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The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience Paperback – January 3, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Subsequent edition (January 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874778336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874778335
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DANIEL GOLEMAN is the author of the international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence, and the co-author of the acclaimed business bestseller Primal Leadership. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing. He lives in the Berkshires.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I have read many books on meditation.
Dr. Robert W. Murphy
Goleman covers a wider range of experiences and -- given that psychology has come a long way since James'day -- provides a more detailed analysis.
Jeff Koob
This is an excellent introduction to meditation.
K. S. Dennis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 129 people found the following review helpful By B. Hynum on July 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
1. The distinction between concentration and mindfulness as forms of practice has never in my reading experience been so clearly stated. (My meditation library is extensive and my practice is 7 years old.) 2. The stages of insight work -- also, the clearest presentation in my reading experience. Particularly helpful were the discussions on "visions" (p. 12) and pseudonirvana (p. 26). 3. Part IV: The Psychology of Meditation -- This is a gem. Ties in beautifully with _Emotional Intelligence_ (another Goleman treasure). The "altered states or altered traits" of consciousness discussion (pg. 172-5) is the best explanation of the "3rd foundation of mindfulness" I have seen. Summary: If you are interested in how your practice fits into the grand scheme of practices or looking for a menu to chose from, this is the book. If you want a clarification of the path at the center of all practices, no where else have I seen a better presentation.
This! ! is a seven star book as is _Emotional Intelligence_.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Koob on August 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
In THE MEDITATIVE MIND: THE VARIETIES OF MEDITATIVE EXPERIENCE Daniel Goleman does an even more comprehensive job of covering his subject matter than William James did in his classic study of relgion,THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. Goleman covers a wider range of experiences and -- given that psychology has come a long way since James'day -- provides a more detailed analysis. This book ranks with Aldous Huxley's THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY as a modern classic on spiritual paths. He makes a good case for meditation as an ancient "psychotechnology" (my words, not his) for the transformation of consciousness. He cuts through the superficial differences in meditative practices, and points out what all of them share at the core: the retraining of attention.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Regan on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Good overall book of meditation. Goleman makes the distinction between the two major types of meditation: Concentration and Mindfulness. He also gives a pretty thorough description of the Visuddhimagga mind maps. He goes on to describe Hindu Bhaki, Jewish Kabblah, Christian Hesychasm, Sufism, TM, Ashtanga, Tantra and Kundalini Yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, Gurdjeiff and Krishnamurti
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By tomzni on April 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book 5 years ago and have really not found another book which is better at describing complete path with such clarity, and richness. I think this book is extremely helpful for all meditators who are interested in seeing where they are on the path. For without a map, it is extremely easy for any meditator to become lost and not make any real progress. This book in my opinion can also be used to assess the presence of authentic teachers, someone who has traversed at least 4 levels of absorption, have seen validity attachment in cause of suffering, have begun purification of their bodies as well as their minds, and have experienced true emptiness and not fallen into attachment afterwards.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book an overview of the major different meditation paths and would appeal to those who have a questioning mind - its analysis of the various paths is quite objective. If you are looking for general guidelines and a justification of the positive aspects of meditation this book is definitely worth reading.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. S. Dennis on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent introduction to meditation. It is especially good if you have heard or read something about meditation but are unsure about the benefits or the best approach. Much is available in reading material on this subject but usually only one type of meditation is covered in books on the subject. The Meditative Mind helps in sorting out the different approaches.

Things that I liked about the book include the following.
Goleman says that the true context of meditation is spiritual life but he doesn't show religious or political preference in presenting the material.
Some of the historical background of meditation is described.
Details are given for preparation for meditation, the path of concentration, and the path of insight. This information is from the Buddhist point of view but I believe some of it applies to other forms of meditation.
Eleven forms of meditation (paths) are described. They include some that I had heard about and some that I didn't know about. It was good to have a discussion of this variety of approaches in one book
I appreciated the chapter that described the essential unity among all of the paths of meditation.
In the chapter on the psychology of meditation, Goleman describes Eastern and Western psychological constructs and their meaning for meditation practices.
While the book is not inspirational literature, information presented on the benefits of meditation inspired me to look further into the subject.
Goleman cites his sources of information and this creates a valuable list for further reading.

The only regret that I have about the book is that it was published in 1988 and some of the material hasn't been updated for research since twenty years ago. Still, it is the best introduction to meditation that I know of.

If you are looking for reading that will help you solve problems in life, I suggest the books by Albert Ellis such as A Guide to Rational Living.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
Though I know it isn't beneficial, I spent years trying to fit all the pegs in their proper holes in my meditative practice. Questions like "If they feel that why do we feel this?" or "Is this experience the same as that, only named differently?" or "Who's really correct?". With one read this book resolved all my issues and doubts about the validity of my own path, Vipassana, and how my practice relates to all others. I've learned how everything does sort of fit together, at least generally so, and much to my teachers' delight I am able to plunge more deeply into practice without reservation. I have no more doubts!
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