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Abiding in Mindfulness, Volume I:
The Body

by Joseph Goldstein

      It often seems to me that meditation is an exercise in futility, an eternal battle to conquer the chattering mind. We sit and watch our unruly thoughts with amusement (on good days) or frustration (on most days). We struggle to achieve pure spirituality, to reach the sublime state of no-mind, to somehow rise above the gross corporeal package - and then that itchy nose yanks us back down into our bodies.

Now here comes Joseph Goldstein, reminding us that the body we try so hard to escape is the first of the foundations of mindfulness put forth in the Satipatthana, the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. In fact, Chogyam Trungpa warns that without mindfulness of the body, "you could be constantly tiptoeing on the surface of the universe." We groom our bodies, hide our bodies, hate our bodies, yet few of us are actually aware of our bodies. How appropriate, then, that Goldstein introduces his Abiding in Mindfulness course with eight hours of teaching on The Body.

Joseph Goldstein has studied Buddhism since 1965, and has led insight and loving kindness meditation retreats since 1974. Known even to those who are new to the study of Buddhism, Goldstein is an exceptionally perceptive and giving teacher, making this particular audio course an extraordinary opportunity for those who haven’t yet been able to attend his workshops. Goldstein’s expert guidance shows us how to step away from ingrained emotions and misperceptions about our bodies, to detach from the patterns that have trapped us in a love-hate relationship with our physical selves, and view our bodies objectively, just as we learn to recognize thoughts as simply "thinking." His approach is coherent, confident, and eminently valuable.

Abiding in Mindfulness : The Body is a presentation that is fully relevant to Western mindset and culture, and even includes a 32-page study guide featuring Goldstein’s translation of the Satipatthana. There are 10 sessions in this course, during which Goldstein shares his considerable knowledge about the direct path to liberation with warmth, humor, and generosity. Breaking the Satipatthana into small, manageable bits, we’re given guidance on the many parts which make up the seemingly impenetrable fortress that keeps us from being truly mindful of the body, including specific thoughts on mindfulness of postures and the elements that make up the body. Sharing insights gained from over four decades of study and practice, this in-depth course is still friendly, inviting, and accessible to the beginner.

The Book

Sounds True
October 2007
Audio / 7 CDs, 8 hours
Nonfiction / Buddhist Studies
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The Reviewer

Deborah Adams
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Deborah Adams is the Flair and Macavity Award winning author of the Jesus Creek Mystery Series: All The Great Pretenders, All The Crazy Winters, All The Dark Disguises, All The Hungry Mothers, All The Deadly Beloved, All The Blood Relations, and All The Dirty Cowards. She was also an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel.
© 2008