“Mr. Jon Kabat-Zinn writes: ‘Meditation is a Way of being, a Way of living, a Way of listening, a Way of walking along the path of life and being in harmony with things as they are’. (As ‘things as they are’ of course includes wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, child abuse, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression and suicide the lie of being non-judgmental is readily exposed for those with the eyes to see).”
Re:Mailing List 'D' Respondent No. 11

What is Richard implying here by dismissing “being in harmony with things as they are”?

If he is brushing off the goal of “being in harmony”, I get that. It is not actualism because it’s not about extinguishing the identity in toto.
But “being in harmony” is a part of feeling happy and harmless, and ‘perfection’. So I just want to get clarified whether he is implying “being in harmony” doesn’t align with actualism.

In my understanding Richard is dismissing “being in harmony with things as they are” as long as that harmony is achieved through a way of being. Which is what meditation usually proposes in one form or another.

Mindfulness aims at not having things affect the self negatively through thought and emotion (thus making us feel happier, more peaceful, less reactive, etc.) by changing the way of being -by changing the self-, but not by eliminating it.


@Kiman Miguel is on point here. Another thing to remember is that this is Kabat-Zinn’s teaching of meditation was originally devised to aid Westerners with depression and was purged of its more radical elements, along with its original ritualistic and doctrinal aspects. His somewhat bland and benign take can be contrasted with the definition of meditation seen in the Satipatthana Sutta


One thing I’ll add is that Richard is criticizing this notion of being “non-judgmental” - which arises in this context of this type of meditation but also in other spiritual contexts.

He’s saying look, there are wars, rapes, murders, tortures, suicides, and more horrible things, occurring in the world right now. Are we really to sit back and not judge this all as horrible, as a thing to be reviled, as us needing to do something about it? Are we really to be “in harmony” with murder and rape?

Of course not… that would be ridiculous. And so this approach of non-judgment is exposed as being a lie.

That being said, the fact that these horrible things are occurring - which must not be covered up or shied away from - does not mean that we must be angry , sorrowful and miserable about it, as that won’t accomplish anything.

Essentially, the non-judgement approach is to intellectually accept what is actually intellectually unacceptable (the wars, rapes, murders, etc). However what is instead more sensible is to recognize it is intellectually unacceptable, but emotionally accept it. The question to ask is, “Can I emotionally accept that which is intellectually unacceptable?”

This way you retain your judgement, sensibility, and intellect, while being able to do something to resolve the problem - which is done by, essentially, having fun (i.e. the actualism method). As then that leads to actual freedom via self-immolation, which is what will actually resolve the horrible problems of the world.


Also brief moderation note @Kiman , I would suggest making the thread title more descriptive (Query - a query about what?) , it will help for usability, visibility on category list, etc