Coming to Our Senses

This talk on Coming to Our Senses by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn was presented at the University of California Medical Center, San Diego, California in 2004 or 2005.

Jon Kabat-Zinn needs no introduction to readers of Meditation Practices. As the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts in 1979, he has seen his “experiment” achieve world class recognition. My admiration for him goes back more than a decade.

This video presents a preview of his book, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. The salient features are as follows:

1. According to the Buddhist tradition, we have six senses, not five. He says, regarding the senses,

In the text books, it says five. Maybe I haven’t read these text books in a while; maybe it says more than five now. The Buddhists would say, “Classically, six.” There is seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing… And then there is what they would call knowing – the mind, for short hand – the mind… Because without this non-conceptual aspect of mind that is kind of direct knowing, that may involve thought but is not completely constrained by thought, we wouldn’t know what we’re seeing. The eyes by themselves don’t know. The ear by itself doesn’t know.

2. We often live a short distance from our body, according to one of James Joyce’s stories about the Dubliners. For example, when we take a shower, we are usually planning our first meeting of the day rather then feeling the water on our skin, smelling the lather, and hearing the sound of the water falling.

3. Jon goes on to  expound upon the value of “resting in awareness” not only to facilitate clarity in ourselves, but also as a means of relating to and healing the “dis-ease” in politics, society and the world.

In contrast to my new book, Healing with the Seven Principles of Mindfulness: How to Thrive and Succeed in a Complex Cancer System, Coming to Our Senses focuses on healing with mindfulness. My book teaches that mindfulness is the foundation for making appropriate decisions for your medical treatment and that being your own advocate for medical treatment is the entry point to the seven principles.

What did you experience when you watched the video? Do you think that what Jon Kabat-Zinn said about coming to our senses makes sense? Why or why not?

Books by Jon-Kabat-Zinn

Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Now in paperback, the guide to living a meaningful life from the world stress expert “[The] journey toward health and sanity is nothing less than an invitation to wake up to the fullness of our lives as if they actually mattered . . .” –Jon Kabat-Zinn, from the I… [Read More…]

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