BEGINNING MINDFULNESS: Learning the Way of Awareness

Andrew Weiss, Author . New World Library $14.95 (234p) ISBN 978-1-57731-441-7

Weiss, longtime Buddhist meditation student and teacher, offers an excellent 10-week course on meditation, its meanings and its applications. With clarity, kindness and care he forges a cohesive whole from many "handouts" he has created over the years to teach sitting meditation and walking, meditation. Emphasizing the need to take mindful awareness into everyday life, Weiss, who is an ordained brother in Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing, highlights many mindfulness opportunities for modern people: facing cancer, washing dishes, walking to and flushing the toilet, exercising and waiting at red lights. While true to Buddhist principles, the book is gloriously free of the jargon that can alienate the average person. Weiss begins at the beginning, with posture and, most importantly, breath. Over the sequenced 10-week program, practitioners gain meditation and awareness basics and also explore mindfulness in their own bodies, feelings and mental processes. Weeks nine and 10 look at loving kindness (metta) and healing breathing to address the suffering of others (tonglin). Each chapter has formal and informal "Home Play" activities that extend the lessons into daily life, while a final section on "how to continue" and an annotated reading list increase the volume's usefulness. Weiss's voice is authentic, yet flavored with the sensibilities of Thich Nhat Hanh, known for his accessible, gentle, concentrated abilities to communicate the essence of mindfulness, especially to beginners. (Mar. 12)

Reviewed on: 01/19/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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