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Where Ever You Go There You Are

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Book Review and Meditation Reflection
50 Points
Due: Sunday April 17, 2016
Question 1:
In our book Kabat-Zinn writes about mindfulness in the beginning chapter.
First, describe briefly our authors thoughts on mindfulness. Second,
describe your own experience of mindfulness. What does mindfulness
mean to you? Lastly, through your own practice of meditation, describe
how your own mindfulness has changed (if at all).
Kabat-Zinn says mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on
purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. He states that this
type of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of
present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold
only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we
may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize
the richness and depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.
My own experience of mindfulness has changed since I started the daily
mindful activities, and when we did mindfulness meditation in class.
Mindfulness to me means being awake and aware of what is going on
around you, and what is happening within you. Essentially it just means to
be mindful, not ignorant. Like instead of walking on a trail to just walk, look
up and look around, be mindful and aware of what is happening around you
as you walk. My mindfulness has definitely changed. Im more aware and
alert wherever I go, and whatever I do.
Question 2:
In part two of our book Kabat-Zinn guides us through two types of
visualization: The Mountain Meditation and The Lake Meditation. Try each
of these meditations then briefly describe your experience of each, perhaps
comparing them. Did one have more impact or meaning for you than the
other? What thoughts or feelings came up? You may want to try each
visualization separately, at different times of the day or on different days
entirely, journaling about each of them before writing your response.
The mountain meditation just connected more with me. I especially liked
how in the book, Kabat-Zinn says to think of how youre sitting as sitting
with dignity, and to picture how that would be and sit accordingly. I
automatically thought of how monks sit when they meditate, immediately
sat up straighter and lifted my chin instead of slouching. That metaphor for
visualization really helped me. Also, the way mountains sit seems dignified
as well, they are just there. Unmoving, impassable, regal. Being able to

visualize my own mountain was very calming. Thinking of all the details
that make my mountain unique. This brought back memories of hiking in
the mountains with my cousins when I was younger, a simpler more
peaceful time in my life.
I also really liked the lake meditation though. Like Kabat-Zinn mentions,
laying down is probably the best posture for this as it is most similar to a
lake, so I did lay down. Laying down while meditating was very calming for
me, almost too calming though as I almost fell asleep. A lake holds water,
which Kabat-Zinn points out is actually stronger than the earth, or a
mountain. When you hit the earth with a hammer, you can mold it, break it.
If you hit water with a hammer, you just get a rusty and wet hammer. Water
is receptive, and I focused on being receptive during this mediation. For
some reason, I visualized floating on the lake in my mind. Any problems or
thoughts I had while meditating I let pass over me like a wave as KabatZinn suggested.

Question 3:
Kabat-Zinn writes about Karma in part three of our book: What is Karma?
How does Kabat-Zinn define Karma, and then how do you define or
experience Karma? Secondly, does mindfulness change Karma? If so, how?
Karma means that this happens because that happened. The way everyone
commonly thinks of it is what goes around, comes around, but that is
incorrect. Kabat-Zinn explains karma in this way; B is connected in some
way to A, every effect has an antecedent cause, and every cause has an
effect that is its measure and its consequence, at least at the non-quantum
level. Mindfulness does change karma. It changes karma by helping us stay
calm and not act on our impulses, which refashions the links in the chain
of consequences and actions. In doing this, mindfulness essentially
unchains us, frees us, and opens up new possibilities and momentum.