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The Deeper Dimensions of Mindfulness

In this interview Jon invites us to know for ourselves the sacredness that is inherent in this present moment (if we’ll only wake up to it).

So we are truly blessed to be joined by Jon Kabat Zinn. So, Jon, if you haven't heard of him already, is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was the founder of the Center for Mindfulness. Jon is a bestselling author, a mindfulness teacher and creator of the groundbreaking MBSR program and MBSR stands for mindfulness based stress reduction. You know, Jon has really been a pioneer in making mindfulness more accessible, especially in the West. So here's my chat with Jon Kabat Zinn.

And I just wanted to tell you also that before every single chat that I had with anyone during this summit, we always would sit for one minute of mindfulness before the interview began, but Jon didn't want to leave you out of our minute of mindfulness together. So he invites the whole community in, for all of us to ground and center before the chat begins. Enjoy your minute of mindfulness and my chat with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Wherever you are, whoever you are, if you're watching this, just, we invite you to just follow the sound into the silence and stillness of your own heart as the sound dissolves. So that we're actually cultivating deep listening, deep hearing.

Hearing only what's here to be heard. So allowing yourself to actually settle into this moment. Of course, there's a degree of anticipation because for one, you're in front of your computer and for two, you're in front of your computer so that you can tune into this episode of The Mindfulness Summit. So there's a lot of intentionality here and perhaps a little anticipation because we probably all have better things to be doing. So just settling into being on the threshold of this unfolding, as part of the larger unfolding of all the conversations that have gone on during this wonderful month under Melli's careful shepherding.

And just being fully awake, no matter what time this is for you. And as best you can, fully present in your body. And if you were new to the practice or maybe even if you're not, it can't hurt to simply see if you can ride on the waves of your own breath sensations as they come in and out of the body, as the breath itself moves in and out of the body. Without any effort to force or pull or constrain or manipulate this breathing. It does very well without your intervention.

Witness that you're still alive. And so just luxuriating, so to speak, as you ride on the waves of this vital rhythm. That's deeply intrinsic to life itself. And resting here in the silence in between and underneath my words. A silence that's never not here, never broken.

Infinitely and always available to you. And they're just possible not only to be friends, but to enhance. Moment by moment, by timeless moment. As we sit here, with life unfolding exactly the way life is unfolding in this moment. So you don't have to try to achieve any special feeling or state.

Or pursue anything. But to just put the welcome mat out for whatever is already here. Whatever is here, including the unwanted, the unpleasant, the full catastrophe, so to speak. And resting in awareness. Fully embodied.

And fully awake. Thank you for that. It's nice to think that there are people all around the world tuning into this program. And I think it's one signature of your genius to have thought of doing something like this, that we can all tune into and share and hear each other and hear new people that we haven't heard before and experienced the diversity of the teachers and the teachings and the sources of it all. And it feels like a kindergarten, like we're back to school and maybe with a true beginner's mind and inquiring as to what mindfulness is out there an awful lot nowadays.

What is it actually? What is it really beneath all the hype and the sort of fanfare about it that's very, very recent? Thank you. Thank you for conceiving of this and then shepherding it, mothering it, so to speak, along. I have a feeling this is only, this month of October is only the beginning. I'm starting to get that feeling too, Jon. And I think, you know, I just want to take this opportunity actually to acknowledge all of the people who are tuning in, knowing that this is the last day of the 31 days of this particular part of the summit.

And there may be a continuation. But I really want to take this moment to extend my deep respect for all of the people who have continued to sit every day, or you might've had a day off here and there, and many of you have been practicing for maybe decades before this summit. Many people have probably coming back to this practice after some time off, or you might've started doing this on the 1st of October for the very first time. But either way, you're still here with us on this journey and I just want to congratulate you for that, because I'm sure there's been times when it's been easeful and other times when the mind is busy or it's just challenging to sit and you've stuck with it and you've stuck with this summit. So my deepest respect and also my gratitude to all of you, because sitting in this way is never just about us.

It's always an act of self nourishment and self care, but it can't help when we take our seat or however you practice that capacity to have more wise and compassionate and kind lives. It can't help but ripple out to the rest of the world. So thank you for your practice. And perhaps the realization is also unfolding that this summit was never about you changing yourself. It was never about you becoming better.

And it was always about you knowing yourself and being yourself more fully. I'm very happy you're saying that by the way, because one of the misconceptions about meditation and particularly mindfulness is that it's a hotshot mode of self-improvement, so to speak or achieving some imagined state of wellbeing that's permanent and that's going to last forever and that's kind of basically immunize you against any bad feelings and you'll just be relaxed for your entire life. And it's really a profound misconception of the beauty and the power and the wisdom of mindfulness or any form of meditation, because it's really not achieved, trying to achieve some special state. Mindfulness is not a special state that if you just sit in a certain way and breathe in a certain way, then you'll have this aha moment and you say, that's what I've been looking for my whole life, and then cling to it for the rest of your life to try to get back to it. That's not really what it's about at all.

It's, as I was trying to suggest in the beginning few moments of the meditation, just to be with things as they are. But it turns out that just is enormous because. We don't really want to be with things that we don't like that are unpleasant, that we didn't sign up for in this life. And yet that is the nature of it and this is where the wisdom lies. This is where the compassion lies for oneself as well as others.

This is really where any potential for healing and transformation, whether we're talking about ourselves as individuals or we're talking about a society or the entire planet. Really, I think rests on that capacity, that non dual wisdom that knows that we don't have to force things to change or try to cling to a special state because every moment, every experience that you're having, including the unpleasant ones, is unbelievably special. And when you can hold it in awareness, then you have new degrees of freedom to be in wise relationship to it and then act on it. So there's nothing passive about this, but you're acting out of wisdom instead of rejecting this and grasping on that, which is really a source of enormous ignorance and delusion and suffering. So that's easy to say, but this is really the hardest work in the world.

And I too want to bow to everybody who's tuned in over these past 31 days. I myself started out just fine, but my life is complicated and there were evenings that I just missed. And then I missed too many to totally catch up. So I've seen maybe half or a little more than half of them. And I just feel like that's the way it goes.

We can't be everywhere for everybody in every moment. So we have to, in some sense, come to terms, which is my real definition of healing, is coming to terms with things as they are, come to terms with how it is for us in this moment. And then it's not like you get wisdom, it's that you're making room for your intrinsic, innate clarity, wisdom, and penetrative awareness to simply emerge, because guess what? It's actually been here all along. Like you're already a genius. You're already a miraculous being.

You already have the most complex organization of matter in the known universe inside your little old skull. And so to recognize the beauty, as well as of course, the pain and the suffering is incredibly important to find a way to, in some sense, come to equilibrium and equanimity and the kind of actions that are really necessary to take in this world that are not driven by more for me or my suffering or my depression or my anxiety or my mental state, or for that matter, if we're talking about meditators, especially beginning meditators, and I would say beginning meditators, maybe the first 40 or 50 years of regular practice that it's like boring, like, good God, why should I sit and just watch my mind go insane or be all over the place or perpetually self distract myself, and think that there's some better way to do it. Or mindfulness can't be about this because if it were just about this, I mean, who would do it? It's like watching my mind like this. But it turns out that that's where that little pivot, that little rotation in consciousness, so that what is arising becomes the curriculum rather than what you think is the curriculum or the straight path to enlightenment, really is liberating and is truly freeing. And you don't have to sit in a cave for 50 years for that to happen.

It's already yours or ours. And that's exactly what I would love to bring out and ask you about in this moment, because a couple of days ago, the meditation session that I did with a dear friend of yours and colleague, Saki Santorelli aired as part of this summit and I don't know how many people noticed, but during that session with Saki, I was moved to tears. And the reason for that was because we have been talking about so many dimensions of mindfulness during this summit, and they're all important and they're all really wonderful. You know, how mindfulness can make us more productive, how mindfulness can make us more creative, have better relationships, even better health and less suffering. All these things are wonderful.

And there was this moment where I thanked Saki for bringing and making mindfulness, secular, and he said, you know, secular can sometimes mean in people's minds that it's been stripped of sacredness. And it's never been anything but sacred. And in the moment that he said those words, I just, the tears started coming because I realized that I was craving for that to be aired here in the summit. And just in my interactions with other people, sacredness is often very private for me. And so I wanted to give us a space to talk about that and a space for you to talk about how mindfulness has deeper dimensions and that it's a kind of coming into touch with who we really are.

Yeah, well, that's all it's about. It's not about anything but that. And the more popular it gets that this was not a problem. I started what's come to be known as MBSR in the stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. So that's like a...

That's the year I was born. Really. So there you go. A different universe entirely. It's basically before the digital age, except for the military and science, scientists.

And it's only recently that it's sort of exploded in terms of interest. And this has been driven by factors that, to a large degree was set in play a long time ago. And that had to do with being very patient, but really convinced that the world was basically starving for this kind of wisdom and that it could not come in the traditional forms because most people would reject the form and miss the substance. So we had to generate new vehicles, but at the same time, if those vehicles dumbed down or denatured the essence of what is called the Dharma, with a sort of this deep wisdom that is an all traditions, but was most highly articulated and most refined in the Buddhist tradition in which I grew up kind of, so to speak. Then we needed to find new ways to language it to new vocabulary so that it would be so commonsensical that your mother would go, or your father would go well, of course, why didn't I realize that meditation was just about paying attention and awareness and it didn't involve all this other stuff.

