Kabat Zinn Scripts

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Transcriptions of Jon Kabat-Zinn's meditation tapes.


  • Series 1

    Guided Body Scan Meditation

    (This script has been slightly modified from the original Kabat-Zinn tape.) This tape is based on the practice of body scan meditation, developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre Stress Reduction Clinic, directed by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. By using this tape regularly and just following the process you are taking on an active and powerful role in improving your health. Although the meditation will result in deep relaxation, I dont want you to go to sleep, so dont do it when you are very tired. Certainly dont use it whilst you are driving a car. It is designed to help you enter and dwell in a state of very deep physical and mental relaxation. It is best to do this it in a place in which you feel comfortable and secure, and at a time when you will not be interrupted by anyone or by the telephone. Avoid excesses of heat or cold, and draughts. Dress in loose and comfortable clothing and particularly make sure your clothes do not feel tight around your waist, or restrict your breathing. It is useful to see this time now as a time that is totally set aside for you, as an opportunity to be by yourself and to be with yourself fully. See if you can allow it to be a nourishing time, a time you deserve to give yourself some positive energy and attention, a time in which to open to the sources of strength and healing within yourself. In doing work of this kind it is important to remember not to try too hard to relax. This will just create tension. What we will be doing is becoming aware in each passing moment, and just accepting what is happening in yourself, looking at it clearly and seeing it as it is because it is already here, it is part of your experience in the moment for better or for worse. Let go of the tendency at times that we all have to want things to be different from how they are right now and allow things to be exactly as you find them. If there are occasional background noises or distractions at times, accept them as the reality of the moment, and let go trying to change the reality by insisting that it be something different from how it is. Allow yourself to be exactly as you are, use the instructions for guidance as best you can watching your body and the activity of your mind as we go along. Letting go of judgmental and critical thoughts in particular, and just doing what it says to do as best you can and being aware of how you feel, of what is happening. Remember that there is no right to feel while you are doing this, the way you are feeling is the way you are feeling right now. Just accepting it, and giving yourself permission to feel what you are feeling and seeing that its okay. Do this meditation in whatever posture or position is comfortable, but preferably lying down on a bed or mat, but without a large pillow. If you are on a firm surface, you may wish to place a cushion under your knees to take some strain off your lower back. If lying on your back is not comfortable, make sure your chair is supportive. Its really your sensitivity and level of attention and not the way you are positioned which is important. So now lets arrange yourself now to lie down on our backs if possible, settle into a comfortable position, and allowing your eyes to close gently if this is comfortable with you. Letting the arms lie alongside your body, palms open towards the ceiling if that feels comfortable, and allowing the feet to fall away from each other and slowly bringing your attention to the fact that you are breathing. No manipulating your breath in anyway, but simply experiencing it as the air moves in and out of your body. And directing your attention in particular to your stomach and belly, your abdomen, and feeling the sensations in that region as the breath comes into your body and the abdomen expands gently, and as the breath moves out of your body and the belly deflates. And just following with you minds eye the rhythmic movements of your stomach with each breath. The rising of your stomach on the IN breath,

  • and the falling on the OUT breath. (P 5)And on each OUT breath, just letting go. Letting your body become heavy as it sinks a little bit deeper into the floor or into your mat. (P 10) Just give full attention in each moment to your breathing. The complete IN breath, and the complete OUT breath following rhythmically, one after the other. As the body sinks with every out breath into the bed or mat, as you let go. (P 10) Now when you feel ready to lets shift the focus of your attention to the toes of the left foot. Just taking your mind and moving it away from your belly, and down the left leg all the way to the foot and all the way out to your toes. And just becoming aware of whatever the feelings are in this region of your body. There may be sensations of tingling or moisture, or itching, or warmth. Whatever they are it is not important, but just feeling your toes, as they are. And if you find that you are registering a blank when you tune to this region, then just experiencing not feeling. Experiencing what is there, and just breathing with these sensations. Experiencing the big toe and if you can, the little toe. Not moving them, but just feeling them individually and perhaps the toes in between. And as you breathe in, just imagining that the breath is moving right down into and through the lungs and through the stomach and down the left leg and all the way to your toes, and as you breathe out imagine that the breath is just moving back up from your toes and ultimately out through your nose, so that youre breathing in down to your toes and then breathing out from your toes. And when youre ready just on the out breath, letting go of your toes completely, allowing this region of your body to just dissolve in your minds eye, and move your attention and bring it to focus on the bottom of your left foot. And whatever feelings there are in this particular region, breathing with it, feeling the bottom of your foot. And when you are ready breathing down the leg to the bottom of your foot, and on the out breath breathing out from the bottom of your foot and just letting it go. And coming to focus now on the heel and the place where your heel is making contact with the bed or mat or whatever, and feeling the sense of touch and pressure. And when youre ready breathing into the heel and on the out breath just letting go of your heel. Becoming aware of the top of your left foot, and whatever feelings or lack of feelings there are from that particular region, not so much thinking about your foot as just being there with it, feeling it, letting it predominate in the field of your awareness at the moment. Breathing with your foot and letting that awareness spread to the ankle as well, and feeling your own left ankle, and breathing with it, and when you are ready, breathing, directing the IN breath down to the ankle and on the OUT breath just letting go of the ankle and the entirety of your left foot. As you relax into a deeper state of stillness and awareness. There is nothing else to do right now, nowhere to go, but just being aware of now. And become aware of the left lower leg, the shin in the front and the calf muscle in back, and any sensations, feelings in your lower left leg, not just on the surface but deep down as well, right down into the bones in the lower leg. Experiencing this region as it is, not trying to make it be any different. Just accepting the feelings that you feel, breathing with them, and when you are ready just letting go of this part of your body as well, as you relax and sink even deeper into the mat, into the floor, as you let go. Letting the focus now move up to your knee. Feeling your knee, the kneecap, and sides and back of the knee, and deep into the joint, and just experiencing your left knee, breathing with it, and on an out breath just letting it dissolve as well. And moving now into the region of the left thigh above the knee, the outside and deep inside, all the way up to the groin and the hip, and just experiencing your left thigh, as it touches the bed or mat, letting it be as soft and relaxed as possible, if there is any tension in the thigh or anywhere else when you come to it. Just allowing it to exit on each out breath. Allowing the thigh to be soft and relaxed,

  • breathing with your thigh. And when you are ready taking a deeper breath in down into the thigh, and as you breath out just letting it dissolve and relax and soften as you let go. Now lets move over the right leg and become aware of the feelings in the right toes, the toes of the right foot. And is you can without wiggling them, just feeling the sensations of the big toe and the little toe and the others. Breathing, directing the in breaths down into the foot and right to the toes, and on the out breath just letting the breath come up from the toes and right out through your nose. Just registering the sensations that are in this region. Not judging them or worrying about what your toes should feel like, but just allowing them to be exactly as youre experiencing them now. And when you are ready, taking a deeper breath in, down into the toes, and on the out breath just letting your toes dissolve in the field of your awareness, and letting the attention shift onto the bottom of the right foot. And this time including the heel and the place where the foot makes contact with the bed or mat, just tuning into any and all sensations. Breathing with them, and when you are ready just on an out breath, just letting go of the bottom of your foot as you relax, as you let go of this region. And let the attention gently move to the top of the foot and to the ankle. Breathing in and breathing out, experiencing this region of your body, and when youre ready just letting it go. Letting it relax and soften and dissolving in your minds eye, and y