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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This 3 disc, 3 ½ hour, 2009 Sounds True program is encased in a cardboard type tri-fold. It is said to draw on 30 years plus of research by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. The cover states that it will show you how to strengthen your neural circuits that generate happiness, love, and inner peace and includes 7 guided meditations to reshape your brain. (OK. I'm in.) Note that the term "guided meditation" just means that someone is verbally guiding you through the meditation by talking to you and making suggestions.

There is a lot of really good information here and this is an excellent program, especially for those who want to learn to meditate but also want to be convinced first that it is worth their time commitment. This material provides how and why to meditate from a medical standpoint and can also be useful to seasoned meditators. The doctors also talk about how getting rid of your emotional baggage can help you. I can attest to that. Meditation has helped me bring up and confront some stuff I had buried inside. Once you bring it to the surface, you can begin to deal with it. This is a program that you can work with over and over, and will likely need to repeat to effectuate a positive change.

With the exception of the meditation segments on each CD, you can listen to the other/instructional parts in your car, on your way to work. I have listed the times for each track so you can figure out how everything is laid out and what way to listen best suits you.

Disc 1: Using Your Brain to Change Your Mind (total time 71:12)
1. Introduction (0:51)
2. Using Your Mind to Change Your Brain (13:59)
Drawing on a combination Western psychology and neurology and Eastern Buddhism, we explore how to be happier and have less anger and stress, to better understand difficult experiences, and to replace them with better states of mind. Rick begins this segment, followed by Richard. Both speak simply, in easy-to-understand language, and have voices that are pleasant to listen to. Both guys alternate throughout the 3 discs. Instead of getting caught up in all the "stuff" that is going on around us, they talk about how shifting your inner state-of-mind, one bit at a time, can effectuate positive change.
3. How Your Mind and Brain Work Together (20:08)
Your conscious mind is dependent upon your nervous system and is primarily dependent on your brain. Something transcendental is necessary for consciousness. This program is based primarily on Western (scientific) medicine. The complex brain is a gift--the extraordinary process of how it works (neurons firing, etc., even when someone is unconscious.) How brainwave patterns change and they change your mind, so you can deliberately effect a positive change in the physical structure of your brain.
4. Why Aren't People Happier? (10:32)
Explains how the brain generates suffering and how understanding these processes can allow you to suffer less.
5. The Effects of Meditation on Your Brain (15:31)
What scientific studies on meditating Tibetan monks have revealed, what happens in your brain when you meditate, and why. As someone who meditates frequently, I found this segment very interesting in helping me understand certain things about myself. If you listen to only segment 5 in this whole set, I think you will FIND time to meditate.
6. Guided Meditation: Appreciating Your Brain (10:06)
DO NOT DO THIS MEDITATION SEGMENT WHILE DRIVING. A bell indicates completion of the meditation. Do not jar yourself awake, but sit for a minute and then come out of it slowly.

(Disc 1, Segments 1 through 5 can be listened to in your car. You may have to listen to this information more than once, because there is a lot of scientific information here.)

Disc 2: Meditations to Change Your Brain (total time 78:47)
This disc is about 50 % meditation, so you cannot listen in the car unless you skip over each meditation and just listen to the instructional information, which you could do by track. The meditations are fairly brief, so if you are not good at meditating yet, the shorter ones will probably help you learn to focus better. The better you get at it, the longer you can meditate on your own. You can either stop the tape when you want to continue, or just do your own thing.

1. Introduction (0:40)
2. Taking Good Care of Yourself (4:58)--general information
3. Guided Meditation: Foundational Practices (15:04)
How to meditate practice.
4. How You Can Target Specific Changes in Your Brain (5:52)
Explaining psychologically what the meditation and the suggestions do in your brain.
5. The Four Steps to Taking in the Good (13:27)
You are mainly built up of stored memories of events and emotions. How you can help the brain to register positive experiences and why that is important.
6. Guided Meditation: Taking in the Good (7:32)
Practicing positive meditational experiences.
7. Introduction: Antidote to Stress (8:10)
What happens to the body in stress and why medically it happens. How to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to compensate and how it medically helps you.
8. Guided Meditation: Antidote to Stress (9:22)
How to relax body parts in a combo instructional and meditational experience.
9. Introduction: Healing Painful Experiences (4:52)
How you can influence the tone of your memories and shift your reaction to the painful memory.
10. Guided Meditation: Healing Painful Experiences (8:01)
Practicing the concept.