And so it turns out the other stuff is completely embedded in the paying attention and the awareness. So you don't have to do a lot of propaganda around it to the point where people feel you were just selling me some belief system. So now, of course, it's everywhere and it's moving into the school system and so forth. And there, you have to be very careful because if it seems to be religious, where that we're secretly trying to turn people's dear beloved children into closet Buddhists. That would be awful.

And who would want that? I mean, I would reject that entirely. And just to be clear, I, myself am not a Buddhist. I don't identify as a Buddhist at all. I identify as a serious and beginner student, so to speak of Buddhist meditation. I'm only doing the best I can.

So when the word secular is used, it's really misinformed. And I tend to use the word mainstream as opposed to secular. And as in the mainstreaming of mindfulness rather than the secularization, because we've been emphasizing from the very beginning that this is sacred, sacred work. In the same way that the doctor-patient relationship and the Hippocratic oath to first do no harm are sacred, sacred foundations of modern medical practice. And we use that terminology sacred.

And even in the American Declaration of Independence, that word is in there. And it's in there in a non-religious form. It's in there in the phrase 'to which we dedicate our lives.' in other words, the breaking from the United Kingdom to which we dedicate our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. So from the point of view of America, this is truly American, but it's differentiating the sacred from a kind of classical religion that feels like it requires belief. This is much more empirical.

It does not require any belief or catechism that you just sit down and you apprehend for yourself following a very simple set of guidelines what the actual truth of your experience is in this moment. And yet there is an ethical foundation to this. So it's not like, well, if you meditate, then you'll become a better sniper, if you're in the military. Because mindfulness is spoken of as a, and described in the texts as a wholesome mental factor, so if one cultivates mindfulness, your heart's going to change. And in fact, in all Asian languages, the word from mind and the word for heart are the same word.

So in English, whether it's in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, or Canada, the United States, or any place else where people are speaking English, if you hear the word mindfulness and in some way you are not hearing simultaneously and silently, the word heartfulness, you're not really understanding it. And you're conceptualizing it, turning it into a concept. It's easy to do because mindfulness is a kind of American word and it was slapped on a Pali word, Sati, by translators who knew something, but maybe not like, maybe it's not the best translation, but it is the translation now of all Buddhists scholars and so forth. But the interesting thing is it's not Buddhist. It's not Buddhist.

It's a quality of mind. It's a quality of being that can be cultivated. And some people describe it as a skill that can be developed or a muscle that you can exercise. But, and the part of the reason it's not Buddhist is that the Buddha wasn't a Buddhist. You know, the isms and the various kinds of things that grow out of it with no disregard or disrespect whatsoever.

But when we're drilling down to what the essence of the Dharma is, it's always changed when it moved from a new country out of India and into Tibet or into Southeast Asia or whatever. So there are many dharmas, not one, but there's actually only one. Because no matter how it flowers, the essence is always the same. And the way it is embodied and the way it is translated and the way it is lived really is up to us. And so now it's gone global.

I can't say it came to the West because there's no East and the West anymore. So it's our responsibility to not blow this. And we could. We could dumb this down the way we dumbed down and commercialize and commodify everything. So it just becomes another concept, another thought, another thing to fill up your day.

Now I got to meditate on top of everything else and it becomes like onerous. And then why am I doing it, especially since I'm not allowed to experience a special state? So what would my motivation be for doing it? And my response is how about love? How about sanity? What about recognizing that like stopping for a moment and dropping from all the doing and to being would be a radical act of sanity. To just pause and say, if you played the violin, of course you wouldn't play it without tuning it. So you have to pause to tune your instrument. And that's the way it is in school.

You describe it as like before the kids can learn, they have to tune their instrument of learning. And if they come to school stressed or hungry or having experienced violence in the family before they even make it to school, their instrument is really out of tune. And rather than yelling at kids to pay attention, we need to really nurture them into attending. And this is a kind of lifetime's engagement on the part of more and more people. And I like to describe it as a love affair.

It's a love affair. And so when I take my seat in the morning and I've come over the decades to actually experience it as a radical act of love and sanity just to do that, not so that I'll get some benefit, but just so that I will remember that I'm alive and that my life is much more than what's on my to-do list for today or how stressed I might be trying to get it all done and meanwhile, missing all of my moments. And then probably what's most important is like, say the look in your lover's eyes or your partner, your spouse, or your grandchildren or your parents, and, and to not let that go by so fleetingly that it's just another thought that you don't capture. So this is like high stakes engagement. And it requires a distributive responsibility.

It's not like a new Buddha is going to rise and everybody's going to bow down to him and make it okay. I mean, the Dalai Lama is very clear on that. It's a time for us all to take responsibility for a universal wisdom that's intrinsic to our humanity, really in our DNA. And in a sense, our biology is unbelievably responsive to it, but that's another story. It reminds me of a term that's been coming to my mind more and more lately of becoming this radical act of taking responsibility for ourselves and for the planet is kind of in a way becoming like an inner peace activist.

It is important to do all the stuff on the outside. It's very important. And in my experience is, is that when we cultivate more peace and compassion within, it just is the most natural thing in the world to love, your actions love the planet. And so... That's true.

And also that it's, otherwise it's a prescription for burnout, sooner or later. I mean, the problems are just much too big for any one person or organization. So you have to have a kind of a long-term strategy to not push the lever and yet to make the kinds of changes happen that will mitigate the vector that we're already on as a planet. And it is going to require governments. It's going to require societies.

It's going to require individuals because it all boils down to individuals, namely us to undergo what I call this orthogonal rotation in consciousness. So that you are the same old person you always were and yet you're not because fundamentally you've woken up and you no longer believe the narratives in your head that make you the most important being on the planet and make everything about you, about I, me and mine and my success and my depression and my upset and my this. All of it's true. It's just not a big enough narrative of who you really are, is so much bigger than who you think you are or want to be, or wish you weren't or anything like that. And when you tap into that fundamental dimension of awareness that is part of our human repertoire and learning to inhabit it and cultivate it in the ways that mindfulness practice in various ways is all about, then, in a certain way, the practice is doing you rather than the conceit of yes, I'm doing the practice.

It's like no, make yourself available and let the discipline and the kindness and the embrace and the intentionality and the motivation, the core motivation to do no harm and to optimize the potential for being of use on this planet, helping others who are suffering, that it flowers all by itself if we get out of our own way. But as long as you're on a giant sort of personal, let's not call it an ego trip, but a personal pronounship, because ego is just the Latin person pronoun for I. And you can be aware of that. You could be mindful of what we sometimes call selfing. How much of the day we echo of our mouth just selfing, selfing, selfing.

You can be also and the first thing that, I don't need to be telling this group of people that, but for beginners at least, the first thing that happens when you cultivate mindfulness is you realize how mindless we are most of the time. And our so-called default mode or default mode network from the neuroscience side of things is really running this constant story of me, my life, my successes, my failures, my future, my past, my relationships. Nothing wrong with it. It's like, if you didn't know who you were, I mean, it'd be very hard to wake up in the morning and go to work. But that's not all of who you are.

And if you don't remember why you're going to work or who the real you is, or you don't live in your body, but you're only up to here and most of the time lost in thought, then the Dukkha, the suffering, the sort of unsatisfactoriness of life really rears its head in ways that ultimately are just very painful. And no one, no one can fix that. This is not about fixing, even though we work in medicine. MBSR is not about fixing people's chronic diseases or chronic pain or depression or anxiety. It's about putting out the welcome mat for things as they are - the good, the bad, and the ugly, another movie title.

And then discovering that your awareness, for instance of sadness, isn't sad. And it's not like we give a lecture about that. Experiment for yourself. Is my awareness of my sadness sad, or is my awareness of my anxiety anxious, or is my awareness of my back pain or headache actually experiencing suffering. And this is empirical.

And look, I mean, your life is a laboratory. Our bodies are a laboratory. Our minds are a laboratory. Our hearts. And so there's an awful lot of learning that we just never learned in the school, but it's like here for us.

And in some sense, then that's why I said life itself becomes the curriculum, if we're willing to enroll in that school. I'd like to talk a little bit more about how we... I have two quotes that I think talk about something really fundamental about the human condition, the kinds of things that stop us from actually stopping and dropping in on the present moment and actually being in touch with ourselves in the way that you're talking about. The first quote is by Eckhart Tolle and he says, "When we lose touch with inner stillness, we lose touch with ourselves. And when we lose touch with ourselves, we have a tendency to lose ourselves in the world." The second quote is by Blaise Pascal and he says, "All the problems of mankind stem from...

his inability to sit quietly in the room by himself." Right. Whenever I'm teaching in France, because I speak French more or less, I always go back to Blaise Pascal, 17th century genius, mathematician, philosopher. I mean, true what they call second order genius. And it's sitting right there and it's saying, "All man's sorrows, all man's difficulties stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself." And I can hear all the women going, yeah, that's true for those men. We're included.

It isn't that it is just men. It's all of us. It's just they only talk about men. But it's the nature of the human mind when it doesn't know itself to not be comfortable, unless it fills up the space. And so once we filled up all this space, then we just like juggling all the time.

And we're not smart enough to fill up the space with space. So we don't see the space. We just see that clutter. And it's all urgent of course, because I have to get it done in order to have the next thing happen and the next thing, and I'm not knocking any of this. It's true.

And we need to take responsibility for getting work done, getting things done and taking care of the children and taking care of the garden and getting, contributing in the work world. I mean, this is where meaning comes out of our lives. Butif we don't know who's doing the doing, then we're in deep trouble. That's a really important juncture though, isn't it? Like there's this really important juncture. So what Eckhart's talking about is what we've been talking about of like, and this is true in my experience, that when I'm fully present in the moment, when I'm in touch with the deepest aspect of who I am, there is a kind of background easefulness and contentedness, even when things get tough.

