Books by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This book, now in a second edition, is the foundation of the curriculum of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program currently available in over 720 hospitals, clinics, and stand-alone programs nationwide and abroad. When originally published in 1990, this book articulated the transformative potential of cultivating mindfulness in one’s own life in the face of stress, pain, and illness, and documented what was known at the time about its clinical effectiveness. When the first edition came out, the Stress Reduction Clinic founded by Dr. Kabat-Zinn was in its 11th year. Now, the clinic is in its 34th year of continual operation at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, and the first edition of the book is almost twenty-five years old. Today, there is a vibrant and growing science of mindfulness which has documented a number of positive effects on brain structure and function, on gene expression, on cellular factors associated with aging, and on the immune system, as well as on our own mind and its habitual patterns. The practice of mindfulness can dramatically influence our relationship to our thoughts and emotions, with great benefits in terms of anxiety, depression, and other mental afflictions. This new edition makes some of the more exciting and promising of these scientific findings available to the reader, while keeping the essence of the original. Above all, this book is a friendly guide and support if you wish to begin or to deepen a daily practice of mindfulness in your own life, especially in the face of stress, pain, or a chronic illness.
This book may be purchased at: Amazon.com
"To say that this wise, deep book is helpful to those who face the challenges of human crisis would be a vast understatement. It is essential, unique, and, above all, fundamentally healing."
"One of the great classics of mind/body medicine."
"A book for everyone... Jon Kabat-Zinn has done more than any other person on the planet to spread the power of mindfulness to the lives of ordinary people and major societal institutions."
"This is the ultimate owner's manual for our lives. What a gift!"
"I first read Full Catastrophe Living in my early twenties and it changed my life."
Diverse Perspectives on its Meaning, Origins, and Applications
Editors: Mark Williams and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Routledge
This edited volume contains a wide range of papers by Buddhist scholars, contemplatives, philosophers, scientists, clinicians, and educators addressing various perspectives on mindfulness. It was originally published as a special issue of a journal, Contemporary Buddhism, Volume 10, 2011. That issue was so popular and sold out so quickly that it was decided to publish its contents as a book so that it would be much more widely available as a resource for anyone, scholar or practitioner alike, who might be interested in taking their personal understanding of mindfulness to a deeper level by encountering differing views. All of the contributions break exciting new ground: in our understanding of the various ways in which mindfulness has been understood within the Buddhist traditions themselves; in how those traditional views may be changing; in regard to the ways in which the cultivation of mindfulness can transform our relationship to suffering; in terms of technical questions concerning whether and how mindfulness might be directly and indirectly "measured;" and in terms of specific innovative applications in different contexts in education and leadership. This is not an instructional book for those who wish to bring mindfulness into their own lives. Rather, it is for those who wish to broaden their horizons around the practice of mindfulness itself within different frameworks and disciplines. A final chapter by Jon Kabat-Zinn recounts some of the history of MBSR and how it came into being, its universality, the different dharma streams on which it is based, and some of the challenges associated with becoming an effective MBSR instructor.
This book may be purchased at: Amazon.com
Mindfulness for Beginners:
Reclaiming the Present Moment - And Your Life
By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Sounds True
This book is meant to be a doorway into the cultivation of mindfulness for both beginners and for those who have a long-standing relationship the practice of mindfulness. It is accompanied by a CD of five meditations guided by Jon [mindfulness of eating; of breathing; of the body as a whole; of sounds, thoughts, and emotions; and as pure awareness] that, as part of a two-CD set, was the original ground for this book. The material of the introductory CD has been expanded and refined to become the book's text. It is structured in five parts: Entering; Sustaining; Deepening; Ripening; and Practicing. Brief chapters invite the reader to drink in, explore, and experiment with embodying a range of essential dimensions of mindfulness, including formal meditation practices and the cultivation of mindfulness in everyday life. Since the cultivation of mindfulness in one's life always follows a non-linear trajectory, it only matters that one begins. The rest unfolds as with any adventure, with a degree of mystery and unknowability, as life itself becomes both the practice and the teacher.