Disc 3: Meditations to Change Your Brain II (total time 73:32) This disc is 2 longer meditations and roughly 2 ten minute explanations--not a CD for the car.

1. Introduction: Steadying your Mind (12:41)
Voice in your head tends to chatter away on a lot of different subjects and build negative stories, which then causes you to expect negative happenings. Rick explains how attention works in the mind and brain. Steadiness of the mind is a real challenge for some, so you must practice and be patient with yourself.
2. Guided meditation: Steadying Your Mind (28:33)
A sampling of meditation methods to focus the mind on one thing.
3. Introduction: Mosaic Meditation (10:00)
Each moment of your life is like a mosaic of multi-sensual tiles that form a picture. This segment is about how the tiles are made and how we can rearrange them if we need to make a better picture.
4. Guided Meditation: Mosaic Meditation (22:15)
Practicing the concept.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have reviewed many meditation CDs and videos and I must say this is one of the best collections I have found!

The Rick and Richard present 7 meditations on this 3-disk set and each meditation includes discussion on the topic before hand. The meditations are well lead with short periods of silence for the meditation practices. Their voices are very soothing and they will help you find a place within yourself to find peace and safety. By using these CD's regularly you will definitely look at the world differently and potentially change the way you perceive the world.

I like the lengths of the practices and you can easily mix and match if you have more time. Here are the 7 meditations included on the cds:
Appreciating Your Brain, 10 min
Foundation Practices, 15 min
Taking in the Good, 7 min
Antidote to Stress, 9 min
Healing Painful Experiences, 9 min
Steadying Your Mind, 28 min
Mosaic Meditation, 22 min

This CD set will definitely help you work on activating your underlying brain states using both modern western sciences of neurology and psychology and traditional practices of Buddhism. The meditations and theories can be used by people of any spiritual background or no spiritual background at all since there is no discussion of god or other religion-based theories.

Another reviewer mentioned they had trouble importing into iTunes. I had no problems at all; in fact this is a great way to use the meditations. You can mix the meditations with soft music or nature sounds and continue the meditation on your own after the formal CD practice has completed.

I only have one comment on the packaging. The only place to find a listing of the tracks is on the disk its self. I wish they would have included an insert with a listing of the tracks so while I'm listening I can see what's coming up on the next tracks.

Other than that this CD is well worth the money and you can use the individual meditations over and over again throughout your life. Amazon's current price is $16.47 which is a bargain for the 3-disk set!

Also, please see my other meditation, tai chi, and yoga reviews on Amazon.
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VINE VOICEon September 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this CD set mostly for the meditations it contained. I have several other meditation CDs including Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction and Radical Self-acceptance, both of which I have really liked. This one however, is not that great. The meditations are very difficult to get into for a couple of reasons. First, the authors deem it necessary to start every meditation with a discussion about not using it while driving. Second, some of the "meditations" are really just discussions of various techniques.

There are a couple of good guided meditations on here, but that is all. The discussion of the brain is very good though, and I got a lot out of that portion of the CDs. If you are interested in how meditation works to change the brain, I would recommend these. If you are looking for guided meditations, look elsewhere.
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on January 26, 2010
I've been dealing with chronic anxiety for the past 30 years. I have found this group of CD's to be incredibly helpful. It explains some of the evolutionary processes that have contributed to our survival anxiety and takes a lot of the mystery out of this free floating anxiety. Also, I have been working with cognitive therapy for some years which is a wonderful way of dealing with anxiety and depression and controlling what you can to overcome these forms of suffering. "Meditations to Change Your Brain" explains the actual physical changes to your brain that cause changes in our mind, which is what we have been doing with cog therapy. The exercises and information are presented in a gentle and sensitive way and have taken me even further in the direction of health and happiness. You have assisted me in getting my mind, body and spirit in sync and the resulting peace is incredible. Thank you sirs for HOPE!!!
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VINE VOICEon October 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For this CD set, a psychologist and a neurologist come together to lead you through a number of meditations to "rewire" your brain, with the goal of helping you to create new neural pathways that will allow your brain to function more effectively. They provide a thorough explanation of the brain and introduce the idea of our ability to change it. Neither of them are captivating speakers, but there is certainly valuable information being shared. What I found interesting was the scientific information on anxiety and the work the brain does to protect you. We have to work against these brain-engrained tendencies to reach deeper states of psychological well being.
I found this material to be useful when focusing in on a specific meditation. It would be difficult to listen to the whole program from beginning to end, as it tends to get a bit dry after a while.
A good effort, while the audio presentation could have been a good deal better.
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The number of pre-recorded meditation guides has grown tremendously in the last decade. The advantages of this one are many. Though it's title mentions the brain, it does not make the outlandish, unsupported claims that many of the other guides make. The data on enhanced brain function in meditators is still preliminary. It's nice to see a product that doesn't stray too far from the research in this domain. In addition, each meditation has a brief introduction. These are quite accessible without being pedantic--a nice mix of reminders for experienced meditators and explanations for newbies. Last but not least, the meditations themselves are markedly more brief than those in other products. Instead of the foreboding 40-minute sessions common on other audio courses, these are all pretty much in the 10-15 minute range. These briefer journeys are probably markedly more inviting to those who feel too rushed for longer sessions or are just beginning or returning to meditation. Finally, the voices of your guides are enjoyable. There's a matter-of-fact quality to the words--not "hambone" or melodramatic, not distracted or uninterested. A fine piece of work.
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VINE VOICEon September 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Two of my greatest concerns in meditation CD's are the quality of the narrator's voice and the quality of the meditation script. In these areas, the CD's are excellent. I found the narrators' voices very soothing, not distracting, and pleasant. And, I found the meditations relaxing and well designed.

