To conclude, it is probably best to say that Job Kabat-Zinn's influence on the way many parts of Western society now understand and engage with mindfulness cannot be underestimated. Part of why his ideas have caught on is down to his powerful advocacy of them, of course. And yet, it is also the way in which he has gone about educating the public about mindfulness that is so striking. Firstly, although he learned about the broader world of meditation through the lens of Buddhism, Kabat-Zinn has taken all religion and philosophy
out of his ideas. That might mean, for some, that the essential element of spirituality is missing. There again, for a more scientifically minded person, his teachings are able to hit home without all of the 'baggage' that some associate with New Ageism and other spiritual movements.
In addition, Kabat-Zinn has grounded his work in academic research in a way few others before him even attempted. As a scientist, he was able to formulate studies that made discernible links between meditation and brain physiology. This is why his techniques are not just more accepted in the West but have become part of the tradition of Western medicine
in some quarters. Overall, however, it is Kabat-Zinn's connection between stress reduction and mindfulness that has been lauded by so many. In a fast-paced world, stress and anxiety
– along with a raft of other mental health
disorders – are increasingly being diagnosed with only limited treatment pathways, especially preventative ones. This is, at heart, what he teaches and why his teachings are so popular.