9780190200626Joiner, Thomas. Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism. Oxford University Press, 2017. (224 pages, ISBN 9780190200626)

PublisherGoogle Books

“A contemplative practice with Buddhist roots, mindfulness is ‘the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present-moment, non-judgmentally.’ Practicing mindfulness can be an effective adjunct in treating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. But have we gone too far with mindfulness? Recent books on the topic reveal a troubling corruption of mindfulness practice for commercial gain, with self-help celebrities hawking mindfulness as the next ‘miracle drug.’ Furthermore, common misunderstanding of what mindfulness really is seems to be fueled by a widespread cultural trend toward narcissism, egocentricity, and self-absorption.

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41fUQsuuGIL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Wright, Robert. Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Simon & Schuster, 2017. (336 pages, ISBN 978-1439195451)

Google Books | Publisher 

“From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. Robert Wright famously explained in ‘The Moral Animal’ how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain.

But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. Read the rest of this entry »

9780190668051Anya P. Foxen. Biography of a Yogi: Paramahansa Yogananda and the Origins of Modern Yoga. Oxford University Press, 2017 (264 pages, ISBN 9780190668051)

Google Books | Publisher

“With over four million copies in print, Parmahansa Yogananda’s autobiography has been translated into thirty-three languages, and it still serves as a gateway into yoga and alternative spirituality for countless North American practitioners. This book examines Yogananda’s life and work to clarify linkages between the seemingly disparate aspects of modern yoga, and illuminates the intimate connections between yoga and metaphysically-leaning American traditions such as Unitarianism, New Thought, and Theosophy. Instead of treating yoga as a stable practice, Anya P. Foxen proposes that it is the figure of the Yogi that give the practice of his followers both form and meaning.

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