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Mindfulness

Book Description

Mindfulness is consciously paying attention to your present experience with a receptive attitude, in order to perceive things more clearly. Mindfulness enables people to get more in touch with the truth of their lives and make more beneficial choices. When people cultivate mindfulness, they experience important physical and emotional benefits. In Idiot's Guides: Mindfulness, readers get:

- A clear explanation of how mindfulness works and how to practice it in daily life.

- Steps for opening oneself up to the experience of mindfulness.

- Guidance on paying attention to one's body, emotions, and thoughts, and how to overcome the distractions that get in the way.

- Instructions for the top mindfulness meditation methods to help deepen mindfulness.

- Ways to use mindfulness to help alleviate anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviors, addiction, and trauma.

- Help with using mindfulness to repair and improve relationships with others, connect with children, and find meaning in life.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1: What You Need to Know About Mindfulness
    1. 1 Introducing Mindfulness
      1. The Big Deal
      2. What Is Mindfulness?
        1. State, Trait, or Practice?
        2. Mindful Versus Mindless
      3. Buddhist Roots
        1. Freedom from Stress
        2. Mindfulness and the Eightfold Path
      4. Modern Expansion of Meaning
        1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
        2. Mindfulness as an Umbrella Term
      5. The Benefits of Mindfulness
        1. Subjective Experience
        2. Objective Evidence
      6. Natural Yet Difficult
    2. 2 How Mindfulness Works
      1. Why Aren’t You Naturally Mindful?
        1. It’s Stressful to Be Human
        2. Your Complex Sense of Self
        3. Your Mind’s Default Mode
      2. The Mindful Mind
      3. Healthier Responses to Stressors
        1. Tolerance for Discomfort
        2. Perspective on Your Reactions
      4. Greater Objectivity About Self
        1. Noticing Impermanence
        2. A Dynamic Sense of Self
      5. Choice Instead of Default
        1. Getting Unstuck from Your Head
        2. Becoming Free from the Tyranny of Your Mind
      6. Mindfulness and Insight
        1. Developing Greater Receptivity
        2. Getting the Self Out of the Way
    3. 3 Practicing Mindfulness
      1. The Three Components of Mindfulness
        1. Summary of the Mindful Process
        2. Why Intention Matters
      2. Twelve Principles of Mindfulness
      3. The Four Principles of Aspiration
        1. One: We All Just Want to Be Happy
        2. Two: Greater and Lesser Happiness
        3. Three: Moving Toward Greater Happiness
        4. Four: The Importance of Seeing Clearly
      4. The Four Principles of Awareness
        1. Five: Dropping Below Ordinary Thinking
        2. Six: Letting Go of Mind Wandering
        3. Seven: Changing Your Default Mode
        4. Eight: Attention Versus Awareness
      5. The Four Principles of Attitude
        1. Nine: “Don’t Know” Mind
        2. Ten: Courage and Acceptance
        3. Eleven: Stillness and Silence
        4. Twelve: The Joy of Presence
  6. Part 2: Cultivating Mindful Awareness
    1. 4 Awareness of Your Body
      1. Why Mindfulness Begins with the Body
        1. The Body Is Always in the Present
        2. Body and Mind Are One
      2. Tuning in to the Body
        1. Attention to Breathing
        2. Attention to Position of the Body
        3. Attention to Sensation
      3. The Body in Motion
        1. Physical Awareness During Simple Tasks
        2. Walking Meditation
        3. Mindful Body Practice
      4. Awareness of the Body as a Body
        1. Treating the Body Better
        2. Identifying Real Physical Needs
        3. Getting Comfortable with Embodiment
    2. 5 Awareness of Your Feelings
      1. Feelings Versus Emotions
      2. The Nature of Feelings
        1. The Problem with Feelings
        2. Feelings Just Arise
      3. Working with Feelings
        1. Letting Feelings Pass
        2. Letting Feelings Be
      4. Looking More Closely at How You Feel
        1. Not Censoring
        2. What Was the Trigger?
        3. What’s Behind the Feeling?
        4. Reliving Experiences with Mindfulness
      5. The Significance of Neutral Feelings
      6. Influencing Your Emotional Responses Long Term
        1. Keeping a Lid on It
        2. Decentering
    3. 6 Awareness of Your States of Mind
      1. Becoming Mindful of Mind
      2. Various Mind States to Look For
        1. Grasping/Aversion or Calm
        2. Stuck or Free
        3. Dull or Bright
