Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kabat-Zinn police

Yesterday in my classroom I introduced my students to the Kabat-Zinn police.

It started many places but here are some of them.

  1. Quantum Theology Woman wrote some posts about Latin in the past year, which made me wish I knew some Latin.
  2. Years ago we bought a book called Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  3. Sitting in a meeting with staff working the summer program, I blurted out, "I'll teach an English class." My offer was accepted and I was handed the best readers on campus for this summer.
I knew what I wanted and the bookstore had it. A book which had Latin and Greek words, their meanings, and the English words which have sprouted from them.

which brings us to Thursday night when I read about ESSE, which means to be. Many a word have come from this word, some being ... essential, absence, essence, represent, interests, is, and present.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a doctor at the University of Massachusetts, has had great success treating people with chronic pain by introducing them to the concept of mindfulness... living in the present moment.... choosing to be.
Many a wise person has entered our lives and they often seem to speak of mindfulness so when Mosaic Woman gets stuck on a thought for days and days or I can't keep my mind on the present moment because my mind floats to 10,000 thoughts in 15 seconds, we say... "The Kabat-Zinn police are going to be knocking on our door." Yes, arrested for living away from the present moment.

A Jesuit once preached to me that it is a great sin to miss out on God's unfolding universe. There it was again. To be stuck in the past or the future and to miss out on the present moment... being unaware of what God is creating in our life is truly a sad thing. We are being absent from God's presence which is essential... being of the utmost importance

Maybe those Kabat-Zinn police are angels sent by God, you know...representatives.

It made for an interesting lesson, but I left out that final thought. The angels came about at a more recent moment and would have been stretching what I am to say in my secular classroom.


  1. The only thing my father ever required of me in high school (He would later "push" me to applying for a scholorship in engineering, a mistake on his part and on my part for trying to please him) was to take Latin. I took it for two years (We were not Catholic) and I have often said it was the reason I did so well in the Navy with the language testing. It took a Holy Ghost conversion to Christ to teach me about living in the "esse"....

  2. Jim-- I too was encouraged to engineering and it did not go well. I don't think my high school taught Latin???


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