Wherever You Go There You Are: Summary Review & Takeaways
This is a summary review of Wherever You Go There You Are containing key details about the book.
What is Wherever You Go There You Are About?
In Wherever You Go, There You Are, the author maps out a simple path for cultivating mindfulness in our lives, and awakening us to the unique possibilities of each present moment.
The book explains meditation as a scientifically established practice that can help reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and lead to improved awareness. The exercises in the book can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Who is the Author of Wherever You Go There You Are?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of numerous books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Coming to Our Senses.
[Favorite Quote]: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” (Meaning)
What are key takeaways from Wherever You Go There You Are?
Takeaway #1 How To Fully Enjoy The Moment
How many times have you found your mind wandering to other things whilst being in the middle of a really enjoyable moment such as enjoying a romantic meal on a lavish vacation when you suddenly think about a project waiting for you at work. Mindfulness is what it takes to stay in the present moment but this is something that requires constant practise.
Takeaway #2 What Is Mindfulness?
Being mindful means you appreciate the present moment and live your life consciously. It means you put a stop to living on autopilot, stopping those thoughts from racing through your head every second of the day, and just be. With those thoughts on pause and moments of slowness you can observe who you are and your view of the world resulting in a feeling of empowerment.
Takeaway #3 Developing Mindfulness
By incorporating a few practises into your daily routine you can experience mindfulness.
1. Stop Doing, Start Being – Sit or lay down and think of yourself as being timeless. Observe the now without trying to change anything. Notice what you see, feel, hear, touch, and smell. Embrace and accept this moment fully. If your mind strays, focus on the sensation of your breath.
2. Concentrate – Commit to fully experiencing one thing or one moment at a time. When you do this the other thoughts and the outer world will fall away.
3. Voluntary Simplicity – Engage in one activity or one thought at a time. This means deliberately ignoring some things to keep in the moment. For example, if you're talking to your partner about a plan and the phone rings, let it ring whilst you carry on your discussion.
4. Practice Patience - Anger and annoyance are pointless negative emotions and should be replaced with patience, generosity, and compassion instead. When you have successfully mastered this you'll have mastered a key component of mindfulness so stay in the moment when anger raises its head.
Takeaway #4 Formal or Informal Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be practised formally or informally through meditation, this giving you the time to pay attention to your body, the moment, and experience a heart-centered presence. Formal mindfulness means you have scheduled time for meditation each day. Meanwhile, informal meditation can be done walking or standing, the aim not to walk to a destination so walking in circles around your garden would suffice.
Takeaway #5 Question Yourself
Being mindful isn't something that happens as soon as you've decided you want it, you have to check in with yourself, asking yourself questions throughout the day to stay connected and present. When you get upset, pause and ask yourself 'what is upsetting me?'. You can also ask yourself 'what is my purpose right now?' and 'what is my purpose in life?' You can also practise mindfulness in your day by concentrating on your body – Notice how your body moves as you walk up a flight of stairs at work.
Takeaway #6 Overcoming Difficulties
Your ego and your thoughts are the biggest obstacles to overcome when practising mindfulness. Be wary of congratulating yourself when you have a great meditation session as your ego could be lulling you into a false sense of achievement - meditation does not have an end destination so consider what your ego thinks the end goal is. Selfing is another common problem which means making every thought and moment about yourself. You don't want to get rid of selfing, just balance it by remembering that every moment is interrelated and that there is no independent you – You are not an island, you exist in harmony with the people, places, and events around you.
- Print length: 304 Pages
- Audiobook: 3 hrs and 9 mins
- Genre: Nonfiction, Self Help, Spirituality, Psychology, Philosophy
What are the chapters in Wherever You Go There You Are?
