Top positive review
1,055 of 1,067 people found this helpful
Extremely insighful and effective if used correctly
on April 17, 2006
I have purchased this CD set despite some of the really bad reviews it got from some users. I have just started using it, and I list some of the good and some of the not so good impressions about it:
- The sessions are adequately long. 45 minutes is really required to achieve optimal state of relaxation and mindfulness. Many of the other meditation CDs I found way too short (eg. 10-15 minutes a session)
- Kabat-Zinn is a renowned researcher in his field, he really knows what he's talking about. You can indeed reach deep levels of relaxation with his CDs.
- The set mixes Midfulness Meditation with Mindfulness Yoga. This is great, because it makes the practice more interesting.
Not so good:
- I really like meditating with some ambient music in the background, to block out disturbing noises. This meditation CD set is recorded with narration only - there's no music. I have however resolved this easily by digitalizing the CDs and mixing them with David Miles Huber's excellent meditation music. This resulted in MP3s that are truly excellent to listen to on my MP3 player.
My advice is that you buy the companion book, "Full Catastrophe Living" from Kabat-Zinn. Read the book first, and then start practicing with the CDs. It is very important to understand how Kabat-Zinn recommends you approach meditation, and without reading the book you will not be able to take full advantage of the CD.
Finally, although some said that Jon Kabat-Zinn's voice is annoying, I did not find it so. It comes down to individual tastes I guess. Rather than concentrating on the quality of the voice, just listen to the message it carries. After all, meditation - among other things - is about being non-judgmental, right? :)
More later, when I used the CDs for a couple of months.
I promised I'd be back with another review once I completed the entire program of MBSR using this CD set and the book "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. So, here I am, past 8 weeks and I am so glad I embarked on this journey. I have been struggling with stress for several years and a couple of months ago it got out of hand. That's what led me to this program. In 8 weeks I am off of prescription medication, I have about a tenth of the stress level I had before and I feel much more balanced and relaxed than ever before. If you have GAD, I truly believe this program can help you and bring dramatic changes to your life. All you have to do is stick with it and don't give up. No magic pills here - 8 weeks of dedicated practice is needed. Plus, as Jon Kabat-Zinn says in his book, the 8th week lasts the rest of your life. I'd say this program is probably designed for the novice meditator and it does a particularly good job in getting a novice meditator like me up to speed. Here's why I found it particularly helpful in starting my meditation practice:
- The CD set which is the subject of this review is just a part of the overall program material. "Full Catastrophe Living" is also an essential part of the program and I would say don't even start the practice with these CDs until you read the book at least once. Coupled with the insight you get from the book however, this CD set will be a very powerful tool.
- The meditations are heavily guided and some lamented on this fact. On the other hand, for a novice meditator, it is this "heavy" guidance that offers a tether to hold onto. For the novice, it is a blessing, rather than an annoyance.
- I found that the mixture of yoga and meditation exercises on this CD set gives a great balance and variety to the meditation practice. I am glad to have learned about yoga at the same time. The Hatha yoga exercises are really easy, and for the first time I finally understood that yoga is not about flexibility of body, rather flexibility of mind.
- Previously I commented that the lack of background ambient music was a negative. Actually, I have a different view on this now. Since the CDs have no background music, I am free to choose and mix my own background music with it. This is great, because I choose the exact music I like, rather than having just one choice - whatever the program comes with.
In my opinion, this CD set coupled with the equally valuable book is an excellent introduction to meditation and mindfulness. Anybody deciding on starting a meditation practice would benefit enormously from Jon Kabat-Zinn's program.
I tried meditation on my own, before I purchased this program. I successfully entered mindless states of trance every time, and even dozed off many times. Then I took Jon Kabat-Zinn's program, and finally I understand what is meant by the slogan they used on some T-shirts: "Meditation - it's not what you think!"
Buy the book, buy the CDs and fall awake. This program is worth 10 times its price.