Wherever You Go, There You Are Book Summary

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Book – Wherever You Go, There You Are (Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life)

Author – Jon Kabat Zinn

Genre – Self-Help

Book Published in – 1994

The work of mindfulness is waking up to vitality in every moment that we have. In wakefulness, everything inspires.

– Jon Kabat-zinn

Here I have got another book on Mindfulness meditation. I am fascinated with Meditation for the benefit of it. I am reading more books to learn more, implement and also inspire others to consider meditation.

The book is offered particularly for those who resist structured programs and for people who don’t like to be told what to do but are curious enough about mindfulness and its relevance to try to piece things together for themselves with a few hints and suggestions.

About the Book

Wherever you go, there you are, talks about the meaning we put to all our experiences, thoughts, and situations. Whatever happened, happened. The question is, Now What? How would you handle it?

The book is divided into Three Parts. Each part contains various small chapters, that make reading and learning from it easy.

Part One explores the rationale and background for taking on or deepening a personal practice of mindfulness.

Part Two explores some basic aspects of formal meditation practice.

Part Three explores a range of applications and perspectives on mindfulness.

Here are the excerpts from each Part.


Part One The Bloom of Present Moment

1) Mindfulness Defined

  • Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmental.
  • Mindfulness will not conflict with any beliefs or traditions religious or for that matter scientific, nor is it trying to sell you anything, especially not a new belief system or ideology.
  • It is simply a practical way to be more in touch with the fullness of your being through a systematic process of self-observation, self-inquiry, and mindful action.

2) Simple, Yet Not Easy

  • Mindfulness requires effort and discipline for the simple reason that the forces that work against our being mindful, namely, our habitual unawareness and automaticity, are exceedingly tenacious.
  • Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence.

3) Keep it Simple

  • you don’t have to go out of your way or find someplace special to practice mindfulness.
  • It is sufficient to make a little time in your life for stillness and what we call non-doing, and then tune in to your breathing.

4) Can I Meditate? Is This Your Question?

  • When people say they can’t meditate, what they really mean is that they won’t make time for it, or that when they try, they don’t like what happens.
  • It isn’t what they are looking for or hoping for. It doesn’t fulfill their expectations. So maybe they should try again, this time letting go of their expectations and just watching.

5) Patience

  • If you cultivate patience, you will simultaneously cultivate mindfulness, and your meditation practice will gradually become richer and more mature.
  • Through it all, we attempt to bring balance to the present moment, understanding that in patience lies wisdom, knowing that what will come next will be determined in large measure by how we are now.  

6) Letting Go

  • Letting go means just what it says. It’s an invitation to cease clinging to anything, whether it be an idea, a thing, an event, a particular time, or view, or a desire.
  • it’s not only the stickiness of our desires concerning outer events that catch us. Nor is it only a holding on with our hands. We hold on with our minds.

Part II – The Heart of the Practice

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

– Olive Wendell Holmes

1) Sitting Meditation

  • Sitting meditation involves sitting in an upright, dignified posture, often for extended periods of time.
  • Sitting meditation is not a matter of taking on a special body posture, however powerful that may be. It is adopting a particular posture toward the mind. It is mind-sitting.

2) Taking Your Seat

  • When your mind and body collaborate in holding body, time, place, and posture in awareness, and remain unattached to having it have to be a certain way, then and only then are you truly sitting.

3) Posture

  • Mindful sitting meditation is not an attempt to escape from problems or difficulties into some cut-off “meditative” state of absorption or denial.
  • On the contrary, it is a willingness to go nose to nose with pain, confusion, and loss, if that is what is dominating the present moment.
  • You seek understanding simply through bearing the situation in mind, along with your breath, as you maintain the sitting posture.

4) How Long to Practice?

  • The sincerity of your effort matters far more than elapsed time since we are really talking about stepping out of minutes and hours and into moments, which are truly dimensionless and therefore infinite.

5) No Right Way

  • There is truly no one “right way” to practice, although there are pitfalls along this path too and they have to be looked out for.
  • Trust your own experience, however, it may be and you will get the best out of meditation.

Part III – In The Spirit of Mindfulness

1) Waking up Early

dawn photo
  • The peacefulness, the darkness, the dawn, and the stillness, all contribute to making the early morning a special time for mindfulness practice.
  • The power of waking up early in the morning is so great that it can have a profound effect on a person’s life, even without a formal mindfulness practice. Just witnessing the dawn each day is a wake-up call in itself.

2) Wherever You Go, There You Are

  • The trouble with seeing all the trouble outside of ourselves is that it conveniently ignores the fact that you carry your head and heart, and what some would call “karma” wherever you go.
  • There can be no resolution leading to growth until the present situation has been faced completely and mindfulness, allowing the roughness of the situation itself to sand down your own rough edges.

3) Non-harming (Ahimsa)

  • Like any other view, non-harming may be a terrific principle, but it’s the living of it that counts. You can start practicing ahimsa’s gentleness on yourself and in your life with others at any moment.
  • The willingness to harm or hurt comes ultimately out of fear. Non-harming requires that you see your own fears, understand them and own them.

4) Is Mindfulness Spiritual?

  • If you look up the word “spirit” in the dictionary, you will find that it comes from the Latin, spirier, meaning “to breathe.” The in-breath is an inspiration; the out-breath expiration.
  • The work of mindfulness is waking up to vitality in every moment that we have. In wakefulness, everything inspires. Nothing is excluded from the domain of spirit.

I have also created a video of a few quotes from the book. Please do subscribe to the YouTube channel for self-help books quotes- Myread4change

Conclusion

Wherever you go, There you are book with less than 150 pages provides good insights into Mindfulness Meditation. It will convince you to give it a shot and if you are already a practitioner, it will help you take your practice even deeper.

You may download Wherever you go, There you are free E-book here. If you like this book you will also like the book 10 Minutes Mindfulness

Hope this book summary helped you.

Thank you for reading. Do share your feedback in the comments.

With Love,

Muzammil

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