Present moment awareness is an essential ingredient in life if one expects to experience any degree of authentic peace and contentment. It has been acknowledged for centuries as the cornerstone of spiritual awakening in all traditions of Eastern thought. In the West, however, it is still a relatively unrecognized concept for living.
The Western mind is always restless, never content with the moment. Its internal dialogue is always firing off thoughts filled with emotional content and pulling the individual out of the present and into the past or future. But individuals raised in Western culture are becoming increasingly aware of their overall sense of mental exhaustion, their lack of discipline and their inability to focus on demand. They are willing to expend the energy necessary to experience inner peace and a quiet mind that is waiting to follow the direction of their will. They are realizing that the endless struggle to fulfill the insatiable appetite of instant gratification is fruitless and tiresome at best. They are ripe for a new path in life and eager for a new set of instructions.
This is the purpose of The Practicing Mind. It comprehensively deals with helping the individual understand exactly what present-moment awareness is, how we are raised in a manner contradictory to this, and how we change our mindset to make this a part of our daily living. This book is accessible to listeners of all philosophical backgrounds. Regardless of your perspective, you will find the book's insights most compelling.
©2012 New World Library (P)2014 Thomas M Sterner
A good friend had found this book so inspiring he had gifted it to 10 of his friends, including myself. I am a consultant ophthalmic surgeon and a highly driven, motivated and (I would like to think) organized person but despite seemingly having achieved many of my professional goals I still find that I regularly berate myself for not achieving more in every aspect of my life, leaving me constantly stressed and frustrated at my perceived underachievements. In the last week I have listened to this book twice over. It has already changed my life for the better - no understatement. It has just a few vital themes which are explained in beautiful simplicity with the author's true life illustrations which are easy to relate to despite his professional background being a million miles from my own. It is about enjoying the process of life and all the richness that it brings. It is genuinely liberating. By applying the principles in only the last few days I am already feeling more in control, calmer and I am letting go of that nagging sense of having a thousand things I should be doing. I will be re-listening to this repeatedly until I am fully applying these principles and will be passing on this gift to my nearest and dearest.
I have no suggestions. It ticked all the boxes for me
The fact that it is the author reading the book, despite not being an actor brought authenticity to this work.
The chapter about teaching and learning from children, in particular his experience with his own.
An inspiring read. Brushing my teeth will never be the same again!
practical, simple, instructive
Describing the perfection of a seed transforming into a flower as perfection at every stage of development and then comparing those stages to when one stays present and learn to enjoy the process at every stage of what we are doing.
Its easy to get frustrated when one loses focus on the task at hand or the process that needs to be carried out to achieve our goals.
We have to get into the habit of following the process and enjoying the journey on route to achieving the goal
Chapter 8 and 9 where my favourites
Yes, I completed it in two sittings
If you are someone who gets frustrated when things are not going your way and need to understand how winning is done, Especially if you are an entrepreneur, business, sales or parenthood (the author shares a lot of practical experiences)... get this book!
Some of the insights made me stop and think about my own routines. As the book reiterates, our whole lives are a series of routines that we can change if we are conscious/mindful of them.
I really liked the idea of drastically slowing down an activity that you would normally rush. It forces you into the present moment and you even begin to enjoy the process.
Short answer - yes.
Long answer - whenever I read reviews on self help books my overriding question is always " did it actually change your life in some significant way?"
I listened to this book to and from work for several weeks so that I could absorb the messages contained within each chapter and I have to confess there has been a fundamental shift in my outlook on life.
I am a chronic perfectionist and this book has enabled me to stop obsessing about the goal to enjoying the process in aiming for the goal and detaching from the outcome. Not easy to begin with but life is so much more enjoyable now.
I have applied the principals contained within the book to my yoga lessons, to starting my own business and to refurbishing my home.
There is an age-old profound message within the pages of this book and if you are ready to receive the message it could change your life for the better.
I like walking. Audiobooks are handy on long walks.
The author is a musician who practices a lot in order to improve. He also has a business where he fixes pianos.
