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Jon Kabat-Zinn: Foundational Attitudes of Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about the attitudes of mindfulness and why these are important.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of mindfulness-based stress reduction, can be considered the father of secular mindfulness as an intervention directed towards psychological well-being.  In the original copy of “Full Catastrophe Living”, which outlines the approach taken within mindfulness-based stress reduction, Jon Kabat Zinn (1990) mentions 7 attitudinal qualities considered to be foundational to the practice of mindfulness.  These are non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go.  Later in the revised edition Jon Kabat Zinn (2013) adds two other attitudes, these being gratitude and generosity.


These attitudes are all important equally when it comes to mindfulness practice, and there is not one that is more important than the other; they are deeply interconnected and practising one will eventually lead to the cultivation of the others. Jon Kabat Zinn points out how, while practising mindfulness, it is essential that we remain in contact and actively bring fort these attitudes into our practice and into our lives, as they will greatly influence our ability to successfully approach what arises within our experience without getting lost in it.   In the video, Jon Kabat-Zinn comments

It's really important to bring a certain attitudinal approach to it so that we're not trying to force anything to happen or sit in a kind of rigid posture or attain some special state that will, you know, that we sort of think, ah, that's what it is. I'll be enlightened.

Or I'll just be permanently wise, or I'll be this, or I'll be that the problem isn't actually with the Enlightenment or the permanently wise or anything like that. The problem is with the personal pronouns. I mean mine and they are very, very problematic because.

Who we think we are and who we actually are very different and there's a huge separation who we think we are is very, very small compared to who we actually are. And so when we are cultivating mindfulness in MBSR or with people, we encourage a certain kind of.

Attitude that's brought to the formal and informal practises that you can keep in mind through your daily life as well.

Video produced by Mindfulnessgruppen, reproduced with permission.  Please visit their website @ and to learn more about mindfulness and MBSR.


Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York, NY: Delacorte.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full catastrophe living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation (Revised and updated ed.). New York, NY: Random House USA Inc.

Now About Meditation
Now About Meditation
Dr Clayton Micallef PhD