"There has probably never been another period in the history of humankind as frenetic, hectic, fast, and chaotic as our own," writes Donald Altman, a psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, and adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark College Graduate School and Portland State University. He conducts mindful living and mindful eating workshops nationally. Altman sets out in this ambitious and substantive work to describe how mindfulness and meditation can transform the way we live our overstimulated lives. He uses the latest brain research to reveal ways of changing old habits while dealing with negative thoughts and disorienting beliefs. Altman welds this material together with four catalyzing qualities of living awareness:
The sections of the book are organized around four arenas of life in which we can experience deeper levels of awareness: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Relationship. Each section contains 11 practical strategies or trainings to expand awareness and locate calm, peace, and joy within the moment.
We pay a high price for our always-connected lifestyle; in the United States at least 50 percent of all medications are for conditions related to chronic stress. The 44 trainings cumulatively support a new kind of connectivity one that affirms nature and face-to-face relationships. We were impressed with the variety of practices in the book especially the following: Do One Joyful Thing Right Now, Light the Spark of Creativity, Wake Up with a Cosmic Smile, Awaken the Tender Heart, Embrace Your Hero's Journey, Give Others Your Real Presence, Light Another's Candle, and Cultivate Kind Speech.