Mindful Happiness Book Review
The Awakened Introvert: Practical Mindfulness skills… By Arnie, Kozak, Ph.D.
Dr. Kozak begins his book noting the processes of mind that often cause people to suffer. Critical judging, unhelpful story telling, over-attending to past suffering or losses and angst about possible future realities (the brain’s default mode), and auto-pilot inattention to important often positive present moment experiences, etc. Readers are then lead gently into the many documented benefits of regular mindfulness practices/skills, and the differences between emotional reaction (limbic brain) versus emotional response – a Jon Kabat-Zinn concept about balancing executive controls and mind-body homeostasis. Soon we are taught how to invite peaceful quiet into our busy, stressful, hurried, introverted lives. Although Kozak’s emphasis here is on mindfulness interventions for introversion, virtually all the mindfulness-based skills and practices noted in this helpful book apply to all people.
The book also includes various helpful quotations from many famous people (Gibran, Eliot, Emerson, Rilke, etc.). These quotations help to set up foundations for mindful learning and practices. In one place we are asked to create personal quietude via using information about who, what, where, when and how. What helps, and what does not help? Among it’s many practical skills and tips, the book presents practical wise-mind means to improve mindfulness and happiness: the social decision calculator (To go? To stay home? To go for a short time?); the personal pitch – a brief way to “pitch” yourself to strangers; and, helpful information about various communication styles. And, yes, it is just fine to practice the peace and quiet of solitude when you are not up for social engagement.
Kozak’s book presents many mindfulness-based energy-related practices that support both personal solitude and social interaction: walking meditation, yoga, even reading about mindfulness. A very creative technique – mind screening – is outlined here. This creative addition to the body scan, allows you to categorize your thoughts (mental objects) into subjective and objective mind-experiences. Subjective, internal processes include thoughts, visual images, bodily sensations, and emotional experiences; objective, external processes include seeing, hearing, and noticing things outside of the body and mind. Mind scanning instructions are quite helpful. You may be sitting, standing or lying on a comfortable surface. First make a formal intention to remain present while you
breathe in a deeper and slower manner – continue until you realize you are now more calm. Do a quick body scan to dissolve any existing tensions and remain in the present moment – no past or future orientations. Notice what you see; notice what you hear; notice images; check into the mind; and, allow emotions – BUT simply notice and identify present experiences in a neutral manner. No evaluations or stories or associations, or time-travel to past or future. Simply perceive your present experience in a neutral manner. Since this ability is often an emotional self-regulation goal of regular mindfulness practice, starting your practice early is powerful and wise advice.
Among other helpful skill-based interventions, the book ends with a brief and clear exploration of Buddhism (The Four Noble Truths and The Eight Fold Path). This section helps readers to become more motivated to pursue mind-training with goals of more calmness, more living with ease, and more happiness. Since the noted skills and practices are mindfully-authoritative and practical, this is a highly recommended book.
CLICK HERE to head to Amazon for your copy!
Mindfulness Author, Teacher and Therapist – Dr. Arnie Kozak
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
CLICK HERE or any image blow to Order