on 7 February 2007
I really enjoyed this set. It provides a tremendous introduction, foundation and platform for growth in Mind & Body awareness. Having meditated for many years now, it was interesting to hear the term MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) something I have clearly been doing regularly without knowing the term!
This is a beautifully clear and thorough introduction. Well paced, it offers much more than simple present moment awareness. It opens the eyes of the mind.
Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses how by having openness, kindness and a caring attitude, mindfulness can become a way of being and living, rather than just something we need to remind ourselves to do from time to time. He takes us on a journey of enhancing and heightening our senses, as recommended long ago by Leonardo Da Vinci as the single most important thing to do to enjoy the experience of living as a Human Being. Through a guided meditation we see firsthand an example of how we can truly appreciate a simple exercise like eating a raisin in complete awareness. By really using our senses and becoming more aware of our bodies and our surroundings we can take great steps towards enriching our lives.
Something nags at me about the title of this CD set and that is because I feel the word "Beginners" may undermine the true value of what Jon Kabat-Zinn gives us - this is not meant as a criticism, just an observation. I hope the title is not putting people off of purchasing such a great introduction to Mindfulness.
Listening to the CD's reminded me of many quotes I have heard over the years and two stand out:
Jiddu Krishnamurti once asked "Do you want to know my secret? - He said "I don't mind what happens"
Byron Katie tells us the same thing; that we should "Fall in love with reality"
Mindfulness is the very first step and grounding to us accepting everything that happens and understanding that it is supposed to happen just the way it is happening. Often the first sign of us becoming more mindful is simply being able to enjoy total stillness.
This set far exceeded my expectations and I know that it would be beneficial to many people - not just beginners, despite the title! If I had to suggest an alternative title it would be either "An introduction to Mindfulness" or "Mindfulness - a complete introduction" because that is exactly what it is!
on 22 July 2006
I have just purchased the double CD "Mindfulness for Beginners" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I have lots of meditation CDs - some better than others. But this is different. This one grips you from the word "go"
The first CD is an introduction by Jon - talking about this moment being the only moment we have. Explaining what Mindfulness is - and what it isn't! He talks a little about his work with terminally ill people and how meditation and mindfulness helps them through (although he stresses it isn't a "cure"... just helpful)
This man's voice is so calming - so sure - you have faith in every word he says from the outset.
The second CD has some mindfulness meditations in it. They are for beginners - but I think that habitual meditators could get quite a lot from them too. The Eating Meditation(where it took me 14 minutes to eat a raisin!) was mindblowingly beautiful! We normally gobble down our lunch reading the paper and we don't taste the food, smell the food, think about the food. It's an amazing eye-opener.
I would recommend this CD WHOLEHEARTEDLY - for anyone new to meditation - or anyone who feels they may have lost their way. It never takes itself too seriously and I have had many a wry smile listening to it.
It's perfect - I haven't had it long - but I wouldn't be without it. BUY IT! You won't be disappointed!!
on 4 May 2009
Kabat-Zinn's calm, kind presence guides you gently into meditation, starting with the body, and moving through more subtle levels such as feelings, breath, sounds and thoughts. It is the best guide to meditation I have come across, written or CD, and I think it is suitable for anyone at any level. It is especially good for the busy Western mind, as it grounds awareness first in the body, creating a solid base and then working up to thoughts.
I am using it to aid recovery from chronic fatigue, and within days of practising am finding myself calmer and more grounded. This man knows what he is doing!
on 6 May 2012
Ideal for anyone trying mindfulness meditation for the first time or for those like myself who have worked through all of Jon Kabat Zin's books and cd's over the years. Its easy to follow, each individual meditation on the CD can be done individually if you prefer and the book is brilliant to just drop in to whenever you feel like it.
on 31 December 2014
I received this CD yesterday & immediately opened and popped in CD1 of 2 disks. The first is purely an explanation of what mindfulness is and how it can benefit you. The entire disk runs for approximately 30/40 mins and have to admit, my attention only managed to capture about 10mins in total. His voice is quite melancholic and so you easily lose focus.
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.
This was my first taste of Jon Kabat-Zinn, though I've studied mindfulness before. As a general introduction to the subject it is fine. Jon is a gentle and engaging speaker, and on the first CD gives you a thoughtful, basic understanding of mindfulness. There are several meditations (as mentioned) on the second CD, which are also basic, but clear and helpful.
