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Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation Lecture

Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    John L Murphy Los Angeles 04-03-16
    John L Murphy Los Angeles 04-03-16 Member Since 2013

    Fionnchú

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    "A guided course in looking within for wisdom"
    If you could sum up Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation in three words, what would they be?

    Reflective. Compassionate. Encouraging.


    What other book might you compare Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation to and why?

    Learning in the company of a wise teacher. Perhaps a book by a less predictable one like Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse or Anam Thubten?


    What does Professor Mark W. Muesse bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His own gradual encounter with Buddhism from his teens on, HIs Texas accent and down-home approach add to the story he tells, for Westerners like himself, rather than as if a guru transported from the Himalayas to Berkeley or Brooklyn.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    That meditation can be flexible, rather than rigid, to meet one's own needs best.


    Any additional comments?

    His meditation on death is powerful and recommended for anyone to contemplate and learn from.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M.W. 03-19-15
    M.W. 03-19-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Good for Educational Purposes"
    Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

    Yes. This was just like a good college lecture/course.


    Any additional comments?

    This took a long time to finish because (1) Not well suited to driving because you can't do some of the exercises and (2) not well suited for night time listening because you might fall asleep. That being said, if you are interested in meditation and mindfulness (definitely more of the latter) then this is a good primer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Coquitlam, BC, Canada 08-08-14
    Wendy Coquitlam, BC, Canada 08-08-14
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    "A Must Read!"
    Where does Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Loved the Book! It's a book that you will read over & over. Keeps you thinking about the NOW and also that anyone can Meditate. Each lesson was practical and easy to understand, also at times with a bit of humor. Professor Muesse was wonderful. A book everyone should read.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Ronin 07-06-15
    Ed Ronin 07-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Four lectures of nothing leading up to Mumbo Jumbo"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Mark W. Muesse?

    Great courses yes. Prof. Muesse? Nope.


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    A refund.


    How could the performance have been better?

    If you listen for it, here's a good deal of hidden hostility under his voice. The guy is more than a little "catty" when speaking about women and condescending when speaking about anything but his own approach. Plus a lot of his anecdotes are apocryphal stories we've all heard before--and it's kind of insulting to be expected to pretend to ourselves we're not being lied to.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom. Irritation. That feeling when you walk across someone's neglected front yard.


    Any additional comments?

    I really wanted to like the guy--and this course--but I've seen too many of his clones in new-age book shops. Guys you with a calm, quasi divine affectation with nothing rational to say. Coming in under the Great Courses banner, the course gives the impression that the sound principles of an ancient practice have been extracted and condensed into something usable in modern time.

    Not so.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cheryl 03-01-15
    cheryl 03-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "terrible book. I listened to 25 mins and it's not"

    what I was looking for. I wanted lessons of beginning ways to meditate. tried two ways to return the book & no help, or response back from Amazon. Even nook and book stores have a return policy.
    Don't buy, it's a terrible book of wasted time & use of the mind.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Glenwood Springs, CO, United States 01-24-14
    Dana Glenwood Springs, CO, United States 01-24-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Life-altering"
    What did you love best about Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation?

    The professor knows his subject and tells his stories in a beautiful, soothing voice. I listen every night. Some of what I hear is in real-time and some is subliminal because he puts me into a satisfying, deep sleep every time. Glad I don't have to go to class because I would have my head on the desk. But during sleep is how I learn best.


    What about Professor Mark W. Muesse’s performance did you like?

    I already said it above. He is an amazing speaker.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh,, cry, sleep - you name it!


    Any additional comments?

    Are than any more from him? I would be all over any course he teaches.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 10-01-14
    Troy 10-01-14

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!

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    "A Welcome, Thorough Course"

    Meditation is easy to learn and easy to begin... in theory. It's quite possibly the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life, which is why I was eager to have a longer course like this one. I've done this sort of thing off and on for years, and I've seen the benefits of it for myself. But my physical restlessness and my "monkey mind" have always been my worst enemies. This course breaks everything down slowly and thoroughly. Everything you need is here, and there is plenty of advice concerning props or environments to go along with it for those who wish for that that.

    The hard part is still actually meditating. It's just not as daunting as it used to be.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobby 09-26-16
    Bobby 09-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "New age nonsense"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Mark W. Muesse?

    Starts off ok, but further along in this course you are confronted with some real hippy new age BS! What's that about basic biology / science and this crackpot's views on the "Cell"? Omg! What a disgrace, I've truly never been more disappointed in a purchase at audible as I've been with this one, overall rating; don't get fooled by this so called "mindfulness" course. Keep your credits and invest it in something more constructive and usefull avaiable at audible. Refund!


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Be reasonable and sensible and treat 400 years of science with some respect. Antony van Leeuwenbroeck is turning over in his grave if he hears this nonsense theory!


    What three words best describe Professor Mark W. Muesse’s performance?

    Propegandious, misleading, disappointing


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Label this as fiction, not as science /psychology courses!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Gomez Miami, Florida United States 09-26-16
    Alexander Gomez Miami, Florida United States 09-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A must."

    Changed my perspective about what really matters. Inmense value for everyone interested not only in mindfulness but learning the art of living.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christopher 09-18-16
    christopher 09-18-16
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    "I wanted to love this book."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would only recommend this book if you are really into spiritual meditation.


    How could the performance have been better?

    To be honest I am not sure, I am a man of science not spirituality. So I think this book has a specific audience in mind.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • N. D. Holt
    Perthshire, United Kingdom
    2/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Guidance"
    What did you like most about Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to 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.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Mark W. Muesse’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    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.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Max
    2/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Get another book on meditation"
    What would have made Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation better?

    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.


    What will your next listen be?

    A better meditation book


    What didn’t you like about Professor Mark W. Muesse’s performance?

    He talks too slow and he comes with too many examples - way too many!


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation?

    all but the guided meditation - or close to.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    8/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Information with a little Cheese!"
    If you could sum up Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation in three words, what would they be?

    Good for Beginners


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What three words best describe Professor Mark W. Muesse’s performance?

    Heartfelt but scripted


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Take a voyage into inner space


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Jim
    London
    9/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • MARGARET
    United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved this course"
    If you could sum up Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation in three words, what would they be?

    Potentially life changing


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No characters as such this is course on mindfulness but I did enjoy when the professor talked about the Buddha.


    What does Professor Mark W. Muesse bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    This professors delivery was excellent he was able to bring the topics to life and make it interesting and enjoyable as well as educational.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I enjoyed it all and am looking forward to listing to it again soon


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Quinn
    9/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    "Bumblebee Buddha (I didn't finish)"

    Lacking quality voice. Author compares himself to Buddha because a bee landed on his face.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Teresa Cooper
    4/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mindfulness. "

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KM
    10/2/15
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    1/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Stanley, United Kingdom
    8/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Irritating accent and delivery"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    An American ?


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    If the Narrator was British or a better reader


    How could the performance have been better?

    If narrated by a better reader


    What character would you cut from Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation?

    The Narrator


    Any additional comments?

    None

    4 of 19 people found this review helpful

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