Lifetime’s journey

Mindfulness is a lifetime’s journey
along a path that ultimately leads
nowhere, only to who you are. The
Way of Awareness is always here,
always accessible to you, in each
moment. After all is said and done,
perhaps its essence can only be
captured in poetry, and in the silence
of your own mind and body at peace.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Full Catastrophe Living

Where does prayer and meditation get you to? – I was asked a while ago. And I think Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of several books on Mindfulness (an introductory one of which is here) hits the nail on the head. Nowhere.

There isn’t ultimately a destination beyond the “within”, the inner life, the Oneness in whom all things are united and from whom all things come: the silent inward space of the soul, where poets and prophets of old encouraged us to spend time, in which Jesus invites us to “consider” – (the lilies of the field, or life’s provision, or our living and breathing, “blessed” – happy – now and forever, “in God”); or the contemplative encounter with silence, with life’s breath, and with the depths of compassion, gentleness and love within all of us, about which the Buddha and others among the world’s great teachers have spoken.

And in the “space” that our silent contemplation / meditation / prayer affords we come, over a lifetime, to understand more and more of who we are – and thereby of where (and / or in whom) we are.


I’ve been watching BBC2’s Stargazing Live and am literally awestruck. My boyhood imagination was profoundly touched by the early Apollo Missions, and although not one of the patient sorts that willingly stay up all night with a flask and a telescope, the enormity, excitement and energy of physics and space exploration has me spellbound.

Presenters Dara Ó Briain and Professor Brian Cox, astronaut Tim Peake – currently one of the team aboard the International Space Station, and almost everyone associated with the tv programme, with the Jodrell Bank observatory, and with the space mission, have a distinctive aura about and around them that I can only think to describe as an infectious joy. They’re all smiling, buzzing, and one has the impression that they’re simply bursting to share the news of all they’re learning.

How can I be surprised by such a joy? Humankind is moving at a rate of knots from one glorious discovery to another. Stunning new digital photography of Pluto is immeasurably better than that available only twelve months ago. Tim Peake is able to chatter to home-base as though leaning over a garden fence. Our sense of the sheer enormity of the Universe rolls along in tandem with our growing knowledge of the infinite power contained in single atoms.

Paying attention to Uni-verse. One-world-ness. Re-discovering. Re-membering. Re-uniting separated entities. Pushing boundaries. Overcoming obstacles, contemplation, meditation, patience, prayer, awe and wonder. Communion.

Mindfulness is a lifetime’s journey along a path that
ultimately leads nowhere, only to who you are

Jon Kabbat-Zinn