Now, the opposite of that is when we lose touch with that, we lose touch with ourselves, we lose touch with the present moment. And my experience is that there's an inner discord or an unease or a sense ,you could say, of think I'm not whole yet, I'm not complete, I'm not enough, or this moment's not enough, whatever the story is in the mind. And I feel like this is such an important juncture in our lives as mindfulness practitioners, because it's where we stop running. It's where we start seeking. It's where we start Running away.

We start running away from that feeling of not enough yet, I'm not whole, there's unease. And instead of dropping in, we run, we start running right at that point. And so... Why would you, if you weren't taught this, only one person in millions can have discovered for themselves. That's the beauty of this, isn't it? They're practices that anybody can do.

And then the discoveries are yours. It's like you are the original researcher in the laboratory of your own life and you discovered just this. So look, Eckhart Tolle experienced it. And it came out of a huge amount of pain, a huge amount of pain. And so when he talks about the Power of Now, it's coming out of a whole life that required him, in some sense, to wake up to what we're talking about and then live it in a certain way.

And of course he's been an inspiration to many people, but then you can turn even that, or anybody's teaching into, again, a catechism in you. You read the book, but, and it resonates with you, but you don't do the work. I mean, he sat on a park bench for two years in the middle of wherever in enormous amount of pain and then woke up and it's really worth reading. I know him. It's really worth reading his account of it because it's like, how many people does that happen to, you see.

And it came out of like he had major exposure to practices. But this is, in some sense, his own realization. And everybody's realization is our own. So yeah, this is a critical fulcrum that you're pointing to. And do you have, I know there's an easy answer to this, but it's not that easy to practice, but do you have any advice? I feel like this juncture is something that we can get stuck in.

Spiritual practitioners, everyday people, everybody, we can really get caught in these cycles of keeping on running. It doesn't really ultimately work because the unease stays there because we haven't dropped back in. So what advice or any guidance that you have on helping us to come into more skillful relationship in that, in those quiet moments, when we're in the room alone and we come face to face with that? Well, really it's to be disciplined about it and have a certain kind of confidence, maybe from reading, maybe from other people that you know, or whatever, some certain kind of confidence that what looks like nothing or complete idiocy, isn't nothing. And all this talk about mindfulness that somebody from the outside who thinks it's garbage, could just say, this is like much ado about nothing, you know, the famous Shakespeare play. But it's not much ado about nothing.

Although granted, it looks that way from the outside. It's much ado about what looks from the outside like almost nothing, but turns out to be just about everything. So there's a certain amount of confidence that a certain amount of discipline is required and you sit through thick and thin. And I use the word sit just the way you did like it means anything. You could stand on your head, hang from your fingernails, run, lie down there, four classical meditation postures.

Although most people only practice a few of them. But sitting, standing - a very powerful meditation practice. We teach all four in MBSR, which is kind of unusual. Lying down, which is one that's one of the most powerful meditation practices, but I have to remind people it's about falling awake, not about falling asleep. But even falling asleep is good because everybody's sleep deprived, and then walking.

So the advice that I would give to people is don't give up. Hang in no matter what, through thick and thin. Read books, listen to guided meditation tapes, study with tons of teachers, and don't think this is some sideline while you get the rest of your life together. This is not separate from life. And the more you learn how to inhabit the field of awareness or heartfulness or mindfulness, the more you, I think we'll find that, you grow into the actuality of who you are.

It's not, it doesn't make you stupider to just sit. From the outside it looks like, oh, silly people sitting and they'rewasting time. But actually there is no time to waste because we only have moments in which to live. And most of them we do miss because we're on autopilot so much of the time. This doesn't mean that your stress is going to go away.

We call what we do, mindfulness-based stress reduction. And we did that for many reasons, but most people, when they, someplace in the middle of the eight weeks of MBSR, they wind up having a kind of enlightenment experience, so to speak. This isn't stress reduction. This is about my whole life. And it's like we say, hmm, interesting.

Because it's not that the stress reduction part of it is not important, but it's not so much reducing your stress that would be trying to attain a certain kind of end point. Desirable, yes. And it doesn't mean you can't change your life to reduce your stress, if there are certain stressrs that are there, but it's more that what you're really changing is your relationship to stress and to everything else in your life. And once you know that, once you practice it, once you exercise that muscle on a daily basis, not just like, over the weekend or something like that, then everything that arises becomes part of the curriculum. And the real practice is how you live your life.

Not just how long you sit in the morning, or whether you do a body scan lying down in bed before you wake up, which I highly recommend. Or just lying down meditation, nevermind the body scan. Just even four or five breaths every morning when you wake up. Be sure you actually wake up before you jump out of bed because most of the time you're on autopilot, brushing your teeth mindlessly and running through the day. But just that few breaths or a few moments or 20 minutes of waking up early and in bed.

So nobody can say, I don't have time for this. It's too uncomfortable to sit. So these are a few of the sort of pointers, but I think the primal thing to emphasize is remember what your motivation is. If this is just the big fad for you, everybody's talking about mindfulness, now you have to become a meditator on top of every other annoying thing you have to acquire, then give it up. Go to the gym.

Just run on a treadmill or whatever, or chop vegetables. If you do those mindfully, then it's all practice. You cannot escape from it. And pretty soon you're going to die. So, all of us are.

So the question is not like, some people say like what happens after life? And my question is really not what happens after life, but it's their life before death. And that would require us to really zero in on the actuality of our lives. And then the pain, the suffering it's still there, but our relationship to it really can transform and that is wisdom. It doesn't mean you won't get sick. It doesn't mean that tragedies don't happen.

It doesn't mean that things will go the way you thought they were when you mapped out your life at the age of 15 or whatever. But it means that you will find a way to be that's authentic, that's true to you. And then that almost defines beauty, in my view. And you can see it in people's faces, even over eight weeks of MBSR, faces change profoundly. You can see it in front of your very eyes, people becoming themselves and the stress, the lines, the clenching of the face somehow just dissolve..

But it's not by trying to do anything. It's not like rather than the Botox I'll take MBSR. It's like, no, it has to be, this root practice really needs to be practiced for no reason, not to get someplace else. This is very radical. But to just, in some sense, the reason is to just wake up to be, to not miss your moments, because as I said, sooner or later we're going to die.

And the real question is, have we lived? Thoreau, our famous philosopher from Concord, Massachusetts, famous for having said, "I went to the woods," because he went off to the woods and lived in a cabin for two years and just watched the days unfold and the nights. "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what they had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I hadn't lived." So, I like to say another way of looking at the meditation is die now, get it over with, and then all the rest of our moments will be free. And the funny thing is that when... yeah. You die to your, to those personal pronouns.

Yeah. And you die now and then you find out that all that's really left is the unfolding miracle of life, which is, I think the sacredness that Saki was speaking of. Exactly. And you can call that... Oh, the interweb stopped in that moment.

Oh, we just had a tiny pause. Yes, it did stop at that moment. I was wondering whether I should comment about it. But that's part of the process, is it not? I don't know why that... But it makes it more real in a way.

And everybody watching can go, yeah. This is just Skype and it doesn't work all that well. But it is a miracle. I mean, 20 years ago, we could not be doing this with hundreds of thousands of people in real time. And so there's a certain wonder and real awe associated with the fact that we can have these kinds of conversations.

And then the real question: is the conversations are all fine, but it's just talk unless the resonances that are underlying what we're talking about, we were talking about as the sacred element of it or the beauty element or the truth beyond truth element of it that resonates with the core of our humanity. When that's alive, then you don't have to really do anything. And that's what it means to practice. And that's what it means to be. So do this practice, trust the practice and you find out, I guess, that dimension unfolds by itself.

Yeah. Let life be the teacher. Life is the teacher. Life is the curriculum. And it's all the curriculum.

Not that it's all wanted, and some of it's horrific. But again, if I had to use one word to describe mindfulness and people often ask me that, I've come to, my response is relationality. So it's how are we in relationship to whatever it is that unfolds, including in the body, the breath, the mind, thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pain, suffering. And there's where the degrees of freedom run. Enormous degrees of freedom in that.

And then freedom is freedom. Like it means freedom, non-attachment, clarity, wisdom, and intrinsic kindness, because you have seen and lived and understood the interconnectedness of everything so that we are not separate. And I'm not talking about Skype and the internet. This is interconnectedness that goes way beyond the Skype or the internet. And the old ancient Buddhist and Indian image of it is what's called the Indra's net.

It's a model of the universe where every single feature of the universe is like a multifaceted jewel, and in particular, creatures, and in particular, human creatures. And with multifaceted, and all of us have many, many facets, and the universe is basically the net reflecting every facet and every other facets. So we are completely interconnected and inter-embedded. And then the only natural response to that is compassion. Because you're not, again, you're not who you think you are.

You're not even you. We're all, sometimes the images used are the waves on the ocean. And individually rise. We rise up and then soon gone. Okay.

But it's all life. It's one ocean wave. And so we can wave to each other on Skype or on our cushions when we're not on Skype. And just with tuning into Indra's net, you don't need a cable or any other kind of technology. And so there's one more question that I'd love to...

I know what it is. I now you know what it is because I know you've been watching this summit. I don't have the slightest idea of what I would respond to it. I'm not planning ahead. Well,, I'll ask you and see what comes out.

So, as you know it's been said that mindfulness has the capacity to change the world from the inside out, one person at a time. And I'm wondering... Who said that by the way, as long as we're saying it's been said? Joseph. Joseph Goldstein. Oh good.

