Panther Reads

“Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Caroline Hubbard

Journalism advisor and English teacher Justin Spencer is re-reading “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The book explores mindfulness and meditation as ways of reducing stress.

Caroline Hubbard, Editor-in-Chief

Journalism advisor and English teacher Justin Spencer read “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. 

“One thing I realized and sort of sat with is asking myself the question, ‘Why am I so stressed?’ The answer I discovered when asking myself that question was the thing stressing me out the most was stress,” Spencer said. “The answer became, ‘Well, just don’t be stressed.’ The work of Jon Kabat-Zinn has been very influential in helping make that happen.”

“Wherever You Go There You Are” explores mindfulness and zen in everyday life. Two major points of the book are “Breathe” and “Be.” 

“Breathing is important because you need respiration and air to stay alive, but also just taking a minute to just pause and just breathe and feel yourself breathe and be with your breath,” Spencer said. “In my classroom, it’s said ‘Be Present,’ in the words of the Minimalists it is, ‘Be On The Mountain,’ [and] in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn it is, ‘Wherever You Go There You Are.’ So what I tell my students is when you’re in first period, be in first period, [and] don’t be anywhere else. If you are present and mindful in first period, you will get done what you need to in first period.” 

Kabat-Zinn, known for Stress Reduction Clinic in Massachusetts, also wrote, “Meditation is Not What You Think” and “Everyday Blessings.”

If you have the choice between being stressed and not being stressed, I don’t know anyone in their right mind who is going to choose to be stressed,” Spencer said. “As soon as we realize stress is a choice, just make a different choice.”

Spencer said he would recommend this book to absolutely anyone and everyone, starting with students and then going on to parents and administrators. This is a great book to help anyone balance stress and the business of life.