I liked his presentation and have ordered his 'Full Catastrophe Living' as a result of listening to these CDs. I would, however, reccomend this set as an aid, rather than as a proper introduction. It is a very nice addition, if you are interested in stress reduction and/or mindfulness, and can help both to clarify understanding of the system and fine tune your meditation technique. If you are looking for a thorough introduction to the subject though, I would reccomend the book 'Mindfulness in Plain English' by Bhante G. For around the same price, you get a much more thorough understanding.
Very, very slowly I feel that I am getting to grips with understanding mindfulness and what it might be about. I have been reading books on and off for years, and dabbled in formal mindfulness practice. But this year, 2012, I have suddenly been making connections about how mindfulness might actually be not just a nice relaxing thing to do, but in fact a really essential part of living in a crazy world - that's the outer world and my own internal world too!.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is, of course, the Mindfulness 'guru' for many people and I've certainly used my fair share of his books and tapes. This new book doesn't, in a way, present anything new. But somehow I just love it - and find each small chapter perfect for quiet reflection and pondering. Maybe I'm just at the 'right' point in my life to hear what has been there all along, but his writing touches on so many of the questions I have about mindfulness, its use, its understanding of 'the self', about how mindfulness can possibly help in situations of real danger, pain or loss...
Sip slowly, savour and swallow mindfully! There is so much here to nourish. I hope it help you as much as it is helping me.
on 29 September 2013
I have read the reviews, but I am also coming from the position of someone who is a mental health professional, someone who has had recent mental health issues, someone in constant pain, and someone who has been desperately seeking something to help, and was lucky enough to have recommended to me Mindfulness.
It took me a while to even listen to it, and then took me a few weeks to get the message about practice.
This is not for those that are going to just passively listen, this is not for people who don't at the very least have an open mind. Skepticism is fine, but only if you are prepared to be truly open and honest with yourself and be prepared to change your mind, as that is what it is all about.
It is explained many times what you have to do, and if you haven't got the idea, it is simply because you have not listened, truly listened, and done what is asked of you 100%.
You have to work at it, and every single day, especially on the days you don't feel like it. If you have not done that, then you will get little from it, the old cliches and sayings are so often true, you get out what you put in, but in this case, you will get out much more than you put in.
You cannot I am afraid review this after just listening to it, you cannot give a review if you have not done what is asked of you, 100%, for at least 8 weeks.
Those reviewers who have scored this at 1 or 2, have done none of the above, and sadly it is their loss. Do not take heed of those reviews, they are not objective at all, they simply haven't done it.
Get it, work at it, mindfully, and put some effort into it, every single day. Do not expect a magic bullet, they do not exist. If you want change in your life, then only one person can do that, and that is you, but Mindfulness is, as far as I am concerned the best way to peace and happiness.
I speak not only as a mental health professional, but as someone who has in recent times suffered from severe and lasting pain, and emotional problems. I have 30 years experience in mental health, and was a Senior Nurse Specialist, I also have much experience of many therapies, and this is the best yet, without doubt.
And guess what, my Consultant Psychologist, when I asked her, disclosed that she uses it every day of her life.
Mindfulness is being adopted by more and more mental health trusts and pain clinics in the UK, it is spreading fast. And the NHS mental health service rarely buys into things like this, and only if there is evidence it works, and guess what, there is.
So up to you, believe what I have written or go with the reviewers who give it one or two points, who going by their comments, have not really done it.
Listen, not passively, and do what is asked, every day no excuse, for at least 8 weeks, you will not be disappointed.
on 24 March 2008
I wanted to provide a review as a counter-balance to the other, more positive reviews.
I am currently reading 'Full Catastrophe Living' and purchased the CD to help me practice meditation. To be honest, I wish I'd stuck to just the book! Jon seems like a lovely, compassionate man but I find him incredibly annoying!
I tried the 'eating meditation' first and could not stop myself from giggling everytime he said the word 'raisin'! I love the New York accent but, unfortunately, I do not find it relaxing. His constant repetition, particularly of the words 'moment...by moment...by moment...by moment...by moment' (you get the picture!) is irritating beyond belief. A lot of the time I just wsished he'd shut up and leave me to it! I suspect Jon likes the sound of his own voice - certainly his book is full of similar repetition and could be half as thick, and thus less scary, if he just cut to the chase a little more often.
I am determined to stick with the book and to follow his advice - however, I suspect the CD will end up in a charity shop!
on 1 August 2014
I loved this book. I kept thinking I didn't get it, so I had to re-read bits to fully understand everything. However as it's in such short chapters it helps making it easier to read and digest.
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!