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The Mindful Brain
The Neurobiology of Well-being

by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

      Scientific research tells us that mindfulness can improve not only cognitive function, but quality of life, as well. Meditation, yoga, and centered prayer have all been shown to lead to improved physical and mental health, better relationships, and a stronger sense of well-being.

The word 'mindfulness' gets thrown around a lot in Buddhist circles, and synonyms such as 'presence' or 'awareness' are tossed casually into conversations among almost every group these days. Most of us assume we know exactly what these terms mean, but maybe we're wrong.

In this audio version of Daniel Siegel's book, he explains clearly that mindfulness is more than just paying attention; it is being aware with intention and without making judgments. "The way you pay attention..." Siegel tells us, "will ultimately become a trait of the individual."

Siegel is a psychiatrist, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and currently the co-director of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. More importantly, he is a meditator with personal experience of the power of mindfulness practice, and a deep, sincere interest in the health and welfare of human beings. Through his own practice, he determined that empathy must go beyond itself to a level of resonance with other people. It is this resonance that allows us to experience a sense of closeness, connection and safety that leads to happiness and well-being.

While science focuses on study of the brain, it is impossible to really know what happens in the mind. Nevertheless, Siegel asserts that the mind and the brain reinforce each other. "A practice which is developing attention is developing the mind." In the course of this audio book, Sigel guides listeners through mindfulness sessions, explaining step-by-step how to build a personally satisfying and effective practice. Those who have never attempted meditation will find it easy to follow his guidance and understand how the practice works. A guided loving-kindness meditation is particularly well structured for those who are new to the concept. Experienced meditators will also find a refreshing purity in Siegel's explanations, so this audio does, indeed, have something for everyone.

Siegel explains enough of the science of brain function to give listeners an understanding of just what's happening to the physical brain during the meditative process. Happily he isn't compelled to show off his considerable knowledge of the subject, so we aren't overwhelmed by medical terms. His passion for the topic as well as his genuine interest in helping people create healthier selves and stronger bonds with others is evident.

Providing excellent sound quality and well presented by the author, The Mindful Brain will benefit anyone and is highly recommended.

The Book

Sounds True
June 2008
Audio CD / 4 CDs, 4 3/4 hours
Self-Help / New Age / Miscellaneous (Health)
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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