Coming To Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness

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In COMING TO OUR SENSES, Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches us how to find a collective balance by tuning in to our bodies and minds. He shares how discoveries in mind/body medicine have formed a new definition of "health" which involves the maintenance of body and mind through modes of restorative healing - primarily meditation. Meditation awakens our senses into an awareness of our interconnected relationship to others and the world. Kabat-Zinn believes every human has the prenatal capacity to mobilize deep innate resources for continual learning, growing and transformation. Mindful awareness promotes better health and an individual empowerment to contribute to the world. Woven into eight parts, Kabat-Zinn uses anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences to illustrate the realm of healing possibilities. At its core, the book offers remarkable insight on how to use the five senses - touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell - as a path to mindfulness and a more meaningful life.

Customer Reviews:

  • Great advice but he takes his time telling it!
    Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the leading authorities on alternative medicine in America. I've rummaged a bit and read a few review articles and white papers on the field and his work demonstrating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based meditation is widely-regarded as the gold standard by the medical establishment (aka, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or ARQH, a government funding agency). Thus, I approach his work for the public with utmost respect. I've studied mindfulness-based meditation as part of my treatment for my own medical problems and it has been as effective or more effective than medication or other therapies. Dr. Kabat-Zinn's descriptions of meditation practice, benefits and accompanying philosophical approach are important and of great benefit to people like me. However, I do wish he had a better editor. Without being circumlocutory, rambling, or verbose, nevertheless, his writing is horribly un-concise. Like a great apple tree, his writing needs some careful pruning. I find myself fighting the words to absorb the meaning. Nevertheless, once I get past the verbiage, there is wisdom in this book. ...more info
  • Coming to Our Senses
    Kabat-Zinn's writing is accessible and understandable to those who may not be well-versed in meditation techniques and the concept of mindfulness. He is able to convey to newcomers how to practice mindfulness in every day activities, provides very helpful analogies and images, and gives the reader a concrete idea of the benefits received from practicing mindfulness. He is the best author out there on this subject that I have come across....more info
  • Huge disappointment full of nonsense
    I hate to be the one to say so, but this book is a great disappointment. I have read all of the author's other books and have his mindfulness compact discs which I use on a frequent basis, and found them all terrific and very helpful. But this book is a mismash of short essays, with no pattern or insight in most of the chapters, although I did find the discussion on our relationship with time worthwhile. For me though, the biggest problem with the book is that it is full of clich¨¦s with no thought behind them. In one brief sitting, I came across the following nonsense: "no one's views, opinions, and feelings in a group are invalid" (p. 449); "in life there are actually no problems" (p. 462); and the unbelievably false and pc statement concerning rap music that it is "much more creative, poetic, nuanced and socially aware than anything" that the author and his friends did in their youth, specifically, playing stickball (p. 470). Well, I don't know much, but I do know that there are views and opinions that are invalid (e.g., women are not as smart as men), that there are problems in life (the author's detailing the medically extraordinary efforts of Christopher Reeve to retain and regain some of his body's functions certainly qualify as a problem he had in his life), and that rap music is horrible, debased, and qualifies as a virus (try this on: "Kill the white people; we gonna make them hurt; kill the white people; but buy my record first; ha, ha, ha" ("Kill d'white people," Apache, courtesy of the slime at Time Warner, 1993.) I found all this nonsense in just one sitting at which point I gave up. I may not know as much as the author does about mindfulness, but I do know when someone's not thinking. And the author was not thinking when he put this one together. Buy one of his earlier works, and take a pass on this one....more info
  • I feel mislead/deceived
    Before buying this book I read the title, subtitle, blurb on the back cover and all the wonderful endorsements written by all the well known people. And they talk about scientific rigor and science, healing, the planet, the mysteries of the body and such. No where, in any of it, was the word "meditation."

    I know that the authors "thing" is the joy of meditation. I agree, meditation is wonderful. But as I already know this, I didn't need to buy a 600 page book to tell me about those joys, I'm already aware of them. The title/subtitle/blurbs/etc. lead me (or more accurately, mis-lead me) to believe that the author had written about something else. Intrigued by what this could be, I bought the book. And found that it's nothing more than 600 pages on the joys of meditation...which, as I said, I'm already aware of.

