"If you only read one book on Mindfulness, "This. Only This." is a worthy choice—a true gem in the rough. Author and teacher Michael Brooks gives both beginners and those already on the conscious path a clear road map to the peace and personal transformation they seek. Filled with equal parts wisdom and wit, Brooks manages to take an often dry subject and infuse it with life.
With over 20 years of mindfulness practice and study under his belt, ten of which have been spent actively leading classes and workshops, Brooks has a unique, thoughtful and highly accessible perspective on the ancient practice, grounded in modern science, but still infused with copious amounts of Zen wisdom.
Readers are masterfully guided through the often times tricky journey of becoming self-aware, along the way being given highly practical exercises that can be applied to any life circumstance. And that’s a big part of the beauty of Brooks’s work. At the end of the day, it empowers you to live more consciously, more peacefully, and with greater awareness of and connection to yourself and the world around you.
Well-written, fascinating and easy-to-digest, this is clearly a definitive resource on the topic and is essential reading for anyone looking to experience first-hand the life-changing benefits integrating a mindfulness practice into their lives can have. <em>This. Only This</em>. takes readers on a journey inward, to discover the peace and happiness that exists within us all, just waiting to be expressed. Each chapter is filled with illuminating stories and disarming humor, alongside exercises and techniques for observing your thoughts, identifying their cause and bringing your awareness firmly into the present moment.
"This. Only This." is much more than simply a book on mindfulness—in every sense, it truly is a manual on how to live more consciously in your everyday life."
“The way our minds work can be the source of our daily dismay or solace: This is Michael Brooks’ theme and he makes his point well in Chapter 1, “What is Mindfulness?” Using a humorous voice that helps engage the reader, the author demonstrates that he can find endless ways to show what he means. He is convincing! Mindfulness—the state of being here now and focusing on one’s immediate surroundings and happenings—can be a good thing if it is for the purpose of peace. Training our minds to find that peace is what all the rest of the books is about. Chapter 2, on attitude, and chapter 3, coping with change, sum up part one, which effectively persuades and enthuses the reader to take on the daunting challenges and considerations that the writer lays out in the remainder of the book. I admired Brooks’ voice and his strategy in categorization. Each chapter takes on important considerations for the overall scheme of gaining control over our minds and our lives and finding peace. Some points are so valuable because they reinforce what has been learned up until that point. For instance, in chapter 4, Brooks points out that we cut our lives short by spending so much time anticipating the future or dwelling in the past. We seem not to appreciate the now. Similar wake-up calls abound in This. Only This. I liked that the book is a masterpiece as a whole, yet it has been designed to be useful in short readings, as well. Brooks’ book is one that should be kept forever and reread at appointed moments throughout the week.”
– Writer’s Digest 2015
“Most books on mindfulness are all about how to meditate. There are usually chapters on why do it, and where to do it, and how to do it, and what to expect when you do. The interesting thing about This. Only This is that formal meditation only comes into it briefly, at the end. Michael Brooks’ main focus is real, ordinary life. He looks closely at how our mind continually leads us into false ways of thinking, and describes how we can learn to know the many different states of mind that delude us – stories, expectations and perceptions, to name just a few — and then start to silence their chatter in a way that will ultimately lead to transformational stillness and peace.
But he doesn’t pretend this is either quick or easy. As he points out, “driving across Texas takes time”. And he cautions again and again against expecting too much, too soon. When you are involved in true change, it doesn’t happen overnight. Nor, he cautions, does it happen to the soundtrack of sugary ‘unicorn and rainbow’ relaxation tapes. Relaxation is one thing, mindfulness quite another.
This. Only This is a funny, comprehensive, accessible introduction to the full truth about mindfulness. It doesn’t shy away from the fact that learning to be mindful requires discipline and effort, but this alone is invaluable wisdom in a world where ‘mindfulness’ is rapidly becoming the go-to remedy for any kind of stress or strain, often without any full understanding of what it is all about.”
– Hilary Wilce, education writer, personal development coach and struggling mindfulness practitioner. Her latest book, an e-book, is ‘Backbone: how to build the character your child needs to succeed’
“In his premier book, Michael H. Brooks covers the basics of cultivating mindfulness in a highly relatable, conversational tone with humorous asides. Filled with examples from everyday life and exercises to engage the reader, there’s a nice heft to the book, with plenty of white space. "This. Only This", is nourishment for the soul without calories, encouragement from a warm and witty teacher. Brooks anticipates readers’ questions and offers answers; anticipates problems and offers solutions. With a solid definition of mindfulness and the nitty-gritty of practice, this book is a welcome guide for beginners and a refresher course for those already on the journey.”
“I am really enjoying the book and really appreciate the pragmatic and straightforward approach to Mindfulness. I feel that the idea of Mindfulness can be esoteric for people that are new to the practice. Michael does a great job of weaving humor into a subject matter that others in the field of contemplation take way too serious. I find his writing very refreshing.
I also like how Michael takes a secular approach to Mindfulness yet still explains the history and foundations of Mindfulness from its Buddhist roots. The incorporation of quotes at the beginning of chapters helps the reader understand where the chapter is going and also sets the tone which is nice. What I find most helpful is the key points at the end of each chapter. This wraps everything up and gives the reader a succinct and focused way of remembering the points that were brought up in the chapter. I also think his progression in how he is presenting material is systematic and very useful. He provides clear examples of how to use mindfulness and how it can help without being abstract or being too emotionally centered. I find a lot of people in the field are way to “new age” and “flowery” which can turn people off who are new to meditation and contemplation. The exercises he provide are excellent and simple which help people efficiently incorporate the practice into their lives.”
“Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of “This. Only this. Mindfulness Strategies for Discovering Peace in Every Moment” by Michael Brooks. When it arrived and as I browsed through the contents, my first reaction was, “Man is this thorough!” Most books on mindfulness tend to introduce you to the practice and provide a few exercises. Others only give you the exercises while making the assumption that you already know what you’re doing. This book doesn’t do that. It takes you from the seed of “What is Mindfulness” to the full blown realization of how to incorporate it into your daily life.”
– Mike Lane, Writer and Mindfulness Advocate. http://simplemountain.tumblr.com/
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