(CNN)”You can’t figure it out by thinking,” Jon Kabat-Zinn advised Anderson Cooper on embracing the present moment through mindfulness. “It’s more of a way of being.”
Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, joined “Full Circle” to share some simple strategies on how to be more present and grounded during these challenging times.He said the capacity for awareness is like a superpower that everyone has and it can be accessed by paying attention and practicing meditation. “We can actually exercise the muscle by noticing what’s on our mind in a particular moment and then not judging it as good or bad, even if it’s painful, even if it’s stressful,” he said. “Just recognize that your awareness can see it as an event in the field of awareness — a thought, an emotion coupled with unpleasantness or pleasantness — and then you can let it be.”Cooper said he is learning to embrace mindfulness in his life after at first being hesitant to try meditation. Read More”I think one of the things that’s so kind of remarkable about meditation is it’s not something you need a lot of equipment for, or any equipment for,” Cooper observed. “It’s not something you need to get a special workout outfit for.” Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”He calls it a portable practice that can be carried out under any circumstances. “People have the idea that you meditate, you have to like carve out long stretches of time on a meditation cushion and do something formal, which is very valuable and true and I hope people do.” Kabat-Zinn said. “But the real meditation practice is how we’re living our lives moment by moment by moment.”Kabat-Zinn led Cooper in a meditation exercise on camera and invited viewers to participate. To watch the full interview and join Anderson in meditation go to cnn.com/fullcircle.