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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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  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 12-27-13
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 12-27-13 Member Since 2013

    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.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-25-13
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-25-13 Member Since 2010

    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.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky harrison, AR, United States 10-02-13
    Becky harrison, AR, United States 10-02-13 Member Since 2007
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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.

    13 of 13 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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 01-07-14
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2006

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Canada 09-19-13
    Mike Canada 09-19-13 Member Since 2010

    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!

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guilherme Porto Alegre, Brazil 10-19-13
    Guilherme Porto Alegre, Brazil 10-19-13 Member Since 2011

    You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. —Wayne Gretzky

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    "Best book on meditation I've read"

    this is an incredible book about meditation in general and a new way of seeing the world as it is not as a construction of your self. I recommend this listen to everyone who is like me always anxious for no reason, like the world is about to end at any instant.
    I'm planning to listen to it many times, probably two or three times a year.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven berwyn, PA, United States 08-23-13
    steven berwyn, PA, United States 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.


    6 of 6 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.

    19 of 21 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 2013
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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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 25 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • 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.

    3 of 3 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
  • N. D. Holt
    Bayern, Germany
    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jim
    Twickenham, United Kingdom
    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.

    2 of 3 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

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
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