    Here's what I found very odd---there is a title, a subtitle, a back of the book blurb, and two pages of endorsements praising a 600 page book on meditation and not once did anyone use the word "meditation." I'm usually not a cynical person, but I get the distinct impression that this was deliberately done to increase sales. I suspect they felt that if they came out and said this was a book on meditation that people like me who are meditators, and all those not interested in meditation, wouldn't buy it. But by carefully "hiding" what this book was truly about, they'd get more buyers.

    While it is a great book on meditation, I didn't need or want another book on meditation, so I was bored and upset that I got suckered into buying it.

    And the other reviewers are right, the author is long winded and rambling. Parts of it are not an easy read. I've read whole pages that were irrelevant and pointless and wondered why an editor allowed them to stay....more info
  • The Tree of Mindfulness
    In this book, Kabat-Zinn takes the time and space to discuss not just a leaf or a branch, but the roots, trunk, and branches of mindfulness meditation. While many recent works on meditation or Buddhism are really extended essays exploring a single concept or practice, this work stands out as a comprehensive engagement with and discussion, evaluation and integration of mindfulness meditation practice. The author speaks from the perspective of one well acquainted with the whole tree, and integrates the practices and insights of mindfulness meditation into the entire scope of life, not merely the meditation cushion or the yoga mat.

    I restrained myself and read only a chapter or two per day, allowing my mind the time and space to make connections between the ideas Kabat-Zinn presents and the varied elements of my experience. Doing so enriched my own meditation practice significantly and strengthened my resolve and ability to articulate meditation concepts to others....more info
  • A definite must for all who wish to understand meditation...
    ...from the inside out! Kabat-Zinn knows meditation and its benefits on health and well-being. Having conducted extensive and conclusive studies on the effects of meditation (specifically mindfulness), his book takes those findings and places them right in your lap. Each short chapter is a lesson in itself and each one is a lesson worth learning. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to go beyond meditation, to understanding just how and why meditation is so beneficial... especially in this day and age!...more info
  • Disappointment
    I was excited to see a new book from Kabat-Zinn, but so far I have found many of the "chapters" seem to have a tiny scrap of an idea that has somehow been blown into several pages--much ado about nothing, I'm afraid. Actually, an incredible amount of much ado, given the length of the book. I plan to separate wheat from chaffe to get what I can from my purchase....more info
  • Mindfulness out of control
    I have been a practitoner of Vipasanna for quite some time; I love Kabat-Zinn's work, but this volume was about 300 pages too long. His message is wonderful, but many chapters were redundant....more info
  • An Enriching and Enlightening Experience
    As a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, I admit that I am biased in regard to Dr. Kabat-Zinn's work, but that having been said, this book is truly a treasure that I will take great pride in recommending to the most important people in my life (family, friends, patients, colleagues).

    Dr. Kabat-Zinn has the unique ability to act as the ultimate matchmaker: introducing (or re-introducing) each of us to our very own lives. He does this well in the first part of the book where he refines and deepens the ideas and practices he has talked about in his previous works. Then he goes on to take mindfulness into the broader context of the "body politic" and does a masterful job of putting aside any agenda and simply observing how mindfulness and resting in awareness could benefit our "dis-eased" political and social environment in profound ways. His description of making an "orthogonal rotation" in consciousness of the problems faced in our modern world (as he has taught about doing in our personal world as well) is truly radical and potentially highly impactful if our leaders take heed of his suggestion.

    All in all, a deep, moving and potentially important book on many levels. I highly recommend it!...more info
  • Four books trying to be one...
    I'm going to be harsher in this review than I should be, since I think the message of the book is essential. I have read Kabat-Zinn's other books, and have the same ambivalent feeling about his first, Full Catastrophe Living, though his second, Wherevery You Go There You Are is much more to the point.

    The problem is this: there are four books in here, struggling to break out of a single binding and become individual. Unfortunately, while Kabat-Zinn has great ideas, he is not the best writer, and he rambles. Oh, does he ramble... This 600-page book would have made a great 200 page book, with a great deal of editorial guidance to give it direction. As it stands, it is a mish-mash of unrelated essays about three different subjects: meditation; stress reduction and neuroscience; living in the present; and finally some ramblings about politics.

