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4.9 out of 5 stars49
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2008
This is a wonderful introduction to mindfulness meditation for chronic pain sufferers, written by someone with intense long-term pain herself. Discussions about the workings and causes of pain, the difference between primary and secondary suffering, and the process of mindful meditation and how it can help, are followed by three lovely meditations which are also available on CD. Each in its different way helps the sufferer to focus on the here and now and cultivate a more kindly, accepting attitude to their experiences, whether good or bad. It isn't a 'cure' for pain, more a way of managing it through gradually changing one's perception of it and becoming more aware and accepting of the present moment. And there's a reassuring gentleness in Vidyamala's approach; it doesn't matter so much if your mind keeps drifting away and you don't have a 'good' meditation; the process is what matters most, and each time you notice you've been distracted is in fact a moment of awareness. As a pain and anxiety sufferer, I find the book just as helpful for the latter condition; anxiety, after all, is a form of emotional pain. This is a beautiful gift to the millions suffering every day of their lives, born from the author's long process of self-discovery and gradual acquaintance with the beauties of mindfulness. An accompanying CD is soon to be released.
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on 15 June 2009
I am a young woman who has been living with cancer and ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for many years. There is no book out there that I believe in more than this one. For me, Vidyamala Burch's mindfulness-based approach, has healed years of feeling trapped, isolated and at times without hope so that now I can happily get on with making the most of life at last. It's based on the kind of wisdom that can only emerge from the heart of an author's deep personal experience. It's not easy to find something that inspires you to change your life but this book really does. And there is a whole wealth of clearly explained practical techniques, methodologies and tips to support you through the process. Through building awareness the reader can learn to work with unhelpful patterns in thoughts, habits and emotions. The book also explains meditation techniques so well. Meditation and being with the breath ,body and heart can be an invaluable source of inner strength, relaxation and emotional positivity. And finally somebody de-mystifies "pacing"! The approach is not specific to a particular condition so it can definitely be applied to pain, physical or mental illness, fatigue, stress, addiction or just to anybody wishing to get the most out of life. Alternatively, if you're just interested in meditation, it's the best manual out there too. Ultimately, this is a very uplifting book!!
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on 3 February 2009
This book is an excellent guide to a pragmatic approach to improving the quality of your life, despite seemingly intractable problems such as chronic pain, illness, fatigue or stress. I have personally found this approach to be invaluable in helping me cope with chronic illness and I think it has the potential to help a great many people (regardless of their current health status) lead a more creative and happier life.

The material in the book is very well presented and I found it easy and enjoyable to read. It gives a clear introduction to how "mindfulness" can help, followed by easy to follow guidance on how to begin to bring it into your life. There are many short case studies which, together with insights and stories from the author's own experience, are inspiring.

This is a wonderful book, which is potentially life transforming. I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
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on 21 August 2010
Having worked in NHS Pain Management for 15 years I had a feeling of 'not more of the same' when a patient recommended this book to me. Having read it I immediately signed up to train as a Breathworks Teacher. The ideas presented are ones that I had been edging towards for some time but had found difficulty in presenting with conviction. The book is written clearly with very practical strategies set out at an easy pace. It is based on the personal journey of the author to contain her own unrelenting pain. Having met and studied with her it is gloriously apparent that it works for her. Having integrated many of the fundamental principles into our existing NHS Programme the response that they are being met with has totally converted me to the approach. I would highly recommend this book to anyone overwhelmed by pain. If you also agree please bring this book to the attention of anyone working in the Pain Management field.
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on 18 May 2009
What a refreshing change to read a book written by a person who is actually living with pain. The book is written with sensitivity and care for the reader, Vidyamala guides you gently through the concepts within the book and has stories from people who has participated on previous courses. It is obvious that a great deal of thought has been given not just to the content but also to the design, weight and size of the book to enable people with a wide variety of problems to get the most from it. By incorporating the concepts from this book into my daily life, I'm finding it invaluable in helping me live a fuller life despite chronic pain and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone.
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on 12 June 2009
When l discovered Vidyamala's book l was on crutches, in chronic pain. The meditations took me deeper into this method of helping the mind deal with difficulties, and l use both everyday. l also use them to teach others how to deal with stress, and physical and/or mental pain.

Vidyamala gives a wide variety of advice. She advises pacing oneself each day to deal with tiredness; Gentle exercises to stop the body from feeling sluggish; and above all, widening the range of interests in one's life. She calls this "bigger container" (ABC) pointing out that a hundred interests are more helpful than merely ten.

I can honestly say that Vidyamala has transformed my life and my relationships.
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on 28 April 2009
This book provides practical information and `tools' to help you improve your quality of life. Some of them I discovered for myself after years of pain and illness. Others in the book were new to me but also very effective.
It's a good read.
Highly Recomended
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on 20 November 2008
This book glows with warmth, inspiration and pragmatism. I have a chronic pain condition and floundered around desperately for several years trying to live the life I wanted, but lacking the skills and support to do so. This book stands out by being both challenging and kind, by speaking directly from considerable experience and by having every part of the programme united by the key skill of mindfulness. When I first encountered the concepts of "primary and secondary suffering" and of "drowning and blocking" described here, it was like a light bulb turning on! Everything I was doing when trying to cope with physical and emotional pain now makes sense, I'm not alone and what's more there are practical things I can do (and gently try not to do) to live a free, rich and meaningful life.
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on 20 November 2008
This is both an inspiring and practical book that will be invaluable to anyone living with chronic pain. The author clearly has experience of this herself but rather than being overcome by her chronic condition has written a compassionate book to help others. Whether you have physical or emotional pain this book can help. It contains case studies, practical advice and thoughtful explanations of different aspects of the pain experience. It's not a heavy book, it's a good read and well researched too, I'm finding it invaluable in helping me live a better and fuller life despite chronic pain.
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on 1 May 2010
I was recommended this book by my pain specialist. I had been on some group courses within the NHS which had been helpful but I had remained confused about mindfulness until I read this book.
The book is split into several parts, the first parts are Vidyamala's own story on how she discovered mindfulness as well as how it can be used even when you are ill or injured, I gained the most insight and encouragement from these parts.
The rest of the book deals with practical mindfulness and meditation using examples, nice clear diagrams, and ways to try if you are not able to stay in a particular position too long.
Vidyamala's writing style is clear and concise throughout and the book is very readable. It is refreshing and encouraging to read a book on pain management by someone who uses it daily to obviously achieve a great deal.
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