It might seem a bit strange that a dental blog would include reviews of books related to mindfulness and meditation. Dentistry is such a stressful profession, resulting in a scarily high burnout, depression and suicide rate. I believe that it is paramount that we look after ourselves emotionally, physically and mentally. If we don't then what chance do we have of giving our patients the best possible care? I think the practice of mindfulness has great potential in terms of improving our wellbeing. That is why my golden circle as discussed on my "about me" page mentions mental and physical health as well as the oral health of my patients.
Thich Nhat Hanh is lauded by many as one of the true masters of mindfulness. He is a 91 year old Buddhist monk who setup a retreat in France for others to come and experience intense mindfulness and meditation courses. He has also published numerous books on the topic. I have a few on my bookshelf to read in the near future and the first one is supposed to be "the definitive" text on the subject.
The version I read is an amalgamation of a few different items. The first half of the book comprises translations of letters written by Thich Nhat Hanh to other monks discussing his ideas about mindfulness. Then the second half includes detailed instructions on how to complete certain meditation practices and also translations of historical Buddhist texts. I found the first half of the book very interesting and many of the ideas reflected much of the material presented in the mindfulness lecture series I reviewed earlier this month. Indeed Mark Muesse himself provided quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh on a couple of occasions.
However personally I found the written instructions on how to do some of the meditations and the later translated texts offered very little to me. Meditation in my limited experience so far is something that I think is difficult to learn from written text and I think many people will need guidance in person or via audio from things like guided meditation apps. Others may disagree with me, and I am aware that might just be my personal preference for audio shining through.
I think that any book that encourages people to live a life more mindful of their surroundings and interactions with others should be commended and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book although I would advise people to be prepared that this may peak their interest in the topic, but they may need further guidance to really put the lessons learned into practice. See here for your own copy: https://amzn.to/2qTxuo0
Dr Chris Harper