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Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment and Your Life(Book & CD)) Paperback – July 1, 2016
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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
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The only caution I might offer is that Kabat-Zinn is and always has been somewhat professorial. He's a very smart guy with a considerable vocabulary. That said, as always, don't believe everything you read, especially in book reviews!
In the introduction to his paper book with the same title he describes the first CD as having grown out of a series of lectures that he had given that in his words, "...described the practice of mindfulness and explained why it might be valuable to engage in its cultivation to begin with." There are ten tracks totaling about an hour of recording. Please note that it is not a recorded version of the paper book with the same title. It is an excellent alternative for folks who might not have the time or inclination to sit down and read but who might have the time to listen while doing something like driving.
The second CD has 5 guided meditations, each ranging from 10 to 18 minutes long. His gentle, knowledgeable directions are terrific signposts leading into a daily practice. I think it would be helpful to beginners as well as to seasoned practitioners.
The paper book of the same title is a very helpful companion guide. It is written in very short chapters, most are two to three pages, that could be read before or after a meditation as a short reflection. The 166 page book can lead one much deeper into the practice and can serve as a steadying hand as the entrant navigates their way into finding a space for mindfulness in often demanding schedules.
I'd recommend it to anyone interested in mindfulness.
I am now taking things in stride that once made me consider suicide as the only option.
The book is not presented like a conventional "Intro to Meditation" with a first you do step A and then B. Rather, there are many short entries, that introduce one to mindfulness in a gradual way with the understanding you will use the enclosed guided meditation CD. While initially slightly disoriented by this, when you think about it, this is a more real-life way to learn mindfulness techniques as life doesn't usually work in a Step A-Step B way--especially for something as encompassing as greater awareness (JKZ wisely emphasizes the importance of not restricting increased awareness to the meditation bench or cushion).
The greatest strength of the book is Jon Kabat-Zinn himself. I once had the great pleasure to talk to him one-on-one. Within a very short time he made me feel very comfortable and as though he had all the time in the world for me. Despite his renown as a meditation teacher and author, he was very down-to-earth. There was nothing of the aloof meditation teacher about him. That warm and realness comes through in this book. He never puts ideology ahead of effectiveness. This is why he is such a great teacher. Almost all of us can benefit from what he has to offer.
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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!
Thank you Jon Kabat-Zinn, I have now enrolled on a MBSR course locally.