Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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.

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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.

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

  1. There needs to be a reminder service on the kindle, or something. I read this many years ago and had forgotten all about it until seeing your post just now. I need a “It’s time for you to read this book again, Terry” prompt to flash up, before I get distracted with the next trashy scifi.


    1. Just gone through my kindle notes for this book and two that stood out for me were “We see each moment as a new beginning, a new opportunity to start over, to tune in, to reconnect.” and “recognizing that things are as they are, independent of our liking or disliking the situation and wanting it to be different.” Simple, really. And matches up nicely with that I’ve been reading recently about Stoicism.

      Thanks for reminding me about this cool book!


      1. I’m so glad I reminded you about it Terry, it’s such a special book. I agree it deserves to be dipped into repeatedly because of its rich and deep ideas.

        It’s funny you say about Stoicism, I know a mutual friend of ours on here Jeremy is also posting a lot of about Stoic books he is currently reading. Also I bought Marcus Aurelius Meditations the other day….but I haven’t got into it yet, got so many other books on the list right now hehe


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: