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Mindfulness (2011)

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Mindfulness : a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by J Mark G Williams (2011)



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Shockingly, I am able to meditate! I never would have believed it before reading this book. I read this at just the right time to help me get through a rough patch. If you think you don't have time to meditate, you need this more than anyone! ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
From my Cannonball Read 6 review...

Many people find themselves with over-scheduled social lives, or work situations filled with a seemingly endless stream of projects, meetings and deadlines. Perhaps these people are facing challenges at home, or school, or with health. The challenges might seem minor to others, or perhaps others observe and wonder how the person is still functioning given everything that’s happening in their lives. We hear it a lot from women who have children and also work outside of the home – there are demands everywhere, and these women can’t seem to get a break.

Without going into too much detail about why I found myself drawn to this book (during yet ANOTHER trip to Powell’s in Portland – that place should just take all of my money now), but I wanted something that would help me to be more present in my life, and kinder to myself. My husband meditates, and it really helps him when he’s feeling a bit off. Given that, this specific book appealed to me in many ways – it wasn’t horribly long (about 250 pages), it had a clear plan (it focuses on an eight-week meditation program), and it even came with a link to audio files to guide the meditations.

I was successful in keeping up with the program for about a week. I did read each chapter, and I really enjoyed the messages within them, but I don’t think this book was what I wanted. I sort of want to meditate, and I mostly enjoyed the meditations in this book, but I found the information within the chapters leading up to the meditations themselves to be much more useful. It was probably not the best book for me given what I was looking for, but I think it was well-written, supported with some research, and not overly flowery. Yes, it the authors discuss self-care, but if you have an aversion to anything that seems new age-y (although meditation is hardly that), you can still read this book and enjoy it. I’m sure I’ll end up referring back to it during challenging days, but it hasn’t turned me into a regular meditator. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Since isn't the first time I have read about the subject of mindfulness meditation so I cannot help but it compare it to other books. Also, I have attempted to practice some elements of mindfulness during the past year but must admit to not succeeding in using formal meditation on a daily basis.

This self help book has a focus on MBCT which utilizes traditional CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and incorporates the use of mindfulness based meditation practice. To the credit of the authors, I do not feel this book is overly challenging and includes a good balance of various meditations, plus accompanying "real life" examples (even though they are a little generalized). There also is not too much focus on psychological studies and medical terminology within the chapters. (I am making this statement in comparison to some of the more technical writings I have read by Jon Kabat-Zinn who is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.)

Ultimately the goal of MBCT is to change automatic thought processes and teach participants to focus less on reacting to incoming information or observed events, and instead accept and observe them without judgment. Mindfulness meditation also distinguishes between "doing mode" which is goal oriented, often with a focus on the future or past versus "being mode" which is a state of acceptance without passing any judgment. However, there are times when being in doing mode is essential to making decisions or even actively accomplishing day-to-day tasks. The book does acknowledge this however it doesn't really go into details about when a person should focus more or less on being mode versus doing mode. Perhaps that is supposed to be ascertained through practice or common sense on the part of the reader?

As with most books I have read about mindfulness and meditation, I do believe the authors gloss over or do not even acknowledge that mindfulness is not a cure-all for everything. The authors make some ambitious claims about the conditions that the practice can help with including anxiety, stress, depression, exhaustion, irritability, IBS, chronic pain, cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and type II diabetes. In addition, when practiced on a regular basis, mindfulness meditation is supposed to be as effective as some prescription painkillers. Also, yes there are some clinical trials to back up these claims however some of the studies seems to have used a small sample size and/or also relied heavily on fMRI brain studies which has its own set of limitations.

So, do I believe that mindfulness meditation can be helpful for many individuals and situations? Absolutely yes! I do believe that many of us could be a little more reflective and compassionate (both to others and ourselves) instead of being reactive. Do I think the claims for MBCT are over-hyped? Well, yes to that too. I personally feel there isn't one specific modality that can be a cure-all for everything, however it is probably more effective when used along with other complementary therapies, whether it be a physical practice such as yoga or in conjunction with psychotherapy in some cases. Also, I feel there are different types of meditation other than the formal practices suggested in the book. Some people may find their sense of calm and being in the moment through gardening, listening to music or even reading.

Do I feel this book is worthwhile to read? Yes, absolutely. I would suggest that individuals read it with an open mind, try some of the formal practices and take away from it those options that work best for their situation and personality. After all, meditation is not a new concept. It has been around for thousands of years, so for the practice to have survived this long maybe there is something to it.

The next time I am stuck waiting over a hour for an appointment, I do plan to put many of these concepts into practice. I will try to view the situation as an observer with a sense of compassion. I will not pass judgment on the random thoughts (or occasional swear words) going through my head and instead will focus on my breath. I will find my sense of zen, in that moment ... ( )
  This-n-That | Jul 23, 2016 |
It was okay. I read it but it wasn't simple, to-the-point enough for me. Beating about the bush and a little bit of zen here and there. Kept it on my shelf for a long time thinking one day I would pick it up. But I don't see that happening so I'm dropping it. ( )
1 vote MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
The accompanying CD has the best, most helpful meditation tracks I've found. My favourite book on meditation and mindfulness. ( )
2 vote merry10 | Jan 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williams, J Mark Gprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Penman, Dannymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, J. Mark G.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Penman, DannyAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kabat-Zinn, JonPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kabat-Zinn, JonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mindfulness reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into daily life to help break the cycle of unhappiness, stress, anxiety and mental exhaustion and promote genuine joie de vivre. It's the kind of happiness that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and helps you meet the worst that life can throw at you with new courage. The book is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and it is recommended by the UK's National Institute of Clinical Excellence - in other words, it works. More importantly it also works for people who are not depressed but who are struggling to keep up with the constant demands of the modern world. Mindfulness focuses on promoting joy and peace rather than banishing unhappiness. It's precisely focused to help ordinary people boost their happiness and confidence levels whilst also reducing anxiety, stress and irritability.… (more)

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