    The meditation parts are well-written, concise instructions on how to meditate, why we want to do so, what sort of techniques to use, etc. The stress reduction and neuroscience parts should be a separate book, where the author could exercise his penchant for wordy sentences and references to studies and tests (and citing his stress reduction clinic over and over). As for the rest, the "living in the present" part, there is a great deal of waste. He says the same things over and over - not necessarily a bad thing, since it gives you different ways of reading similar ideas - but after a while his wordiness gets to you. He can't say something simply; he has to use too many words to say something that could be more poetic. Example: "Our bodies, quantized condensations of vital protoplasm, the most complex and differentiated conglomerations of matter and energy we know of in the universe, arise and pass away." That second clause could be nuked, leaving a more pithy: "Our bodies arise and pass away." Or, with a few modifiers, "Our bodies, complex and uncomprehended, arise and pass away."

    In a way, this book seems to be a "toss it all at the wall and see what sticks" collection. There is some internal organization, but not enough. There is no macro-editing (that is, selecting what is really worth saying, and getting rid of the rest). While it is full of good ideas, you need to wade through a lot of chaff to find the wheat. And that is a shame, because Kabat-Zinn is one of the most perceptive authors of books on meditation in a non-religious context.

    I hope his next book will be better edited, more taut and concise, and less a compilation of everything he thinks about everything. There is ego in this book, and it disappoints....more info
  • A Classic
    "Coming to Our Senses" is a very in depth and thoughtful exploration of mindfulness. This masterfully crafted work will be (or at least should be) a classic. Mindfulness, or the practice of being more awake and aware of the present moment, is vital to our emotional, physical and spiritual health. In this book, the phrase "coming to our senses" has more than its common meaning. It also refers to the wisdom of being more attuned to our senses in this present moment. As your mind wanders (as all of our minds do) bring your self back to enjoy your sense of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. In other words, Jon Kabat-Zinn asks us to really "wake up" and smell the roses... he also urges us to wake up and hear the music, feel the breeze, taste the food and to see the art of everyday life. Towards the end of the book, Jon Kabat-Zinn addresses not only individual suffering and health, but also gives a wise perspective on what it might take to make a healthier world community. The endless pursuit of material objects or a life of distraction will not bring long-term peace or happiness. This book may help you begin or continue the very worthy practice and adventure of mindfulness.

    Jay Winner, M.D., author of the book and CD set Take the Stress Out of Your Life: A Medical Doctor's Proven Program to Minimize Stress and Maximize Health

    ...more info
  • Good....but a little redundant
    I love Jon Kabat-Zinn's work.....and this book is certainly worth getting and reading. However, it is quite long and some of the sections didn't seem to add anything useful. On the other hand, some of the sections were amazing and worth reading more than once. If you like Jon Kabat-Zinn's other writings (e.g., wherever you go there you are, full catastrophe living) you will probably be happy with this book as well. ...more info
  • A Rich Resource for Healing
    I am a child of the 60s counterculture and a young adult of the 70s New Christian Right reaction... integrating both has been my personal work ever since...

    Jon Kabat Zinn's teaching of mindfulness in this long yet simply helpful book is at the heart of my own healing and continuing recovery from the dysfunctional penchant for scapegoating inherent in totalist thinking, of the left or the right.

    "It is in our very nature as a species to learn and grow and heal and move toward greater wisdom in our ways of seeing and in our actions, and toward greater compassion for ourselves and others," writes Kabat-Zinn.

    That potential, its realization here and now in my own life, and in the lives of others is the ground for healing distraction and for cultivating wisdom....more info
  • Buy This One Now, Don't Wait For The Garage Sale
    I bought "Full Catastrophe Living" by Kabat-Zinn for $1 at a garage sale in 1997. Since then, I've yellow highlighted, paperclipped, dog-eared pages and written in the margins of that old book. Integrating mindfulness has enriched everything....relationships, work, spirituality. It is a deliberate and effort based skill. I've read many others on this topic, but Kabat-Zinn is the master. He proves that with "Coming To Our Senses". He always pushes this to places I not yet thought. Either people get this ( you can almost see it in their eyes) or they don't (you can read it in their book review). Fortunately for me, the lady running that garage sale didnot....more info
  • A book about much more than healing
    If I taught a class in being fully alive and well, this would be the assigned text. Not that it resembles a textbook. It doesn't. It is as comprehensive and well organized as an academic might wish, yet it has the personal story-telling flow of the popular self-help genre. So, it is easy to read while it weaves together complex philosophical, spiritual, scientific and practical living issues and makes them understandable and immediately useful.

