Jon Kabat Zinn is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is the founder of a stress reduction technique called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), which is used in hospitals and medical centres throughout the world. He is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and a life-long teacher and proponent of meditation as a pathway towards health, pain relief, anxiety, depression and other illnesses.
In this book, John Kabat-Zinn makes meditation and yoga (as meditation) a completely accessible and readily available resource that is available to anybody with little or no practice in it.
Full Catastrophe Living consists of actionable insights, techniques, methodologies and case studies that are taken from his experience and vast career.
He is an eloquent, engaging and almost poetic writer who manages to harness the esoteric worldliness of different philosophers and poets in a series of quotes. He then proceeds to translate the knowledge and Zen philosophy of Buddhism and mysticism for a western audience.
This should be on your reading list if you are on the path towards spiritual growth. Kabat-Zinn (like others of the Buddhist tradition) explain that spiritual growth is always an iterative process, and one doesn’t get to enlightenment through reading a couple of books, but rather from consistent practice and cultivating a zen mind, beginner mind. Through this you realise that at any given point in the journey you know nothing. Being humble is the first step towards accepting and greeting new knowledge.
This guide is full of insights and can be read by dipping into chapters rather than from cover to cover. There is enough comprehensive and actionable insights to help you through a rough patch, or conversely to guide you back to the shore during a particularly violent and devastating storm in your life.
For me this book came into my life when I thought the worst of a health diagnosis, and the jury was still out about what the outcome would be. This book helped me to steady myself and to deal with the news to come with courage and strength.
Full Catastrophe Living is a book by one the world’s masters of psychology and meditation. It’s highly engaging, and recommended for anybody who wants to cultivate inner strength, emotional resilience and self-awareness. In other words, everyone.
This should be in your library if you seek to become more loving to yourself and others and to understand your place within the vast cosmos. We are all paradoxically everything and nothing at all.