Does mindfulness practice improve your physical, social, and mental well-being? To what extent can your mind shape your brain? What does the latest research have to say about meditation and other awareness practices?
Now, with The Mindful Brain, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, a pioneer of the emerging field known as interpersonal neurobiology, answers these questions and more in this original adaptation to complement his breakthrough book.
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I heard this guy interviewed on the brain science podcast and followed the trail to listen to this book. I had always imagined that meditation was for people who were stressed out and needed to chill. Given that I am by nature pretty low stress, I never bothered with it. I gained some interesting insight here. Just as you might practice a tennis stroke to ingrain and master it, practicing meditation can be very empowering (in many ways). Have you ever tried it? Lie down and just focus on your breath. Empty your brain. Not easy, is it? If you're like most people you'll find that lots of thoughts start seeping in. Neurons that fire together wire together. The more you practice this, the better you get at it. This rings true for me. Years ago I was an Olympic athlete. I used to practice imagery to gain control of my mind in stressful and sometimes somewhat dangerous situations and also to practice and ingrain the rather technical motion of a ski jumping take-off. Initially I wasn't very good at it but with practice I dialed it in. I'd say that honing this skill was integral to my ultimate success in sport... and later in life as well. This relates to some other books I've read. One example being The Biology of Belief (great book). This book briefly explores the concept of "the director" - in a nutshell being introspective and conscious of the activity of your brain - your thoughts; "Isn't that interesting that I had that reaction". The author of The Mindful Brain (a scientist who by the way reads his own book here and conveys his passion for the subject matter) is exploring this concept in great detail. At times a little over my head but quite interesting ...
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
of Siegel's work in the field of neurology and how he has brought together ancient wisdom about meditation and mindfulness and modern science, using science to show why the ancient wisdom has been around so long. In short, he shows how mindful meditation, particularly the type practiced in many forms of Buddhism, restructures the brain in a positive fashion and how it can be used to better our lives in all personal and social situations. I would recommend approaching this book before Siegel's longer work, Mindsight, since most of what is covered here has already been presented in a much more expanded form in that (really excellent) volume. Along with Siegel, one might also read the work of Jeffery Schwarz, Richard Davidson, and Daniel Goleman, as all are leading researchers in the field of how the mind influences the brain, an important new branch of neurology which overthrows the functionalist "brain as machine" model.
Concise but informational
Pleasant voice inflection and a chance to rest the eyes while taking in rich information
This seems to be an update to Mindsight, repeating much of what was stated there and building on it too, but rolls out in a more concise and well-paced manner. I have taken these principles into daily living, with immense benefit in interpersonal relationships and calmer days in spite of the storms of living.
I came to this book for a very specific reason. To see what was happening in the brain that causes the changes that take place with meditation and mindfulness practice. It was good in this regard. But not great.
What I wasn't looking for was a way to improve or broaden my practice. But I found a few profound nuggets.
The book starts strong, with a discussion about mindfulness from a science perspective. It continues pretty well as he explores the subjective experience.
Then he goes into integrating the science and the subjective and this falls a little short of what I would label excellent. I am a pretty smart guy, and I have read a few books about the mind (maybe 15-20) and I have read a few books about mindfulness (maybe 6-8) so I don't think it was just me. I think he tried to cover to much ground in the space he allotted.
Anyway, still very good. I reccomend.
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