    The author does indeed teach about the application of mindfulness meditation and other practices to the healing of our bodies and minds. (In fact, this book is a treasure chest filled with what-to's, why-to's and how-to's.) And, he teaches us how to create a mentally and spiritually rich life, filled with well-being. But, as a further accomplishment, he points the way to healing the existential wound of our conceptual "separateness" from each other, our world and the universe.

    Perhaps the appreciation of our interconnectedness will lead us to the healing of the world. ...more info
  • Not a very good audio book
    This refers to the AUDIO book, not the book itself:

    What the author is teaching here, is an important subject, and if you find yourself drawn to mindfulness or mindful meditation, I would suggest reading some books by Thich Nhat Hanh ("The Miracle of Mindfulness" and others) or Joseph Golstein or Sharon Salzberg ("Insight Meditation" and others).

    Nothing against Jon Kabat-Zinn, but to my mind, he is not a very good communicator, and this audio-book spoken by him makes this all too obvious. He writes in a very complex way, using many adjectives and phrases, and long sentences (kine of like this one) that seem to me to be the writings of someone trying to impress someone.

    On the other hand, Thich Nhat Hanh, whose first language is Vietnamese, writes in a much more clear and simple way, which allows one to appreciate the subject matter as opposed to finding it difficult to understand. If anything, Thich Nhat Hanh's writing style is overly simplified, as if he were talking to people who have trouble understanding what they read. So maybe you might like something in-between the two, such as Jack Kornfield's books or Joseph Golstein's.

    Don't get me wrong, this book will teach you about mindfulness, and for that I applaud it. And maybe his style appeals to many people - perhaps it appeals to the intellectual, college professor or scientific types (I'm just guessing). But it does not appeal to me, at all. To me, his writing style is like a sophomore writing student trying to impress his professor that he knows how to use a lot of flowery, descriptive language. But I prefer the direct and simple approach for a non-fiction book like this. Maybe the author should try fiction...

    All in all, this is not a bad audio/ book. That's why I gave it 3 stars. It does have a lot of information that is useful and interesting, and if it wasn't for the style in which it is written (spoken), I think I would have liked it much better.

    All I'm really saying is, check it out before ordering it here. You may find other books that are written better and other audio books that sound better. (I wonder why this book does not have the "Look Inside" feature that most others do.)

    I do think that this book would be more enjoyable to read, as opposed to listening to. Something about his sentence structure does not flow in an audio book....more info
  • Where's the Editor?
    First, I'm a big fan of "Wherever You go There You Are," Kabat-Zinn's previous book. There, in a series of pithy chapters, he encourages readers to slow down and be fully aware in the present moment. It's very inspirational. The writing is eloquent; it is simple, spare and unhurried and, as such, itself exemplifies the idea of an uncomplicated here-and-nowness.

    With "Coming to Our Senses," however, the writing has changed. We now have lengthy, complicated sentences, repeated ideas, and frequent use of many words where a few will do. For example, from the Introduction: "This capacity for paying attention and for intelligent action can be cultivated, nurtured, and refined beyond our wildest dreams if we have the motivation to do so." Cultivated, nurtured, AND refined? Yes, all three words do have subtly different meanings, but how about "developed" for all three? Plus, the idea itself is just a bit trite, and comes complete with that "beyond our wildest dreams" cliche.

    OK. What follows is the reason for my "Where's the Editor" heading. It too is from the Introduction. Take a deep breath and prepare to exhale slowly:

    "Even so, these hidden dimensions, or what we might call new degrees of freedom, are potentially available to us, and will gradually reveal themselves to us as we continue to cultivate and dwell in our capacity for conscious awareness by attending intentionally with both awe and tenderness to the staggeringly complex yet fundamentally ordered universe, world, terrain, family, mind and body within which we locate and orient ourselves, all of which, at every level, is continually fluxing and changing, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, and thereby providing us with countless unexpected challenges and opportunities to grow, and to see clearly, and to move toward greater wisdom in our actions, and toward quelling the tortured suffering of our tumultous minds, habitually so far from home, so far from quiet and rest."

