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Timeless Truths for Modern Mindfulness, by Arnie Kozak.

November 26, 2017

Timeless TruthTimeless Truths for Modern Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to a More Focused and Quiet Mind, by Arnie Kozak. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.  FORTHCOMING.

4 stars

Yet another book on mindfulness by a New Englander who writes, speaks, and consults widely about meditation based on classical Buddhism.

Arnie Kozak is an “expert” on mindfulness meditation.  Trained in both clinical psychology and medicine, he has created a range of activities for teaching and sharing a way of thinking and being outside of the strictures of the American mainstream.  In addition to authoring several books, he teaches in universities and has created his own consultation service offering individuals, businesses, and communities his simple Buddhist-based methods.

In Timeless Truths, Kozak provides a clear, simple introduction to mindfulness.  What sets this book apart from numerous similar books is his emphasis on taking apart many of the “myths” that have emerged as Buddhist-style mediation has gained popularity in this country.  He states convincingly that Buddha is not to be considered a god.  Buddhism is not a religion, despite the various religious traditions that have developed from Buddha’s teaching.  Mindfulness is based on the practical, psychological teaching of Buddha.

As Kozak takes readers through the basic account of mindfulness and gives instructions for how to begin the practice, he regularly points out its fundamental challenge to many of the assumptions we live by today.  Mindfulness is about learning deeply and intimately about ourselves.  It is not about relieving stress, becoming calmer, or being wise.  These are the regular results of meditation, but should not be seen as goals.  Striving to be good at meditation is not the point. Mindfulness will probably be tumultuous at times, but we can use the tumult to learn not to violently react.

I am no expert on Buddhism or mindfulness, but I have great respect for the tradition.  I know enough about the practice to understand the need to correct the trend toward shaping Buddhism to our desires rather than be reshaped by it.  I believe that Kozak’s book is a solid place to start for anyone who wants learn and practice mindfulness.

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