How to use your Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practice CDs

As with the Series 1 and Series 2 CDs, these Series 3 guided meditations are tools that invite and reward something more than a casual listening. They are designed to be used on a regular basis to help you develop and deepen a daily meditation practice and thus to strengthen the qualities of mindfulness (moment to moment non-judgmental awareness), compassion, including self-compassion, and lovingkindness in every aspect of your life. The programs vary from 20 to 47 minutes in length. The real challenge, no matter which band you choose to work with at any given time, is to step out of time altogether and into the timelessness of the present moment. All bands include stretches of silence of varying lengths for being in relationship to your own experience moment by moment, based on the guidance you are receiving during the periods when I am talking. But again, the real challenge is to make the entire time, even during the guidance, into your own direct experience by dropping "underneath" the words to what, where and how they are inviting you to pay attention. In this way, the whole program becomes an occasion to cultivate mindfulness, and not just the periods of silence. The suggestion is to follow the instructions as best you can without getting caught in them, to perceive and open to what and where they are pointing, rather than falling into thinking about them in a cerebral and conceptual way, or trying to figure out what they are for, or what you are supposed to be feeling. Whatever you are feeling (and thinking) is what you are "supposed" to be feeling and thinking. The question is, can you be aware of it, and take up at least temporary residency in that awareness?

These programs develop the array of mindfulness practices described in Coming to Our Senses, beginning with mindfulness of breathing and mindfulness of body sensations on CD #1. We learn through practicing together to settle into and rest in awareness itself as the breath and other body sensations are "featured" within the field of awareness, almost as if we were "awarenessing" without doing anything, like a mirror, simply including what comes within its scope, rather than being an observer of something separate from ourselves. Resting in awareness, and being the knowing that awareness is without any forcing become the unifying themes of all these guided meditations, even though they feature different aspects of the interior and outer landscapes of our' experience. Through regular practice we become more and more familiar and intimate with these landscapes and what unfolds from moment to moment within them. In the process, we become more intimate with the "domain of being," that aspect of what and who we are that is far bigger and more magnificent that the stories we tell ourselves about what and who we are. CD # 1 includes a band (c) with less guidance and more silence, which you may find useful once you get the hang of resting in awareness from the two bands with more instruction.

CD #2 features the cultivation of mindfulness via the experience of hearing whatever is coming to the ears, attending to the soundscape, and to the experiencing of thoughts and emotions unfolding from moment to moment, what you might call the mindscape. This CD also includes a lying down meditation in the yogic corpse pose, specifically designed to help us learn how to cultivate mindfulness while lying down, to actually learn how to fall awake to the full range of our present moment experience rather than, as so often happens when practicing while lying down, inadvertently falling asleep.

CD #3 features the practice of choiceless awareness, in which we let go of selecting specific objects of attention to feature in the field of awareness and to be mindful of, and instead, invite our awareness to be so spacious that it includes anything and everything that might arise in any present moment, in the nowscape, just as a mirror does not choose what to reflect but reflects whatever comes before it. This CD also features instructions for mindful walking meditation, which can be practiced on your own once you have listened to the instructions.

CD #4 features an extended lovingkindness meditation, directed both inwardly and outwardly, in which we cultivate intimacy with the landscape of our own heart, the heartscape, and open to its capacity for deep nurturance, empathy, and healing for ourselves and for others. It also includes a guided meditation on how to bring mindfulness effortlessly into every aspect of everyday life, into what you might call the lifescape. When all is said and done, perhaps this is the most profound and most important of all these practices, and vvill make the most difference in your life and the lives of those you love.

Ultimately, when you have made the practice your own, you can practice in silence and stillness, and in daily life, without using these CDs any more, or perhaps using them on an occasional basis as appropriate to fine tune your practice and to support and enhance the daily discipline. But it is also fine to keep on using them when you practice, as many people do.

This set of CDs is meant to be used in conjunction with Dr. Kabat-Zinn's book, “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”, Hyperion, NY, 2005 For additional Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practice CDs, see Series 1 and Series 2.

To purchase additional copies of this program, or for more information or to communicate with us, please see or write:

Stress Reduction Tapes and CDs P.O. Box 547, Lexington, MA 02420.

Produced and directed by John Wager, Galileo Multimedia, Saratoga Springs, NY

A note from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

The more I practice cultivating mindfulness, the more I have come to see it as a profound and life-affirming choice, a radical act in and of itself, basically, a radical act of love. For it is a loving act just to stop, and to settle into your experience, i.e., to embrace it in awareness as it is in any and every moment, without having to have something else, something novel, something "special," something "important," something pleasant happen in order to feel content, or complete, or whole. For we are already whole - the root meaning of the words health, healthy, healing, and holy - even though most of the time we ignore that fact and madly pursue what we think is missing or just has to happen, and in the process, lose touch perhaps with what is deepest and best in ourselves, and ironically, what can bring genuine happiness and well-being to us, not in some fantasy future, but right here, and right now in our lives. For we are whole no matter what conditions and difficulties we face, and we are more capable of facing those conditions and difficulties effectively if we learn to inhabit that wholeness. In that way, it is also an act of great wisdom to remember our wholeness, and to drop into it on occasion, or to inhabit it on a regular basis, and to practice doing so formally, and in a disciplined way, because so much of the time, we are actively cultivating the opposite, what you could call unawareness, or mindlessness. And the more we practice unawareness, sadly, the better we get at it.

This is where mindfulness comes in. Our innate capacity for awareness is a miracle, and a huge mystery. We inhabit and make use of awareness every day, but usually without actually knowing it, because most of the time we are lost in our heads, in our thoughts, and carried away by our more painful and agitated emotions. We tend to take our awareness for granted and so do not develop it to its full extent. Yet it is where our freedom and well-being and our genius actually lie. The cultivation of the landscape of awareness is that radical act of love and lovingkindness I am referring to, and these guided meditations give you a number of doors into that domain, the doors of the sensory world, of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and other senses we often don't recognize as such: proprioception, interoception, and the knowing quality of the mind itself, what we call non-conceptual knowing, which is bigger than thought but can include thoughts and feelings: simply awareness itself. Coming to our senses, both literally and metaphorically, is a practice that grounds us in the miracle of our own body and our own mind, and takes us far beyond the conventional boundaries of body and mind. The cultivation of mindfulness, which could also just as well be called heartfulness, both in periods of formal practice sitting, lying down, standing, or walking, and in the conduct of our everyday lives, can itself become the adventure of a lifetime, especially if we are willing to practice cultivating it as if our lives depended on it, which they surely do.

I welcome you to that adventure of a lifetime, to adventuring in the bodyscape, the mindscape, the heartscape, and the nowscape, to what is nothing less than the adventure of your own life expressing itself in openhearted awareness, kindness, and wise action, and I bow to that in you that recognizes the value of using the practices on these CDs to further that adventure, both inwardly and outwardly. The world itself is in desperate need of greater awareness, love, and wisdom, and by healing ourselves in this way, we are also, in ways both little and big, healing this world we inhabit and which is so sorely in need of our innate wisdom, beauty, and caring.

May your practice of mindfulness and of loving kindness, which are not fundamentally different, continue to grow and flower and nourish your life and the life around you from moment to moment and from day to day.


Do not use these programs while driving!