In the first 50 pages, mindfulness teacher and therapist Donald McCown and physician Marc Micozzi trace the history of this practice from colonial times (the pioneers of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James) through the arrival of Zen Buddhism in America and the influence of the Beats down through Transcendental Meditation from the East, more Buddhist traditions, psychotherapy, spiritual seekers, and others. The authors are convinced that mindfulness can help us all navigate our busy and stressful lives. In contemporary practice this results in intentionality, present centeredness, and the absence of judgment.
McCown and Micozzi then usher us through the art of meeting gravity at work and at home, the breath (inside, outside, the inner landscape, and the storms and stillness of subjective experience), and a map and terrain of your immediate life. We were especially impressed with the author's interpretations of sighing (see the excerpt). The book concludes with a fascinating study and overview of the four postures of reclining, sitting, standing, and walking. McCown and Micozzi offer formal meditations for each of the postures and suggestions for dealing with a place past sleepiness (reclining), where stillness and change meet (sitting), standing (opening to the world), and walking (practice at the speed of life).