Chapter One - What Is Mindfulness
Chapter Two - Simple but Not Easy
Chapter Three - Stopping
Chapter Four - This Is It
Chapter Five - Capturing Your Moments
Chapter Six - Keeping the Breath in Mind
Chapter Seven - Practice Does Not Mean Rehearsal
Chapter Eight - You Don't Have to Go Out of Your Way to Practice
Chapter Nine - Waking Up
Chapter Ten - Keeping It Simple
Chapter Eleven - You Can't Stop the Waves but You Can Learn to Surf
Chapter Twelve - Can Anybody Meditate
Chapter Thirteen - In Praise of Non-Doing
Chapter Fourteen - The Non-Doing Paradox
Chapter Fifteen - Non-Doing in Action
Chapter Sixteen - Doing Non-Doing
Chapter Seventeen - Patience
Chapter Eighteen - Letting Go
Chapter Nineteen - Non-Judging
Chapter Twenty - Trust
Chapter Twenty-One - Generosity
Chapter Twenty-Two - You Have to Be Strong Enough to Be Weak
Chapter Twenty-Three - Voluntary Simplicity
Chapter Twenty-Four - Concentration
Chapter Twenty-Five - Vision
Chapter Twenty-Six - Meditation: Not to Be Confused with Positive Thinking
Chapter Twenty-Seven - Going Inside
Chapter Twenty-Eight - Sitting Meditation
Chapter Twenty-Nine - Taking Your Seat
Chapter Thirty - Dignity
Chapter Thirty-One - Posture
Chapter Thirty-Two - What to Do with Your Hands
Chapter Thirty-Three - Coming Out of Meditation
Chapter Thirty-Four - How Long to Practice
Chapter Thirty-Five - No Right Way
Chapter Thirty-Six - A What-Is-My-Way? Meditation
Chapter Thirty-Seven - The Mountain Meditation
Chapter Thirty-Eight - The Lake Meditation
Chapter Thirty-Nine – Walking Meditation
Chapter Forty - Standing Meditation
Chapter Forty-One - Lying-Down Meditation
Chapter Forty-Two - Getting Your Body Down on the Floor at Least Once a Day
Chapter Forty-Three - Not Practicing Is Practicing
Chapter Forty-Four - Loving Kindness Meditation
Chapter Forty-Five - Sitting by Fire
Chapter Forty-Six - Harmony
Chapter Forty-Seven - Early Morning
Chapter Forty-Eight - Direct Contact
Chapter Forty-Nine - Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Tell Me?
Chapter Fifty - Your Own Authority
Chapter Fifty-One - Wherever You Go, There You Are
Chapter Fifty-Two - Going Upstairs
Chapter Fifty-Three - Cleaning the Stove While Listening to Bobby McFerrin
Chapter Fifty-Four - What Is My Job on the Planet with a Capital J?
Chapter Fifty-Five - Mount Analogue
Chapter Fifty-Six - Interconnectedness
Chapter Fifty-Seven - Non-Harming-Ahimsa
Chapter Fifty-Eight - Karma
Chapter Fifty-Nine - Wholeness and Oneness
Chapter Sixty - Eachness and Suchness
Chapter Sixty-One - What Is This?
Chapter Sixty-Two - Selfing
Chapter Sixty-Three - Anger
Chapter Sixty -Four - Cat-Food Lessons
Chapter Sixty -Five - Parenting as Practice
Chapter Sixty -Six - Parenting Two
Chapter Sixty -Seven - Some Pitfalls Along the Path
Chapter Sixty -Eight - Is Mindfulness Spiritual?
What are some of the main summary points from the book?
Here are some key summary points from the book:
- Mindfulness is about being fully present: Kabat-Zinn emphasizes that mindfulness is the art of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It involves fully immersing ourselves in our experiences, whether they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
- Cultivating mindfulness leads to a richer life: By practicing mindfulness, we can develop a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life and find joy in the present moment. It allows us to savor experiences, connect with others, and find contentment in the midst of life's challenges.
- Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere: Kabat-Zinn emphasizes that mindfulness is not limited to formal meditation practice. It can be integrated into everyday activities such as eating, walking, working, and even waiting in line. Mindfulness is about bringing a non-judgmental awareness to whatever we are doing.
- The breath is an anchor for mindfulness: The breath serves as a focal point for developing mindfulness. By paying attention to our breath, we can anchor ourselves in the present moment and cultivate a sense of calm and centeredness.
- Non-judgmental awareness is crucial: Mindfulness involves observing our thoughts, emotions, and sensations without labeling them as good or bad. This non-judgmental attitude allows us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others, and it helps us break free from habitual patterns of reactivity.
- Acceptance is a key aspect of mindfulness: Rather than trying to change or control our experiences, mindfulness encourages us to accept things as they are in the present moment. This acceptance does not mean resignation but rather a willingness to acknowledge and work with reality.
- Mindfulness is a lifelong practice: Kabat-Zinn emphasizes that mindfulness is not a quick fix or a one-time solution. It is a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-compassion. Like any skill, mindfulness requires consistent practice and cultivation.
What is a good quote from Wherever You Go There You Are?
“You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests the development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.”
―Jon Kabat-Zinn - Wherever You Go, There You Are Quotes
* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.