and as a species.

Essential Message – “Coming to Our Senses”

The book is a call to action to "come to our senses," meaning to frequently and intentionally experience our present moment and environment. It encourages the adoption of practices that nurture our ability to be mindful and aware.

Reissuing of the Original Book

Hachette has decided to reissue "Coming to Our Senses" as four separate smaller books for easier consumption. The first two books, "Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important" and "Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life," are already available. The third and fourth books are scheduled to be released later this year and early next year.

Structure and Content of the Books

The books contain a rich array of references and examples from various disciplines including science, literature, poetry, and political thought. The content is organized into digestible chapters, making it easier for readers to absorb and reflect on the material.

"Meditation Interior" by Donatas Grinius is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Effective Reading Approach

The recommendation is to read the books one chapter at a time, likening them to a box of fine chocolates that should be savored gradually rather than consumed quickly. This approach helps prevent "mental indigestion" and allows for better absorption and reflection on the insightful content.

Broader Implications

The work encourages readers to integrate mindfulness practices into their daily lives to enhance their awareness and overall quality of life. Kabat-Zinn's message underscores the critical need for mindfulness in the modern world, not only for personal well-being but also for the health and sustainability of communities and societies at large.

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