Okay. Yeah. He's a wise man that man. I love Joseph. Yeah.

And so my question to you is do you believe mindfulness has the capacity to change the world? And if so, what would that look like do you think if mindfulness were to hit some kind of critical mass? Well, first of all, no, I don't believe it because of what I said about belief. So I know it. I know it from direct personal experience. And what does it mean to change the world? I mean, if you're different, the world is already different. And you could say in a completely trivial, insignificant way, but because of the interconnectedness of the universe and of all beings.

If you were transformed, the whole, what I sometimes call crystal lattice structure of all of humanity is already different. And it's not trivial. It's not insignificant. And there've been many, many instances where one person's conviction makes a huge transformative difference in the world. Even if that person winds up being burned at the stake or dying for their convictions.

So there's no question in my mind that mindfulness, and I wouldn't be doing what I was doing and writing books like Coming To Our Senses, which are really about, in some sense, the potential to transform the world through mindfulness, and a lot of that would be healing. If I didn't know, in some sense, that we were capable of this and that the human species needs it in order to grow into the name we gave ourselves, homo sapiens sapiens from the Latin sapere, which means to taste or to know, and not to know conceptually with the head, but to know in the sort of deepest of ways, beyond the conceptual. So with a species that knows and knows that it knows or awareness and meta awareness, and I think that's a great name, but I don't think we've quite lived into it yet. We're a very, very new species from an evolutionary point of view. And of course we're capable of completely obliterating ourselves and everything else on the planet except maybe cockroaches and bacteria.

They'll do fine. But, yeah, we need to sort of wake up as a species and we know we're capable of it. And all the beauty that humanity is capable of comes from when we live inside that aspect of ourselves. And all the horrors and the genocide and the crime and the suffering on this planet that comes out of the human mind when it doesn't know itself is just equally colossal. So I'm not worried about how it will look when the 1.2 billion people on Facebook, and I'm not one of them.

And I'm not worried about when 1.2 billion people or even sort of imagining what it would be like when 1.2 billion people are meditating, if you will, or are mindful. I have no question that it will evolve maybe very quickly in such a way that it won't be easy, but that we'll find a way to ride the vector of humility, of humanity, of ethics, of non harming, of wisdom, of compassion in ways that will be beyond our imagination and create institutions to really support that. And laws that actually regulate greed, hatred, and delusion. So there you have it. And I don't know how far away that is, but I hope it's on the agenda for us.

And maybe it will be in our life time. But that's one of the reasons to teach mindfulness in the schools, because when you learn that tuning of your own instrument early on, and not as some kind of belief system or anything like that, then the potential good that can unfold from it is really incalculable. And there's so much suffering on this planet. And a lot of it, we do generate ourselves. And if we could learn how to really serve each other and be here for each other in ways that are authentic and heartfelt and heartful, then the world would I think look more or less the way it does, but we'd have more of those smiling faces.

I'll say one other thing, because it just happened this week. The parliament in the UK, as you may have heard, as people may know, issued a report that you called the Mindful Nation UK after Tim Ryan's title of his book in the United States, the Congressman from Ohio. And they have been practicing mindfulness, the House of Lords and the House of Commons together for quite some time now, several years and going through eight week training programs in mindfulness. And there's a long waiting list. So this is remarkable that a parliamentary governmental body would issue such a report pointing to four areas in which mindfulness really needs to be explored much more and funded much more to do the kind of groundwork to decide whether it's up to the task in a practical way that would really be valuable for the society.

And those areas are health, education, criminal justice and business. And so, wow. That's quite extraordinary that they have done that. And I just send them all a deep bow for this. It's an all parliamentary report, which means that all party parliamentary report, which means that all the parties like are represented themselves in this commonality of purpose.

Now, I would love to imagine that that were possible in the United States where the antipathy between people who dress up as donkeys and people who dress up as elephants, or Democrats or Republicans, for those of you who don't know that much about the American politics. And has reached a point where it's basically dis dysfunctional in ways that are creating huge amounts of pain and suffering. And most of it is driven by greed, hatred and delusion. The same for banking and many other things that are really out of control and we get the dregs of it, but the amount of harm that's caused by a non mindful, non-heartful, non wakeful way of doing business. The consequences for the environment, for the planet for every aspect of human life are just so great now.

And we know that that we have to become more mindful of these larger domains than just my body, my breath, my success, my failure. And again, it's not, there's nothing wrong with the body, the breath, success or failure, because there's no success without many failures. But the my is something that we could actually really look at. And if we do that as individuals or as a species, we're going to be in very, very good shape. And I think this summit, and the reason I agreed to be part of it is, in some sense, an indicator or, how should I put this, a signature of what human beings are capable of.

I don't know where this came from in you, but Joseph didn't call you up on the phone and give you this idea, nor did I, nor, I'm guessing, did anybody else. It comes out of you. And you see the beauty of that is insane because it's distributed everywhere. So everybody has the potential to add to this conversation, to this unfolding, to this flowering, to this flourishing on the planet. And the only way you can do it is your way.

You can't pretend or adopt someone else's way. There are infinite number of ways to practice mindfulness in ways that are deluded and hopeless. But there are also an infinite number of ways to practice wise mindfulness or right mindfulness, and there's no one right way. So again, you've got to do that interior work. And I just love that we're all in this together, so to speak.

Yeah and thank you so much for bringing that up. It's such a warm and open and accommodating thing to bring to the floor for people to know that there's not a right way. We're all very different, but it is important to be authentic to ourselves and to, as best we can, to embody the practice and to live and breathe it. Exactly. And to not think that you're inadequate.

Of course you can think you're inadequate. We all do. Like I'm not the Buddha or I'm not enlightened or all of that stuff. And the irony is, from the non dual Buddhist point of view, you're already enlightened. It's just that you don't know it because you haven't yet woken up or gotten out of your own way.

It's the I that's the problem, not the enlightenment. And maybe there are no enlightened people when all is said and done. Maybe what there are, are only enlightening moments. And the more we align ourselves with that potential in ourselves, the more things will move in a direction of greater wisdom, compassion, and sanity, and a kind of deep flourishing that will take care of the fact that, hopefully will take care of the fact that we only have this home, this home planet. And we have given it a fever and it has its own dynamic now, and this is no joke.

And we're seeing it in the ferocity of the storms and the slow increase in the losing of the glaciers and the ice caps, polar ice caps. That's part of mindfulness practice too. It's like we're all in this together. And so what could be more beautiful than that? And there's where the, that whole thing we were talking about it being not trivial, that I'm just one person, that I'm only little old me and how much, even if I meditate, can I change the planet? Your beauty is exactly what the planet needs. I like to say that every one of us is a flower and the world needs all of us to flower in our own ways.

And then in talking with each other and working together and teaming up and making things happen that we care about, because this is not just about individuals, it's about our interconnectedness socially. It's about social justice. It's about transforming our societies and seeing how much pain is involved in what we've talked about it before. Racism and all sorts of isms that ignore or degrade certain kinds of people, because they're not like me, all of that is potentially healable if we wake up in this way. Yeah, I think Blaise Pascal had it right back all that time ago.

Yeah, exactly. Except that I have to emphasize, because sitting quietly in a room by yourself is great and I do it and I've done it for a very long time, relatively speaking. But the real practice is how we live our lives from moment to moment. That's the real practice. Not how much time your ass is on the cushion.

That's essential. It's necessary, but it's not sufficient. And not just it's not sufficient now because we have all these global warming problems. It was never sufficient. It's an embodied way of being.

And so if you're a great meditator, but you don't attend to your children or to your parents, or to what needs doing now and asking yourself what requires doing now, or how should I be in relationship to this moment or this challenge, then you can go on all the meditation retreats you like. But I think that there's a certain way in which it will be found to be incomplete. And yet we do need people who go on long meditation retreats and who are not social activists and who just hold down whatever it is that they're holding down. But I'm not worried about it. But I think that we need all sorts of people.

And the only way that is really going to change is if you find what you love. Each one of us find what we love and just give ourselves over to it and then not claim any credit for it. Thank you so much for that, Jon. And I just want to also take this opportunity to thank you so deeply for the work that you've done in bringing us more access to these teachings. And also to so many of the other amazing pioneers who've taken part in this summit.

Many of the people who have taken part in this summit have done incredible work to, for somebody like myself when I wanted access to these teachings, they were here for me because of the work that yourself and a lot of other people did. And that is just the most incredible gift. So my heartfelt, heartfelt gratitude to all of the pioneers and all of the people who took part in this summit because it was only because you believed in my crazy idea that the summit ended up happening. So thank you so much for believing in this and for doing the work that you do and continue to do. My deepest, deepest, respect and deep bow to you all.

Thank you. I got to say, you've become my teacher as well. This whole process has become part of my learning. Many of the people who you've featured over these past weeks are, literally, my teachers, as well as metaphorically. And some of them might be my students, but they're also my teachers.

So again, an example of complete interconnectedness and inter-embeddedness. So I think from here, we're going to be moving on to a livestream kind of thing at some other to really tie the bow on this whole month. I feel incredible gratitude for having the opportunity to engage in that extended guided meditation and inquiry together where we won't be in conversation as I understand it. So I want to just sort of, and I'll do it sort of literally bow to you Melli and to Matt, who's the other aspect of this team, in making all the technology happen, for everything that you've done to create this and all the learning that's gone on and some of the challenges, the stress, the unpleasantness. And so it's all part of the flowering, so to speak.

And I feel really honored to meet you in this way. And a deep bow to you too, Jon.

