Mindfulness for Dummies, by Shamash Aladina

August 8, 2012
Book plus CD available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
If I could put a book in a drawer in every hotel room across America, across the world, it would be Mindfulness for Dummies by Shamash Alidina. Alidina’s website describes him the following way:  “He has taught mindfulness in a secular way for over a decade to adults, and has taught eastern philosophy, physics and mindfulness in a progressive childrens’ school for 8 years.”

As an experienced practitioner I was worried I wouldn’t find much new here. Instead, Mindfulness for Dummies is a fascinating, well-researched tour de force.  


Alidina seems to cover all the important bases with complex and yet simple bullet points of the Dummies … Read more »

Search Inside Yourself, by Chade-Meng Tan

June 11, 2012

The cover of Search Inside Yourself is a clever riff on Google’s famous multicolored logo, and this is appropriate given that the author is a long-term Google employee and that the material is based on a course developed for Google’s staff.

Meng, as he is called, is a long-term meditator. Quite how long I’m not sure, but he refers to meditating before he joined Google (which was in 1999). Google’s workers are allowed to spend 20% of their time on personal projects, and so Meng and some of his colleagues spent that time developing a personal-development course which had meditation and mindfulness at its core.The course was jokingly called Search Inside Yourself, and the name … Read more »

Natural Brilliance, by Irini Rockwell

May 18, 2012

The subtitle of Irini Rockwell’s new book, Natural Brilliance: A Buddhist System for Uncovering Your Strengths and Letting them Shine, reads like a self-help book, and, yes, it is emphatically about helping ourselves. Yet, as you might imagine from a Buddhist teacher, the emphasis of the book is very much about helping us out of ourselves. As Irini writes, “When we are fully present … there is a tangible experience of the boundary of self dissolving and a sense of mingling with sights, sounds, smells, tastes.” Throughout “Natural Brilliance,” Irini acknowledges the richness and basic goodness of our inner world and offers a set of teachings that mean to guide us on the path … Read more »

The Meditative Mind, by Daniel Goleman

May 16, 2012

The Meditative Mind is an updated version of a book Daniel Goleman first published in the 1970s and revised in the 1980s. Goleman, who’s famous for his classic, Emotional Intelligence, was in on the first wave of research into the effects of meditation, having made a visit to India and having met some impressive yogis before returning to Harvard. Goleman has been ahead of the curve for a long time. This earlier parts of this book, he points out, first appeared at a time when the links between traditional Asian systems of mental training and modern psychological science were few and far between. They are of course far more common now, with an explosion … Read more »

The Mindful Manifesto, by Dr. Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell

April 6, 2012

The Mindful Manifesto presents — and represents — the continuing move of mindfulness practices into the mainstream of western culture. And mainstream it is. Almost daily, news articles appear highlighting the various ways that meditation is being taken up by ordinary people living ordinary lives, and used by veterans and trauma survivors, and adapted by clinicians to treat depression, stress, obesity, behavioral disorders in children, to give just a few examples. A constant stream of scientific papers appear from researchers, investigating — and confirming — meditation’s ability to do everything from slowing cellular aging to promoting growth in the brain, to improving our sex lives.

The authors are Ed Halliwell, a writer who has contributed … Read more »

“Work, Sex, Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness” by Chogyam Trungpa

April 6, 2012

As a long-standing Western Buddhist, my curiosity was piqued by this book. Work, sex and money are crucial issues to all of us, so I was interested to hear what Trungpa said.

Chogyam Trungpa was a major figure in the establishment of Buddhism in the West – particularly in North America. He was the founder of Vajradhatu and the Naropa Institute, two major achievements in themselves. But he did more than this.

Born in Tibet in 1940, and recognised as an infant as a major Kagyu tulku, he intensively trained in monasteries with Jamgon Kongtrul and other eminent teachers, later receiving full ordination. After dramatically escaping Tibet in 1959, he eventually arrived in Oxford University … Read more »

Yoga: Separating fact from fiction

March 19, 2012

Dorothy Brown reviews The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, by William J. Broad.

If practicing yoga is a right-brain experience, involving meditation, movement, and a detachment from the everyday, then reading The Science of Yoga is a jolt to the other side of the brain: analytical, historical, scientific, and sobering.
But to underscore the proven value of yoga, considered so wifty by so many, New York Times science writer William J. Broad has brought an arsenal of data.

At the front of the book, he lists 68 “main characters,” devotees of yoga and the science of yoga many of whom have …

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The scientific argument for being emotional

February 28, 2012

Hannah Tepper, Salon: At the end of his second year of Harvard graduate school, neuroscientist and bestselling author Richard Davidson did something his colleagues suspected would mark the end of his academic career: He skipped town and went to India and Sri Lanka for three months to “study meditation.”

In the ’70s, just as today, people tended to lump meditation into the new-age category, along with things like astrology, crystals, tantra and herbal “remedies.”

But contrary to what his skeptics presumed, not only did Davidson return to resume his studies at Harvard, his trip also marked the beginning of Davidson’s most spectacular body of …

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Aging as a Spiritual Practice, by Lewis Richmond

February 16, 2012

Here is a mindfulness practice from Lewis Richmond’s book, Aging as a Spiritual Practice: Think of your life and its major events as a horizontal line. Your past stretches to the left of wherever you are on that line; your future stretches to the right. The events that stretch into the past are clear and unchangeable; the future is blurred: you don’t really know what events will eventually occupy that line or how long the line will eventually be. Think of this as horizontal time.

Title: Aging as a Spiritual Practice
Author: Lewis Richmond
Publisher: Gotham Books
ISBN: 978-159-24069-0-6
Available from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store, Amazon.com,

Read more »

The Buddha Walks Into A Bar, by Lodro Rinzler

January 23, 2012

The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation is the literary debut of 28 year-old Shambhala Buddhist teacher, Lodro Rinzler. The book is aimed at “Generation O” and makes no assumptions about any prior knowledge or experience of Buddhism. Having said that, despite being a ‘young Buddhist’ I have almost a decade of experience of Buddhism yet I still found this book enjoyable, useful, and interesting.

I must admit, I did wince slightly at some of the expressions in the book, such as “Sid said…” when referring to the Buddha, but perhaps this is due to not being so ‘down with the kids’ these days. However, the cringe-effect quickly … Read more »