Written by Jude Johnson, MA, LMFT
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, “the practice of mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” While this definition is accurate and from a well-respected authority on mindfulness, these words don’t fully capture the experience of mindfulness.
Mindfulness teachers talk about paying attention with attitudes that are non-judgmental, curious and friendly, yet somehow, these descriptions rarely illuminate the true sense of being mindful. Music and poetry are often able to convey concepts to our hearts and minds that go beyond an intellectual level. There are several quotes below by Jon Kabat-Zinn that get to the heart of mindfulness and I hope that these quotes inspire you to learn more about the benefits of a mindfulness practice. If you already have a mindfulness practice, I hope these quotes serve as friendly reminders to pay attention to what matters most. I encourage you to slow down as you read these quotes and really take them in by savoring the meaning and noticing the felt experience.
“In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
“When you have children, you realize how easy it is to not see them fully, and perhaps miss all those early years. If you are not careful, you can be too absorbed in work, and they will be only too happy to tell you about it later. Being a parent is one of greatest mindfulness practices of all.” Jon Kabat-Zinn