Talk

4.7

The Deeper Dimensions of Mindfulness

In this interview Jon invites us to know for ourselves the sacredness that is inherent in this present moment (if we’ll only wake up to it).

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

So we are truly blessed to be joined by Jon Kabat Zinn. So, Jon, if you haven't heard of him already, is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was the founder of the Center for Mindfulness. Jon is a bestselling author, a mindfulness teacher and creator of the groundbreaking MBSR program and MBSR stands for mindfulness based stress reduction. You know, Jon has really been a pioneer in making mindfulness more accessible, especially in the West. So here's my chat with Jon Kabat Zinn.

And I just wanted to tell you also that before every single chat that I had with anyone during this summit, we always would sit for one minute of mindfulness before the interview began, but Jon didn't want to leave you out of our minute of mindfulness together. So he invites the whole community in, for all of us to ground and center before the chat begins. Enjoy your minute of mindfulness and my chat with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Wherever you are, whoever you are, if you're watching this, just, we invite you to just follow the sound into the silence and stillness of your own heart as the sound dissolves. So that we're actually cultivating deep listening, deep hearing.

Hearing only what's here to be heard. So allowing yourself to actually settle into this moment. Of course, there's a degree of anticipation because for one, you're in front of your computer and for two, you're in front of your computer so that you can tune into this episode of The Mindfulness Summit. So there's a lot of intentionality here and perhaps a little anticipation because we probably all have better things to be doing. So just settling into being on the threshold of this unfolding, as part of the larger unfolding of all the conversations that have gone on during this wonderful month under Melli's careful shepherding.

And just being fully awake, no matter what time this is for you. And as best you can, fully present in your body. And if you were new to the practice or maybe even if you're not, it can't hurt to simply see if you can ride on the waves of your own breath sensations as they come in and out of the body, as the breath itself moves in and out of the body. Without any effort to force or pull or constrain or manipulate this breathing. It does very well without your intervention.

Witness that you're still alive. And so just luxuriating, so to speak, as you ride on the waves of this vital rhythm. That's deeply intrinsic to life itself. And resting here in the silence in between and underneath my words. A silence that's never not here, never broken.

Infinitely and always available to you. And they're just possible not only to be friends, but to enhance. Moment by moment, by timeless moment. As we sit here, with life unfolding exactly the way life is unfolding in this moment. So you don't have to try to achieve any special feeling or state.

Or pursue anything. But to just put the welcome mat out for whatever is already here. Whatever is here, including the unwanted, the unpleasant, the full catastrophe, so to speak. And resting in awareness. Fully embodied.

And fully awake. Thank you for that. It's nice to think that there are people all around the world tuning into this program. And I think it's one signature of your genius to have thought of doing something like this, that we can all tune into and share and hear each other and hear new people that we haven't heard before and experienced the diversity of the teachers and the teachings and the sources of it all. And it feels like a kindergarten, like we're back to school and maybe with a true beginner's mind and inquiring as to what mindfulness is out there an awful lot nowadays.

What is it actually? What is it really beneath all the hype and the sort of fanfare about it that's very, very recent? Thank you. Thank you for conceiving of this and then shepherding it, mothering it, so to speak, along. I have a feeling this is only, this month of October is only the beginning. I'm starting to get that feeling too, Jon. And I think, you know, I just want to take this opportunity actually to acknowledge all of the people who are tuning in, knowing that this is the last day of the 31 days of this particular part of the summit.

And there may be a continuation. But I really want to take this moment to extend my deep respect for all of the people who have continued to sit every day, or you might've had a day off here and there, and many of you have been practicing for maybe decades before this summit. Many people have probably coming back to this practice after some time off, or you might've started doing this on the 1st of October for the very first time. But either way, you're still here with us on this journey and I just want to congratulate you for that, because I'm sure there's been times when it's been easeful and other times when the mind is busy or it's just challenging to sit and you've stuck with it and you've stuck with this summit. So my deepest respect and also my gratitude to all of you, because sitting in this way is never just about us.

It's always an act of self nourishment and self care, but it can't help when we take our seat or however you practice that capacity to have more wise and compassionate and kind lives. It can't help but ripple out to the rest of the world. So thank you for your practice. And perhaps the realization is also unfolding that this summit was never about you changing yourself. It was never about you becoming better.

And it was always about you knowing yourself and being yourself more fully. I'm very happy you're saying that by the way, because one of the misconceptions about meditation and particularly mindfulness is that it's a hotshot mode of self-improvement, so to speak or achieving some imagined state of wellbeing that's permanent and that's going to last forever and that's kind of basically immunize you against any bad feelings and you'll just be relaxed for your entire life. And it's really a profound misconception of the beauty and the power and the wisdom of mindfulness or any form of meditation, because it's really not achieved, trying to achieve some special state. Mindfulness is not a special state that if you just sit in a certain way and breathe in a certain way, then you'll have this aha moment and you say, that's what I've been looking for my whole life, and then cling to it for the rest of your life to try to get back to it. That's not really what it's about at all.

It's, as I was trying to suggest in the beginning few moments of the meditation, just to be with things as they are. But it turns out that just is enormous because. We don't really want to be with things that we don't like that are unpleasant, that we didn't sign up for in this life. And yet that is the nature of it and this is where the wisdom lies. This is where the compassion lies for oneself as well as others.

This is really where any potential for healing and transformation, whether we're talking about ourselves as individuals or we're talking about a society or the entire planet. Really, I think rests on that capacity, that non dual wisdom that knows that we don't have to force things to change or try to cling to a special state because every moment, every experience that you're having, including the unpleasant ones, is unbelievably special. And when you can hold it in awareness, then you have new degrees of freedom to be in wise relationship to it and then act on it. So there's nothing passive about this, but you're acting out of wisdom instead of rejecting this and grasping on that, which is really a source of enormous ignorance and delusion and suffering. So that's easy to say, but this is really the hardest work in the world.

And I too want to bow to everybody who's tuned in over these past 31 days. I myself started out just fine, but my life is complicated and there were evenings that I just missed. And then I missed too many to totally catch up. So I've seen maybe half or a little more than half of them. And I just feel like that's the way it goes.

We can't be everywhere for everybody in every moment. So we have to, in some sense, come to terms, which is my real definition of healing, is coming to terms with things as they are, come to terms with how it is for us in this moment. And then it's not like you get wisdom, it's that you're making room for your intrinsic, innate clarity, wisdom, and penetrative awareness to simply emerge, because guess what? It's actually been here all along. Like you're already a genius. You're already a miraculous being.

You already have the most complex organization of matter in the known universe inside your little old skull. And so to recognize the beauty, as well as of course, the pain and the suffering is incredibly important to find a way to, in some sense, come to equilibrium and equanimity and the kind of actions that are really necessary to take in this world that are not driven by more for me or my suffering or my depression or my anxiety or my mental state, or for that matter, if we're talking about meditators, especially beginning meditators, and I would say beginning meditators, maybe the first 40 or 50 years of regular practice that it's like boring, like, good God, why should I sit and just watch my mind go insane or be all over the place or perpetually self distract myself, and think that there's some better way to do it. Or mindfulness can't be about this because if it were just about this, I mean, who would do it? It's like watching my mind like this. But it turns out that that's where that little pivot, that little rotation in consciousness, so that what is arising becomes the curriculum rather than what you think is the curriculum or the straight path to enlightenment, really is liberating and is truly freeing. And you don't have to sit in a cave for 50 years for that to happen.

It's already yours or ours. And that's exactly what I would love to bring out and ask you about in this moment, because a couple of days ago, the meditation session that I did with a dear friend of yours and colleague, Saki Santorelli aired as part of this summit and I don't know how many people noticed, but during that session with Saki, I was moved to tears. And the reason for that was because we have been talking about so many dimensions of mindfulness during this summit, and they're all important and they're all really wonderful. You know, how mindfulness can make us more productive, how mindfulness can make us more creative, have better relationships, even better health and less suffering. All these things are wonderful.

And there was this moment where I thanked Saki for bringing and making mindfulness, secular, and he said, you know, secular can sometimes mean in people's minds that it's been stripped of sacredness. And it's never been anything but sacred. And in the moment that he said those words, I just, the tears started coming because I realized that I was craving for that to be aired here in the summit. And just in my interactions with other people, sacredness is often very private for me. And so I wanted to give us a space to talk about that and a space for you to talk about how mindfulness has deeper dimensions and that it's a kind of coming into touch with who we really are.

Yeah, well, that's all it's about. It's not about anything but that. And the more popular it gets that this was not a problem. I started what's come to be known as MBSR in the stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. So that's like a...

That's the year I was born. Really. So there you go. A different universe entirely. It's basically before the digital age, except for the military and science, scientists.

And it's only recently that it's sort of exploded in terms of interest. And this has been driven by factors that, to a large degree was set in play a long time ago. And that had to do with being very patient, but really convinced that the world was basically starving for this kind of wisdom and that it could not come in the traditional forms because most people would reject the form and miss the substance. So we had to generate new vehicles, but at the same time, if those vehicles dumbed down or denatured the essence of what is called the Dharma, with a sort of this deep wisdom that is an all traditions, but was most highly articulated and most refined in the Buddhist tradition in which I grew up kind of, so to speak. Then we needed to find new ways to language it to new vocabulary so that it would be so commonsensical that your mother would go, or your father would go well, of course, why didn't I realize that meditation was just about paying attention and awareness and it didn't involve all this other stuff.