He found that he was frustrated by not reaching his goals.
He studied the problem and found that many people in the West focus on the end goal and "will be happy when".
He found that in the East they focus instead on the joy of the process of slowly making progress towards the goal.
Some of the items that I learned from The Practicing Mind are as follows.
His story about the seed flower journey is life changing. It helps us realise that we are perfect now.
Slow down and act deliberately and the results will come 40% quicker. Slow down and observe yourself doing your work slowly.
Get lost in the joy of the process. It is a mistake to look at the end goal and not being happy til there.
With patience you are always experiencing your goal.
Your goal should always be learning or progressing.
He mentiones the infinite nature of progress.
Stay in the process, aware of goal but focused on process. Simplify break goals Small (fitness + cleaning shed etc).
DOC Do Observe Correct (fun) instead of looking at goal (victory) all of the time.
Fretting has no effect on getting things done.
The real thrill in anything is the anticipation. Enjoy the process and practice of getting the goal. Avoid instant-gratification. Car advertisements show perfection not reality.
I was on midway of listening to this book when I had to do a test. It was an analytical test where I had to use some new excel tool which I had no prior experience with. The test took two hours with 30 questions. The first half an hour I got panicked and thought I wouldn't be able to do it. However, I remember the author's word to slow down and be in the moment and I became more relaxed and eventually finished the test.
Yes. It contains a number of very helpful insights, it's engaging and I can see a time where I will re-listen to it.
N/A although the writer uses numerous good analogies from the worlds of sport and music to effectively illustrate some of the more abstract points.
Once you've heard the book you'll understand how ironic this question is.
The book offers a refreshing take on present mindedness which was an enjoyable listen.
As the author states, he has designed the book so you can dip in at any point which made it very easy to enjoy in bite size chunks.
I am very fussy about narrators and this does have a slightly odd style at points. This wasn't enough to affect my enjoyment of the book but I would suggest you listen to the preview before buying.
That is the lesson I learned: process matters, not the product. This view of life results to focus, calmness, and being present. In the book there are suggestions on how to see things that way: break your tasks into small pieces, do them shortly, and more importantly slowly.
I am very glad to have a chance to listen to this book. The voice is also pleasant and easy to listen to.
The book itself is great, so on-balance it's time well-spent; but it's sometimes painful to keep going, because the narrator's voice is grinding, monotonous and robotic.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle covers similar ground, but is less practical and grounded. The Practicing Mind offers context which feels more familiar and easier to relate to everyday issues. What they both have in common is irritating narration in the audiobook version.
A different narrator would be a huge improvement! The author is narrating his own work - he's a good writer, but not a good narrator. He reads the words as if he's not only just discovered them for the first time, but as if he has also just discovered the English language for the first time. Imagine a cross between Siri and Steven Hawking, and that gives you some idea of what to expect.
If it's ever made into a documentary movie or TV show, hopefully they hire a professional actor. If the author is the 'star', he'll send the cameraman to sleep with his monotone voice.
I still recommend this book, but wish I'd read the book version instead of the audiobook. The narration is just awful. Maybe it's just me, but the author's voice just grinds on me after a short while. There's no sense of nuance between any two words - it really does sound like a computer is reading. I don't regret the purchase, though, because the content is great.
"Simple & Profound"
I tend to be bitterly disappointed by self-help books but decided to try this one when events and challenges in my life began to get the best of me. Inspired by one of the reviews about the power of Sterner's ideas, I purchased the audiobook. Today I'm so happy I did so. The book is definitely a keeper, and I plan to listen to it over and over again until cultivation of "the practicing mind" replaces the habit of self-judgment and fear of failure. With the author's clear explaination of how ego-driven thought patterns sabotage our efforts and his message about "the simplicity of doing one thing at a time...slowly, with purpose," he shows how focusing on either "success" or "failure" causes suffering.
"Some great takeaways despite the robotic narration"
- I tend to get overwhelmed with large or stressful tasks and either procrastinate on starting or fail to complete them. The concept of taking your time and going slowly about your activities one little section at a time to get more done was a great take-away for me.
