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Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness [Kindle Edition]

Diana Winston , Susan L. Smalley PhD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mindfulness—the art of paying attention with an open and curious mind to present-moment experiences—has attracted ever-growing interest and tens of thousands of practitioners, who have come to the discipline from both within and outside the Buddhist tradition. In Fully Present, leading mindfulness researchers and educators Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston provide an all-in-one guide for anyone interested in bringing mindfulness to daily life as a means of enhancing well-being. Fully Present provides both a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively and powerfully affects the brain and the body as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

You wouldn't go through your day after having left your leg at home, so why are so many of us living lives with our minds left behind? Smalley, a former professor of biology, and Winston, a former Buddhist nun, answer this question and enable readers to remedy the absent-minded lifestyle. As founder/director and director, respectively, of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, the authors draw on their experience of bringing mindfulness to the masses and present the scientific side of mindfulness with an artful approach that results in a well-rounded synthesis accessible to scholars and laymen alike. Research studies, personal accounts, and practical applications illuminate mindfulness as a form of meditation; with activities as simple as breathing, listening, and walking, the practice can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle. Though a surprisingly extensive list of benefits from mindfulness is supported by what current research exists, the authors simultaneously acknowledge that more needs to be done and they find encouragement in positive results that reveal mindfulness as a simple yet profound solution to daily problems. Smalley and Winston will pique interest in living a completely present life, even if what that means has yet to be fully understood.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


 Library Journal, 6/22/10
“Excellent. Fully Present offers one of the clearest introductions to mindfulness in the field.”

Publishers Weekly, 8/2/10
“The authors draw on their experience of bringing mindfulness to the masses and present the scientific side of mindfulness with an artful approach that results in a well-rounded synthesis accessible to scholars and laymen alike. Research studies, personal accounts, and practical applications illuminate mindfulness as a form of meditation; with activities as simple as breathing, listening, and walking, the practice can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle…Smalley and Winston will pique interest in living a completely present life, even if what that means has yet to be fully understood.”
Cincinnati Parent, 8/13/10
“[The authors’] collaboration in Fully Present draws on their expertise and experience in ways that readers can totally relate to…Take your time with this one. It's that good.”, 10/14/10
“A comprehensive manual that explains in layman’s language not only the supporting science behind mindfulness, but also the art and the how-to…There are so many excellent reasons to develop mindfulness and an equal number of excuses for putting it off. Now that we have Fully Present as a gentle guide, we can no longer claim ignorance as one of those excuses.”

Mindful, January 2011
“Seamlessly combines easy-to-read reports on scientific research with first-person accounts and practice instructions…A lively read.”

Metapsychology Online Reviews, 12/13/10
“A good introduction for those who are not familiar with mindfulness and w...

Product Details

  • File Size: 751 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0738213241
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 1 Original edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Y8YWGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read Book! October 12, 2010
By Betsy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I began reading "Fully Present", I was amazed by its stunning amount of information and insight. The next day, after finishing the entire book because I simply could not put it down, I realized how READABLE it was as well. I am relatively new to the concept of "Mindfulness" (a mental state that can be learned about and cultivated by anyone with the desire to enrich the experience of living) and after reading this book, feel that I have a much fuller understanding of what it means, why it works and how it can be cultivated. I found the book's scientific information (particularly on the brain's plasticity - or ability to grow and evolve over one's entire life - a relatively new discovery) not just fascinating, but (for a non-scientist like myself) highly accessible. As for the book's "non-scientific" information (on everything from the practice of meditation to the cultivation of gratitude), it was explained and discussed in a way that would make sense to even the most scientifically minded reader. This book is a must-read for anyone interested not just in enhancing their life, but in enhancing the moment-to-moment, day-to-day joy of living it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
It's pretty difficult to write a credible study in social science and a useful self-help book. Authors Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston have done quite well in accomplishing this task. Smalley and Winston are colleagues at the Mindful Awareness Research Center, and this well-written treatise helps to explain their ideas on meditation and wellbeing. They suggest that through mindfulness, essentially living life in the moment and taking full advantage of it, humans may help ease chronic pain, reduce stress, and assist all individuals in achieving their goals.

