Kate Sciandra experienced something of an epiphany in her life the day she attended a lecture given by the Dalai Lama at the University of Minnesota. She was so impressed by his presence and presentation that very soon afterwards she enlisted the help and support of a teacher and started to practice mindfullness and meditation.
Thus began her career teaching others the techniques that she had learnt. Now, twenty uears after she first started out, Kate Sciandra has distilled the essence of the wisdom that she has gained in her book The Mindfulness Habit: Six Weeks to Creating the Habit of Being Present.
The goals that the author establishes on behalf of her reader are lofty but with just six weeks of practical work she predicts that she can help you to reduce your stress, alleviate your anxiety and halt the endless cycle of worry of which so many of us are victims.
The Mindfulness Habit system has been split into six weekly periods so that the reader can approach their studies with a relaxed, manageable and stress-free approach.
Week one is centered upon learning the necessary basic skills for living in the present. The immediate benefits of this is a major reduction in personal levels of anger, begrudgement, worry and even in physical pain.
At the same time the practitioner can also expect a sense of slowing down of time, higher levels of creativity as well as increased feelings of patience and calmness.
In this first stage the reader is also introduced to the first few exercises which are centered around meditation and breathing.
Week two begins with a look at habits and the establishment of a regular routine with which to build and develop the various recommended skills. At this point the success attained from the previous weeks’ work is extended with an emphasis on becoming aware of one’s own physical senses and how they are reacting to our interactions with the world.
Week three is titled ‘Demystifying Meditation’ and amongst other things features a look at the benefits of walking meditation. The chosen sense for this week is that of hearing.
Week four enters into the realm of the philosophical with a look at the process of planning and intent with their benefits and, if not explored at the correct time, of their pitfalls. The exercise for this week is focussed upon clearing personal blocks to allowing things to flow.
In the penultimate week, week five, the author introduces the state of being balanced, clear-minded and dispassionate regarding the way that things are.
Finally, week six, includes a body scan meditation, a sitting meditation and overall assessment of the way that the physical body has coped with the changes that it has been forced to adjust to during the previous five weeks of intensive work.
In the book’s final summing up its authors shares some anecdotal stories and practical advice on how to apply everything that has been learnt so far at those times of worry and anxiety that can crop up. In fact this extends into an exposé of the proven beneficial effect of mindfulness upon depression and general levels of mental health and addiction.
Our Review of ‘The Mindfulness Habit’ by Kate Sciandra
If this book is your first introduction to the techniques of mindfulness and meditation then you may be somewhat surprised by the promised efficaciousness of what appears at first to be relatively simple techniques.
This is a book that demonstrates that even what appears in a six week program to be an inordinately long timeframe actually isn’t. There is a lot of work to be done and so with this in mind the efforts that Kate Sciandra makes to take a firm hold of the hand of her student and guide them through th eprocess will be greatly appreciated by any novice.
The approach that the author has taken in her book is essentially to focus upon the work of stress relief and anger management but what becomes apparanet through her advice, insights and instruction, as well as the exercises themselves, actually takes the reader into several important areas of psycho-spiritual development.
It is a good book for those looking to develop their psychic skills or who wish to follow some other spiritual tradition.
‘The Mindfulness Habit’ is full of useful and practical advice for anyone who is seeking to develop a deeper, or more harmonious relationship with both themselves and the world around them.