Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Ronald Siegel, PsyD is an inspiring teacher and psychotherapist, who offers a wealth of information about a practice that has been brought to the western world from the east: mindfulness and meditation. We live such busy, conflicted lives that we often do not even dream that slowing down and tuning in to ourselves is a more effective solution than multi-tasking, working harder, or getting caught up in ever more complicated ways to try to manage it all.
I have been privileged to attend several conferences that Dr. Siegel has given, and I found this series of lectures to be fully as exciting and useful as hearing him in "real time." He is a wonderful speaker, and he does a good job of conveying what I think might be unfamiliar to some, but when put into practice, can bring significant change to our lives.
I feel amazed at the sheer amount of information he is able to convey in such a (relatively) short period of time in these lectures. He gives a good introduction to what mindfulness is--it's origins in Buddhist thought, along with scientific studies that are proving how helpful these methods are proving to be in today's busy, often anxious world. He talks about it's uses in daily life, medical situations and even addictions. Now that there is more evidence than ever before that chronic stress is directly connected to many medical and pain conditions, mindfulness is finding it's place especially in the medical world, as it offers an additional way to address chronic conditions.
I like listening to The Great Courses--in fact, I have been buying and listening to them since they were produced on cassette tapes! (Hint: that was a long time ago :-) Although I have never listened to any Course that I didn't like or appreciate, this one is a 5 star winner in my opinion. It is a well-balanced combination of information, interesting anecdotes, useful ways to employ what he is talking about and he maintains a consistent level of excellence in his talks. Speaking of which, Dr. Siegel "talks" a bit rapidly--you may have to listen hard at times to get it all, but he is clearly speaking fast because he has so much information to convey. If you like listening to something that will change your life in positive ways, this is the Course to use your credit on! I *SO* recommend this!
Tara Brach, who has achieved notoriety for her gentle approach to living, primarily through a psychological/Buddhist approach, provides some guidelines for moving through life, using what she refers to as "R.A.I.N." By this, she shows us how to meet challenging situations.
First Recognize the reality of what is occurring.
Then Accept that is it what it is.
Investigate what it means, and then the huge move that brings it all together, is:
"rest in Natural awareness." (in other words, do not be so quick to react, but move to a state of awareness in which we have a different relationship to what is happening).
Tara Brach also wrote "Radical Acceptance," in which she also suggests that we are so quick to run from, or distance ourselves from situations that feel unpleasant, that we may do better in the long run finding a way to move into them, with curiosity, patience and willingness to be present to what is happening.
As happens sometimes, they have chosen someone else to read this book. Although Cassandra Campbell has done an excellent job, Tara Brach has a beautifully soft voice, and I would so have preferred hearing her narrate it herself. However, this book is certainly worth listening to.
Phillip Moffitt is a man who wants to share his wisdom about life--and what he writes is very inspirational.
I have read his other book, and listened to talks he has given over the years, and he has provided enormous insight into how to live one's life with an approach that dignifies all living things. His Buddhist approach clearly underscores his philosophy for living, but at times, it is also possible to feel and detect the other great influence in his life--Jungian psychology.
This book is perhaps his best work so far. I simply do not know how to speak highly enough about it. He provides guidelines for making wise decisions in one's life that, if utilized, surely improve the quality of our lives--and our relationships with everything we encounter.
Although Fred Stella has done an excellent job at narrating this book, I am sad that Mr. Moffitt did not read it himself, since I have listened to so many of his talks that his voice is what I expected to hear. Otherwise, I can only say, I wish I could offer this 6 stars.