This morning I tuned into my very favorite radio program “On Being”, which describes itself as a “spacious conversation” about “the big questions at the center of human life”. Host Krista Tippett interviewed Jon Kabat-Zinn about the role of mindfulness in our lives, which he defined as becoming intimate with the core of our own being. (In the show’s archives there is always a choice to listen to either the edited conversation that airs on the radio or the unedited exchange. I recommend listening to the unedited version.) In the interview he clarified that the word “mindfulness” is misleading because it evokes something cognitive, but that it should be designated more accurately as “heartfulness”.
At the end of today’s interview Kabat-Zinn points at the joy available to us if we could come home to ourselves by being in the present moment, by reciting a poem by Derek Walcott, a 1992 Nobel Laureate in literature from the island of St Lucia, called “Love after Love”.
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
This is my wish for all you, “Feast on your life” dear readers, during this pivotal year upon which we are about to embark. Our habitual abandonment of our true selves, and thus of the world, is at the heart of the global crisis that we are facing at this present moment. May we all awake from our collective trance, and truly befriend ourselves and the world in the coming year, and commit to doing our part to heal and save the planet from eco-cide.
Here is a YouTube video of Jon Kabat-Zinn on “Coming to our Senses“, which is also the title of his most recent book.