Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Some great info but not very accessible reading at all
on 27 March 2017
When I knew this book had been rewritten my hopes were that he had judiciously edited it down. Instead there are 200 more pages. There is some inspirational stuff in here for people facing all sorts of difficulty. But people who are highly-stressed aren't really going to have the time or motivation to read this. It can be very abstract and circuitous. Some sentences make up a whole paragraph, they are that long. They need an aqualung.
There are whole chapters on 'wholeness' which are, at best, vague. And in the Mind And Body chapter he cites a study of people with an illness. Suppression of emotions was found to be more common in people diagnosed with the disease. In a follow up, people who approached their disease with either denial (refusal to acknowledge or discuss the diagnosis) and a fighting spirit were found to have better survival rates than those who were stoical. The problem is that Kabat-Zinn describes the 2 attitudes linked with survival 'positive emotions'.
But 'denial' is not a positive emotion, it is anti-mindful as mindfulness involves acceptance of the reality of a situation. It is also inconsistent with his definition of healing and, arguably, the same suppression of emotion instinct with predisposed the patients to the disease in the first place. That seems a bit of making the evidence fit the theory, rather than making the theory fit the evidence.
I also have an issue with the definition of healing itself that he uses: coming to terms with what is. So when he discusses the healing properties of MBSR he doesn't mean curing, as he states. But I could devise a program which would cure you, if by cure I mean writing the name of your malady on a piece of paper. To me, this definition of healing is as false and daft as my definition of cure.
To further confuse matters, healing is used in its usual sense at points in the book.
To get a flavour of what mindfulness in general is good introductions are Sharon Salzburg's 28 Days or Headspace by Andy Puddicombe.
Only after reading some of the above would I say this book will be useful, or if there is other experience and grasp of mindfulness.