Meditation - the technique of mental focusing for enhanced awareness and self-mastery - offers deep and lasting benefits for mental functioning and emotional health, as well as for physical health and well-being.
This practice is closely related to "mindfulness," which Professor Muesse defines as "a deliberate way of paying attention to what is occurring within oneself as it is happening. It is the process of attentively observing your experience as it unfolds, without judgment or evaluation."
"Meditation," he adds, "refers to certain exercises that can be used to enlarge and refine mindfulness." Meditation cultivates mindfulness by training you to develop deep attention to the present moment, allowing the mind to become settled and centered. These 24 detailed lectures teach you the principles and techniques of sitting meditation, the related practice of walking meditation, and the highly beneficial use of meditative awareness in many important activities, including eating and driving. You will also learn how to use the skills of meditation in working with thoughts and emotional states, in deepening sensory awareness of the body, and in becoming deeply attentive to the operation of your mind.
You'll come away with a solid basis for your own meditation practice and for bringing meditation's remarkable and empowering benefits to every aspect of your life.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
Don't expect this series of lectures to be entirely about the mechanics of mindfulness meditation. Once the basic practice is described, Professor Muesse spends a great deal of time on Buddhist philosophy and the reasons why conscious examination of our mind's wanderings is beneficial. Very little of this work is guided meditation; however, the guided mediations and instructions provided are consistent with what I have found in other authoritative works.
Because we are creatures of habit, i.e. our brains actually adapt to make it easier to repeat common patterns of thought, breaking the habit of allowing our minds to wander uncontrolled, can help us prevent unproductive patterns of thought from becoming habit.
Both mindfulness mediation and Dr. Muesse's introduction to it are highly recommended by this reviewer.
I bought this lecture series for help with learning to meditate. I did not find it too helpful on that front as I am a complete beginner and the lecturer did not take the sort of hand-holding approach to meditation that I feel I need.
BUT, the lectures that dealt with topics related to meditation and not meditation itself were amazing. I think they've helped me unlock the key mysteries about myself and my interactions with others and things that I've been struggling with for a great many years. I'm very, very glad I bought and listened to these lectures.
Stumbled upon audio books a little while ago and I enjoy them now. I mostly listen to books related to science, Buddhism, and some fantasy.
I found Dr. Muesse did good work researching and explaining mindfulness. Each lecture was well presented with good use of vocals to keep the listener's attention.
I found the best part to be the first lecture of this series. The example given is unquestionably THE best example I've ever read or heard of the differences between an untrained (or distracted) mind, and a mind which routinely goes through mindfulness meditation and exercises. I can't say enough good about the first chapter. The following lectures buildup from there, I found myself hooked right from the start.
Also, of particular note is the acknowledgement that this course is Dr. Muesse's interpretation on the subject matter. I could see the great lengths the author went through to present the subject material in as an objective way as possible. For me this is a huge difference between one-sided self help books, and academic learning.
I would recommend this to people curious about what meditation is, and what in particular mindfulness meditation is. Then it's effect on a person's outlook and quality of life.
All in all this is one of the best introduction coarse on mindfulness I have had the opportunity to listen/read. Recommended!
I learned a lot from this course, although parts of it are more valuable than others. The best sections are those which give advice on meditation practice and how to overcome the difficulties that challenge the beginner. The lecturer has lots of useful, practical ideas that are very helpful. I found the later sections where he spends a great deal of time moralizing in a rather banal way to be less interesting, although here and there I found nuggets of thought-provoking ideas about how mindfulness can help us live our lives better - the chapter on accepting mortality is particularly good.
The lecturer speaks WAY too slowly and has a slightly condescending tone, as if he is explaining the subject to a small kitten. However, I found that if I played him at 2x speed he sounded like a normal human being and was perfectly listenable.
I love learning, teaching, and exploring!
This was an excellent introductory course on meditation. The lectures covered the basics, like principles of Buddhism and connecting to the breath during meditation. It also explained some more challenging topics such as compassionate meditation and meditation on grief and death. These lectures have taught me how to bring mindfulness into my day-to-day life. I'm looking forward to practicing the concepts further!
The professor was an excellent speaker. The pace was a little bit slow, but I think that is appropriate for this topic. The 30 minute lectures are the perfect length for listening without getting bored.
No. It is lengthy, but well worth the time invested.
This lecture has changed my life! It has taught me to practice paying more attention to those around me, how to practice compassion for others and myself, and how to exercise peacefulness.
This course is not a simple listening experience but can be practice simultaneously.
The whole course is rooted in one concept "Awareness" and all worldly problems could be overcome through it. This is also a fundamental principle of "Whole to Part". If one is "Aware" all the time then one is also aware of transience nature of everything, physical or non physical.
Practice awareness through various exercises mentioned in the course.
This is the best Audible I have come across. I have listened to many other on similar subject but this particular one is invaluable due to following:- It encourages you to do simple exercises.- Insights mentioned are non religious but universal truth.- short stories (gathas) generate clarity.- simplicity.I wish there would be a concise form of these 24 lectures.
It gets better as you reach the middle of the book
least interesting was mindfulness while eating and walking--way too lengthy
Would have had him move along a little faster to get to the point.
I don't regret reading it, but I would not place it high on my list of "to reads."
Dr. Muesse seems to be knowledgeable about the topic, but his cadence and voice was very annoying. He had very little enthusiasm and read in almost a monotone. I could only do a very short session because I kept getting rapped up in the voice and delivery.