    Wow! Editors! Where were you? How did this sentence escape the scalpel? Also: "fluxing" AND "changing?" This sentence is continually fluxing and changing and transposing, shifting, metamorphing, varying and permutating.

    Note too that, like "Wherever You Go...," each chapter is a self-contained short essay on a topic. In "Wherever...," all chapters hew fairly closely to the overall theme of mindfulness. Here, while mindfulness and meditation are often front and center or lurking in the background, to my mind the topics range much further afield. The result is a volume that reads like a collection of fairly disparate columns the author could have written for a newspaper or magazine. That's OK, but expect observations that come at you from a hundred different directions, rather than chapters which necessarily build on the one(s) preceding.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn has done an incredible service in expressing the value of mindfulness for the general reading public in "Wherever You Go...." But this one is flabby and indulgent. It could have been much better....more info
  • A Lovely, Moving Book
    Jon Kabat-Zinn's Coming to Our Senses is simply a loving, moving book, one that, if you are open to it, will inspire you and motivate you to open your mind, open your senses. I began this book with a bit of scepticism. Would it hold my interest? Would it have relevance to my life? Yes to both questions. Kabat-Zinn is an excellent writer--his prose is beautiful. The substance of what he is advocating is even more beautiful. His message of mindfulness may start you on a journey, or take you further down your chosen path. This book is not for everyone, but, if you are interested at all in meditation or mindfulness, I think you ought to read this book. It will not disappoint....more info
  • Kabat-Zinn does not have the answers to the world's problems.
    Kabat-Zinn, to his misfortune, is like many people who gain a bit of fame for doing one thing well: they come to believe that that they can do many things well and, worse yet, that they have the solutions to the world's problems. Almost always, that solution is dependent upon people behaving or doing what they do.

    This book is not about the meditative strategies that made Kabat-Zinn justifiably famous in some circles. Rather, "Coming To Our Senses" is a confused, disjointed, rambling, disconnected and amazingly naive and ignorant treatise on how the world will be saved if only everyone could be induced to meditate.

    Tell that to those pleasant folks who are beheading people because they don't share their ideas. Or to the punks on the street who take what they want with whatever violence they deem appropriate. Tell that to the smarmy politicians and others who feast on the taxpayer's money.

    Kabat-Zinn should have stuck to helping people use mindfulness (his term of art for meditation) to help them overcome stress.

    Kabat-Zinn displays amazing levels of naivete, ignorance and gullibility in these pages when he leaves his area of expertise. He leaves no doubt that he is a child of the 1960s. This is apparent in his endless litany of common left-wing political nostrums.

    Kabat-Zinn's writing style in this work is absolutely awful. I counted 97 words in one sentence and it was not an exception. In many ways it seems that Kabat-Zinn is imitating --- poorly --- Joyce and Proust. One chapter is devoted to a description of the descent of the author's father into Alzheimer's. It is, in its own way, moving, but has nothing to do with meditation.

    Kabat-Zinn seems to think that like Barbara Streisand and Sean Penn, that he has something to say not merely on the state of the world but about how humankind can save itself. This is the kind of senseless monologue that you would expect to see as a self-published work from a vanity press.

    I simply cannot overstress how awful "Coming To Our Senses" is. If you want to learn about meditation, Kabat-Zinn's earlier works are far, far better. If you want New Age nonsense, then you might find this wretched work satisfying.

