I was very much a tough New York street kid. I went to a school where you had to learn how to get along with everybody or fight with everybody, and I did my fair share of both.
Breathing is central to every aspect of meditation training. It’s a wonderful place to focus in training the mind to be calm and concentrated.
The mind that has not been developed or trained is very scattered. That’s the normal state of affairs, but it leaves us out of touch with a great deal in life, including our bodies.
I was lucky enough to see with my own eyes the recent stock-market crash, where they lost several million dollars, a rabble of dead money that went sliding off into the sea.
To drop into being means to recognize your interconnectedness with all life, and with being itself. Your very nature is being part of larger and larger spheres of wholeness.
I am not an educated man. I never had an opportunity to learn anything except how to fight.
I loved science, and when I discovered Buddhist meditative practices and martial arts, I was able to bridge those ways of knowing the world into my own unique way. From that grew the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which became my karmic assignment.
The only things that the United States has given to the world are skyscrapers, jazz, and cocktails. That is all. And in Cuba, in our America, they make much better cocktails.
Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation. It’s not about Buddhism, but about paying attention. That’s what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used.
My father was a world-class scientist and my mother was a prolific painter. I could see that my parents had completely different ways of knowing and understanding the world, and relating to it. My father approached things through scientific inquiry and exploration, while my mother experienced things through her emotions and senses.