book review: meditation book

>> Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review:  Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness, a Ten Week Course by Andrew Weiss

This is a great introduction to meditation. Though the book is designed to be used for 10 weeks, I have stretched things out for over 6 months now. I am currently at week 9, but I fully plan to go back to the beginning when I finish. There is just so much packed into each chapter.

The book begins with directions on how to use it, which I promptly skipped, but then went back to read once I realized how much information the book contained. The rest is divided into four sections: Beginning Mindfulness, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Widening the Heart, and Going On.

My favorite feature about this book is the Informal Practice: Daily Life Mindfulness list from the first week. This shows you how to be more mindful in your daily life, including waking, driving, eating, walking, working, and even going to the bathroom! It is really an eye-opener to me on how little I really pay attention to anything anymore these days. I am on auto pilot way too much and therefore missing out on a lot of my life.

The style of the writing is easy to follow as author Andrew Weiss, a westerner, takes us through the weeks using his journey as examples along the way.

My least favorite feature of this book is that it's a paperback and my copy is looking a little worse for wear. I also get an impression that while one is studying this book, they should not read other meditation material. He does say at one point to learn this way first and then he recommends other authors and books.

In addition, I do not know anyone who would have the time to actually finish this whole book in 10 weeks—it's just too intensive.

In sum, this book has become my meditation bible and I will treasure it and reread it many times. It's a great, albeit extremely thorough introduction to mindfulness and I am so glad I found it.


LLB February 27, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

Hi Maggie,
Thanks for this review. I'll have to add this to the huge list of books waiting to be read. I've been meditating for many years now but find that there is always so much more to learn. What I'm most aware of is that mindfulness slows me down and going slower is usually a very good thing.