Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He also travels across the country teaching workshops on stress reduction and mindfulness. He lives with his family in Lexington, MA.
"For any of us, perhaps our greatest potential regret may be that of not seizing the moment and honoring it for what it is when it is here," writes bestselling author Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living; Wherever You Go, There You Are; etc.). The scientist who pioneered the use of the Buddhist technique of mindfulness (or moment-by-moment awareness) to help patients cope with the stress and pain of illness arrived at this poignant lesson after seeing the way his father, an eminent immunologist who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, lost all sense of who he was and what was happening to him. In a passionate tour de force that blends personal experience with cutting-edge science (his own and others'), poetry and insights culled from many traditions, Kabat-Zinn sets out to awaken us to the true potential and value of a gift that most of us take for granted: sentience. Our lack of awareness of our impact on the rest of the world amounts to "a kind of auto-immune disease of the earth." Borrowing an analogy made by the neuroscientist Francisco Varela, Kabat-Zinn compares the way our immune system senses the whole of our bodily self to our potential for a mindful awareness. That is, the practice of cultivating this conscious, heightened sentience leads to the realization of our wholeness, as we begin to realize that we don't live just within the envelope of our own senses, sensations and thoughts but within the whole of all that is. Kabat-Zinn illuminates the many facets of this selfless way of being, not just with Buddhist understanding and verse but with quotes from Einstein ("A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe' "), Dickinson, Rilke and many other Western greats. Ardent, personal, frankly opinionated in places, this book seeks to wake up as individuals and as a culture. It is a treasure trove of contemporary wisdom. Author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.