And so it turns out the other stuff is completely embedded in the paying attention and the awareness. So you don't have to do a lot of propaganda around it to the point where people feel you were just selling me some belief system. So now, of course, it's everywhere and it's moving into the school system and so forth. And there, you have to be very careful because if it seems to be religious, where that we're secretly trying to turn people's dear beloved children into closet Buddhists. That would be awful.

And who would want that? I mean, I would reject that entirely. And just to be clear, I, myself am not a Buddhist. I don't identify as a Buddhist at all. I identify as a serious and beginner student, so to speak of Buddhist meditation. I'm only doing the best I can.

So when the word secular is used, it's really misinformed. And I tend to use the word mainstream as opposed to secular. And as in the mainstreaming of mindfulness rather than the secularization, because we've been emphasizing from the very beginning that this is sacred, sacred work. In the same way that the doctor-patient relationship and the Hippocratic oath to first do no harm are sacred, sacred foundations of modern medical practice. And we use that terminology sacred.

And even in the American Declaration of Independence, that word is in there. And it's in there in a non-religious form. It's in there in the phrase 'to which we dedicate our lives.' in other words, the breaking from the United Kingdom to which we dedicate our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. So from the point of view of America, this is truly American, but it's differentiating the sacred from a kind of classical religion that feels like it requires belief. This is much more empirical.

It does not require any belief or catechism that you just sit down and you apprehend for yourself following a very simple set of guidelines what the actual truth of your experience is in this moment. And yet there is an ethical foundation to this. So it's not like, well, if you meditate, then you'll become a better sniper, if you're in the military. Because mindfulness is spoken of as a, and described in the texts as a wholesome mental factor, so if one cultivates mindfulness, your heart's going to change. And in fact, in all Asian languages, the word from mind and the word for heart are the same word.

So in English, whether it's in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, or Canada, the United States, or any place else where people are speaking English, if you hear the word mindfulness and in some way you are not hearing simultaneously and silently, the word heartfulness, you're not really understanding it. And you're conceptualizing it, turning it into a concept. It's easy to do because mindfulness is a kind of American word and it was slapped on a Pali word, Sati, by translators who knew something, but maybe not like, maybe it's not the best translation, but it is the translation now of all Buddhists scholars and so forth. But the interesting thing is it's not Buddhist. It's not Buddhist.

It's a quality of mind. It's a quality of being that can be cultivated. And some people describe it as a skill that can be developed or a muscle that you can exercise. But, and the part of the reason it's not Buddhist is that the Buddha wasn't a Buddhist. You know, the isms and the various kinds of things that grow out of it with no disregard or disrespect whatsoever.

But when we're drilling down to what the essence of the Dharma is, it's always changed when it moved from a new country out of India and into Tibet or into Southeast Asia or whatever. So there are many dharmas, not one, but there's actually only one. Because no matter how it flowers, the essence is always the same. And the way it is embodied and the way it is translated and the way it is lived really is up to us. And so now it's gone global.

I can't say it came to the West because there's no East and the West anymore. So it's our responsibility to not blow this. And we could. We could dumb this down the way we dumbed down and commercialize and commodify everything. So it just becomes another concept, another thought, another thing to fill up your day.

Now I got to meditate on top of everything else and it becomes like onerous. And then why am I doing it, especially since I'm not allowed to experience a special state? So what would my motivation be for doing it? And my response is how about love? How about sanity? What about recognizing that like stopping for a moment and dropping from all the doing and to being would be a radical act of sanity. To just pause and say, if you played the violin, of course you wouldn't play it without tuning it. So you have to pause to tune your instrument. And that's the way it is in school.

You describe it as like before the kids can learn, they have to tune their instrument of learning. And if they come to school stressed or hungry or having experienced violence in the family before they even make it to school, their instrument is really out of tune. And rather than yelling at kids to pay attention, we need to really nurture them into attending. And this is a kind of lifetime's engagement on the part of more and more people. And I like to describe it as a love affair.

It's a love affair. And so when I take my seat in the morning and I've come over the decades to actually experience it as a radical act of love and sanity just to do that, not so that I'll get some benefit, but just so that I will remember that I'm alive and that my life is much more than what's on my to-do list for today or how stressed I might be trying to get it all done and meanwhile, missing all of my moments. And then probably what's most important is like, say the look in your lover's eyes or your partner, your spouse, or your grandchildren or your parents, and, and to not let that go by so fleetingly that it's just another thought that you don't capture. So this is like high stakes engagement. And it requires a distributive responsibility.

It's not like a new Buddha is going to rise and everybody's going to bow down to him and make it okay. I mean, the Dalai Lama is very clear on that. It's a time for us all to take responsibility for a universal wisdom that's intrinsic to our humanity, really in our DNA. And in a sense, our biology is unbelievably responsive to it, but that's another story. It reminds me of a term that's been coming to my mind more and more lately of becoming this radical act of taking responsibility for ourselves and for the planet is kind of in a way becoming like an inner peace activist.

It is important to do all the stuff on the outside. It's very important. And in my experience is, is that when we cultivate more peace and compassion within, it just is the most natural thing in the world to love, your actions love the planet. And so... That's true.

And also that it's, otherwise it's a prescription for burnout, sooner or later. I mean, the problems are just much too big for any one person or organization. So you have to have a kind of a long-term strategy to not push the lever and yet to make the kinds of changes happen that will mitigate the vector that we're already on as a planet. And it is going to require governments. It's going to require societies.

It's going to require individuals because it all boils down to individuals, namely us to undergo what I call this orthogonal rotation in consciousness. So that you are the same old person you always were and yet you're not because fundamentally you've woken up and you no longer believe the narratives in your head that make you the most important being on the planet and make everything about you, about I, me and mine and my success and my depression and my upset and my this. All of it's true. It's just not a big enough narrative of who you really are, is so much bigger than who you think you are or want to be, or wish you weren't or anything like that. And when you tap into that fundamental dimension of awareness that is part of our human repertoire and learning to inhabit it and cultivate it in the ways that mindfulness practice in various ways is all about, then, in a certain way, the practice is doing you rather than the conceit of yes, I'm doing the practice.

It's like no, make yourself available and let the discipline and the kindness and the embrace and the intentionality and the motivation, the core motivation to do no harm and to optimize the potential for being of use on this planet, helping others who are suffering, that it flowers all by itself if we get out of our own way. But as long as you're on a giant sort of personal, let's not call it an ego trip, but a personal pronounship, because ego is just the Latin person pronoun for I. And you can be aware of that. You could be mindful of what we sometimes call selfing. How much of the day we echo of our mouth just selfing, selfing, selfing.

You can be also and the first thing that, I don't need to be telling this group of people that, but for beginners at least, the first thing that happens when you cultivate mindfulness is you realize how mindless we are most of the time. And our so-called default mode or default mode network from the neuroscience side of things is really running this constant story of me, my life, my successes, my failures, my future, my past, my relationships. Nothing wrong with it. It's like, if you didn't know who you were, I mean, it'd be very hard to wake up in the morning and go to work. But that's not all of who you are.

And if you don't remember why you're going to work or who the real you is, or you don't live in your body, but you're only up to here and most of the time lost in thought, then the Dukkha, the suffering, the sort of unsatisfactoriness of life really rears its head in ways that ultimately are just very painful. And no one, no one can fix that. This is not about fixing, even though we work in medicine. MBSR is not about fixing people's chronic diseases or chronic pain or depression or anxiety. It's about putting out the welcome mat for things as they are - the good, the bad, and the ugly, another movie title.

And then discovering that your awareness, for instance of sadness, isn't sad. And it's not like we give a lecture about that. Experiment for yourself. Is my awareness of my sadness sad, or is my awareness of my anxiety anxious, or is my awareness of my back pain or headache actually experiencing suffering. And this is empirical.

And look, I mean, your life is a laboratory. Our bodies are a laboratory. Our minds are a laboratory. Our hearts. And so there's an awful lot of learning that we just never learned in the school, but it's like here for us.

And in some sense, then that's why I said life itself becomes the curriculum, if we're willing to enroll in that school. I'd like to talk a little bit more about how we... I have two quotes that I think talk about something really fundamental about the human condition, the kinds of things that stop us from actually stopping and dropping in on the present moment and actually being in touch with ourselves in the way that you're talking about. The first quote is by Eckhart Tolle and he says, "When we lose touch with inner stillness, we lose touch with ourselves. And when we lose touch with ourselves, we have a tendency to lose ourselves in the world." The second quote is by Blaise Pascal and he says, "All the problems of mankind stem from...

his inability to sit quietly in the room by himself." Right. Whenever I'm teaching in France, because I speak French more or less, I always go back to Blaise Pascal, 17th century genius, mathematician, philosopher. I mean, true what they call second order genius. And it's sitting right there and it's saying, "All man's sorrows, all man's difficulties stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself." And I can hear all the women going, yeah, that's true for those men. We're included.

It isn't that it is just men. It's all of us. It's just they only talk about men. But it's the nature of the human mind when it doesn't know itself to not be comfortable, unless it fills up the space. And so once we filled up all this space, then we just like juggling all the time.

And we're not smart enough to fill up the space with space. So we don't see the space. We just see that clutter. And it's all urgent of course, because I have to get it done in order to have the next thing happen and the next thing, and I'm not knocking any of this. It's true.

And we need to take responsibility for getting work done, getting things done and taking care of the children and taking care of the garden and getting, contributing in the work world. I mean, this is where meaning comes out of our lives. Butif we don't know who's doing the doing, then we're in deep trouble. That's a really important juncture though, isn't it? Like there's this really important juncture. So what Eckhart's talking about is what we've been talking about of like, and this is true in my experience, that when I'm fully present in the moment, when I'm in touch with the deepest aspect of who I am, there is a kind of background easefulness and contentedness, even when things get tough.

