An 8 Week Long Book Review : Week 1 – Mindfulness Starts Here
As recently mentioned, I’m currently reading ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ by Lynette Monteiro and Frank Musten but rather than do a regular old, one off review of this book, I’d rather LIVE IT OUT! You heard me right. I’m going to be a guinea pig for the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program as described in their book.
So I picked up the book from my pile yesterday and dug right in. With a foreword by notable Buddhist teacher, Zen priest and author Joan Halifax Roshi we’re already off to a good start already here folks. The authors are therapists and meditation teachers so they are grounded in their work in helping individuals sort through and heal from their suffering. They’re in the trenches and doing the work.
The book’s introduction delivers a taste of the book’s tone which has a poetic flavour about it. Snippets of poems run throughout and serve as accents to the material covered in each section. My first observation is that it is a very friendly piece of writing that offers guidance to readers in a way that is clear and easy to read and rather than getting caught up in extolling the scientific virtues of mindfulness practice, it gets right to the point as to how it helps individuals work with physical and mental pain and suffering.
The concept of mindfulness is explored in the introduction and each of the authors provide their story on how they came to mindfulness practice which are not unlike the many patients that seek out this program for their own needs. The main points of each chapter are alluded to in the introduction and the authors reference that there are practices involved so that each week builds upon the techniques from the previous week.
So I dove in. Week One started last night. Chapter One delivers teachings on how we can get off track from our true, pristine nature yet have the capacity to return with a little bit of effort and energy. Becoming mindful. Aware. Present. Several practices are encouraged for this week that relate to analytical meditation and getting back to understanding oneself.
The end of each chapter features a practice sheet which is used to track the suggestions posed by the authors to help readers connect, reconnect and be mindful. As part of ‘my homework’, I did a body scan last night and realized that it had been a LONG time since I did this practice. Allergy-clouded head. Asthmatic lungs. Numb foot. Numb arse. Breathing. Breathing. Come back to the breathing. Blocked nose. Breathe.
It was very helpful and reminded me that I need to scan myself more often. Is it just me or does anyone else visualize this when they do a body scan?
Verdict – Week One. Day One… So far so good.