The Mind's Own Physician:
A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation
Editors: Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard J. Davidson
Published by New Harbinger
This book captures the essence, content, and feeling tone of the 2005 public Mind and Life dialogue with the Dalai Lama in Constitution Hall, Washington DC on the subject of the science and clinical applications of meditation. Edited by the program chairs, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson, the book also includes an Introduction and an Epilogue, written by the editors, which set the stage for the presentations and discussion, and summarize developments in the field since the meeting took place. The presenters and discussants include a wide range of scientists and contemplatives. This landmark meeting was co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Medical Center.
"Transformative… [this] conversation provides valuable insight into how meditative practices can balance the mind with effects on the body."
"…a precious portal into seminal conversations that gave birth to the nascent field of contemplative neuroscience. The issues digested, debated, and ignited [here]… will serve as a roadmap and inspiration to my students and their students in the coming decades."
"The experts lay out how the mind’s powerful healing effects can be harnessed in ways that are becoming increasingly illuminated by scientific discoveries."
"If you want to see how to build bridges between the deepest wisdom of the heart and the highest standards of contemporary neuroscience, look no further. This series of meetings between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Western scientists and meditation teachers will prove to be epoch-changing, and this book shows why. Here, you will find interior and exterior empiricism in exquisite dialogue. Drink it all in. The brilliance of the participants shines through on every page."
"Can meditation improve your health? This question is just the starting point for a series of innovative exchanges across different ways of knowing among first-ranked clinicians, scientists, Buddhist teachers, and the Dalai Lama. Thoughtful, rigorous, and surprising by turns, this dialogue reminds all of us who care about the effects of the mind on health just how much more thinking remains to be done."
"This book marks a milestone in the emerging field of contemplative sciences. With this book, you can relive a seminal 2005 Mind and Life conference that brought together world-famous neuroscientists, clinicians, and contemplative scholars in a dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This groundbreaking work explores the development of scientifically based tools and programs aimed at creating more balanced and healthy lives. How does stress evolve? What does it do to our minds and bodies? How can we use ancient mindfulness and meditative practices in our everyday, modern lives and also in clinical settings to reduce stress and cultivate healthier minds? This book is a must for everyone who is interested in making this world a more human place."
Letting Everything Become Your Teacher:
100 Lessons in Mindfulness
By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Random House
Just as with Arriving at Your Own Door, this little book is a product of collaboration with Hor Tuck Loon of Malaysia. It is a collection of 100 excerpts from Full Catastrophe Living, designed by Tuck Loon and set against original graphics. It is meant to be both an introduction to the essence and spirit of mindfulness as a practice and a way of being for those new to mindfulness, and also as a resource of gentle reminders for those hoping to deepen and enliven their lives in the face of stress, pain, and illness. The quotations are meant to trigger reflections and practical shifts in both attitude and action that can change the quality of the day, and of one's relationship to experience. There actually is a way to let everything become your teacher, to let life itself, and everything that unfolds within it — the "full catastrophe" of the human condition in the words of Zorba the Greek — shape your ongoing development and maturation as a human being, no matter how old you may be when you first come to it. Millions have followed this path to greater sanity, balance, and well-being, often in the face of huge stress, pain, illness, uncertainty, and sorrow. With the huge degrees of stress and pain that we are presently experiencing as a society due to the economic downturn and all the other conditions challenging our society at present, such as our on-going wars and persistent social inequities, never has there been a better time to cultivate mindfulness in both stillness and in action.
Whether you are trying to learn greater patience, cope with a persistent pain condition, deal with the enormity of the stress and personal challenges that we are presently facing, improve your relationships, including with yourself, or free yourself from various destructive emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, these deceptively simple meditations will remind you that you have deep interior resources to draw upon, the most important of which is your capacity for attention and the awareness that attending mindfully gives rise to. This can only happen in the present moment, another profound resource for healing with which we are often sorely out of touch. Regardless of your age, or whether you are familiar with the healing potential of mindfulness, this book can help you to honor, embrace, learn from, and grow into each moment of your life — no matter how challenging. (From the jacket flaps)
Arriving at Your Own Door:
108 Lessons in Mindfulness
By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published November, 2007
This little book of excerpts from Coming to Our Senses, set against beautiful original photo graphics by Hor Tuck Loon of Malaysia, is a perfect entrèe and support for a daily mindfulness practice... providing cogent reminders of what we may already know but too soon lose sight of. These 108 selections offer simple lessons of great wisdom and compassion in a contemporary and practical form that can lead to profound healing and transformation, inwardly and outwardly.