Now, the opposite of that is when we lose touch with that, we lose touch with ourselves, we lose touch with the present moment. And my experience is that there's an inner discord or an unease or a sense ,you could say, of think I'm not whole yet, I'm not complete, I'm not enough, or this moment's not enough, whatever the story is in the mind. And I feel like this is such an important juncture in our lives as mindfulness practitioners, because it's where we stop running. It's where we start seeking. It's where we start Running away.

We start running away from that feeling of not enough yet, I'm not whole, there's unease. And instead of dropping in, we run, we start running right at that point. And so... Why would you, if you weren't taught this, only one person in millions can have discovered for themselves. That's the beauty of this, isn't it? They're practices that anybody can do.

And then the discoveries are yours. It's like you are the original researcher in the laboratory of your own life and you discovered just this. So look, Eckhart Tolle experienced it. And it came out of a huge amount of pain, a huge amount of pain. And so when he talks about the Power of Now, it's coming out of a whole life that required him, in some sense, to wake up to what we're talking about and then live it in a certain way.

And of course he's been an inspiration to many people, but then you can turn even that, or anybody's teaching into, again, a catechism in you. You read the book, but, and it resonates with you, but you don't do the work. I mean, he sat on a park bench for two years in the middle of wherever in enormous amount of pain and then woke up and it's really worth reading. I know him. It's really worth reading his account of it because it's like, how many people does that happen to, you see.

And it came out of like he had major exposure to practices. But this is, in some sense, his own realization. And everybody's realization is our own. So yeah, this is a critical fulcrum that you're pointing to. And do you have, I know there's an easy answer to this, but it's not that easy to practice, but do you have any advice? I feel like this juncture is something that we can get stuck in.

Spiritual practitioners, everyday people, everybody, we can really get caught in these cycles of keeping on running. It doesn't really ultimately work because the unease stays there because we haven't dropped back in. So what advice or any guidance that you have on helping us to come into more skillful relationship in that, in those quiet moments, when we're in the room alone and we come face to face with that? Well, really it's to be disciplined about it and have a certain kind of confidence, maybe from reading, maybe from other people that you know, or whatever, some certain kind of confidence that what looks like nothing or complete idiocy, isn't nothing. And all this talk about mindfulness that somebody from the outside who thinks it's garbage, could just say, this is like much ado about nothing, you know, the famous Shakespeare play. But it's not much ado about nothing.

Although granted, it looks that way from the outside. It's much ado about what looks from the outside like almost nothing, but turns out to be just about everything. So there's a certain amount of confidence that a certain amount of discipline is required and you sit through thick and thin. And I use the word sit just the way you did like it means anything. You could stand on your head, hang from your fingernails, run, lie down there, four classical meditation postures.

Although most people only practice a few of them. But sitting, standing - a very powerful meditation practice. We teach all four in MBSR, which is kind of unusual. Lying down, which is one that's one of the most powerful meditation practices, but I have to remind people it's about falling awake, not about falling asleep. But even falling asleep is good because everybody's sleep deprived, and then walking.

So the advice that I would give to people is don't give up. Hang in no matter what, through thick and thin. Read books, listen to guided meditation tapes, study with tons of teachers, and don't think this is some sideline while you get the rest of your life together. This is not separate from life. And the more you learn how to inhabit the field of awareness or heartfulness or mindfulness, the more you, I think we'll find that, you grow into the actuality of who you are.

It's not, it doesn't make you stupider to just sit. From the outside it looks like, oh, silly people sitting and they'rewasting time. But actually there is no time to waste because we only have moments in which to live. And most of them we do miss because we're on autopilot so much of the time. This doesn't mean that your stress is going to go away.

We call what we do, mindfulness-based stress reduction. And we did that for many reasons, but most people, when they, someplace in the middle of the eight weeks of MBSR, they wind up having a kind of enlightenment experience, so to speak. This isn't stress reduction. This is about my whole life. And it's like we say, hmm, interesting.

Because it's not that the stress reduction part of it is not important, but it's not so much reducing your stress that would be trying to attain a certain kind of end point. Desirable, yes. And it doesn't mean you can't change your life to reduce your stress, if there are certain stressrs that are there, but it's more that what you're really changing is your relationship to stress and to everything else in your life. And once you know that, once you practice it, once you exercise that muscle on a daily basis, not just like, over the weekend or something like that, then everything that arises becomes part of the curriculum. And the real practice is how you live your life.

Not just how long you sit in the morning, or whether you do a body scan lying down in bed before you wake up, which I highly recommend. Or just lying down meditation, nevermind the body scan. Just even four or five breaths every morning when you wake up. Be sure you actually wake up before you jump out of bed because most of the time you're on autopilot, brushing your teeth mindlessly and running through the day. But just that few breaths or a few moments or 20 minutes of waking up early and in bed.

So nobody can say, I don't have time for this. It's too uncomfortable to sit. So these are a few of the sort of pointers, but I think the primal thing to emphasize is remember what your motivation is. If this is just the big fad for you, everybody's talking about mindfulness, now you have to become a meditator on top of every other annoying thing you have to acquire, then give it up. Go to the gym.

Just run on a treadmill or whatever, or chop vegetables. If you do those mindfully, then it's all practice. You cannot escape from it. And pretty soon you're going to die. So, all of us are.

So the question is not like, some people say like what happens after life? And my question is really not what happens after life, but it's their life before death. And that would require us to really zero in on the actuality of our lives. And then the pain, the suffering it's still there, but our relationship to it really can transform and that is wisdom. It doesn't mean you won't get sick. It doesn't mean that tragedies don't happen.

It doesn't mean that things will go the way you thought they were when you mapped out your life at the age of 15 or whatever. But it means that you will find a way to be that's authentic, that's true to you. And then that almost defines beauty, in my view. And you can see it in people's faces, even over eight weeks of MBSR, faces change profoundly. You can see it in front of your very eyes, people becoming themselves and the stress, the lines, the clenching of the face somehow just dissolve..

But it's not by trying to do anything. It's not like rather than the Botox I'll take MBSR. It's like, no, it has to be, this root practice really needs to be practiced for no reason, not to get someplace else. This is very radical. But to just, in some sense, the reason is to just wake up to be, to not miss your moments, because as I said, sooner or later we're going to die.

And the real question is, have we lived? Thoreau, our famous philosopher from Concord, Massachusetts, famous for having said, "I went to the woods," because he went off to the woods and lived in a cabin for two years and just watched the days unfold and the nights. "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what they had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I hadn't lived." So, I like to say another way of looking at the meditation is die now, get it over with, and then all the rest of our moments will be free. And the funny thing is that when... yeah. You die to your, to those personal pronouns.

Yeah. And you die now and then you find out that all that's really left is the unfolding miracle of life, which is, I think the sacredness that Saki was speaking of. Exactly. And you can call that... Oh, the interweb stopped in that moment.

Oh, we just had a tiny pause. Yes, it did stop at that moment. I was wondering whether I should comment about it. But that's part of the process, is it not? I don't know why that... But it makes it more real in a way.

And everybody watching can go, yeah. This is just Skype and it doesn't work all that well. But it is a miracle. I mean, 20 years ago, we could not be doing this with hundreds of thousands of people in real time. And so there's a certain wonder and real awe associated with the fact that we can have these kinds of conversations.

And then the real question: is the conversations are all fine, but it's just talk unless the resonances that are underlying what we're talking about, we were talking about as the sacred element of it or the beauty element or the truth beyond truth element of it that resonates with the core of our humanity. When that's alive, then you don't have to really do anything. And that's what it means to practice. And that's what it means to be. So do this practice, trust the practice and you find out, I guess, that dimension unfolds by itself.

Yeah. Let life be the teacher. Life is the teacher. Life is the curriculum. And it's all the curriculum.

Not that it's all wanted, and some of it's horrific. But again, if I had to use one word to describe mindfulness and people often ask me that, I've come to, my response is relationality. So it's how are we in relationship to whatever it is that unfolds, including in the body, the breath, the mind, thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pain, suffering. And there's where the degrees of freedom run. Enormous degrees of freedom in that.

And then freedom is freedom. Like it means freedom, non-attachment, clarity, wisdom, and intrinsic kindness, because you have seen and lived and understood the interconnectedness of everything so that we are not separate. And I'm not talking about Skype and the internet. This is interconnectedness that goes way beyond the Skype or the internet. And the old ancient Buddhist and Indian image of it is what's called the Indra's net.

It's a model of the universe where every single feature of the universe is like a multifaceted jewel, and in particular, creatures, and in particular, human creatures. And with multifaceted, and all of us have many, many facets, and the universe is basically the net reflecting every facet and every other facets. So we are completely interconnected and inter-embedded. And then the only natural response to that is compassion. Because you're not, again, you're not who you think you are.

You're not even you. We're all, sometimes the images used are the waves on the ocean. And individually rise. We rise up and then soon gone. Okay.

But it's all life. It's one ocean wave. And so we can wave to each other on Skype or on our cushions when we're not on Skype. And just with tuning into Indra's net, you don't need a cable or any other kind of technology. And so there's one more question that I'd love to...

I know what it is. I now you know what it is because I know you've been watching this summit. I don't have the slightest idea of what I would respond to it. I'm not planning ahead. Well,, I'll ask you and see what comes out.

So, as you know it's been said that mindfulness has the capacity to change the world from the inside out, one person at a time. And I'm wondering... Who said that by the way, as long as we're saying it's been said? Joseph. Joseph Goldstein. Oh good.