    Jerry...more info
  • Much Too Much
    As another reviewer has noted, this book is about four books in one. As a person who is very aware of the wonderful books on meditation available today, of which Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go There You Are is one, I recommend that you not waste your time and energy on this one....more info
  • The Light In OnesSelf...What Is The Proper Remedy For World Dis-Ease?
    Reading this long but worthwhile book is like being drawn into the whole question Krishnamurti dealt with between individual change and society's need for change...Can Humanity indeed Change??
    The author,a scholar and practicioner of stress management and meditation sees ongoing political problems and the misery of the world yet somehow makes no attempts in explicating how the world can change for the better if indeed people of all religions and nationalities would adapt this form of radical intuition..While reading I had wished that this book can be delivered and studied by future would-be terrorists so they can COME TO THEIR SENSES..
    I hope that proponents of religious triumphalism and zealots who blow themselves and civilians up for the glories of heaven and murder's sake can stop,look and listen to a passionate plea from a well meaning man for people to listen to their senses and the universe we all share. Not only in his Buddhist framework but in a shared humanity based on the national and cultural differences amongst men despite the shared Essence we all share..Indeed FAMILIarity does not breed contempt.
    Perhaps this long book would be a wonderful textbook for grade schoolers on how to see with a 3rd eye and certainly a book positing Creative Intelligence/Design but till the world defines for itself a sense of a rational purpose based on compassion respecting and preserving life for all sentient beings then these concepts of stress reduction,the appreciation of life,the need to live in constant meditation can assist those in their individual quest for meaning but not on a global scale as the author sets out to do..Those involved in power and the concept of linear time and the progress of their view of history will not alter their concepts of good and evil nor blur the distinctions they make in regards to domination. Overall, being a sort of compilation of his ideas found in his other books I think it a good read and certainly it offers sound advice on transforming one's inner vision into one that is more life affirming and less delussional....more info
  • A few good observations, but mostly new age rubbish
    After seeing Jon Kabat-Zinn on McLaughlin's One-on-One I was intrigued and decided to buy this book. I was sorely disappointed. He makes some good observations (e.g. about ADD and the 24/7 lifestyle), but offers solutions based only on far-eastern philosophies (yoga, meditation, etc). Not what I expected. I would not recommend this book to devout Christians or Muslims. Better stick with the Bible or the Koran, or the writings of accomplished Biblical or Koranic scholars....more info
  • In need of a good Editor
    There are pearls of wisdom, shrouded by much verbage. Some prefer the scenic route...I prefer the shortest and most direct. This book required alot of concentration to keep my mind from wandering....and every once in a while, a pearl of wisdom or insight surfaces to make it all worthwhile. This is the type of book that many will not finish inspite of its excellent content. ...more info
  • Simple words, powerful message

    We Americans have a difficult time integrating Eastern ideas into our Western lives. For over twenty years Jon Kabat-Zinn has been doing so in the most practical way, through his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

    Drawn from his insight along with his professional and personal experiences, Dr. Kabat-Zinn creates a deep, rich work here which should be read, followed, and taken to heart by everyone with a desire to heal. This healing can be felt and take place on multiple levels simultaneously. Coming to Our Senses is a book which will help you along your way. I highly recommend it to seekers wherever they find themselves at the current moment.

    This work is subtle in its message and easy to read. But don't be fooled by its simplicity. This is a powerful work for personal and societal transformation. ...more info
  • One of the Best
    Of all the books I read this one had to be the most impressive and rewarding books ever.Jon Kabat-Zinn has helped me become more intuned with my inner awareness and become one with my body, mind, and soul.Will definitely recommend to anyone....more info
  • how awful is awful? read this book to find out
    actually, i couldn't read this book. i couldn't get through it. all i can say is this guy needs to stop over analizing meditation and do more of it. i know, i know - he has creditials but that didn't change the fact that i often found myself exhausted by the run - ons in this book. most sentences are a paragragh long. maybe jon just likes to hear himself talk and is facinated by his own mind's constant banter. if you want to read from an author who clearly has incorporated meditaion and mindfulness in their very being try thich nhat hanh. ...more info
  • 1/2 way through and like it
    After having read Kabot-Zinn's previous book 'Wherever you go, There you are/(Mindfulness Meditation)' twice in the last year as part of a treatment for depression, I was ready for something else.

    So I got 'Coming to our Senses'. I have been reading a 'chapter' (about 5 pages) every morning. It really helps me to be more present in my life and has a lot of tidbits of historical reference, mostly about Budhism and meditation.

    It was good to start with 'Wherever you go', since it seems that 'Coming to our Senses' is a bit more of a commitment to read and ponder.

