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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Mindfulness & the Natural World: Bringing our Awareness Back to Nature
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 28 October 2013
I lead a very busy life so what captivated me in this book was the type of everyday examples which were provided by the author. This meant that I could quite easily find moments when i could "get grounded" and away from my hectic modern life to discover some real moments of serenity and peace. The added bonus is that I actually discovered how much there is to appreciate in such simple things as the sand under your feet or the sound of running water countless other examples (something I had never really fully appreciated until now). This book has truly provided me with a breath of fresh air in my routine. The book can be read from cover to cover or you can dive into individual sections to give you a quiet reminder of what to do and what calm awaits you! A great read that I would recommend to all!
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on 10 December 2013
At its heart, this book is simply that: an invitation to explore the natural world. However, this does not do this wonderful book justice, for there is so much more besides. Recently it has been popular to emphasise the economic case for preserving wild nature, based on cold, logical reasoning. Of course this is necessary if we are to persuade policy-makers of the value of the natural world, but at the same time humans do not always behave rationally. We are not automatons and our individual experiences often influence our decisions. This is where this book excels, for the author focuses on the individual, and explains how directly experiencing the world around us with our eyes and our ears open can provide all kinds of benefits to our lives.

Using well-chosen examples and sound reasoning, we are introduced to the concept of `mindfulness' and how being mindful of nature can help with both our physical and mental well-being, as well as deepening our appreciation of natural beauty. I particularly enjoyed how the author managed to articulate complex philosophical concepts without losing the reader. Various practical `tips' are given to help the reader on their own journey of discovery.

Like all good ideas, the core message of the book is deceptively simple. A lot of deep thought has gone into its writing, which at times is profoundly moving. At the end of the final paragraph I felt a real sense of kinship with both the author and the beautiful planet that we inhabit. This book is a tonic for the soul.
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on 29 December 2013
Simply put, I loved it. Eminently readable and beautiful in its simplicity, I was rather surprised to find Mindfulness and the Natural World something of a moving experience, as well as a device to steer us towards a deeper awareness of the world we live in.

The author, Claire Thompson invites us to reconnect with nature, highlighting the profound and ultimately unshakeable bonds that link us to the natural world which, she argues, we are increasingly overlooking and are in danger of forgetting altogether.

We are urged to remind ourselves of how we experienced nature as a child, in our most innocent and unadulterated state, so that we may get back in touch with the natural world as we would an old friend, or a long lost parent. This becomes the foundation for an elegantly simple solution to a whole host of what we perceive as complex problems, such as our relentless quest for happiness, our obsession with control, and ultimately, our relationship with the planet as a whole.

I have to say the true beauty of this book is in its writing style. Unlike so many other books in the genre with equally noble intentions, Mindfulness and the Natural World manages to come across as a thoughtful, well-informed discussion as opposed to a sermon. What really shines through here is the author's genuine wonder in the face of our world and her deep love for it. This is expressed and explored in such uncomplicated terms that it cannot help but be compelling.

As has been said in previous comments here, this is by no means an exhaustive investigation into mindfulness; however, it is a strikingly simple and ultimately beautiful introduction to it. I highly, highly recommend it.
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on 3 April 2017
This is a truly beautiful book. It makes one contemplate the meta-view of life, to slow down and to appreciate the power of nature. I loved it and can testify to the transformational change it evokes. I can’t wait for The Art of Mindful Birdwatching…
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on 31 October 2013
This book fits in perfectly with the rest of the series by the same publisher, with its unfussy layout, beautiful illustrations and quotes neatly peppered throughout.

I found the author's style very engaging and easy to follow. Her enthusiasm for nature was infectious and inspiring throughout. The quotes and anecdotes she uses to illustrate her points are well chosen, and will appeal to readers from all walks of life: they're taken from a wide range of sources - from composers and writers, via philosophers and various artists, to friends, family, and the author herself.

Although this book does not plumb the depths of mindfulness in huge detail, it is a great introduction to its basic principles, and avoids alienating the reader by sounding too 'into it' or preachy. Its strengths lie in its simplicity, and its commitment to anchoring relatively abstract concepts in tangible, immediately accessible experiences. The author has a knack for expressing her ideas in layman's terms, without falling into the trap of over-theorising in a misguided attempt to give them gravitas.

This is essential reading for anyone who is new to mindfulness and wants to get to grips with its basic concepts. With nature all around you, you'll be able to start practicing right away.
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on 27 November 2013
I happened across this book by chance and am so glad I did. It is a beautiful and delightful book whose straightforward and uncomplicated style belies the depth of points Claire makes. It is one of those books you want all your family and friends to read so that they too can benefit from its timeless wisdom - for timeless wisdom it is.

Many congratulations on a wonderful book - it is a gem. I would give it 6 stars if I could!

Hugh Shields
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on 9 July 2016
I have many books on Mindfulness by Thich Naht Hahn. I was reminded of his writing by much of the content in this book.
I would not say a have learnt loads from this book as I am familiar with much of what was written. However I very pleased with the book as for me it brings together much of the content of my other books in one book.
I enjoyed the accessible way the book was written and feel it gets to the roots of mindfulness and our inter relatedness with the nature.
A lovely book which I would recommend.
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on 31 May 2015
I was really disappointed at the very small font size used in this book. I think it would have been a lovely text otherwise. The boxes with the exercises use an even smaller font AND (ridiculously) print it over an image.
Some of us still like to read real books, so don't have the advantage of increasing the font size on a Kindle say.
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on 15 February 2016
This is a lovely book to handle; its faux retro woodcut illustrations and Trust grey binding speak of the love and understanding that Claire has for the natural world. It's the kind of how-to book I like which I have to put down at regular intervals in order to go outside and learn about nature around me. I hope it has the same effect on other readers.
Claire is at her best in describing her inspiring encounters with nature and she clearly knows her science and avoids the all-too-prevalent overstatement of the benefits of nature study. Her meditations are valuable and reminiscent of Ferrucci's dis-identifying What We May Be: Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth and Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization Creative Visualization
I'm witholding one star because the audience for the book is not clear to me. Claire's frequent use of the pronoun "we" set me wondering. Who is she addressing? I'm already a convert. Novelists rarely use 'we' because it presumes to summarise the views and feelings of many people at once. Its use carries the risk of overlooking diversity and spreading banality.
A reliance on intuition and a call to a return to nature is familiar from the Romantic writers of the 18th and 19th century, Byron and Shelley, for instance, whose achievements and faults have been well documented by writers such as Daisy Hay Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein can be seen a warning of the dangers of the romantic pursuit of curiosity. Henry David Thoreau, ascetic hermit, comes in for much praise for recognising the power of being in nature.
So overall, read it, lend it out but don't fall for the e-book!
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on 24 June 2015
I'd recommend this book both to those who already have a love of nature, as well as those who feel they've lost that connect.

In this unique book, Claire shares many examples of moments of awe and inspiration when at one with the natural world.

In our modern, digital world, there's more need for this book than ever before. Claire uses beautiful, enchanting language so even the experience of reading her book can make you feel calm and at ease.

Mindfulness is more than just meditation. Claire offers a rich variety of creative ways for you to step out of your busy life and cultivate and deepen your relationship with nature. I hope you too enjoy reading or simply dipping into this book, from time to time.
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