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on May 31, 2005
This book offers a structured, ten week course in learning the way of mindfulness as a spiritual practice. Because of this, I find it useful. It is good for the very new person, and for those like myself who are studying without yet having a teacher and who may not be naturally self-disciplined.

It begins with a four week section designed so the reader knows how to set up the basic elements - breathing, sitting meditatin, daily life practices and such, both formally and informally. After this phase is completed, the student will have the basics as part of a schedule and can move on.

In the fifth through eighth weeks, the student learns to focus on mindfullness of body, feelings, thinking and objects of mind (this last chapter focuses on thoughts, feelings, or object of perception which our mind is focusing on - and includes mindful conversation and deep listening).

In the third section, weeks nine and ten, one practices loving kindness and compassion.

At the beginning of each section there are two guided meditations you can use, breathing in, breathing out (and specific sentences to help guide you)

The final section has ways to continue this.

This book is very good as a help to those working alone. A good-sized book, it offers over 200 pages of instructions, not including introduction, appendix, index and other comments. It is a book I can use over and over...someday I'll grow out of it but not just yet.
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on April 25, 2004
Accessible, simple, straightforward -- this is the sort of meditation instruction book that Andrew Weiss offers. It's not preachy, doesn't profess to offer answers. Rather, it offers a direct way into what some consider a difficult, even unattainable practice. Mindfulness is a miracle, Thich Nhat Hanh says and to be present to what is actually happening -- pleasant or unpleasant -- is a great accomplisment. To be present for another person is a great gift. It's what our partners, children and friends really want -- our true presence. Here's a guide about how to get here.
So, in this book, there is a path laid out, with infinite variations possible, for bringing more mindfulness into the lives of individuals, families and communities. Goodness knows we need guides like this in these times of fear, violence and uncertainty. They steady us on the path and allow us to discover our connections with all beings.
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on April 22, 2004
If you are a beginner to meditation, Andrew's book is an easy to read set of lessons, which will help you stay in the present and stay aware of your own body and the world around you. For those of you who have been practicing meditation for awhile and feel stuck or loosing interest in meditation; this book contains a wonderful set of tools that will improve one's meditation practice and in becoming more mindful and aware of every aspect of your daily life.
The book reflects the same lessons, practical guidance and methods that Andrew offers in his own meditation classes. I've found his lessons in Metta meditation and Tonglin breath very helpful in providing loving kindness, and healing to myself and others. He has changed my life and the book is a wonderful reference.
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on February 19, 2004
I have read this book several times and every time I read it, I find something new. It's a true gift! I use this book for my own practice and as the basis for a meditation class I teach. The simple practices have brought me peace and freedom and allowed me to live a more authentic life. This book has far-reaching effects. I can clearly see the positive impact my practice has on the people around me and how the exercises benefit those I teach. The lessons are designed to be incorporated into everyday life making it powerful, yet practical. This book offers you an opportunity to awaken to your true potential and participate in raising the consciousness of the entire planet!
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on April 17, 2004
Beginning Mindfulness is a practical how-to manual based on the author's many years of teaching meditation and related skills: it is also a delight. Weiss, a senior practitioner in two Zen traditions, is open-minded, clear-eyed, at once amused and compassionate toward himself and toward the world. He writes well, and his voice is welcoming and authentic. This book is a flower of spiritual candor, rooted firmly in the mud of daily life; experienced meditaters will appreciate the light confessional tone, and newcomers to the path with find in it a guide they can trust.
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on August 13, 2008
Weiss's sincerity and caring come shining through in this book, and he has some great ideas that he tries to synthesize into a structured program, but there are some deficiencies that in the end made me give up his program. Foremost is that the program he offers makes things WAY too complicated.

You are expected to remember numerous things to do throughout your day, as well as memorizing key words for "guided meditations" or hathas, and you are expected to remember different things to do in different parts of your meditations, in certain sequences. It is just too much, and eventually you feel like you are constantly forgetting something that you were supposed to be doing, or should have done.

For example: By the fourth week you are supposed to remember to do four different things throughout the day in a mindful manner, use a bell signal to stop and be mindful, do three different things in a certain order during your formal meditation, do mindful walking when you go to the restroom and after your sitting meditation, eat at least one meal mindfully, and use a hatha for at a least one activity throughout the day. This seems ridiculous to me. How could anyone possibly remember all of that? It eventually led to frustration and seemed contrary to one of the characteristics of mindfulness practice: that it should be a simple procedure.

