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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way forward?
This is an an extremely interesting take on Buddhist-type mindful practices, blending as it does evolutionary theory, neuroscience and, essentially, Buddhist meditation methods - though accessible to anyone whatever his or her background. In the first part of the book we have an explanation of the theory behind the practices that are outlined in the second half. The...
Published 13 months ago by DProctor

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great boook
Gilbert at his clearest. I love the work of Gilbert et al. But I often find him too wordy this is simple and to the point.
Published 13 months ago by Mr. S. Joseph


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way forward?, 2 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Kindle Edition)
This is an an extremely interesting take on Buddhist-type mindful practices, blending as it does evolutionary theory, neuroscience and, essentially, Buddhist meditation methods - though accessible to anyone whatever his or her background. In the first part of the book we have an explanation of the theory behind the practices that are outlined in the second half. The first part is concerned with understanding the nature of the human person and in particular how the mind (though the writer tends to refer to the 'brain') works. I found when I read the first part so much ringing true. The authors speak of the various drives that impact on the human person, influencing how we feel and behave. None of these are negative in themselves. None of them are caused by our own wilfulness as such but are rather the by-product of millions of years of evolution. However, many are less useful now in our modern context and we have become 'victims' to some of these drives. Society has so many problems because our minds are imbalanced in favour of certain tendencies. We are driven for instance by competitive and stimulative drives rather than the innate faculty for contentment. What is needed is to restore balance. It sounds a bit like good old Aristotle and eudaimonia, the notion that humans need to create a harmonic society for human flourishing

The authors offer practical solutions regarding how to balance these drives to make us more happy and content. Many of these practices are taken from the Buddhist tradition yet they bear a resemblance also to traditional Christian practice, such as the Ignatian examen of consciousness.

I will return to this book as it is so full of interesting thoughts and ideas. The important thing is however that it is not abstract but eminently practical. It really helps one understand oneself and there are good guided meditations within the volume to introduce the reader to the mindful methods.

The only criticism I would make of the book is, as I have already mentioned, that it refers to us as though we are a 'brain'. This for me is too narrow. Neuroscience has certainly not solved the mind/body relationship. Eliminative materialism is assumed rather than proven. There is also a sense in which the authors provide us with a machine-like model of the human person: One's problems can be resolved if one switches off one part and turns on another. I personally don't like this as a model though I can see that it is useful.

In any case, the language of the text might appeal to many people today as we have got used to thinking of ourselves as essentially physical brains. The important things are the insights the authors offer into the way we could and should live our lives. The book seems to be so useful that I can overcome my philosophical reservations.

Therefore, I would really recommend this book. It helps you to understand yourself and offers practical ways of developing yourself - and as a consequence, the whole world - for the better.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward read, 1 May 2013
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Kindle Edition)
Having read Gilbert's Compassionate Mind although i enjoyed it I would not have suggested it as a self help book for clients - this I would - Its in layman's language making it more accessible to a general audience. I enjoyed the political commentary too! It was brilliant to get this first on the kindle as it is not yet available in paperback
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 27 Oct 2013
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Mr. Pete Hubbard (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book for those wanting to increase their understanding of mindful compassion. It is written in an easy to read style and so very transferable to practice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Hardcover)
This is very rewarding reading about compassion and its value to us for better health. Motivation is a topic which runs through it too. Gilberts style is very positive and encouraging. The book is very detailed and certainly gives food for thought. The values of Buddhism are also drawn upon. Overall one of the best books on this sort of topic I have found.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great boook, 2 Aug 2013
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Mr. S. Joseph (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Hardcover)
Gilbert at his clearest. I love the work of Gilbert et al. But I often find him too wordy this is simple and to the point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to Meditation and Living, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Hardcover)
I use this book as my guide to meditation and to living. What I love about it is that it doesn't just focus on 'mindfulness' but combines that with 'compassion'. Without the latter, I would find mindfulness in meditating and in living to be too difficult. I also love the information on the brain, how it developed, and how it affects the way we behave. This is a great book, especially for anyone who suffers from anxiety and who wants to find peace and calm.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Hardcover)
Great reading - new perspective and very informative. Includes exercises to practice and great opportunity to reflect on real life situations. A helpful read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The purpose of mindfulness made clear, 7 April 2014
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Self-help junkie (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Kindle Edition)
Mindfulness is so 'sexy' at the moment that I really think there is a danger of oversell, that some will come to think of it as a panacea for all human distress, and then become disillusioned when they find that it isn't.
Paul Gilbert very carefully and caringly explaining why mindfulness alone is probably not what most people are looking for. And how mindfulness can so easily, and subtly, be hijacked by our 'achievement' mode of being which is so widely accepted in the West.
Mindfulness comes from Buddhism, and as such has several key assumptions about ethics intertwined within it. If we try to practice mindfulness without embracing those ethics, and fully understanding them, it's likley that we'll end up disappointed.
Gilbert overlays Buddhist teachings with scientific understandings of how our brains work - 'tricky brain' he terms it! It makes so much sense, and understanding the ways in which our brains can so easily lead us down unhelpful paths through no fault of our own, makes embracing compassion for ourselevs and others so much easier. Mindfulness becomes harnessed to the broader ethical stance of compassion for self and others - and thus becomes a much more reasonable proposition for a Western audience. Gilbert actively warns us against extreme forms of mindfulness meditation - such as going on extended lone retreats - and emphasises the importance of relationship in shaping our brains in helpful ways.
I have enjoyed reading this book and found it very compassionate in its tone. I've given it 4 start because I do find the author's style a little repetitive: it's probably helpful for some, but I just wished, at points, he'd get a bit of a move on! Also, I'd have loved a CD of the compassionate exercises: reading about them is not the same as being guided through them, and as he stresses the importance of a warm voice towards ourselves and others, it would have been nice to hear him speaking warmly to us! Maybe a project for another book?
Overall, helpful, enlightening and encouraging. I hope that everyone who reads this book will find it of consolation and encouragement on their journey through life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Seriously recommend, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Kindle Edition)
I Seriously recommend this book. Will change your life quite simply. This book is a real authority on the subject of meditation and mindfulness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - MUST READ, 7 Mar 2014
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BLUE FISH (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mindful Compassion (Kindle Edition)
Another absolutely brilliant book, about Buddhism practices of mindfulness and how and why our minds evolve, touches on depression and its destructiveness, you have to read this book because its like a light coming on in your mind, and provides detailed explanation of our evolution.
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Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert
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