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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The purpose of mindfulness made clear, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Mindful Compassion: Using the Power of Mindfulness and Compassion to Transform our Lives (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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Location: Birmingham, England

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