To safeguard what precious sanity is available to us on this planet as human beings, we urgently need to learn to rotate in consciousness to a more complete way of seeing and being. How we carry ourselves, each and every one of us, will determine the direction the world takes because, in a very real way, we are the world we inhabit. What we call "the world" is continually being shaped by our participation in everything around us and within us through mindfulness. This is the great work of awareness. Welcome to its threshold — and to the good fortune of arriving at your own door! (From the jacket flap).
The Mindful Way through Depression:
Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness.
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Guilford Press, June 2007
This book is the result of a collaboration of many years with Mark Williams of Oxford University, John Teasdale, formerly of Cambridge University, and Zindel Segal of the University of Toronto. They developed a program called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), based in large measure on MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction), that has proven to be highly effective in dramatically reducing the likelihood of relapse in people with a history of major depression after they have been successfully treated. We wrote this book for anyone who has suffered from depression and has found it frustrating to get a long-term handle on it. A guided meditation CD (77 minutes) consisting of a range of mindfulness practices that are utilized in MBCT accompanies the book, voiced by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
In the book, we explain why our usual attempts to "think" our way out of a bad mood or just "snap out of it" can easily lead us even deeper into an ever-downward spiral of depression, as you may very well know from first-hand experience. Instead, we offer a radically different approach. Studies of MBCT have shown that a unified blend of meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness, coupled with elements of the theory, treatment practices, and insights of cognitive therapy provide practical and effective ways to recognize and then sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including seemingly endless currents of rumination and self-blame. This shift in perspective toward our thoughts and feelings, as well as how they express in our bodies and our lives, allows us to face life's challenges with far greater resilience, and, perhaps surprisingly, to taste far greater happiness, satisfaction, purpose, and well-being in our lives.
- The Mindful Way through Depression includes easy to implement strategies for:
- Recognizing the early warning signs of depression so you can prevent them from building up and coalescing into a full-blown relapse
- Living more in the present, and learning how not to get so caught up in dwelling on the past or worrying about the future
- Experiencing the world directly, without the intervening commentary of your inner critic
- Seeing negative thoughts as "mental events" that come and go like weather—not as permanent truths
- Disengaging your personal "autopilot" and instead making active decisions that serve your true interests
"Using mindfulness training to prevent and treat depression is a novel strategy in the West, though it is a traditional application of Eastern meditation practice. Whether you struggle with depression or simply want to understand your mind and emotions better, you will find this book accessible and useful. Depression is epidemic in our society, and I would love to see this sensible treatment approach gain ground."
"A revolutionary treatment approach. For depression sufferers, this is a truly useful guide to achieving emotional balance. For mental health professionals, it should be mandatory reading. I recommend this book and companion CD most highly."
"An invaluable resource not only for those who suffer from depression, but for anyone familiar with the downward spiral of negative thinking and self-doubt. The authors of this book explore the reasons for depression and give us guidance and support, along with useful tools to find a way through it."
"If I could select one group of individuals for people to really pay attention to when grappling with chronic unhappiness, I could not think of a better group than these authors. Not only are they consummate scientists, but they are each personally immersed in the moment-to-moment mindfulness that they teach. This book brings together the contemplative practices of both science and insight meditation in an effective fashion that is understandable to the ordinary person -- no esoteric practice or mental health background is necessary. Read it and see for yourself!"
Coming to Our Senses:
Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness
Published by Hyperion
This book is a rhapsody in eight parts on the transformative power of mindfulness in our personal lives and in our lives as individuals embedded in the larger world. Dr. Kabat-Zinn describes how, through paying attention, by both literally and metaphorically coming to our senses, we can live our lives much more as if they really mattered and realize the full extent our potential as human beings in ways both little and big. He reminds us that living in this way is the adventure of a lifetime, and that it is both tremendously freeing and profoundly healing to be present in the only moments in which we ever have to live. He explains that meditation is not what you think, whatever you think it is, all puns intended, and that in our attention deficit disorder society, the power of training ourselves to pay attention wisely and effectively in the face of chronic "dis-ease" and disease is no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity for our emotional, physical, and spiritual health, again, as individuals and as a society.
