Jack Kornfield – Heart Wisdom – Ep. 93 – Mindfulness, Identity, and Incarnation


In this dharma talk, Jack uses the topic of identity as a lens to understand the practice of mindfulness and explore the beautiful mystery of this incarnation.

The Dimensions of Mindfulness

Jack opens this talk with a reflection on identity and the strangeness of being human in this particular incarnation. He investigates the different aspects of mindfulness, differentiating between mindfulness of attention and mindfulness of the vast mystery of life. We live in a paradox where mindfulness teaches us to care in the human world, but also not to hold on too tightly.

“Yes, we are separate and individual in certain ways, and in other ways that separateness is a fiction. And who we are is related to a whole so much bigger than that small, separate sense of self.” – Jack Kornfield

Navigating the River of Thoughts and Feelings (25:54)

How does mindfulness work in a practical way? Jack examines the role mindfulness and meditation practice play in awakening to the what’s going on in our bodies and minds. He talks about how to become awakened is to become intimate with all things with loving awareness.

“We need to marry mindfulness and kindness, because only then can we really open to the mystery of our life.” – Jack Kornfield

Explore more about mindfulness with Joseph Goldstein on Insight Hour Ep. 66
The Paradox of Incarnation (44:59)

Jack ends the show with a reminder that who we are is not limited by history or conditions or circumstances. He reflects on the paradox of this beautiful incarnation, that we must honor it, but also remember it’s not all of who we are.

“You get to both inhabit this amazing life that you have with mindfulness and attention, with balance and care, and also with a sense of mystery… That who you are is not just limited to the conditions of your life.” – Jack Kornfield


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