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5 Questions with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Renowned mindfulness scientist and teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn will be leading a retreat called “The Way of Awareness” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, from May 5 to 10, 2019. For more information, go to

1. You’ve said that your whole-mindfulness program came from a 10-second “vision” on a meditation retreat in the woods 80 miles west of Boston. Do you still take retreats? Yes, I do. That 10 seconds unfolded on retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1979. It is still my favorite place to sit retreats, along with the Forest Refuge and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. 2. As someone who has become synonymous with mindfulness and calm, is there a place that represents that for you? Many places in nature certainly do that for me. Retreat centers do, as well, depending on the tradition they represent. Certain people do, too. But in terms of a place that “represents mindfulness,” that place would be wherever you find yourself in the present moment, noisy or quiet, pleasing to the senses or challenging. As for calm, that can come and go, depending on how equanimous you are with what is actually unfolding in this moment, which can often be far from what we might have hoped for. Life itself becomes one long retreat, if you are open to seeing it that …

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Mary Bemis is the editor in chief of Journey to Renewal and the founder of

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