Customer Reviews: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
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on September 19, 1999
A family member bought this book. I found it sitting on a shelf, glanced at the cover and involuntarily thought to myself "uh oh, granola time," and came within a heartbeat of dismissing the book out of hand. Luckily, I did not. Instead, I read the introduction, and then found myself -- almost in a state of disbelief -- reading on and on. I was amazed to find that the book is not just one more new age book muttering away about a world none of us really lives in. To the contrary, the book is written by someone with a profound understanding of everyday reality, who is astonishingly good at sharing that understanding. This is simply a beautiful little book, beautifully written. I would be curious to know if others are reacting to this book the way I am: I feel compelled to rave about it. I read the book for the first time weeks ago, yet tonight in the grocery store I found myself slowing down, marvelling at the sight of my daughter gaily picking out tomatoes, and consciously basking in the moment. And I'm a middle-aged Republican, not particularly predisposed to spiritual impulses! The author of this book has something timeless and important to impart, and he does so with unusual intelligence and grace. I really like this book -- indeed, I hope I'm forgiven for suspecting that it is a work of genius. I also hope that the author happens to read this review, because he should know how much his work is appreciated!
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VINE VOICEon June 8, 2001
a way to slow the pace of your busy world, Jon Kabat-Zinn can express the "out of body" concepts of meditation in a way that no one else can.
You get to choose: "Wherever you go...." is a book that can be explored over and over, that can start you on a path to a new habit to find within yourself what you need to survive today's busy world; that can help you find a new habit to renew the life you lead. Or, utilize its message just as a brief "chapter read" to jump start the positive if you are not looking for a lifelong habit.
It is very difficult to express, in words, the inner activities that result in becoming comfortable in your own skin. Kabat-Zinn writes thoughtfully and honestly about how he has accomplished this, and what things might work for you. There are many treasures in this book. For me, his ability to describe the rewards one gets from practiced patience, and to impress upon the reader the simplicity of the "body scan" and how it can lead to the habit of lying down meditation are two examples of things that readers can take away at any given time from his book.
Many self-help readers today are looking for the "quick fix" or some small coping practice they can employ to keep their days positive. In some ways, in addition to helping you understand why meditation works and why it can change your life, Kabat-Zinn writes a poetic and illuminating version of the "one minute help" chapters that the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" series provided to these readers in the busy working world.
When you couple his vision and ideas with the lovely verse that liberally sprinkles his book (Kabir, Thoreau and Whitman are favorites) you have a quiet and inspirational message that can do more to help you understand and eliminate your stress than can all the meditation, control and organizational techniques advocated in today's America could ever do.
Read "Wherever you go, there you are" and learn how mindfulness can change the course of your daily life for the better. It works.
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on July 10, 2005
My best friend tends to take life slowly and accept it on its own terms...and that facet of his personality has always driven me crazy! :-) The words "slow" and "languid" could never be applied to my lifestyle. I have always hurried through life at such a frantic pace...regretting yesterday and dreaming of tomorrow, yet never truly living in the moment. A year ago I happened upon this book, and it has made an enormous impact on my life. This literary jewel took me to a place I'd never visited before: the realm of 'moment mindfulness.' As the author so eloquently writes,

The lack of mindfulness "...scavenges to fill time, conspires with my mind to keep me unconscious, lulled in a fog of numbness to a certain extent. It has me unavailable to others, missing the play of the light on the table, the smells in the room, the energies of the moment. Stillness, insight, and wisdom arise only when we can settle into being complete in this moment, without having to seek or hold on to or reject anything."

Learning how to immerse myself in this moment, and this moment alone, has been incredibly difficult. Yet the serenity, peace and soul satisfaction experienced therein are priceless. The "Non-Judging" chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Realizing my propensity to constantly evaluate my experiences and hold them up against expectations and standards that I create, often out of fear, has been tremendously liberating. I largely thank this book, and my best friend, for that lesson learned. :-)

I enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone. I find it especially useful to my clients who struggle with childhood abuse issues. Therapy clients who suffer from bi-polar, COPD or Borderline Personality disorders could also be helped significantly from learning the meditation techniques in this book.