I was interested in the topic, but had a hard time getting into the book because of the delivery by the reader.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, usually in the background. This book gives you techniques to keep you mentally present whatever you're doing. It demystifies meditation and sophisticated techniques, giving it to you in easy-to-use guidelines.
"Great Information with a little Cheese!"
Good for Beginners
The information is well written and very informative, taking the listener into the world of meditation without any heavy religious overtones but enough reference to spirituality to make the exercise relevant. The guided exercises are very good and prove useful in demonstrating the concepts described.
Heartfelt but scripted
Take a voyage into inner space
The book is good but the format can be an annoying distraction. The speaker "pretends" to be performing a lecture to a live audience BUT it is very soon apparent that there is no audience reaction to the humour or any other background noise and the applause at the start and finish of each "lecture" or section is canned and exactly the same on every occasion. It would be much easier to the ear if the "lectures" were referred to as Chapters or Sections (as with any other book, audible or otherwise) and the distracting applause was binned as a result. Sincerity and honesty are a large part of being mindful so why pretend? The desire to be novel in approach has spoiled what is otherwise a great source of information. Having said that, don't be put off. Take it for what it is, a great start into mindful meditation.
As I listened to the lecture series, restarted it a couple of times, and reviewed the lectures several times each, I have been able to apply several of his techniques to my own life and incorporate them ... they have been very beneficial.
I enjoyed his talks on The Buddha and on Buddhism, and he leaves me with an appetite for more understanding.
I like the way, after the introduction and basics he leads us through several directed meditations, building my confidence in my ability to continue this practice.
This is the first of his lecture series that I have listened to.At first, I found Professor Muesse's voice and manner of delivery difficult to enjoy ... but after a short while the delivery became part of his character and did enjoy his lectures, and listening to him.
"Get another book on meditation"
80% of this audiobook is needless filling - I is 12 HOURS long and this is because he talks extremely slow and overexplains everything. Like there are always not just one but three examples too many. I.e. he spends about 20 minutes talking about what kind of pillow is best for meditation and ends up saying that they all work and its an individual choice.
Because the audiobook is so long it is really hard to navigate as well. There is only a few guided meditations and the rest is stories (relevant or not) and discussions of how to live a mindful live.
There must be a better audiobook on this subject with less fill and more technique and relevance.
A better meditation book
He talks too slow and he comes with too many examples - way too many!
all but the guided meditation - or close to.
"I loved this course"
Potentially life changing
No characters as such this is course on mindfulness but I did enjoy when the professor talked about the Buddha.
This professors delivery was excellent he was able to bring the topics to life and make it interesting and enjoyable as well as educational.
I enjoyed it all and am looking forward to listing to it again soon
I have been trying to get into meditation and mindfulness meditation in particular but I don't think I had actually grasped what mindfulness really was and why it helps us and how to bring it into my life . These lectures addressed all that. Initially I wasn't sure I would like this but I am so glad I got it.
"Practical, informative and charming"
As someone wanting to start mindfulness meditation I found this to be a clear and informative guide. Prof Muesse is from the southern states of the USA; which seems to present a previous reviewer with some problems but for me wasn't an issue. His narration is clear and paced in a way that's well suited to meditation exercises. He provides interesting context on buddhism but also translates concepts such as karma in a way that's useful for those of us who aren't buddhists and don't believe in reincarnation. There are plenty of exercises to offer the beginner a range of options for meditating and since buying this lecture meditation has become part of my daily routine.
The "Great Lectures" series all involve a bit of kidology; we're supposed to think it's a live lecture but the applause sounds dubbed-in between chapters and one assumes they're recorded in a studio somewhere. That's irrelevant though. Where they come up trumps is in hiring great university lecturers with solid academic credentials in the field and letting them do their thing. I wasn't sure whether that would work in this instance because I was after a practical guide but this really hit the spot for me in delivering both practical exercises as well as interesting background material.
"Bumblebee Buddha (I didn't finish)"
Lacking quality voice. Author compares himself to Buddha because a bee landed on his face.
Not the book of the moment. It's possibly just me not being in the right frame of mind to listen to the lectures. I would not wish to put others off this title, go ahead and try these lecturers.
"This has changed my life."
I found myself in a situation where I knew I had to change the way I reacted to the stresses and frustrations of a busy modern life. This course has helped me immensely. Coupled with the recommended reading it has given me a grasp of mindfulness practice that has already changed me. I was always sceptical of this type of thing but I cannot deny the power of such a simple practice.
Professor Muesse is inspirational and entertaining. He lectures with a sense of humour and humility which makes you want to try your best.
I revisit the lectures from time to time, they are more or less stand alone, and each one is relevant and valuable.
"Not for me"
I read the mixed reviews on this series before deciding to give it a go. I persisted with it until about half way and gave up on it. I can see that it will appeal to, and help many people and it does have much very useful discussion and instruction on mindfulness.
To me, the spoken delivery isn't great but is okay, the canned applause is unnecessary but okay. Assuming every listener is American is a common, curiously unmindful position but oh okay.
The interpretation of 'no self' was the last straw for me. So many teachers take this quite literally, 'hey, your self is an illusion, it doesn't exist'. Yes it is a process, no it is not a thing, no, it is not permanent, yes it fluctuates but as surely as our computers use software, all minds think and self and meditation may rewrite our notion of it but accepting it's continuing existence makes meditation easier. Denying it is disingenuous, dogmatic and misleading.
"Irritating accent and delivery"
An American ?
If the Narrator was British or a better reader
If narrated by a better reader
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