The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life (A Shambhala Sun Book)
The revolution to which this book refers is the widespread use and acceptance of mindfulness and how it has been applied throughout society. “Mindfulness” in this context refers to mindfulness meditation practice. And one of the wonderful aspects of The Mindfulness Revolution is that the essays address opportunities for mindfulness in everyday actions, such as shopping and online activities.
One of the contributors to this collection, Jan Chozen Bays, provides a simple, yet eloquent description of mindfulness: “Mindfulness means deliberately paying attention, being fully aware of what is happening both inside yourself—in your body, heart and mind—and outside yourself in your environment.” It involves the awareness of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behaviors without judgment or criticism. Further insight can also include investigating who or what it is that is aware of our experience when being mindful.
Historically, the most prominent practitioner of mindfulness was Siddhartha Gotama, who became known as The Buddha. His meditation practice and teachings spread around the world and have been used for over 2,500 years. Similar methods of contemplation, prayer, and concentration are also present in every major religious tradition.
In the West, one of the first pioneers in establishing mindfulness as a secular discipline was Jon Kabat-Zinn, who begin sharing it with his patients to help them manage various health issues and concerns. He called it Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This compilation looks at how mindfulness and MBSR has since been applied and the many forms and avenues it has taken.
The book is divided into four complementary sections by editor Barry Boyce and provides a comprehensive overview and specifics, with examples, instructions, research, and lessons.
Part I is titled How to Practice Mindfulness. Part II is called Mindfulness in Daily Life. The third section is Mindfulness, Health and Healing. The fourth area is Interpersonal Mindfulness. The excerpts for each section are provided by experienced and well-known practitioners that include Jan Chozen Bays, Jack Kornfield, Bob Stahl, Chogyam Trungpa, Norman Fischer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nat Hanh, Sue Moon, Elisha Goldstein, Daniel Siegel, Steve Flowers, Peman Chodron, Susan Chapman and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. There is also an excellent resource section and contributor bios at the end of the collection.
Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “The central mission of my work and that of my colleagues at the Center for Mindfulness has been to bring universal dharma (mindfulness practice and teaching) into the mainstreams of human activity for the benefit of as many people as possible.” The Mindfulness Revolution goes a long way in helping do exactly that. It shows how mindfulness practice has become integrated into work, sports, prisons, counseling, eating, addiction recovery, parenting, education, and relationships.
One of the most telling essays is called “The Great Mirror of Relationship” by Dzogchen Ponlop, who speaks about the importance of practicing mindfulness in relation to others. Mindfulness meditation is a practical and effective tool for finding peace in our daily life; it is not something to be contemplated in isolation without any human interaction. It is reasoned that practicing mindfulness in relationship (with partners, spouses, work, family, social gatherings, community, politics, school, clubs, churches, etc.) is the ultimate challenge and opportunity.
To listen to others, we must first listen to ourselves, so we do not react out of conditioning and habit, but with choice and compassion.