- Many books on mindfulness are philosophical treatises, where this one gave some very practical exercises to practice during everyday activities, allowing the reader to immediately test the ideas and put them to use.
- I also appreciated the comparisons of cultures being process oriented versus wanting fast results and how this affects the quality of the finished product. That section was worth reflection and perhaps a second listen.
The slight negative: While I appreciate narrators who speak clearly and annunciate their words, the author over annunciated to the point of distraction. I had to listen at 1.25 speed to make it more tolerable to listen to. This remedied the problem for me.
Overall, very worth the listen. I recommend this book for the wisdom and insights that the practical exercises will bring you.
"Big impact, excellent advice,multiple applications"
yes, more authentic for author to read it, effective to be able to repeat specific sections,
Just wish there was a way to include his references (in the back of the book)
Analytical approach broken down Into logical steps for consistent improvement. Most encouraging for learning a new skill or subject. Excellent!
unfortunately I haven't, I would like to because I like his approach and his integrity
yes and no...It was a most interesting approach and I wanted to hear it all now. I also found myself going back to key areas several times for his suggested applications to become part of my process.
Not the typical surface suggestions, instead in depth thought and many process applications. just outstanding!
Thanks Thomas for sharing these wonderful findings with us through your audiobook.
I have learned:
1. How to actually live in the present moment everyday.
2. How to effectively and joyfully practice any skill or anything by using your suggestions.
With this change of mindset, I`m joyfully back to my once annoying and tiring Piano Lessons!
Thanks once again from Joseph Amen, Valencia, Spain.
"Probably intends well..."
There are a couple of worthwhile takeaways. The concepts aren't new, but if they're new to you, that's what matters. Enjoy the process of what you're doing and you're more likely to achieve. We live in a culture that asks us to strive for flawless-ness and perfection. Since we're judged in such static terms, we're unlikely to truly achieve the potential of ourselves and of the projects we take on.
The book itself is a meditation on the subject. The writing is a bit too informal for the book's mission: to get us to consider a healthier and happier way to think about everyday activities and challenges. The examples and language come off as a bit lazy, at times laughable (when does a blooming flower reach perfection? A blooming flower is always perfect). Because of the imprecision of the language, there's a loss of logic and overuse of hyperbolic language. The chapters swing this way, then that way. We talk about the movie The Natural, then worrying less about results and more about process, then how watching TV has little Return on Investment. Awkward.
The audible reading is robotic.
"Great analysis of essentials of life"
I knew it all from experience in life. But everything became so much more manageable after taking part of the way the author describes it. I have listened 4 times, and I still find new information to apply.
"Good book with some great points"
I really did enjoy the book. Author has an easy to understand way of putting things which I will definitely implement into my life. my only problem with the book was the narrative. I wish they would've spent the $$ on a professional reader. I'm not sure why they didn't, everyone has their reasons for things, but it was definitely "Read". But the information in it is very eye opening & I will be listening again soon with a pad & pen, taking notes. Worth the $$, just go into hearing the reading of it with an open mind.
"I'd rather read it than listen to it."
Struggling to finish. Lackluster audio performance is making the content feel boring. Some good points, but I can only listen for a short time before getting sick of hearing him talk.
"A fabulous book, narrated by a true Master"
This is a great book with step-by-step instructions on how to develop the habit of practicing rituals for creating desired habits. The author's instructions are interwoven with fascinating stories and personal anecdotes from his life, and explained in a simple, clear, easy to w way
I love the simplicity of the principles Thomas Sterner describes in this book. It's got none of the fluffy New Age mumbo-jumbo that describe vague concepts but don't really tell you what to do and how to do it.
Focus on the process and not the end product - you'll get there faster, easier, and with a lot less effort!
"Really helpful. Well paced and easy to follow."
For those interested in Mindfulness and Self awareness this is a must. I've been listening to this audiobook constantly since I downloaded it. It's that good.
It's a short book. Each chapter is very clear, with a good balance between the idea proposed and examples.
I liked the narration a lot too.
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