Authors Smalley and Winston emphasize that while Western medicine is closely tied to pharmaceuticals, there is a strain of Western medicine that also offers scientifically-documented approaches to well-being that emphasize non-pharmacological treatments. "Mindfulness, they write, "is a tool we can use to examine conceptual frameworks, to lessen the influence of preconceptions, and to experience `what is' by choice rather than through drugs" (p. 10). This is not living the life of a monk seeking self-realization through reflection and study; the authors believe a life fully lived may also succeed in this effort.

They argue for breathing exercises and body awareness, and they offer suggestions for how to achieve this. They also offer methodologies for overcoming depression, finding happiness, and moving beyond stress.

"Fully Present" is a tight read, interesting and insightful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, beautiful, insightful,... May 12, 2014
This is a superb book on mindfulness practice. A companion to the classic Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are.

There is a marked difference in strategy between the two books. Kabat-Zinn repeatedly underlines that, when you descend into meditation, you’ve got to be doing it for NO practical purpose whatsoever. Including, you’re not even trying to be good at meditation itself, you’re not trying to “do it right”. It’s just, focus on the breath-- and that’s the end of it! He’s almost strident on that point. Smalley & Winston, in contrast, must have said to themselves, “Look: we know darn well that mindfulness has all kinds of practical benefits. You get better at your job, better at sports, better in relationships. You can lose weight, quit smoking, overcome or at least better manage psychiatric and medical illnesses,… So, let’s take that practical side of mindfulness and run with it for all it’s worth!” And that’s what they do. Much to the reader’s advantage. So, opposite strategy, fully complementary to Kabat-Zinn.

The late Gabriel García Márquez remarked in an interview, maybe back in the 80s, that, “Women are the true hard-headed pragmatists in this world. Men are the wild-eyed dreamers.” Maybe the above contrast is an example of how male and female authors can differ in that respect.

Let me extract just three lines from the book that bring enormous practical advantages. I use these all the time in getting thru everyday life. In particular, in overcoming powerful and persistent forces of negative thinking that can plague us all.

The first is “It’s better to deal with something while it’s still nothing.” For example, your electric bill comes in the mail. All you need do is write a check to pay it off. So trivial.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody would benefit from reading this book. July 31, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors do a wonderful job combining practical guidelines with current scientific evidence, to understand the concept of neuroplasticity, the brain functions and the power of the mind. It is the perfect tool to learn the practice of Mindfulness, to lead a more joyful, healthy and meaningful life.
As an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist, the chapter "Working with Physical Pain" was most helpful. As a reader, I loved all the wonderful quotes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book on mindfulness September 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to deepen their experience of life. I recently read Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, the Program of the Stress Reduction Clinic a [FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING] [Paperback] by Jon Kabat Zinn. This covers some of the same ground on mindfulness and meditation but it has a thoroughly modern feel and speaks to our fast paced technology filled times. I enjoyed the dual approach of presenting the science of a particular topic then the art. And it presents many useful and easy to learn practices. It's a very accessible book and one that I think nearly everyone would get something out of to improve the quality of their lives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Execellent book for anyone who wants to learn the practice.
Published 4 days ago by george c. lacy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great source book on mindfullness. Book came in excellent condition.
Published 1 month ago by Paul H. Fontana
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly awesome.
I came at this not wishing to learn more about meditation, but required to read this for school. However, I came away looking forward to each chapter I would read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Logan Terheggen
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good reference for yoga teachers.
Published 5 months ago by Book Mama
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Amazing book to help one become more attune to mindfulness and present-moment focus. I quite enjoy returning to this book if I begin feeling overwhelmed again.
Published 5 months ago by Lauren C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginner
I think this book and meditation for dummies is best for beginner meditator.
Easy to read and provide scientific evidences.
Published 8 months ago by Hyo Suk Nam
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and insightful
I strongly recommend this book to whomever is interested in learning about the science behind meditation as it is currently understood and investigated by the scientific world, in... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Roberta Colangelo
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated with a lack of neuroscientific information
I was compelled by the word "Science" to buy this book. I felt very frustrated as no concise information about neuroscience was given, just vague benefits from doing meditation. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Julio Andres Arriaga Rangel
4.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing book
Interesting book that is easy to understand and well written. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to slow thier life down to a more manageable pace.
Published 22 months ago by Susan
3.0 out of 5 stars So So
I purchased this book for a book club and still haven't finished. There is too much reiteration and its a slow read for me. Read more
Published on May 17, 2013 by R
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