    A great book for those seeking to find more peace with their world. I would definitely buy it again and probably will as a gift to give to others....more info
  • Incredible book! Jon Kabat-Zinn delivers...
    This book woke me up, literally. "Coming to Our Senses" is a large, long, and for me---difficult, book about mindfulness. That said, it is well worth the read. The experience of reading this book was an awakening for me to the world outside my head, where I live most of my life, and where I suspect most of us live our lives. I don't think how I can explain HOW this happens, either, but I know it does.

    I started reading it on vacation in Hawaii on my balcony outside, and slowly but gradually I became aware of the environment all around me----the sounds, the smells---and the environment within me---my aches and pains, my feelings, bodily sensations, etc. It was a new experience for me. It was really exciting to have it happen on vacation in Hawaii. I would think though, that wherever you are, if you make the time for the adventure of reading this book, and stick with it, you will have this same "awakening" experience.

    Much of the book is about meditation as well as mindfulness, the author's own experiences, and his reflections on our society. He also writes about conventional medicine and how it is beginning to utilize mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a fine writer, and though the book is a tome, it is SO worth it. He got me excited about meditation, whereas other books have not. I am a Type A person, so I get anxious at just the thought of sitting around doing nothing for even a few minutes (or seconds); however, the author describes the incredible benefits to be delivered from a simple meditation practice after only several weeks of daily effort, so for me this would be well worth it. It gives you enough information to get started (you apparently really don't need that much), but the author also has references, further reading lists, web site lists, and his own CDs and resources (which he doesn't push but simply offers). After spending almost 700 wonderful pages with him, I trust the author and feel very privileged to have read his book.

    The writing style of the book is scientific, philosophical, and grounded, not "new age" at all, another aspect I appreciated. I would encourage you to buy it and read it if you enjoy reading AND thinking, and if you're intrigued at all by the subject matter. I haven't read any of his other books, so I don't know how this one compares. I truly am baffled by previous reviewers who were "disappointed"; in this book, the author definitely delivers! It is a gorgeous hardback book with rough-cut edges (and it smells great too)---well worth the retail price (unlike many hardback books) let alone Amazon's discounted price.
    ...more info
  • Meditation will never be the same!!!

    How many books do you read in a lifetime where you can say this book is capable of truly changing a person's life? How many books truly impact you in a unique way unlike any other you might have read. This author, and this book are in a class by itself. Simply put, I RELISHED reading this book.

    I am a student of technology. Medical technology is a field where I have considerable expertise. In my work with heart disease, I have come across literally thousands of sufferers where there is no scientific reason why the disease is present. This is true for victims of heart attacks also. These people have perfectly normal Cholesterol levels, yet the disease is ravaging their bodies.

    One of the few explanations left is STRESS, and the individual's inability to deal with stress in their daily lives. Jon Kabat-Zinn takes you through the joys of meditation. On every page, he intrigues the reader by coming at him from a position that you will rarely encounter if ever in a book.

    It is clear that the author is at peace with himself, and the world. His ability to achieve this state in the context of our culture is extraordinary. Listen to the flow of his words, the cadence, and the poetry. "...Make more of your ordinary moments notable and noteworthy by taking note of them. This also reduces the chaos and increases the order in the mind. The tiniest moments can become veritable milestones. If you were really present with your moments as they were unfolding, no matter what was happening, you would discover that each moment is unique and novel and therefore, momentous."

    His words are beautiful, and moving. You will absorb this book intellectually and unconsciously. You will become a better person for having read it, and what could be more meaningful than that. Read it yourself, absorb it, and share its delights with others.

    We have all heard that there are no second acts, and life is not a dress rehearsal. We have all been given a limited allotment of time on this planet to do with, as we will. This author shows us, indeed forces us to reflect on how we have chosen to used that time. For those suffering from stress-induced illnesses like heart disease, you must consider employing the meditation techniques that this author introduced to this country many years ago. We are talking about potentially saving your life, and slowing down the insidious progression of disease.

    Mr. Kabat-Zinn can show you the way to change your life. He cannot force you to drink from the well. The choice is yours, choose wisely, and just sit back and enjoy the experience of reading every word in this marvelous book that we can all be grateful that he has written for our benefit.

    Richard Stoyeck
    ...more info


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