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The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience (English Edition) Versión Kindle
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Things that I liked about the book include the following.
Goleman says that the true context of meditation is spiritual life but he doesn't show religious or political preference in presenting the material.
Some of the historical background of meditation is described.
Details are given for preparation for meditation, the path of concentration, and the path of insight. This information is from the Buddhist point of view but I believe some of it applies to other forms of meditation.
Eleven forms of meditation (paths) are described. They include some that I had heard about and some that I didn't know about. It was good to have a discussion of this variety of approaches in one book
I appreciated the chapter that described the essential unity among all of the paths of meditation.
In the chapter on the psychology of meditation, Goleman describes Eastern and Western psychological constructs and their meaning for meditation practices.
While the book is not inspirational literature, information presented on the benefits of meditation inspired me to look further into the subject.
Goleman cites his sources of information and this creates a valuable list for further reading.
The only regret that I have about the book is that it was published in 1988 and some of the material hasn't been updated for research since twenty years ago. Still, it is the best introduction to meditation that I know of.
If you are looking for reading that will help you solve problems in life, I suggest the books by Albert Ellis such as A Guide to Rational Living.
The problem is that he is an expert in the Buddhist style of meditation, which is clearly apparent as he gives a more detailed and comprehensive overview of it. His description of the other paths is very simplistic and for some is simply superficial.
The last chapter on how to meditate is the worse and gives less that what you would find on Wikipedia.
It expected him to dissect each path and describe the general land marks of that path then provide corresponding ones in other paths but it was not as mature as I imagined.
Overall good book, but with above deficiencies !!
First, following Visuddhimagga, Goleman points out that the state of full absorption ("jhana") and mindfulness cannot coexist. But the situation is more complicated. In fact, understanding of the interaction between concentration and mindfulness seems to be a key to deepening our meditation practice. Contrary to Goleman, some teachers argue that jhana involves mindfulness. Catherine is one of them, although she too respects Visuddhimagga (Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana). Gunaratana's position is stronger; he writes deep concentration without mindfulness is even dangerous (Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation). Shankman points out that the notion of jhana differs between Visuddhimagga and the Pali Canon (oral compilation of the Buddha's words, the fifth century BCE) and among modern meditation teachers (The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation). Thus, it would be good to begin with Goleman's simplified account of concentration and mindfulness, but it would be better to proceed to a more refined understanding of the topic. As hinted in the above-mentioned books and pointed out more explicitly by Analayo, it would be helpful to recognize the "concentration" and "mindfulness" ASPECTS in both the so-called "concentration" and "mindfulness" PRACTICES (Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization, p. 89).
Second, Goleman's description of different traditions of meditation is oversimplified too. For example, while Yoga traditions are presented as purely concentration meditation, the situation is more complicated. Although the goal of Yoga meditation (practice) may well be considered more concentration-oriented (e.g., the unity of self and God as in Theravada Meditation: The Buddhist Transformation of Yoga), the aspect of mindfulness seems to be present. This is the case especially for those who follow the Yoga Sutra, written well after the Buddha's life and influenced by Buddhists' mindfulness. Some modern Yoga teachers explicitly discuss that mindfulness is present (relevant discussion in Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind: Writings on the Connections between Yoga and Buddhism, esp. Ch. 1, Ch. 9). Goleman's classification of Kurishnamurti's meditation purely as mindfulness is, again, oversimplified. While Kurishnamurti's goal may well be mindfulness, his practice appears to involve the concentration aspect as well (Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti, e.g., p. 287). So, Goleman's brief descriptions are helpful as a first approximation, but we should not stop there.
Added 8/14/14: The above focuses on the contrast between concentration and mindfulness. We can learn more about the integration of these two aspects in, e.g., "Right Mindfulness" by Thanissaro Bikkhu (PDF file available on-line, free copy available from Metta Forest Monastery).