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Mindfulness and the Art of Choice
Transform Your Life

by Karen H. Sherman, Ph.D.

      Mindfulness is a core concept of Buddhism and is often viewed as some esoteric practice of Eastern religions. In Mindfulness and the Art of Choice, Dr. Karen Sherman describes mindfulness in a practical and applicable manner, combining the ancient practice with cognitive behavioral techniques to give readers the opportunity to recognize and change patterns that keep them from creating better lives for themselves.

There is, says Sherman, "a way to approach life so that you feel a sense of being prepared, of being ready, of being grounded." Some of her advice will be familiar, such as the reminder that we can’t control other people or situations, but we can control our own reactions, or that doing what we’ve always done will get us what we’ve always gotten. The difference here is that Sherman explains why we repeat non-productive behaviors that often are formed during infancy and childhood, long before we are capable of truly understanding our reactions, and she gives us clear instructions for breaking the habits.

Awareness—another term we hear repeatedly in Buddhist teachings—is key to the process Sherman  promotes. Often we fail to recognize our own destructive behavior because we are so busy distracting ourselves from the root causes of emotional pain. Mindfulness and the Art of Choice begins with a simple exercise to quiet the mind and learn to live free of distraction, if only for a few moments. This in itself is a valuable gift.

With twenty-two exercises, each building upon the others, Sherman’s book is a long-term reward for a small price. There is no suggested time frame or any particular order for working through these exercises, making it a truly individualized program.

Psychologist Sherman goes far beyond textbook analysis and trite platitudes. Her own life story is a moving and revelatory example of how tenacious and damaging early imprinting can be. Her honesty about her own pain and her journey to heal herself is as inspirational as it gets.

Though Mindfulness and the Art of Choice comes in at under 100 pages, it’s no lightweight quickie read. Like profound koans, this is a treasure chest of wisdom, expressed succinctly and sincerely by an author who proves that she has walked the path.

The Book

Loving Healing Press
February 2008
Self Help
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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