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Is Mindfulness a Spiritual Practice?

Jon Kabat-Zinn & Richard
Davidson | 4:49


I wanna step back for a moment and talk about the way mindfulness is practiced, particularly in the United States, in the Western setting, because I think it it, I think a lot of people would say that originally it came through Buddhism, through Buddhist meditation. Yeah. Which then raises the question, is this,

Is mindfulness in the modern Western sense an offshoot of Buddhism, or is it something else? Well, do you mind my pointing out? It's a wonderful question that the Buddha wasn't a Buddhist, so this question is actually kind of tricky. So we turned the Buddha into some big thing, but his fundamental teaching, you could think of it more as like a scientist, like a the Galileo or an Einstein, somebody with very, very deep insight into the nature of his own.

And develop the language and framework and methods and laboratory tools and so forth for doing it, which is what all these meditative practices are about. And yes, so religion grew up around it, but the religion. Uh, it's very interesting because for one thing, there's no God, and you know, it's like, just from our point of view, it's a interesting thing, but from the point of view of mindfulness, although it is spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation, it's about paying attention.

How Buddhist is that? It's about awareness. How Buddhist is that? It's about loving kindness. How Buddhist is that, or compassion. So if we drop into its essence, which has always been its essence, then those kinds of questions become really second order. It's not like we're secretly trying to turn everybody into Buddhist.

That's our hidden agenda. . Well, let, let me, let me ask a more pointed question then is, is mindfulness a spiritual. ? Well, it depends on what you mean by the word spiritual. I tend to stay away from the word spiritual as, you know, as if it had some kind of, uh, toxic, uh, outpouring. Uh, because people get very attached to their view of spiritual, and then they put that encounter distinction to everybody else who's not quite as spiritual as I am.

Uh, so my working definition of spiritual is what it means for us to be truly human. And I leave it at that. It's like, who know? Do you know what I'm saying? But, well, is giving birth, spiritual is chopping vegetables. Spiritual is seeing the look in your daughter's eye when she comes home from school, is that a spiritual experience or not good enough?

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