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A couple of Sundays ago I was driving out to the pasture listening to one of my favorite programs on National Public Radio – On Being with Krista Tippett.

In this particular episode, she was talking with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. One of his great gifts, I believe, is that he has made the practice of meditation and mindfulness accessible to regular folks like me. As he describes meditation, I actually think I could do it.

One of his statements that afternoon was this: “The real practice is living your life from moment to moment as if it really mattered.”

He means each moment. Each tiny moment is all we have, and when we don’t tune in and pay attention and act as if that moment really matters, well, we’ve lost it forever. I’ve heard the statement before, and each time it smacks me upside the head.

How can I forget something so profound?

Something so urgent to remember?

But I do forget. In fact, here’s something I find really funny. I’ve heard this exact interview before. It was a repeat show. But I didn’t realize it until about two-thirds of the way into it.

When I hear Kabat-Zinn speak, it’s often as if I’m hearing him for the first time. Then I remember. Think there’s something for me to learn here?

Here’s the thing – one of the few times in my day that I am totally focused in the moment is when I’m with the horses. In a round about way, that hour or so is my spiritual practice. I turn off the radio, stay away from the cell phone and simply be with my old sweeties.

And honestly, time stands still, just as Kabat-Zinn suggests.

I notice the sky, the geese flying overhead, and a hawk sitting in the tree.

I’m able to totally focus on the horses and my surroundings.

It feels otherworldly, like I’ve stepped out of my day-to-day worries and commitments and into this beautiful, serene, quiet place.

And that, I believe, is mediation.

Sometimes I have to give myself a pep talk to get going. When it’s below zero or the wind is howling, or I’m up to my neck in a project that needs to get finished, I could easily talk myself out of trekking out to the pasture. But I don’t.

I’ve made a commitment to these two old horses and it feels really good to be able to keep my word with them.

But there’s a bonus in this act. I’ve also committed to myself. For sixty or so minutes in my day, every day, I show up to whatever moment I’m in. And at the end of the hour, I feel good.

Really good.

So now I’m working to be more present in other moments of my day. Because honestly, life is sweet and wonderful and stressful and hard and easy, all at the same time.

As I get older (and I’d like to think smarter) I see so clearly that I don’t want to miss even one moment of my life. I sometimes wonder why I’ve settled for not being present for so many years.

But then I let the thought go, because it takes me away from this very moment that I’m in right now. And this is where I want to be.

 

I’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about this journey. Do you find that time stands still when you are totally present with yourself? What about mediation?

Feel free to leave your comments below. And thanks!!

 

 

I do!

 

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