Book Review: The Mindful Manifesto

The Mindful Manifesto: How Doing Less And Noticing More Can Help Us Thrive In A Stressed Out WorldThe Mindful Manifesto: How Doing Less And Noticing More Can Help Us Thrive In A Stressed Out World by Jonty Heaversedge & Ed Halliwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an ever faster-moving world, moving beyond the demands imposed by increasing workloads, omnipresent technology and time-starved relationships and taking time to just ‘be’ can seem impossible, but the antidote to these problems – and more – is in The Mindful Manifesto. In this new and updated edition, the authors distil the essence of mindfulness meditation with compassion and skill, demonstrating its roots in ancient teachings and reinforcing this with reputable scientific research. Buddhist philosophy is explored without proselytising and is reframed in a psychological context: questioning, rather than passive acceptance is always invited.

Engagement with mindfulness is encouraged through practical exercises, and their benefits explored through case studies and the personal experiences of the authors themselves as we learn to contemplate a more present, compassionate way of living. Understanding the difference between thoughts and facts facilitates a reconnecting of mind and body and acceptance of our selves, giving us the tools to feel more in control of our lives and learn to manage chronic conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction and pain with greater insight. Modern holistic treatments endorse caring for the mind in conjunction with the body and the book emphasises the value of mindfulness in treating physical conditions – as always backed up by research data.

The big question, though, is does it work? Having read and worked through the first edition of The Mindful Manifesto, I realised I was feeling calmer and more awake to my daily life. Practising mindfulness seems to relieve the pressures of modern life – juggling emails and Facebook and text messages becomes less important, and rejecting the dastardly twin cults of perfection and speed an easier task. And despite the book’s eagerness to present mindfulness as ‘mental technology’, unencumbered by new age or hippy associations, I’ve been surprised to discover that mindfulness, whilst presented as a practical, functional activity, has quietly nurtured in me a lighter, more spiritual way of being.

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