Wherever You Go There You Are

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Image of the cover of Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Wesley Donehue's book reviews and recommendations.

“We are all going to die. And at some point or another you are practically forced to contemplate your life and question who you are and the meaning in this journey of life, your life.”

I came across this book at exactly the right time as I crossed over the forty mark. I’m not having a midlife crisis. I am, however, asking more questions about life than I’ve ever asked. These questions Kabat-Zinn calls “terrifying aspects of the human psyche.” The answers are hard to find in this fast-paced world where our attention is pulled in a hundred different directions at any, or every, given moment.

This book isn’t just about how to meditate. It’s about slowing down and being in every moment. It’s about giving one thing our attention. Yesterday a client came to town and eight of us sat in a conference room for hours. Typically I would be listening to the meeting while on my laptop and also constantly checking my phone. Yesterday I tried so hard to put the phone and the computer down and just be in the meeting. It was so so hard. And truthfully, I failed. But there was an hour span when I succeeded. I was proud of myself. Now I must build on that hour and spread it across my entire life, most especially when I’m with my family. In recent days I’ve just put my phone in the other room. The constant bombardment of texts can wait.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book. I can say that I desperately needed this book. This one is a game-changer for me. It was a wake-up call. I don’t know where those last forty years went. It all happened way too fast. I’m going to slow it down so that I can enjoy more individual moments over the next forty years. I recommend this book to everyone.

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