Mindfulness Book Summary - Mindfulness Book explained in key points
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Mindfulness summary

Joseph Goldstein

A Practical Guide to Awakening

4.6 (344 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

'Mindfulness' by Joseph Goldstein teaches the art of mindfulness with practical tools for meditation and awareness in daily life. Goldstein's teachings will bring more joy and compassion to your life.

Table of Contents

    Mindfulness
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 7

    The unmindful life is characterized by a suffering caused by the self’s endless craving.

    Siddhartha Gotama famously sat under a tree. 

    For three decades, he had lived as a young prince, full of craving for the delights of the world, until, dissatisfied, he left his palace home to study under a series of spiritual teachers. 

    Each teacher directed Gotama toward an ever-more-austere life, and for six years, he lived in poverty, hunger, and often, in a pain he inflicted on his own flesh. But the dissatisfaction that had driven him from the palace remained.

    It was then that Gotama came to the tree in Bodh Gaya, a village in northern India. The story goes that he meditated beneath the tree for 49 days. His concept of self vanished. And with it the dissatisfaction that had plagued him. 

    The key message here is: The unmindful life is characterized by a suffering caused by the self’s endless craving.

    When Gotama rose, he was the Buddha, the awakened one. He walked on for several days, to another village, where he would share with friends the truth he had discovered. 

    He told them that life is suffering; caused by things like war, hunger, injustice, sickness, and aging, yes, but also fear, hatred, envy, grief, and loneliness. The suffering the Buddha spoke of included people’s longing for pleasure and the knowledge that one day everyone will be parted from their loved ones. It included the fact that the wonders of life end in death.

    The Buddha called this suffering dukkha. 

    Human beings are like a dog, he said, tied to a post and unable to escape, forever pulling at the rope. He called this trap of suffering the wheel of samsara, or the cycle of life and death.

    He went on to say that the cause of people’s suffering is desire. Everyone is consumed by a craving that cannot be satisfied. They seek it in food, alcohol, power, sex, and drugs, saying “I want, I need, I must have!” And that craving makes fools of them all, as they take on debt, fill their lives with stress, and scrape to get ahead. They crave being someone else, a future self that is happy, successful, and powerful. At times, when it gets too much, they may even crave nothingness – to stop existing entirely.

    But there is a way to end the suffering. The Buddha teaches that when you let go of your self, the craving goes with it, and you can at last find refuge in the highest happiness of all: nibbana.

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    What is Mindfulness about?

    Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening (2013) explores how adopting a Buddhist approach to mindfulness can unlock a true and deeply felt freedom. The author draws on an ancient dialogue conducted by Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha, and creates a clear, systemic path to establishing mindfulness of body, emotion, thought, and time as a way to overcome suffering.

    Mindfulness Review

    Mindfulness (2016) by Joseph Goldstein explores the practice of cultivating present-moment awareness to find inner peace and clarity. Here's why this book is definitely worth a read:

    • “Mindfulness” presents practical techniques to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life, helping readers reduce stress and enhance overall well-being.
    • With a deep understanding of Buddhist teachings, Goldstein provides profound insights on the nature of the mind and the power of mindfulness.
    • The book offers a variety of meditation practices and exercises to develop mindfulness, making it a valuable tool for both beginners and experienced practitioners.

    Who should read Mindfulness?

    • Curious minds interested in the time-tested wisdom of the Buddha
    • Deep thinkers committed to living mindfully 
    • Anyone interested in using meditation to enrich their lives

    About the Author

    Joseph Goldstein has spent over five decades transmitting the methods of Vipassana, the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness, to Western audiences. Goldstein is the author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism.

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    Mindfulness FAQs 

    What is the main message of Mindfulness?

    The main message of Mindfulness is to cultivate awareness and be fully present in the present moment.

    How long does it take to read Mindfulness?

    The reading time for Mindfulness varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Mindfulness a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Mindfulness is worth reading as it offers practical insights and techniques for living a more mindful and fulfilling life.

    Who is the author of Mindfulness?

    The author of Mindfulness is Joseph Goldstein.

    What to read after Mindfulness?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Mindfulness, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Art of Living by William Hart
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
    • The Quiet Mind by John E. Coleman
    • Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • Inner Engineering by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
    • Super Human by Dave Asprey
    • Karma by Sadhguru
    • Speed Reading by Kam Knight