The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind [NOOK Book]

Overview

Meditation offers, in addition to its many other benefits, a method for achieving previously inconceivable levels of concentration. Author B. Alan Wallace has nearly thirty years' practice in attention-enhancing meditation, including a retreat he performed under the guidance of the Dalai Lama. An active participant in the much-publicized dialogues between Buddhists and scientists, Alan is uniquely qualified to speak intelligently to both camps,...
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The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

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Overview

Meditation offers, in addition to its many other benefits, a method for achieving previously inconceivable levels of concentration. Author B. Alan Wallace has nearly thirty years' practice in attention-enhancing meditation, including a retreat he performed under the guidance of the Dalai Lama. An active participant in the much-publicized dialogues between Buddhists and scientists, Alan is uniquely qualified to speak intelligently to both camps, and The Attention Revolution is the definitive presentation of his knowledge.

Beginning by pointing out the ill effects that follow from our inability to focus, Wallace moves on to explore a systematic path of meditation to deepen our capacity for deep concentration. The result is an exciting, rewarding "expedition of the mind," tracing everything from the confusion at the bottom of the trail to the extraordinary clarity and power that come with making it to the top. Along the way, the author also provides interludes and complementary practices for cultivating love, compassion, and clarity in our waking and dreaming lives.

Attention is the key that makes personal change possible, and the good news is that it can be trained. This book shows how.
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Editorial Reviews

Mandala
"Are you in a chronic state of distractedness? Maybe you think it is just part of modern life, yet there is an answer. It's called meditation. But this is not just another book on meditation. Attention is the key: identifying just what it is that requires attention, and how to focus on it. Analytical yet practical, Wallace's style conveys very clear instructions with calm authority."
Shambhala Sun
"This is a bold little book. Its subtitle is a boast and a lure, echoing the muscular self-help books that promise to make you better, stronger, faster. But The Attention Revolution is a cleverly disguised book about pure shamatha meditation, which Wallace defines here as 'a path of attentional development that culminates in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly for hours on end.' Wallace is a former monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, and now a scientist and religious studies scholar who's logged thousands of hours on the cushion. Currently he's drumming up support for The Shamatha Project, a one-year residential retreat for thirty people that will involve scientific evaluation of the subjects before, during, and after the retreat. One imagines that this book could be the participant manual. The Attention Revolution follows a rigorous ten-stage framework described by the eighth-century Indian Buddhist contemplative Kamalashila, but Wallace repeats often that you don't have to subscribe to any particular creed to experience the benefits of shamatha-you just have to do the work."
Joan Halifax
"Scholar, scientist, and adept practitioner Alan Wallace teaches the faculty of attention in a clear, concise, and profound manner. This book is a brilliant comprehensive analysis on the stages of the development of attentional balance and will be a classic in the field."
Paul Ekman
"Indispensable for anyone wanting to understand the mind. A superb, clear set of exercises that will benefit everyone."
Spirituality & Practice
"The mind falls into two ruts, excitation and laxity, and both are hindrances to attentional development. [In The Attention Revolutlion,] Wallace reveals the value of meditation techniques developed in India and Tibet and explains why he is convinced they can help us all improve the faculty of attention. With great elan and rigor, he explores the ten stages of attentional development from directed attention all the way to shamatha, the last stage which may require 10,000 hours of practice. Wallace also includes interludes on the meditative cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, equanimity, tonglen (giving and taking), lucid dreaming, and dream yoga. Along the way, he offers cogent observations on genuine happiness as a symptom of a healthy, balanced mind."
Matthieu Ricard
"An indispensable guide, not only for anyone who attempts to meditate, but for all those who aspire to cultivate a more harmonious relation to the agent that determines the quality of every instant of our lives: our own mind."
Elephant Journal
"Alan Wallace—ex-monk, Tibetan translator and big-wig scientist—explores how we (don't) pay attention in The Attention Revolution. You put it down feeling that meditation isn't about some existential leap to another ethereal plane, but rather the gradual and incremental development of what is ours to begin with."
The Reverend Anthony Freeman
"This is the best kind of practical manual: a balance of clear instruction, theoretical background, and personal sharing. Alan Wallace never talks down to you; his calm authority, borne of years of practice under the best of teachers, shines through. I recommend this book to those of any spiritual tradition—or none—who wish to grow as human beings."
Susan L. Smalley
"Attention is perhaps our most precious commodity. Alan Wallace provides a tutorial of a rigorous form of attention training, shamatha meditation, described in Buddhist texts and practices. Wallace notes that current interpretations of meditation practices such as mindfulness may not reflect the [Buddha's] original intent. In the current rush to apply many Eastern traditions to our Western culture, some very important elements of the original teachings and practices run the risk of being lost. This careful study of shamatha is likely to lessen such losses."
Wildmind Newsletter
"A useful and stimulating resource for experienced meditators, while for those newer to meditation it gives an interesting and sometimes inspiring overview. The book is structured around each of Kamalashila's ten stages of meditation, with interludes outlining important supportive practices. There are also some instructions on how to achieve lucid dreaming as a basis for dream yoga-making the dream state a basis for insight. [...] The book contains much that could enrich the practice of anyone who already meditates regularly."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861719907
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 4/10/2006
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 175,841
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

B. Alan Wallace is president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. He trained for many years as a monk in Buddhist monasteries in India and Switzerland. He has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including H. H. the Dalai Lama. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he earned his MA and PhD in religious studies at Stanford University. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than thirty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and religion.

Daniel Goleman is the author of the international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence, and the co-author of the acclaimed business bestseller Primal Leadership. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing. He lives in the Berkshires.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Read

    I liked the book. I was looking for something to help me sharpen my concentration. And while I don't live by the rules in the book, it does give you perspective on any attention problems you might be having. After having read this book, I am amazed at how difficult it is to keep my mind focused on something and how often I drift off.

    This book also gives you some basic tips on how to relax and meditate, which I find helpful at bedtime and on the train.

    I really enjoyed this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    Not practical

    This book has good intentions and will appeal to people to who are trying to improve their attention or concentration span. However, the book is not practical. In it, the author lists nine stages that must be gone through in order to reach 'shamatha' which is a state of total concentration. However, the author states that you can't move past the third stage unless you radically simplify your life and meditate for long periods of time daily. Who has the time to do this? Here are the author's exact words: 'To achieve stage three, the dedicated meditator will need to take up this practice as a serious avocation, spending days or weeks in this practice in the midst of a contemplative way of life in a serene, quiet environment.' (p. 49) The author later goes on to describe his solitary meditation experience in India in which he lived in a cabin infested with bugs, mosquitos, and rats. His conclusion on his meditation experience is that it's hard to find a suitable solitary environment unless you're wealthy but this needs to be done in order to reach the further stages and attain shamatha. I was really disappointed in this book. With all of the demanding requirements to reach shamatha, I don't know who will be helped by this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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