We exist as we are, on this plane, in this realm, at this moment in the timeless here and now. And that is enough....more than enough.
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on January 24, 2002
This has long been a best seller and justifiably so. Kabat-Zinn works clinically with people who are stressed and his earlier book, Full Catastrophe Living, was written for people who are almost pathologically stressed, to bring them the beneficial effects of meditation. The present book is written for average people on the street, who may not need so urgently the therapeutic effects of meditation, but in the belief that we can all of us use a healthy dose of it. It is written with no religious strings attached, and even avoiding the word "spiritual," and yet it has the ability to open up the spiritual realm for us, no matter what we wish to call it. It is an introduction for the beginner and a source of good advice for the practitioner of meditation. It's written in bite-sized chapters, in clear, easy and very readable prose. It is a delight to read. The book's three parts explore the why and how of meditation and its many applications in daily life. Many chapters conclude with suggestions for reflection or meditation. It is concentrated wisdom that deserves much rereading and a permanent place on your library shelf.
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on December 6, 1999
While reading the book I felt that Jon Kabat-Zinn knew me personally and that he was speaking of me and to me. I practice this and Yoga now, and to speak frankly this has saved my life. My life is much calmer as am I. I still deal with things in my mind...BUT, I am dealing with things now that have haunted me for over 40 years. This book explains life and what is important. I wish I could give everyone this book and that they could read and understand themselves. This is better education than the masters I hold. I wish that this was taught in school. It has truely changed my life.
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on November 6, 2000
These techniques proved of much more value to me after reading Conversations with God and An Encounter With A Prophet. Having removed all of my unconscious fears of the spiritual world I could go into a much deeper, peaceful and meaningul meditative state.
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on April 17, 2005
I've been looking for information on meditating for quite some time and thankfully I finally found this book. I can't believe it took me as long as it did since this book is a classic.

The book is broken up into three parts. The first part explains what mediation is, and what it isn't. The second part describes how to go about meditating. Finally the third part describe what you can expect to get out of meditation, and what you can't.

This is one of the most insightful books I've read on just about any subject. If you are just looking into mediation or have been doing it for years, I'd highly recommend this book
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on September 14, 2000
In Jon Kabat-Zinn's first book, Full Catastrophe Living, he details the relationship between stress and health and outlines his program for reclaiming your life. True to his style of revealing the extraordinary aspects of the otherwise ordinary, this book shows the reader how to enrich many day-to-day activities through mindful living.
I particularly enjoyed the format. The book first introduces the reader to the concept of mindfulness and then it provides short chapters about how mindfulness can be applied to various aspects of life. Making the chapters short and focused on a particular facet allows the reader to quickly read and apply the techniques in a step-wise fashion, incrementally applying mindfulness to different aspects of life.
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on November 28, 2001
I am a voracious reader of books of all types, with a strong interest in Buddhism, and particularly Buddhist psychology. This book is one of a precious few that I hold close to my heart.
Kabat-Zinn has managed to write a book that is gentle, comforting, and practical. That the book is comforting and gentle does not mean that it shallow or filled with simplistic platitudes. Rather, comfort flows naturally from the quiet passion of a teacher sharing earthy wisdom.
That the book is practical does mean that it is dry and monotonous, or that it emphasizes technique at the expense of the heart. Instead, Kabat-Zinn gently touches on what meditation and what meditation is not. Without arousing anxiety or dampening enthusiasm, he refutes misunderstandings and guides the would-be student around the common snags and obstacles of a new meditation practice.
The book is organized in short "chunks" that can be read a digested easily. I carried the book with me on the subway where I found that I had enough time to read and contemplate one chunk before reaching my destination.
Reading Kabat-Zinn's book is a meditation in itself. This book is one of my treasures. I highly recommend it to anyone who is exploring meditation or Buddhism, particularly those who may be depressed or discouraged and in search of solid, caring wisdom.
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on July 18, 2007
I brought this book after hearing Jon on an Australian radio program and really liked hearing what he had to say. I've been meditating for about 20 years and usually practice most morning. I've read a lot of books on the subject and have visited Ashrams and studied Yoga in India on my travels. If you are new to the subject them I would recommend this book as Jon has a lot of useful and interesting things to say. If you have been doing meditation for a number of years then you will not really learn anything new. I don't want to sound arrogant but I've read most of what he has to say in other books. Meditation is basically just being in the moment. Just focusing on one thing, either an object, breath or mantra. If you are new to meditation it may be worth trying a few different styles of meditation to see what is best suited to you as we are all unique. What maybe good for one person will not necessary be good for someone else. I would also recommend reading other books on the topic. After you have read a few books they all basically say the same thing, "Just focus on the moment"
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