Okay. Yeah. He's a wise man that man. I love Joseph. Yeah.

And so my question to you is do you believe mindfulness has the capacity to change the world? And if so, what would that look like do you think if mindfulness were to hit some kind of critical mass? Well, first of all, no, I don't believe it because of what I said about belief. So I know it. I know it from direct personal experience. And what does it mean to change the world? I mean, if you're different, the world is already different. And you could say in a completely trivial, insignificant way, but because of the interconnectedness of the universe and of all beings.

If you were transformed, the whole, what I sometimes call crystal lattice structure of all of humanity is already different. And it's not trivial. It's not insignificant. And there've been many, many instances where one person's conviction makes a huge transformative difference in the world. Even if that person winds up being burned at the stake or dying for their convictions.

So there's no question in my mind that mindfulness, and I wouldn't be doing what I was doing and writing books like Coming To Our Senses, which are really about, in some sense, the potential to transform the world through mindfulness, and a lot of that would be healing. If I didn't know, in some sense, that we were capable of this and that the human species needs it in order to grow into the name we gave ourselves, homo sapiens sapiens from the Latin sapere, which means to taste or to know, and not to know conceptually with the head, but to know in the sort of deepest of ways, beyond the conceptual. So with a species that knows and knows that it knows or awareness and meta awareness, and I think that's a great name, but I don't think we've quite lived into it yet. We're a very, very new species from an evolutionary point of view. And of course we're capable of completely obliterating ourselves and everything else on the planet except maybe cockroaches and bacteria.

They'll do fine. But, yeah, we need to sort of wake up as a species and we know we're capable of it. And all the beauty that humanity is capable of comes from when we live inside that aspect of ourselves. And all the horrors and the genocide and the crime and the suffering on this planet that comes out of the human mind when it doesn't know itself is just equally colossal. So I'm not worried about how it will look when the 1.2 billion people on Facebook, and I'm not one of them.

And I'm not worried about when 1.2 billion people or even sort of imagining what it would be like when 1.2 billion people are meditating, if you will, or are mindful. I have no question that it will evolve maybe very quickly in such a way that it won't be easy, but that we'll find a way to ride the vector of humility, of humanity, of ethics, of non harming, of wisdom, of compassion in ways that will be beyond our imagination and create institutions to really support that. And laws that actually regulate greed, hatred, and delusion. So there you have it. And I don't know how far away that is, but I hope it's on the agenda for us.

And maybe it will be in our life time. But that's one of the reasons to teach mindfulness in the schools, because when you learn that tuning of your own instrument early on, and not as some kind of belief system or anything like that, then the potential good that can unfold from it is really incalculable. And there's so much suffering on this planet. And a lot of it, we do generate ourselves. And if we could learn how to really serve each other and be here for each other in ways that are authentic and heartfelt and heartful, then the world would I think look more or less the way it does, but we'd have more of those smiling faces.

I'll say one other thing, because it just happened this week. The parliament in the UK, as you may have heard, as people may know, issued a report that you called the Mindful Nation UK after Tim Ryan's title of his book in the United States, the Congressman from Ohio. And they have been practicing mindfulness, the House of Lords and the House of Commons together for quite some time now, several years and going through eight week training programs in mindfulness. And there's a long waiting list. So this is remarkable that a parliamentary governmental body would issue such a report pointing to four areas in which mindfulness really needs to be explored much more and funded much more to do the kind of groundwork to decide whether it's up to the task in a practical way that would really be valuable for the society.

And those areas are health, education, criminal justice and business. And so, wow. That's quite extraordinary that they have done that. And I just send them all a deep bow for this. It's an all parliamentary report, which means that all party parliamentary report, which means that all the parties like are represented themselves in this commonality of purpose.

Now, I would love to imagine that that were possible in the United States where the antipathy between people who dress up as donkeys and people who dress up as elephants, or Democrats or Republicans, for those of you who don't know that much about the American politics. And has reached a point where it's basically dis dysfunctional in ways that are creating huge amounts of pain and suffering. And most of it is driven by greed, hatred and delusion. The same for banking and many other things that are really out of control and we get the dregs of it, but the amount of harm that's caused by a non mindful, non-heartful, non wakeful way of doing business. The consequences for the environment, for the planet for every aspect of human life are just so great now.

And we know that that we have to become more mindful of these larger domains than just my body, my breath, my success, my failure. And again, it's not, there's nothing wrong with the body, the breath, success or failure, because there's no success without many failures. But the my is something that we could actually really look at. And if we do that as individuals or as a species, we're going to be in very, very good shape. And I think this summit, and the reason I agreed to be part of it is, in some sense, an indicator or, how should I put this, a signature of what human beings are capable of.

I don't know where this came from in you, but Joseph didn't call you up on the phone and give you this idea, nor did I, nor, I'm guessing, did anybody else. It comes out of you. And you see the beauty of that is insane because it's distributed everywhere. So everybody has the potential to add to this conversation, to this unfolding, to this flowering, to this flourishing on the planet. And the only way you can do it is your way.

You can't pretend or adopt someone else's way. There are infinite number of ways to practice mindfulness in ways that are deluded and hopeless. But there are also an infinite number of ways to practice wise mindfulness or right mindfulness, and there's no one right way. So again, you've got to do that interior work. And I just love that we're all in this together, so to speak.

Yeah and thank you so much for bringing that up. It's such a warm and open and accommodating thing to bring to the floor for people to know that there's not a right way. We're all very different, but it is important to be authentic to ourselves and to, as best we can, to embody the practice and to live and breathe it. Exactly. And to not think that you're inadequate.

Of course you can think you're inadequate. We all do. Like I'm not the Buddha or I'm not enlightened or all of that stuff. And the irony is, from the non dual Buddhist point of view, you're already enlightened. It's just that you don't know it because you haven't yet woken up or gotten out of your own way.

It's the I that's the problem, not the enlightenment. And maybe there are no enlightened people when all is said and done. Maybe what there are, are only enlightening moments. And the more we align ourselves with that potential in ourselves, the more things will move in a direction of greater wisdom, compassion, and sanity, and a kind of deep flourishing that will take care of the fact that, hopefully will take care of the fact that we only have this home, this home planet. And we have given it a fever and it has its own dynamic now, and this is no joke.

And we're seeing it in the ferocity of the storms and the slow increase in the losing of the glaciers and the ice caps, polar ice caps. That's part of mindfulness practice too. It's like we're all in this together. And so what could be more beautiful than that? And there's where the, that whole thing we were talking about it being not trivial, that I'm just one person, that I'm only little old me and how much, even if I meditate, can I change the planet? Your beauty is exactly what the planet needs. I like to say that every one of us is a flower and the world needs all of us to flower in our own ways.

And then in talking with each other and working together and teaming up and making things happen that we care about, because this is not just about individuals, it's about our interconnectedness socially. It's about social justice. It's about transforming our societies and seeing how much pain is involved in what we've talked about it before. Racism and all sorts of isms that ignore or degrade certain kinds of people, because they're not like me, all of that is potentially healable if we wake up in this way. Yeah, I think Blaise Pascal had it right back all that time ago.

Yeah, exactly. Except that I have to emphasize, because sitting quietly in a room by yourself is great and I do it and I've done it for a very long time, relatively speaking. But the real practice is how we live our lives from moment to moment. That's the real practice. Not how much time your ass is on the cushion.

That's essential. It's necessary, but it's not sufficient. And not just it's not sufficient now because we have all these global warming problems. It was never sufficient. It's an embodied way of being.

And so if you're a great meditator, but you don't attend to your children or to your parents, or to what needs doing now and asking yourself what requires doing now, or how should I be in relationship to this moment or this challenge, then you can go on all the meditation retreats you like. But I think that there's a certain way in which it will be found to be incomplete. And yet we do need people who go on long meditation retreats and who are not social activists and who just hold down whatever it is that they're holding down. But I'm not worried about it. But I think that we need all sorts of people.

And the only way that is really going to change is if you find what you love. Each one of us find what we love and just give ourselves over to it and then not claim any credit for it. Thank you so much for that, Jon. And I just want to also take this opportunity to thank you so deeply for the work that you've done in bringing us more access to these teachings. And also to so many of the other amazing pioneers who've taken part in this summit.

Many of the people who have taken part in this summit have done incredible work to, for somebody like myself when I wanted access to these teachings, they were here for me because of the work that yourself and a lot of other people did. And that is just the most incredible gift. So my heartfelt, heartfelt gratitude to all of the pioneers and all of the people who took part in this summit because it was only because you believed in my crazy idea that the summit ended up happening. So thank you so much for believing in this and for doing the work that you do and continue to do. My deepest, deepest, respect and deep bow to you all.

Thank you. I got to say, you've become my teacher as well. This whole process has become part of my learning. Many of the people who you've featured over these past weeks are, literally, my teachers, as well as metaphorically. And some of them might be my students, but they're also my teachers.

So again, an example of complete interconnectedness and inter-embeddedness. So I think from here, we're going to be moving on to a livestream kind of thing at some other to really tie the bow on this whole month. I feel incredible gratitude for having the opportunity to engage in that extended guided meditation and inquiry together where we won't be in conversation as I understand it. So I want to just sort of, and I'll do it sort of literally bow to you Melli and to Matt, who's the other aspect of this team, in making all the technology happen, for everything that you've done to create this and all the learning that's gone on and some of the challenges, the stress, the unpleasantness. And so it's all part of the flowering, so to speak.

And I feel really honored to meet you in this way. And a deep bow to you too, Jon.

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