Meditation is Not What You Think

Reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are was an important part of my initial embrace and exploration of mindfulness. I remember being struck by the simple, yet profound, perspectives.

What’s odd, though, is that some of Kabat-Zinn’s follow-up material lacks that same simplicity. This book, which is a chunked up piece from a larger collection, wanders a lot.

There are very long sentences full of examples and words that all basically say the same thing, just in a complex and hard-to-process way.

Perhaps Kabat-Zinn has fallen into the “Tom Clancy trap.” I.e. Look at the spine of The Hunt for Red October, Clancy’s first book, then compare it to the spines of his later books. Red October is thin. Those other books are IMMENSE. And that’s what happens when success gives an author all the space they want.

The story–or in this case, the insights–are still in there, but they’re now obscured beneath a lot of other stuff that might not need to be there.

Anyway … the book itself had some insightful stuff, but I found it hard to wade through; almost like I was reading a collection of blog posts rather than a cohesive work with a specific vision.