Book review: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I first read this book ten years ago for a Spirituality & Resilience class. It’s pretty straightforward in that whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. Now how are you going to handle it? Don’t lose touch with yourself and fall into a robot-like way of seeing and thinking and doing where you break contact with your deepest self because if not careful, those moments can stretch out and last a lifetime. Don’t be preoccupied with the past, with what has already happened, or with a future that hasn’t arrived yet because you may fall quite unawares into assuming is the truth about what is out there in the world and in here in our minds because much of the time, it just isn’t so.

The author goes on to say that we may pay a high price for this mistaken and unexamined assumption by willfully ignoring the richness of our present moments. The fallout accumulates silently, coloring our lives without our knowing it or being able to do something about it. Instead, we lock ourselves into a personal fiction that is enshrouded in thoughts, fantasies, and impulses mostly about the past and the future that veil our direction and the very ground we stand on. This book tells you how to wake up from such dreams and the nightmares they turn into. Go from ignorance—our mindlessness, to being in touch with the not knowing which is mindfulness, by using meditation, and wakefulness which is present moment awareness.

It is important to note that meditation is not some cryptic activity, and does not involve becoming a zombie, cultist, devotee, or mystic. It is simply about being yourself, coming to realize that you are on a path that is your life, see that this path has direction that is always unfolding moment by moment and that what happens in this moment influences what happens next.

Reading this book in its entirety helps get out of the fog-enshrouded, slippery slope that we get into and that we may follow right into our grave or that fog-dispelling clarity at the moment before death where we realize that all the thought we placed on past and future was based on ignorance and fear. Instead shed those life-limiting ideas that aren’t the truth or the way our life has to be at all. When I first read this book, it seemed too straightforward in saying that “it is what it is.” But considering I had to lead a discussion on it the following day, I reread it and really got into it and got the message. It was one of the books that started me on this journey of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, as well as spirituality and resilience seeking. Get it here.

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Using Mindfulness to Remedy Anxiety and also Depression

Feeling trapped in your own mind can be a very scary, frustrating, and unpleasant feeling, and something that many people with anxiety experience. I’m someone who battles chronic and often acute anxiety and have done so for nearly 20 years, and during that time I’ve often been a prisoner of my own thoughts. It’s a lonely place that triggers more anxiety.

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8 Symptoms of Being Trapped in Your Own Thoughts
1. Indecisiveness

2. Procrastination

3. Overthinking Everything

4. Being Emotionally Reactive

5. Sleep Problems

6. Poor Concentration

7. Tension and Sore Muscles

8. Not Making Time for Relaxation  

How to Stop Feeling Trapped?
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1. Practice being mindful. Sit. Only focus on the breath.  

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an established program shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness is the most effective technique that helped me to finally get out of my head, and I cannot recommend it enough. Practicing mindfulness trained my mind to focus on the present moment, which is the only moment where I was able to experience fewer thoughts, no thoughts, and calmness.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. – Amit Ray, mindfulness leader and author of several popular books on mindfulness

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2. Get fresh air to clear your mind by immersing yourself in nature
Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

In a previous study, time in nature was found to have a positive effect on mood and aspects of cognitive function, including working memory, as well as a dampening effect on anxiety. Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.—Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

3. Release your thoughts by journaling or talk therapy
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Keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time. It’s a time when you can de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing.—University of Rochester Medical Center

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