Interview Jon Kabat-Zinn

In Flow 10 Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, spoke with journalist Nina Siegal about his past, present and future. Here’s an extract of that interview.

Photo: Bonnita Postma

While studying microbiology at university, Jon Kabat-Zinn discovered Zen meditation and decided he wanted to incorporate it into mainstream health care— and that was the seed of the global mindfulness phenomenon.

“I was doing long meditation retreats in the Buddhist tradition, and during one of them—on day ten of a fourteen-day silent retreat—I had an insight. What I needed to do was to bring this kind of meditation practice in this Buddhist framework into the mainstream of medicine and see, as a scientific and clinical experiment, if it would be valuable for people who fall through the cracks of the health care system. I always thought: If this works, it’s going to spread around the world. People were starving for some kind of authentic experience that could bring them what mindfulness does. We were looking for it in so many places: in money, in love, in work, all sorts of things outside of ourselves. That was 36 years ago, and it was the beginning of what we called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is the basis of what a lot of people just call mindfulness today.”

Find the full article – and much more – in Flow Magazine Issue 10 

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