Mindfulness has been heralded as a new way of being, a new way of experiencing life, and a way of improving one's work-life balance for a long time. Two of its pioneers were Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Today mindfulness is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health as an effective and doable intervention for our stress-filled lives. More than 10,000 published research papers are available on mindfulness-based therapy. This practice of paying close attention to what one is doing has proven its worth in schools, corporations, health care facilities, senior citizen centers, prisons, military training facilities — you name the place and they probably have or are planning to have mindfulness sessions.
Rezvan Ameli is a senior clinical psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she provides training for diagnosing and measuring mood and anxiety disorders. She is certified as a cognitive therapist. In this edifying and illuminating paperback, she lays out a wide-ranging overview of 25 mindfulness practice lessons. She begins with a look of the scientific findings about the impact of mindfulness on health and well-being. Next comes a brief summary of the relationship between suffering in the Buddhist view of things and modern-day stress.
The purpose of this book is to help the reader build a mindfulness practice; s/he will need to make time, commit to a regimen, find a buddy, and make an intention to experiment, learn, and practice. Lessons 1 - 17 build attentional skills, and lessons 18 - 25 are aimed at the development of compassion. Lessons 13 through 17 focus on using the breath.
Although you may already be familiar with some of this material, there are bound to be epiphanies that open up new ways of using it. Ameli has done a fine job choosing and arranging this material on mindfulness! Here is a dedication that she recites at the end of each class:
"May any learning, understanding, or insight that came about today benefit us, benefit our loved ones, benefit our friends and colleagues, and may it ripple all the way out into the universe and benefit all beings."