Top critical review
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This "course" is way too complicated
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.