Recognizing Thoughts and Letting Them Self Liberate | Q&A With Jon Kabat-Zinn

Recognizing Thoughts and Letting Them Self Liberate | Q&A With Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Foreign [Music] [Applause] [Music] Who has Here on your right okay let me go to This side just we'll go back and forth That way I'll get some yeah you'll get Some exercise Um when my counselor in 1992 told me to Get the book The living I got it And I thought this title this man is Never going to sell more than 10 books My question is why is our mind set up In the way that makes it so complicated To be In reality rather than in this craziness Why do you want to know Or even who wants to know in other words Why are you asking that question Uh because that's really very much Thought based is it none yes okay so What's underneath that way where's the Question actually coming from Well I see Evolution and it has served Most species that have survived pretty Well yeah So why do we have this serious duality I don't know maybe it's my ego asking I Don't know so Frame The Duality a little bit more it's Almost like we're Schizophrenic in two different

Countries different pieces And where you're feeling pulled apart Yes okay can you say something about the The pulling or the the well it almost Feels like part of me has to police the Other part So the doing and the being yes yes Yeah and you want me to explain why that Is well I thought maybe you prefer how To liberate yourself from it Uh I'm not gonna explain either but hmm Well okay if Yes liberate myself from okay well I'm Guessing that's why you're actually here Yeah there's some deep impulses that Liberate yourself from that sense of Being Eaten alive pulled apart we have so many Different ways to talk about the stress In our lives And being you know bandied from Pillar To Post so to speak and This close to living a satisfying life And yet not feeling That we're living a satisfying life Would you say that that's fair no no I Have a great life a very satisfying life But I do see all this Mayhem all around me And I realized that I've learned that the only way to get To be a contributor in peace would be to To heal this plot kill the split split

And why so why is it even there in the First place what's the evolutionary Purpose of it yeah well a lot of people Write about that stuff and you know Um we are primed to in some sense go With our fear because you know fear can Save your life you know yes if you There's a kind of selection pressure for Being very very sensitive to whatever Forces that are out there that could uh Destroy you in a second like because Your lunch for them then you you you Tend to sort of fall into seeing things In a particular way or it expresses Itself in the body like that so but we Have other aspects of ourselves as well That may be critical to the Future Evolution of the species and for that Matter the future well-being of the Planet as a whole and so what we're Talking about is actually recruiting Those dimensions of our being to Actually uh attenuate some of the Evolutionary instincts that we may have For self-preservation where our Definition of self is much much too Small So that would be one way of thinking About it but again we're now in the Realm of philosophy and thinking of Thinking yes yes and even good thinking Is still thinking and so what we're Really here practicing is kind of not to Suppress thinking I mean then we'd just

Be really stupid yes thinking is really Great but have you ever gotten into bed At night And then you're thinking just won't let You alone anybody ever have that problem So we become such great thinkers that We're like prisoners of our own thinking And we have you know and Katie's work is A kind of prime example of it is like You create a whole universe in your head With you know all its own laws and They're all wrong And then you believe them and then it Takes a while to actually realize that It's not true Well that's the liberating that's Liberating that can happen in an instant Just Recognizing thoughts and letting them Self-liberate You know because you see that it's a Thought that it's not the truth but it Requires exercising a certain muscle That takes work it takes energy it's Hard work to cultivate to to practice Non-doing in a certain way and on the Other hand it's as I was saying it's Effortless and it's just play so we're Learning how to tune if in a way Evolutionarily speaking we've got this Instrument we're just beginning to learn How to use it There's not that many generations 10 000 years since the last ice age or

12 000 years If you divide by whatever You think a generation is say 30 years Conventionally you know four five six Hundred generations of human beings Since the the last since all of history And what we call civilization That's nothing I mean like you know back To microbiologists grow that many Generations overnight in a test tube We're like in our infancy as a species But we we've gotten so precocious that We have the capacity to like destroy Ourselves and a lot of other species and Dysregulate the planetary you know sort Of uh equilibria like nobody's business And we need to that's part of Mindfulness it's part of waking up But uh so there's no end to Um Working with our own sort of Tendencies to be imprisoned in habits And then breaking those out Yeah and my my just to say my publisher Had the same thought that like you can't Put the word catastrophe in a title Nobody will nobody wants to buy a book a You know with the word catastrophe in The title so just parenthetically I I Worked for two years to try to get rid Of that title Because I I thought he knows better than I knew I couldn't get rid of that title That title was like the title of that

Book and uh and it it turns out that It's it's it's it sold a few more than 10 copies Yeah and actually You know if you can say well in I started this stress reduction clinic At the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. If you think back to 1979 any of you Here who could think back to 1979 the First thing you'd say is 1979 what Stress I mean they had stress in 1970. Compared to now I mean it's like Unbelievable Uh Uh but you know if the title when that Book came out in 1990 full catastrophe Living I think everybody recognized that we are Far more into the full catastrophe of The Human Condition now in a certain way Than we were in 1990 or in 1979 or what In 1879 for that matter it's like We're we're like the autoimmune disease Of the planet Earth the human species Homo sapiens sapiens we're the vector of The disease and also the first victim Hmm so but what if we wake up Then you can write yourself a Restraining order now like Katie Question Your own Coordinate systems your own Maps And it's liberating not like after 50

Years of meditating in a cave it's Liberating in that moment you can see it You see It on people's faces in people's bodies And And the same almost we're practicing Sitting is like Moment by Moment by Moment The Tibetans talk about thoughts Self-liberating you know have you ever Touched a soap bubble with your finger What happens So let's say the finger is like your Awareness you have awareness you've You're resting in Awareness the way I Was sort of guiding that meditation and In the field of awareness uh I thought Bubble arises Okay and the awareness is like the Finger it just like so nothing is done Nothing happens it's not like get that Bubble You know it's just it self-liberates Like say coming off the bottom of a pot Of boiling water and Just going poof at the surface So if you don't take my word for it Watch your thoughts in that way and see Whether even very very heavy duty Thoughts which we all have and for very Good reasons because there's a just a Huge amount of suffering going on Not out there in here for all of us In one form or another

And we have all these narratives about How it is in some sense how it needs to Be for me to be happy or for Kate to not Be an alcoholic or for whatever it is

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