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Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of…

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face…

by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Life can be crazy and hectic. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day and that 'To Do' list grows ever longer. So it sounds pretty crazy to dedicate 45 minutes of an overly scheduled day to yoga and meditation. But Kabat-Zinn gives compelling evidence that we really do need to clear our minds, not only for our sanity, but for our physical well being. I am convinced that he is right. But, still have not incorporated either into my life... Another thing to add to that To Do list. ( )
  jmoncton | Nov 14, 2013 |
Let's start with the bad news. I listened to this on audio while driving to and from work. Not a good idea. When the cd would finish and start again at track one I wouldn't notice for a few moments. I wouldn't notice for two reasons. One, there was nothing in the way of a fictional plot to make me say, "hey, I've heard this before" and two, the book was so repetitious I wasn't sure if the cd was starting over again or if Kabat-Zinn was just repeating himself again. The other reason why I shouldn't have listened to this on cd is the fact I wasn't paying full attention to his words. Pretty ironic since that's what his whole premise is about, being mindful of everything you do. I couldn't be 100% mindful of what I was listening to without giving some attention to the automobile I was operating. The good news is this - I learned something. I took away huge chunks of Kabat-Zinn's lessons. There are two parts that really resonated with me: seeing your mind as an ocean. On the surface the waves are choppy, chaotic and stressful. But, if you drill down to your very essence you will find a calmness, a serenity that should be tapped into each and everyday. Kabat-Zinn's parallel example is the ways in which we used to live by nature's rhythm. Before electricity we rose with the sun and worked for as long as there was natural light. We slept when it was dark. Modern conveniences have pushed us out of those rhythms, allowing us to keep working long past dark. The second ah-ha moment was the connection to food. I never thought about the what, where, when, why, how, and with whom aspect of eating. The psychological attachments to what we eat, when we eat, why we eat, how we eat and with whom we eat is profound and I never thought about it that way before. It changes my relationship with food. All in all, despite the repetitive nature of the book I enjoyed Full Catastrophe Living. Next time I will read the book! ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 12, 2013 |
Though there was a lot in this book that I skimmed over, there were a lot of true gems that will particularly be useful in developing a practice of mindfulness and meditation. Some of the information helped me to overcome some of the blocks I've formed and approach in a different way.

I will admit that the title initially made me wary -- not one I wanted to be reading in public, but in the intro, the author relates the story behind it:
In groping to describe that aspect of human condition that patients in the stress clinic and, in fact, most of us, at one time or another, need to come to terms with and in some way transcend, I keep coming back to one line from the movie of Nikos Kazantzakis;s novel Zorba the Greek. Zorba's young companion turns to him at a certain point and inquires, "Zorba, have you ever been married?" to which Zorba replies (paraphrasing somewhat) "Am I not a man? Of course I've been married. Wife , house, kids, everything..the full catastrophe!"

It was not meant to be a lament, nor does it mean that being married or having children is a catastrophe. Zorba's response embodies a supreme appreciation for the richness of life and the inevitability of all its dilemmas, sorrows, tragedies, and ironies.
(pg 5)

That's a view of catastrophe I can live with. ( )
  bookczuk | Aug 31, 2011 |
2. Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s revolutionary work on pain and stress management. Dr. Kabat-Zinn takes the lessons learned from the University of Massachusetts Stress Clinic and teaches readers how to effectively utilize meditation and present moment awareness to manage pain, stress, anxiety, and illness.
  Shinsengumi | Apr 9, 2011 |
I picked up this book on advice from my doctor and it took months to read. While the ideas make sense somewhat I found it constantly repeating itself over and over as if he said the word "mindfulness" enough then you'd be automatically swayed into accepting everything he said. Maybe I should be and am just too much of a cynic? I am still debating whether or not to actually put into practice the mediations to the extent he wants and that could be the problem I have connecting to the material. I found it was more for those experiencing physical illness than those w/ psychological illness. It would have nice if he explored that more. The mention of people having personal robots in the future and cellphones on their body was cute as well. ( )
  kanata | Apr 11, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385303122, Paperback)

Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, is perhaps the best-known proponent of using meditation to help patients deal with illness. (The somewhat confusing title is from a line in Zorba the Greek in which the title character refers to the ups and downs of family life as "the full catastrophe.") But this book is also a terrific introduction for anyone who has considered meditating but was afraid it would be too difficult or would include religious practices they found foreign. Kabat-Zinn focuses on "mindfulness," a concept that involves living in the moment, paying attention, and simply "being" rather than "doing." While you can practice anything "mindfully," from taking a walk to cleaning your house, Kabat-Zinn presents several meditation techniques that focus the attention most clearly, whether it's on a simple phrase, your breathing, or various parts of your body. The book goes into detail about how hospital patients have either improved their health or simply come to feel better despite their illness by using these techniques, but these meditations can help anyone deal with stress and gain a calmer outlook on life. "When we use the word healing to describe the experiences of people in the stress clinic, what we mean above all is that they are undergoing a profound transformation of view," Kabat-Zinn writes. "Out of this shift in perspective comes an ability to act with greater balance and inner security in the world." --Ben Kallen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

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A guide to awareness meditation methods offers a program for coping with illnesses as well as everyday stress.

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