Expanding the Reach of Our Loving Hearts

Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus and the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is one of the forerunners in the worldwide mindfulness movement.

As Jon writes, "We can expand the field of the loving heart, of our lovingkindness, to include the planet as a whole, and out beyond that, to the entirety of the universe in which even the sun is merely an atom and we... not even a quark.

"....To extend the reach of our own heart has profound consequences for our own life, and for our own capacity to live in the world in ways that embody wisdom and compassion, lovingkindness and equanimity, and ultimately, that express the joy inherent in being alive.

"To engage in this way with lovingkindness is to recognize and nurture your own heart's essential freedom and inclusiveness, your own humanity, in all its beauty, not in some magical future but here and now, with things exactly as they are in this moment....

"By our engagement in such a practice and our recognition and trusting in the deepest nature of our own hearts, we who have emerged out of the earth, out of the ongoing lifestream of humanity, out of the universe, are somehow blessed and purified and made whole by the generosity of the very gesture of the lovingkindness practice in and of itself, and by its effects on our own heart that, for a moment at least, is no longer willing to harbor rancor and ill-will. We who choose to practice and embody lovingkindness, formally or informally, if even just a little bit, are undisputedly its first, but hardly its only beneficiaries.

"Let's not forget that the very atoms of our bodies were themselves forged in exploding supernovae and, in the case of the hydrogen, in the aftermath of the big bang itself, approximately 13.7 billion years ago, once the conditions allowed for its formation."


Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2018, Hachette Books, New York and Boston, pages 133 and 134.