Mindfulness has become one of the most popular words and health trends in the field of human health. But like most trends, hundreds of books are being written by people who want to capitalize on its popularity, with a few of those books being highly credible and/or useful.
Beyond the money to be made through exploitation of this trend, there are a few very credible sources that are worth your time and money.
As I have continued to consult with high-level athletes, including currently working with an Olympic athlete, I scoured the Mindfulness literature to reconfirm what the best resources appear to be.
The very best resource I found is entitled “The Mind Illuminated”. This book has a five-star rating from 276 customer reviews. Lead author Dr. John Yates (PhD) is a meditation master with over four decades of experience in the Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhist traditions. He is a former professor, and has taught physiology and neuroscience for many years, and later work in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.
This book stands out head and shoulders above the crowd for the following reasons:
— It begins by introducing a network of concepts which the author makes easily understandable, while also appreciating the complexity of how the mind actually functions
— The author maps out a 10-stage process which is easy to understand, and then provides a step-by-step process for moving from stage 1 to stage 10 of meditation mastery
— When you read this book you feel like the author is literally holding your hand and gently guiding you through what can be most often a very mystifying process of how to actually calm the mind, and bring the mind and body truly and completely into the Now of The Present Moment.
— This author integrates thousands of years of Buddhist wisdom by gleaning out the essential nuggets of that, but also integrates it with updated neuroscience concepts.
Currently I am on stage 2, while the athlete I’m working with has moved to stage 3. His performance has improved noticeably, as his previously experienced generalized anxiety has dissipated and a greater daily calmness is now ever present.
The author is wonderfully supportive, completely absent of condescension of many of those who have esoteric knowledge, and keeps a sense of humor throughout.
He calmly comes up with pithy things that keep you motivated to continue what is admittedly a long process if you truly want to reach the level of meditation where you feel calmer not only when you meditate, but throughout your daily life.
One of my favorite quotes of his is: “The only bad meditation is the one you do not do.”
After only a week of conducting this meditation I can honestly say that I felt completely transformed even in terms of my daily perspective.
Whether you are a teenager, parent, high-performance athlete, or whoever you are, I can guarantee that if you have enough motivation to read a book that demands some time commitment, you will reap life transforming benefits.
One of the most valuable lessons that Buddhism gives to all is as follows: if you can let go of unhealthy needs and desires, then you can end your suffering. Not easy to grasp, this is one of the truest ways to live a life of humility, joy, and insight.
Ancient wisdom repeatedly converges on the idea that true enlightenment comes from reflection, and reflection demands a meditative mind. In this way I would say a book like this is invaluable and critical for anyone seeking to understand the Deeper Meaning of Life.
As this Olympic athlete and I have worked together, I have come to appreciate anew just how important it is to have a deeper understanding of how to Be Mindful. Without meditation, it is nearly impossible to live a mindful life where you can treat even the most distressing thoughts with the following attitude: Let Come, Let Be, and Let Go.
Taken to its fullest extent, mindfulness is a way for anyone, whether religious or not, to let go of needless expectations. As one of my clients’ parents once told me, expectations are often most accurately described as predetermined resentments.
I believe this is one of the best books I have read in the last 10 years.