The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science

Author: Jeremy Graves, Matthew Immergut, Culadasa John Yates
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About This Book

Providing step-by-step guidance for every stage of the meditation path, this uniquely comprehensive guide for a Western audience combines the wisdom from the teachings of the Buddha with the latest research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Clear and friendly, this in-depth practice manual builds on the nine-stage model of meditation originally articulated by the ancient Indian sage Asanga, crystallizing the entire meditative journey into 10 clearly-defined stages. The book also introduces a new and fascinating model of how the mind works, and uses illustrations and charts to help the reader work through each stage.

This manual is an essential read for the beginner to the seasoned veteran of meditation and can be read from front to back, or used as a reference guide, choosing chapters as needed based on the current state of the reader s practice."

Stats say a third of the population are sleep deprived, so anything that helps spread the word about why it's so important hopefully does a bit of good! For more detail checkout this great blog about the benefit of sleep.

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science


Review Date:


by avtar   2018-11-10
A pragmatic guide, that's been mentioned on HN a few times, is 'The Mind Illuminated' [0]. The subreddit [1] is a great resource as well.



by batbdotb   2018-03-19

A few options here:

1) You may not be getting enough sleep - but you are normally too stimulated to notice. Meditation may be making you aware that you are tired. If this is the case - meditate BEFORE going to bed if you can, you will sleep much better.

2) Diet is not mentioned much here - but it is extremely important. Having high vegetable intake has drastically changed my overall levels of focus and mental clarity.

3) In terms of meditation, you may be indulging in dullness as part of your practice. This is a major corner stone of The Mind Illuminated . Essentially, you may need to focus more on becoming alert in your meditation sessions. Much has been written about this elsewhere so I will not get into it here. But investigating dullness and alertness is a start.

Best wishes

by TamSanh   2018-03-19
  1. The book that I have started recommending is "The Mind Illuminated ," especially for atheists and agnostics. It's a step-by-step guide to Buddhist meditation, synthesized from many different sects into a neat and contemporary form.

  2. There's a robot that always recommends "What the Buddha Taught," which is truly an excellent piece.

  3. Search for 'atheist' in this subreddit.

by chrisgagne   2018-03-19

I am a meditation teacher-in-training in the /r/themindilluminated tradition. It's based on the work of Upasaka Culadasa ." There is a robust community behind this practice, so you can get good support when you want it.

I've found that I have greater extrospective and introspective awareness. Imagine focusing on an object with your eyes. Now imagine that your peripheral vision is getting clearer and wider. That increase in peripheral vision would alert you to a object that is about to overcome the one you are focusing on. The shamatha-vipassana technique permits this for your own mind.

I like /u/thegumptiontrap's comment. I've heard grace described as the pause between an event and your reaction. The "awareness" mind is higher bandwidth and more objective than the the "attention" mind.

Metta (loving kindness) is another lovely practice. I just got permission from Culadasa to record a guided meditation based on his metta chapter in his book and hope to share that soon.

by mistermann   2017-10-14
Do you consider this book to be snake oil?

by Diane_Horseman   2017-08-19

It's cool that you're motivated to get deeper into meditation. I've been in the meditation game for a while so perhaps I can give you some tips.

First, some advice about the experience you describe in your post. My best guess would be that you entered a state known as "jhana," which is essentially a state of focus so intense that normal perceptions fade and are replaced with pleasant, distorted sensations and feelings of bliss and love. Such a state is a positive feedback loop because the new sensations are usually so interesting that they continue to hold the attention and thus increase the flow of jhana. Such a state is possible to stumble into without much meditation experience and without really knowing what's going on, as you describe. However, with more training you can learn to reach this state on command with little effort and even control its intensity. I would advise you to consider the state that you entered to be a taste of what's to come, but not to get to attached to re-experiencing it as you may not be able to consistently.

Next, you may ask "where do I go from here?" The practices you describe doing will get you into deeper meditation states by simply continuing to do them consistently. However, it's possible to train your mind more efficiently by using methods which tailor themselves specifically to where you are along the meditation path in terms of skill level and training. Many people, and I see some in this thread, will say that using such practices which appear progress-oriented or even goal-oriented defeats the point of meditation. There is some truth to this if the practices are misinterpreted, but the point is not to get attached to a sense of progress but simply to use the right methods for wherever you are in the present.

My favorite book detailing these types of practices is The Mind Illuminated . This is by far the best book I would recommend for deepening your practice if you are committed to meditating consistently, as you seem to be.

by under_the_pressure   2017-08-19

You don't need a guru. Read The Mind Illuminated and do the practices daily.

by dharmagraha   2017-08-19

There's a lot of information in the FAQ, but this is the core part for starting a basic practice:

> Set a timer for your desired length of meditation.
> Sit upright on a chair, cushion or rolled up towel, with your back straight.
> Close your eyes. Breathe through your nose.
> As your breath rises and falls, bring your mind gently to the feeling of the air moving in and out around the tips of your nostrils. Keep your mind there.
> As you do this, other thoughts and feelings will arise. > > Maybe your foot itches. Maybe you've got something you want to do immediately after you get up, or two days from now and it keeps coming to mind. Doesn't matter. > > Note these thoughts and feelings as they come up, try to avoid judging them as good or bad, just notice they happened and gently come back to your breath.

I can see a couple of different parts of this that could be confusing. But it depends on what you mean by "confusing."

If it's that the instructions as a whole don't make sense, then it might be better to try guided meditations instead. The Headspace app is great and has a free tier. I've also heard good things about Calm, but I've never used it myself. Guided meditations are a great way to get into meditation, since the recording tells you exactly what to do and when.

If it's that the instructions seem vague or that certain terms don't make sense, then a more specific method can help. Disclaimer, these will involve reading a lot more than the simple instructions above. All of these are free and available online:

  • The Basic Method of Meditation (free online) is a short pamphlet by Ajahn Brahm, a Western monk in the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. I haven't used this, but I've heard that Ajahn Brahm is an exceptional meditation teacher, and this pamphlet is a quick read at only 23 pages.
  • Mindfulness in Plain English (free online) is a classic and has an engaging style that makes it easy to read. It's what I used to start meditating, and I know of a lot of people that really love it. Personally, I found that certain terms and concepts weren't as clearly stated as I would have liked. Bhante Gunaratana is also part of the Theravada tradition, and he has a monastery in West Virginia.
  • With Each and Every Breath (free online) is great as well. It's by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, another monk in the Thai Forest tradition. The book is longer and perhaps more technical than Mindfulness in Plain English, but I find the style of it easier for me to understand.

Another book, and the one I use for my main practice, is The Mind Illuminated , which is longer than all of these and even more technical. Its style is more secular and pragmatic, if those qualities appeal to you. The author also has a PhD. in neuroscience and often connects meditative concepts to certain activities in the brain. You'll have to buy this one, but please read the critical reviews before you do, so you can get a sense of whether this book will be useful for you. One of the major complaints about the book is that it can be very technical.

These books are roughly in order from least to most detailed. That doesn't mean the most/least detailed one is best, just that that's how they're written.

by under_the_pressure   2017-08-19

Insight Timer is a great app and it's free. The only functions I want are a timer and stats and it handles those functions extremely well, and there are guided meditations available, but I don't use those. Following the instructions in The Mind Illuminated is what got me finally into a meditation practice after years of vaguely wanting to. Every other method just felt like sinking into quicksand of abstraction.

by pornpompornpomporn   2017-08-19

/r/meditation has good resources. they often recommend this book