This book builds on all of Dr. Kabat-Zinn's previous work, and extends the reader's practical understanding of how to implement the practice of mindfulness meditation in meaningful ways in his or her life. It offers an entirely new level of both understanding and practice. Through deeply personal stories of his own early experiences with meditation and meditation teachers, through the effective use of extraordinary poetry, through simple explanations of the science of the mind and body connection set in the context of the history of the universe and of the evolution of life and of our species, and through describing the roots of mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition and how mindfulness is not itself Buddhist at all but really a universal pathway to sanity and well-being, Dr. Kabat-Zinn paints a comprehensive and compelling picture of our true potential as a species for healing or own destructive tendencies and for living more meaningful lives of deep satisfaction, well-being, and happiness through cultivating and embodying what is already deepest and best in ourselves, starting always and in each moment from where we are now - with huge acceptance and loving kindness toward ourselves, whatever our circumstances.
Formal and informal mindfulness practices making use of all our senses - the five traditional ones and others - including the mind itself and its capacity for awareness, are described in great detail with simple and practical suggestions all along the way for implementing their embodiment in our everyday lives through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and knowing what is being experienced in any moment. An entire section describes the science of the mind/body connection and the results of a number of studies from Dr. Kabat-Zinn's work in the Stress Reduction Clinic that show the effects of mindfulness and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on our potential for healing and for not only coping, but even thriving in the face of chronic levels of stress, as well as working with chronic medical conditions, physical and emotional pain, and disease. Other sections describe in deeply personal as well as universal terms, various aspects of the challenges we face in coming to our senses in this time-accelerated world of perpetual multi-tasking, the potential for mindfulness and what has been learned in mind/body medicine over the past thirty years to diagnose, treat, and effectively heal the body politic as well as the body, and how all this fits into a comprehensive view of our small planet and its fragility and how important the refining of our species' innate capacity for wisdom and compassion is to its short and long-term health, and our own. The book maintains a light and humorful tone throughout, consistent with the suggestion that mindfulness itself is really a way of being, and a way of seeing, one that is far too important and serious for us to take too seriously without a huge dose of lightheartedness and an appreciation for our own pratfalls and self-induced delusions, especially about who we are and where we are going when we forget our deeper nature and drift far from it in both our minds and our lives.
"a passionate tour de force" - Publishers Weekly
"Jon Kabat-Zinn writes clearly and persuasively about the need for us to bring full awareness to the present moment - not only to achieve personal peace and healing, but to heal our ailing world. I am particularly taken by his discussion of 'orthogonal reality,' a sort of rotation in consciousness that can open new possibilities for individuals, institutions, and nations. This is a deeply optimistic book, grounded in good science and filled with practical recommendations for moving in the right direction."
"Jon Kabat-Zinn once again inspires, delights, and awakens us. His scientific knowledge, poetic vision, and depth of meditative understanding illuminate so much about our human condition and our spiritual potential. A brilliant work, both timely and timeless."
"Coming to Our Senses invites us to sanity, offering a practical, life-altering way to cut through the clutter of our minds and fine what truly matters. Jon Kabat-Zinn shines as a wise, down-to-earth, and just plain fun guide to our own basic goodness. His is a sensible – and sensational – wake-up call, one we all should heed."
"Once again, Jon Kabat-Zinn is on the cutting edge. Coming to Our Senses is thoughtful and provocative, ranging from deeply personal to broadly political. Its relevance is unquestionable. It leaves us inspired and optimistic that true healing really is possible."
"A loving, profound, whimsical, wise, genuine, intimate, surprising, scholarly, liberating, brilliant, and practical look at how we can become who we fully are and be trusted with the future of the world."