        4. Scattered or Concentrated
        5. Anxious or Composed
        6. Internally Focused or Receptive
        7. Capable of Reaching a Higher State (Or Not)
      3. Noticing What Affects Mind States
        1. External Factors
        2. Internal Factors
        3. Intention and Motivation
    4. 7 Awareness of Psychophysical Factors
      1. Investigating Psychophysical Factors
        1. Staying Objective and Receptive
        2. An Example of Mindful Observation
        3. Psychophysical Factors versus Mind States
      2. The Five Hindrances
        1. Treatment of Each Hindrance
        2. Desire
        3. Ill Will
        4. Lethargy
        5. Restlessness
        6. Doubt
      3. The Seven Factors of Awakening
        1. Mindfulness Itself
        2. Curiosity, Energy, and Joy
        3. Ease, Concentration, and Equanimity
    5. 8 Deepening Mindfulness with Meditation
      1. A Description of Meditation
        1. Keeping Things Simple
        2. Generating Awareness of Yourself as a Whole
      2. Do I Have to Meditate?
      3. Reasons to Meditate
        1. Stepping Off the Hamster Wheel
        2. Challenging Your Default Mode
        3. Achieving Comfort with Simplicity
        4. Identifying Less with Content
        5. Building Concentration
      4. Basic Instructions for Meditation
        1. Physical Postures
        2. When and Where to Meditate
      5. Three Types of Meditation
        1. Guided Meditation
        2. Concentration Meditation
        3. Expansive Awareness Meditation
      6. Dealing with Challenges in Meditation
        1. Recognizing What “Good” Meditation Is Like
        2. Getting to Know Your Own Mind
        3. Applying the Right Medicine
        4. Getting Help with Meditation
  7. Part 3: Developing a Receptive Attitude
    1. 9 Nonjudgment and Acceptance
      1. Receptivity and Why It Matters
        1. Recognizing Judgments Aren’t Reality
        2. Getting Perspective on Judgment
        3. Increasing Your Tolerance for Ambiguity
        4. Sifting Through Your Assumptions
      2. The Problem with Judging Yourself
        1. Who Cares What You Think?
        2. Not Letting Judgment Derail You
      3. Navigating Your Life Objectively
      4. Less Upset About Results
      5. Lack of Acceptance as an Obstacle
        1. Working on Acceptance
        2. Equanimity
    2. 10 Curiosity, Energy, and Courage
      1. Continuing Education
      2. The Obstacle of Complacency
        1. Tuning Out Versus Tuning In
        2. Waking Back Up
      3. Interest Leads to Curiosity and Energy
        1. Fascinated by Your Life
        2. Ordinary Things Viewed Mindfully
      4. The Spirit of Investigation
      5. Cultivating Courage
    3. 11 Comfort with Stillness and Silence
      1. Letting Go of Activity
        1. Joining Stillness and Receptivity
        2. Getting Still, Then Acting
      2. Stillness Results in Silence
        1. Overcoming Your Discomfort with Silence
        2. Learning to Appreciate Silence
      3. Ways to Practice Being Still
        1. Not Hurrying
        2. Pausing
        3. Leaving Space Before Answering
        4. Achieving Complete Relaxation
      4. Deepening Your Stillness
        1. External Silence and Simplicity
        2. Solitude
    4. 12 Accessing More Joy
      1. The Nature of Joy
      2. Mindfulness Leads to Joy
        1. A Short Time Left to Live
        2. Everyday Life as Precious
      3. Living with No Expectations
        1. Identifying Preconceived Notions
        2. Engaging Life Directly
        3. Gratitude for Things as They Are
      4. Complete Satisfaction
        1. What Are You Waiting For?
        2. The Joy of “This Is Enough”
      5. How Joy Supports Mindfulness
  8. Part 4: Working Toward Greater Happiness
    1. 13 Compassionate Change
      1. The Model of Self-Parenting
        1. Identifying Your Wiser Voice
        2. Formulating Responses to Discipline
      2. The Art of Parenting
        1. Default Approaches to Discipline
        2. Compassionate Parenting
      3. Working with Resistance to Change
        1. Identifying Your Childish Viewpoints
        2. Parenting Yourself
        3. Convincing Yourself to Change
      4. Giving Up Violence
    2. 14 Friends with Afflictive Emotions
      1. Afflictive Emotions
        1. Self-Perpetuating
        2. Compelling Stories
      2. Mindfulness and Afflictive Emotions
        1. Greater Tolerance, Less Reactivity
        2. The Stories Behind the Emotions
      3. Anger
        1. When Is Anger Useful?
        2. Questioning Anger’s Story
      4. Fear
        1. Anxiety and Worry
        2. Questioning Fear’s Story
      5. Obsessive Desire
        1. When You Must Have It
