"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."--The Reverend Anthony Freeman, Editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies
"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."--Matthieu Ricard, co-author of The Monk and the Philosopher and of The Quantum and the Lotus
"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."--Joan Halifax, abbot of Upaya Zen Center and author of The Fruitful Darkness
"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."--Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D., Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
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.