"A wealth of information about the miracles that mindfulness can work in our everyday lives. The chapter on the author's experience when his father had Alzheimer's disease is particularly powerful. Dr. Kabat-Zinn's work has already helped large numbers of people use mindfulness to prevent a next heart attack. Now he is back to show how mindfulness can help us to prevent a next terrorist attack. I hope that many world leaders will give his recommendations serious consideration."
"This is a remarkable book, in its vast scope and for its great depth, a modern classic, bringing together for the reader the riches of modern science and the great traditional wisdom of the east. A powerful and compassionate vision."
"Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the finest teachers of mindfulness you will ever encounter. This book invites you to discover the ease, joy, and freedom that mindfulness brings."
Full Catastrophe Living:
Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness – 15th Anniversary Edition – with a New Introduction by the Author
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Random House 2005
A practical, step-by-step guide to mindfulness meditation, based on the eight-week program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, which over sixteen thousand medical patients have successfully completed in the past 25 years. This book describes a self-guided training program in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to develop relaxation, calmness, and self-awareness, a reliable foundation for facing the "full catastrophe" of stress, pain, and illness - indeed, of life itself. From the point of view of mindfulness, as long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you, even if you are sick or troubled or in pain and things in your life feel dark and out of control. What is "right" with you holds the key for regaining control of your life and growing beyond your problems. Through the practice of mindfulness, you can learn to build on your fundamental strength and vitality and imagination, whether or not you know they exist when you start out.
"This is simply the best popular book on health I have read in years. It offers a guide for personal transformation that can literally save your life."
" I strongly recommend this book for everyone who wants to begin healing their life."
"A wonderful guidebook for those of us who choose life and healing."
"A practical guide... to accomplishing that elusive goal of integrating spiritual practice into daily life."
"This book can be described as a door opening both on the dharma (from the side of the world) and on the world (from the side of the dharma). When the dharma is really taking care of the problems of life, it is true dharma. And this is what I appreciate most about this book."
Wherever You Go, There You Are:
Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life – 10th Anniversary Edition – with a new Afterword by the Author
This book maps out a simple path for cultivating mindfulness in one's own life. It speaks both to those coming to meditation for the first time, and to longtime practitioners, anyone who cares deeply about reclaiming the richness of his or her moments. Brief, humorful chapters full of stories and poetry, convey the heart and the spirit of mindfulness practice and encourage you to find your own ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.
"Rather than withdrawing from the world, meditation can help you enjoy it more fully, more effectively, and more peacefully. In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn provides access to the essense of meditation and its applications for both the beginner and those who wish to deepen and expand their practice. He embodies what he describes."
"Want to meet the most interesting, exciting person you will ever know– Let Jon Kabat-Zinn introduce you to YOU. Nowhere else in the literature of meditation can you find so simple and commonsensical a path to yourself."
"This book shines with an exquisite simplicity and straightforwardness. Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the best teachers of mindfulness you will ever meet."
"Ideally, meditation is not something we do, but is something we live. Wherever You Go, There You Are points the way to this living spirit with clarity, easy and poetry."
"Future historians may well decide that the introduction of meditation into the Western world was one of the significant events of the twentieth century and that Jon Kabat-Zinn was one of its most effective advocates."
The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published by Hyperion 1997
This book shows with great simplicity and practicality how parents can enrich their lives and the lives of their children through mindful parenting - the bringing of moment-to-moment, non-judging awareness into every aspect of life and parenting. Each moment can be an opportunity for us to see our children and their soul needs more clearly and thereby grow ourselves in wisdom and compassion as we nourish and care for them. Even the smallest degree of mindfulness can have profound effects on our children, no matter how old they are, and on the quality of our relationships with them. Includes seven intentions and twelve specific exercises for enhancing mindfulness in parenting.
"At last, an emotionally intelligent guide for parents!"
"Reading this book could be a life-changing event."
"This book can help us turn all the relationships of our lives into everyday blessings... should be given to every parent..."
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
"Shows a way for parents to recognize who their children really are..."
"This is a wonderfully knowing and touching witness to what it means for us to be mothers and fathers."
"Mindful parenting is a deep spiritual practice... this book will inspire and guide all parents."