        2. Questioning Desire’s Story
      6. Self-Doubt
        1. Undeserving of Confidence
        2. Questioning Self-Doubt’s Story
      7. Jealousy
        1. Questioning Jealousy’s Story
        2. Making Friends
    3. 15 Getting Things Done with Less Stress
      1. The Basic Approach
        1. Watchful, Curious, and Awake
        2. Awareness of the Body
        3. Effective Means Mindful
      2. Things You Must Do
        1. Experiment: Everything Is Optional
        2. Experiment: Worst-Case Scenario
      3. It Has to Get Done Now
        1. Experiment: Just This Moment
        2. Experiment: Gentleness
      4. It Needs to Be Done This Way
        1. Experiment: Leaving Things (a Little) Shabby
      5. You Are the One Who Has to Do It
        1. Experiment: Picking Your Thing
        2. Experiment: Letting Others Step Up
      6. Activity as Generosity
    4. 16 Changing Your Mind, Not Your Life
      1. The Trouble with Goals
        1. Ideas and Duality
        2. Avoiding Remorse
      2. Change or Acceptance?
        1. Freedom Despite Conditioning
        2. Knowing When to Accept
      3. Not Resisting Difficulty
      4. Radical Acceptance
        1. Experience That’s Free of Ideas
        2. What if Nothing Ever Changed?
      5. A Real, Complete, and Elegant Life
        1. Yes, Your Life
        2. Embracing Things as They Are
      6. Positive Thinking
        1. Changing Reality with Your Mind
        2. Freedom of Choice
    5. 17 Becoming Who You Really Are
      1. Why Study Your “Self”?
        1. Understanding the Misery of “I, Me, and Mine”
        2. Putting Down the Burden
      2. Studying the Nature of Self
        1. The Conventional Self
        2. Self-Consciousness
        3. Self-Concept
      3. Getting Free of Self
        1. Can You Find It?
        2. Empty of Inherent, Enduring Nature
        3. Real Self: Direct Experience of Flow
      4. Freedom from Stories
        1. The Story “I’m Okay”
        2. The Story “I’m Not Okay”
    6. 18 Mindful in Relationship
      1. Taking Responsibility
      2. Personal Relationships
        1. Intimate Partners
        2. Children
        3. Family
        4. Friends
      3. Work
        1. Are You What You Do?
        2. Bosses and Institutions
        3. Co-Workers, Clients, and Others
      4. The World
  9. Part 5: A Mindful Life
    1. 19 Mindful Things to Do Every Day
      1. Remembering More Often
        1. Study and Reading
        2. The Value of Rituals and Verses
      2. A Day’s Worth of Mindful Practices
        1. Waking Up
        2. Meditation
        3. Washing Up
        4. Mindful Eating
        5. Commuting in Silence
        6. Working on One Thing at a Time
        7. Secret Acts of Kindness
        8. Labeling Your Reactions
        9. Listening to Conversations
        10. Really Coming Home
        11. Balancing Care and Ease
        12. Deliberate Leisure
        13. Reflecting on Your Day
    2. 20 Developing Your Mindfulness Practice
      1. Challenges to Mindfulness
        1. It’s Not as Bad as You Might Think
        2. The Paradox of Effort and Noneffort
        3. The Illusion of Thought-Free Bliss
      2. Staying on Track Long Term
        1. Just Look at the Results
        2. Always More to See Clearly
        3. Effort and Innovation
      3. Strengthening Your Practice
        1. Regular Formal Sessions
        2. Take an MBSR Course
        3. Groups Practicing Mindfulness
    3. 21 Mindful Ethics
      1. Does It Result in Greater Happiness?
      2. It’s All About Relationship
      3. How Ethics Support Mindfulness
      4. Relating to Rules and Guidelines
      5. Some Ethical Guidelines to Consider
        1. Don’t Kill Carelessly
        2. Don’t Steal
        3. Don’t Lie
        4. Don’t Indulge Anger
        5. Be Careful with Sex
        6. Be Careful with Intoxicants
        7. Be Faithful in Relationships
        8. Don’t Dwell on Past Mistakes
        9. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
        10. Don’t Be Stingy, Be Generous
      6. Ethics as a Subject for Mindfulness
    4. 22 Meaning and Purpose
      1. The Importance of Meaning
      2. Limits of Conventional Meaning
      3. Meaning Through Mindfulness
        1. A Different Kind of Meaning
        2. The Direct Experience of Value
      4. Accessing a Deeper Sense of Meaning
      5. When Life Is Difficult
        1. The Perfection of Forbearance
        2. Doing and Not-Doing
        3. The Benefits of Letting Go
        4. Coping with Loss
      6. Embracing Relative Purpose
  10. Appendixes
    1. A Glossary
    2. B Resources
    3. C Twelve Principles of Mindfulness
    4. D Mindful Exercises
  11. Index