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Mindful : October 2018
In 2005, Jon Kabat-Zinn published his mag- num opus, Coming to Our Senses. At 650 pages and years in the making, it was a monumen- tal achievement. It allowed the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to put his life’s work in a larger context. Mindfulness is not a mental trick, an adjunct to regular life. It’s a basic human inheritance that is essential to life. We need to be optimally aware of who we are, where we are, how we are, if we are to survive individually and as communities, and even as a species in Kabat-Zinn’s view. The book amounted to a bold call for us all to quite liter- ally “come to our senses,” to as often as possible experience where we are and what is going on within and around us—and to take up practices that cultivate our ability to do so. Now Hachette has decided to reissue the book as four separate small books, starting with Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important, followed by Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life, both of which are available now. The third and fourth books will come out late this year and early next. While the books overall are thick with refer- ences to and examples from science, literature, poetry, political thought, and more, the whole is presented in digestible chapters, which is almost certainly the best way to read these books, since trying to rip through them leaves not enough time to reflect and take in what you’ve read. They’re like a box of fine chocolates. Eaten and savored one chapter at a time, they bring delight. If one eats half the box in one sitting, it may lead to indigestion. MEDITATION IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important Jon Kabat-Zinn • Hachette This collection of ancient Islamic teachings reveals the roots and nuances of a mysti- cal tradition that conjoins intellectual depth, spiritual humility, and bountiful sensu- ality. Together with the intro- duction by the book’s editor and translator, Omid Safi, the writings offer a glimpse into Islamic cosmology and phi- losophy through the history of a central tenet: radical love, or eshq. Safi, director of the Islamic Studies Depart- ment at Duke University, has disavowed “this idea that love is something private. Love is public. It is something that you do.” His collecting, trans- lating, and editing of these exquisitely poetic teachings should be viewed as a public act of love, of service. RADICAL LOVE Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition Omid Safi • Yale University Press According to research cited by Judith Orloff, the MD who is the bestselling author of Emo- tional Freedom, one in five people are “highly sensitive.” According to this understand- ing, “empaths” don’t just feel empathy in the typical way. It’s a kind of whole-body experi- ence. And it can be difficult to get through a world of pain in such a raw, open, state. Orloff offers advice for those of us who feel we’re wearing our heart on the outside of our bodies: a way to live fully engaged and open to others without having to put on the thicker skin that so many people tell you is required. THE EMPATH’S SURVIVAL GUIDE Life Strategies for Sensitive People Judith Orloff, MD • Sounds True 78 mindful October 2018 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...stream