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Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment and Your Life Paperback – July 1, 2016
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An Invitation to the Practice of Mindfulness
We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play―and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.
Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness within mainstream Western medicine offers a book that you can use in three unique ways: as a collection of reflections and practices to be opened and explored at random; as an illuminating and engaging start-to-finish read; or as an unfolding "lesson-a-day" primer on mindfulness practice.
Beginning and long-time meditators alike will discover in these pages a valuable distillation of the key attitudes and essential practices that Jon Kabat-Zinn has found most useful with his students, including:
• Why heartfulness is synonymous with true mindfulness
• The value of coming back to our bodies and to our senses over and over again
• How our thoughts "self-liberate" when touched by awareness
• Moving beyond our "story" into direct experience
• Stabilizing our attention and presence amidst daily activities
• Three fundamental mental factors that cause suffering
• How mindfulness heals, even after the fact
•Reclaiming our wholeness, and more
The prescription for living a more mindful life seems simple enough: return your awareness again and again to whatever is going on. But if you’ve tried it, you know that here is where all the questions and challenges really begin. Mindfulness for Beginners provides welcome answers, insights, and instruction to help us make that shift, moment by moment, into a more spacious, clear, reliable, and loving connection with ourselves and the world.
Includes digital access to five guided mindfulness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn, selected from the audio program that inspired this book.
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“Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the finest teachers of mindfulness you will ever encounter.” ―JACK KORNFIELD, author of A Path with Heart
“Jon Kabat-Zinn provides access to the essence of meditation and its applications for both the beginner and those who wish to deepen and expand their practice. He embodies what he describes.” ―DEAN ORNISH, MD
About the Author
- ASIN : 1622036670
- Publisher : Sounds True; Reprint edition (July 1, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 184 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781622036677
- ISBN-13 : 978-1622036677
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.36 x 0.55 x 8.07 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2021
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I prefer it, as well, to Jack Kornfield's Meditation for Beginners . Kornfield places more emphasis on the spirituality of mindfulness. My thought is that the practice of mindfulness will deepen one's spirituality. It's the direction of the causal arrow. I pursue mindfulness because of its practical applicability to my daily life. As a consequence, my spirituality is deepened. This is opposed to the causal arrow going the other way: I want to deepen my spirituality and took up Buddhist practices, and got the practical benefits of mindful meditation as a consequence. It's the same door, I suppose, but it's how the door looks, say, to a devout Christian. One looks like the door to a tool shed, the other looks like a forbidden door to to some alien mysticism. Thinking that a Christian will find the first door less intimidating or threatening, I prefer to turn my Christian friends onto the benefits of mindful mediation by handing them the Kabat-Zinn cd and saying, "This will make you a better Christian," which it will. Jack Kornfield's approach injects a little more of the spiritual aspect up front. He even tells of a cartoon he saw one time where this fellow was walking down the sidewalk with a sandwich board which said, "Jesus is coming soon." There was a little fellow behind him with a sign that said, "Buddha here now." My Christian friends would find that offensive and they would turn away from mindfulness because of its being a perceived threat to their spirituality.
Whereas Kornfield comes to it from his training as a Buddhist monk, Kabat-Zinn comes at it from his training as a scientist. If you prefer the more spiritual approach, then go with Kornfield. If you prefer the more deeply intellectual approach, go with Kabat-Zinn. By using these terms to describe the different approaches, by no means do I disparage either one. I understand that by my stating my preference for Kabat-Zinn, it could feel as if I am speaking against Kornfield. I am not. They both lead to the same place, and both will be very very good at helping you get there.
The package includes two CDs. In the first CD, the author starts by explaining what mindfulness is: "paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, as if you life depended on it, non-judgmentally". It explains how the mind is always busy thinking about one thing after another, incessantly. I have listened to this CD more than once, and every time I get something more out of it.
In the second CD the author gives you several guided mindfulness exercises that allow you to quiet the mind in a progressive way. This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this CD, that it guides you, through baby steps, down the path of meditation.
The author leads you first to focus on a simple task: eating a raisin. As you discover that you can focus on that, the CD then takes you to focus on other things like sounds, and sounds only. As you do the sound exercises, you begin to witness your thoughts, how you judge the sounds, how you interpret the sounds and so forth.
The last exercise is mindfulness as pure awareness. You no longer focus on anything but experience life by witnessing everything: sounds, thoughts, emotions, and anything else that comes in and out of your awareness. This step has the odd effect of giving you extreme peace of mind.
I have bought other products by the same author: a book called "Wherever you go, there you are", "Coming to your senses" and a "Mindfulness Meditation" CD. I recommend getting the Mindfulness for Beginners first and if you find it useful, then read these other books and get the meditation CD. I have also bought several copies of this CD as a gift to friends and family, not everyone has taken to it, but those that have spent the time going through the exercises have told me that the exercises have helped them become more relaxed and "at ease in their own skin".
On my end, mindfulness has completely turned around my life. I went from worrying about the future, worrying about what people thought of me, to enjoying life as it unfolds. Kabat Zinn was recommended to me by an organizational consultant that saw me stressed out worrying about my job and my life in general. Up until then, I had tried meditation multiple times by focusing on my breathing, but I failed miserably at it. When I started listening to this CD, I began to break through a wall of thoughts, thoughts, and more thoughts, circling in my head.
If you have been curious about meditating but struggled to do it, this CD can get you unstuck and on a journey of self discovery that will completely transform your life.
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However, on disk 2 is where all the good stuff is at. There are 5/6 different meditations, using different senses and by the fourth meditation I were in heavenly bliss. I suffer from crippling, disabling anxiety and depressive states that make me housebound and can't take the traditional antidepressant medication, so I'm constantly looking for different avenues. This is most definitely one avenue I will be exploring far more. It has a lot of potential.
The one thing I will say is you will only get out what you put in, so from what I've seen so far this is one way of 'being' that is worthwhile investing in.
I have been diagnosed with dysthymia, I never really got the point of life, and was told by a mental health professional that I probably never would, which was very depressing to say I'm only in my early 30s, so there could be a lot more life to endure, which is how life often feels an endurance not an enjoyment. However reading this book and doing the meditation suddenly enabled me to see what life is all about, experiencing the moments life offers,and suddenly I can see a point to existence! I still have good and bad days, but I feel to understand myself more and try to make time for meditation. I am reading more around mindfulness and depression to understand how to try to prevent further episodes of depression.
I can understand how it's not for everyone, but it definitely helped me as a starting point! I can also see that if I was experiencing an episode of depression that this book would be beyond me!