There are some long stretches with no narration, which can challenge your powers of concentration, but I guess that's the point-- after you practice for awhile your mind will calm down and you'll enjoy the long pauses. And I have to admit that I fell asleep several times while listening to them, but that is arguably my fault for playing them at night while lying down. So if you are using them for meditation purposes and not to cure insomnia (which is not their intent), I recommend that you sit up when you listen.

The only annoying feature is that the material on the discs should have been better organized and presented. The non-meditative parts of the CD are rather long, involved, technical and not particularly conducive to an audio CD format. It would have been much better to include the text as a separate booklet. Also, the discs alternate between text and meditations, so you have to constantly skip through tracks to find the meditations. If the narratives were short, you could probably sit through them more than once to get to the meditations, but they aren't, and once you've heard them you don't need to play them again.

All in all, this set of discs contains thoughtful and well-designed meditations. My recommendation is that you burn the meditation tracks onto one disc or load them into your Ipod so you can avoid all the other tracks after you've listened to them once.
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on July 10, 2011
After reading the reviews of this item I was highly skeptical. I've meditated off and on for many years now and was looking for something new. I've tried Holosync in the past and grew tired of listening to waterfalls. The Holosync program used frequencies to correct and retrace neuro pathways in the brain. This seemed like a great alternative to spice things up! The packaging isn't much, there are no workbooks that come with the program. With paying under $17, who can complain? I believe the Holosync program came only with a support number and it was $150. Once you start listening to the program, CD 1 gave a great walk through of what to expect and how to use the program. That problem was completely mitigated by the developer's discussion, they also did a top-notch job explaining some of the intricacies with neuro-psychology. The best part of this program is that it breaks the program into small chunks that so a practitioner can easily incorporate into their daily life. The developers do a great job of slowly guiding the individual through the meditation process and giving them visualization exercises. Many individuals like my boyfriend that are new to meditation find this a very difficult hurdle to overcome. So if you are interested in meditating or know someone who is, I highly suggest this program for you. Or if you are like me and are just looking for something to add to your current program. :)
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on May 18, 2010
After almost 30 years as a practicing and teaching psychologist, I'm a bit snobby when it comes to new (to me), New-Agey, or "spiritual" stuff, especially if it is becoming increasingly popular. This set of CDs is just the thing for me: nice guided meditations for the just-past-beginner, plus decent neuroscience research well-explained, minus snake-oil hype. I dumped all tracks into iTunes, so I could listen anywhere on my iPhone. Only problem: tracks are poorly labeled, so that finding my way around amongst guided meditations and lectures is unnecessarily tedious and irritating.
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on September 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been meditating for a long time but I have never found out about what's going on when I meditate. This CD set is a fascinating exploration of what is going on in your brain when you meditate and also why it is so challenging for us to be happy. The brain has all kinds of defense mechanisms in place to protect us from danger that go back to the beginning of our species, but that don't really serve us now. This program is an effective way to work past these mechanisms and begin to experience happiness.

The style is fairly loose. The narrators obviously know their stuff. They flub a few times but I actually like that; it shows that they're human. The parts of the program about how the brain work are a little technical and require some patience on the part of the listener. However if you stick with it through the very effective meditations the listener will be rewarded.

I highly recommend this program.
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