The second problem, I felt, was poor explanations for the procedures. This is strange, because his explanations of the concepts of mindfulness were exceptional clear and practical, but when it came time to explain how to do something, it fell far short.

For example: at one point fairly far into the book, he says something to the effect of making the first segment of your meditation at least 5 minutes, the second 10 minutes, and the third at least 5. Yet, I had no idea what "segments" he was talking about. I thought I missed something and skimmed back through the entire book twice, but found no reference to these "segments", so I began guessing at what he might be referring to, but that just led to more confusion.

Not saying this to be true, but the FEELING I got was that this program is something that hasn't had a lot of refinement and use.

Compare this book with "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante H. Gunaratana. There you will find a program that is incredibly simple, and that has a feeling of "tried and true".

I can certainly appreciated what Weiss is trying to do here, and I applaud him for such a sincere and honest effort, but I just think the program needs to be critiqued and refined a bit more.
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on January 10, 2007
I first found this book in my local library, but after finishing it knew that I had to have a copy. It's one of the most practical mindfulness/meditation courses I've ever encountered. This offers plenty of techniques for fitting meditation and daily life mindfulness into a busy schedule, while not skimming over the more intense practices. It would probably be of most use to someone using it in a group, as that would give more potential for feedback, but it's still an excellent resource for a solitary meditator.
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VINE VOICEon October 1, 2010
Regrettably, I have lived like most people for a large part of my 72 years. The last 35 years however, I have been trying to re-invent myself. I have made some progress, but I can now see that I have been missing some vital fundamentals. I have been spending too much time in the past while somewhat anxious about the future. This has been compulsive behavior and I was, until now, unable to control it. The study of Mindfulness reveals my need for living in the present moment. Beginning Mindfulness . . . is a book that teaches a kind of meditation that can be applied even when walking around in public places.

Most people filter out every opinion and every proof that are in conflict with their own beliefs, and/or realities that could prevent them from getting what they want. They usually filter out the beauty of the world around them, seeking only to use their eyes to navigate themselves around - and to watch TV. They try to filter out all the ambient noises, thinking that they are distracting them from their own thoughts - which may be about anything other than the present moment. While they may claim they do, they actually don't care about truth. They insist on holding on to their prejudices and selfish desires despite the serious problems this kind of blindness causes. The brain gets tired of censoring.

Filtering out is a form of censorship. By labeling much of reality as undesirable or irrelevant, censorship causes people to miss out on much that is pleasurable. Living outside of the moment is mind numbing. It brings on dissatisfaction and depression. Chasing rainbows is frustrating. I'm beginning to think that Mindfulness is relaxing for the brain. It is the EGO censoring part of the brain that wears people down.

Beginning Mindfulness . . . is already starting to help me break out of the selfish fantasy syndrome. I'm more relaxed and better able to control my brain and my emotions. Going into a more mindful state causes all the colors, shapes, and textures to appear as being in riveting 3-dimensions. I'm seeing like a small child sees. I hear sounds and smell fragrances I would not otherwise have sensed. I feel intimate with my own body and, strangely, just these experiences make me feel happiness. And this after working through only the first four lessons.

I plan to continue my study of Mindfulness, and incorporate the practice into my daily life. I recommend this book to my friends and to my enemies. It is a great start to a more realistic, peaceful, and enjoyable life - a prescription to live by.
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on November 26, 2009
I knew nothing about meditation before purchasing this book. I knew it would be helpful for me to reduce stress and improve my concentration. And i am glad that I found this book!

The author gives easy to follow excercises on how to meditate by sitting, walking, or even when doing everyday tasks. At times it gets a little too much into buddhist philosophy, which isnt all that bad seeing how some of it i agree with, just be aware if you are easily offended about someone talking about another religion.

I use the techniques in this book along with binaural beat technology and meditate twice a day and have already noticed great results. It takes a life time of commitment but with this guide, you will be well on your way!
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on January 15, 2007
This book has a lot of great ideas for ways to practice mindfulness. You don't need to know a lot about the theory of mindfulness to benefit from the exercises in this book and the suggestions are quite practical and easy to incorporate into every day activities.
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