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Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation | [The Great Courses]

Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation

Meditation offers deep and lasting benefits for mental functioning and emotional health, as well as for physical health and well-being. 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.
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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.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 01-07-14
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2014

    Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.

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    "Outstanding introduction"

    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.

    51 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 09-19-13
    Mike 09-19-13

    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.

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    "Very good lectures on mindfulness!"

    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!

    52 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 12-27-13
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 12-27-13 Member Since 2014

    Rob Thomas

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    "It sounds like a cliché, but it changed my life."

    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.

    79 of 83 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 12-29-13
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 12-29-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Intermittently thought-provoking"

    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.

    57 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-25-13
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-25-13 Member Since 2014

    I love learning, teaching, and exploring!

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    "Be well and happy!"

    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.

    42 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anoop Gaborone, Botswana 07-30-13
    Anoop Gaborone, Botswana 07-30-13 Listener Since 2007
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    "Best Course on Meditation"
    What made the experience of listening to Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation the most enjoyable?

    This course is not a simple listening experience but can be practice simultaneously.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Mark W. Muesse – was your favorite?

    Buddha


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation?

    Practice awareness through various exercises mentioned in the course.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    30 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky 10-02-13
    Becky 10-02-13
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    "This course changed my life!"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It is lengthy, but well worth the time invested.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 12-30-13
    Saud 12-30-13

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "Stop Going on Autopilot, Listen to This"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 07-14-14
    Patrick 07-14-14

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

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    "Might Require Multiple Listens"

    I very much enjoyed learning about mindfulness and the concepts that entail with the practice. In this lecture, you'll learn how to practice simple basic meditation and how to do so while eating, walking, and sitting as well.

    I've studied various types of meditation throughout the years and this was still a learning lesson. The professor was great, as he had an almost "gentle" approach. When I practiced applying some of the methods he lectured on, I could hear his voice in my mind instructing what to look for and how to observe your thoughts while experiencing simple everyday life tasks such as taking a walk. He mentions several Buddhist concepts along the way, but doesn't emphasize that it's mandatory to embrace them. No pressure.

    I highly recommend if you're interested in learning more about meditation and mindfulness (living in the present moment)

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven 08-23-13
    steven 08-23-13

    I like skiing, golf, gardening, and fitness.

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    "Excellent narrator who speaks from experience."
    What made the experience of listening to Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation the most enjoyable?

    I learned so much about Buddhist meditation.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Mark W. Muesse – was your favorite?

    The Buddha


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

    The book made me want to learn more.


    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
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