I've been practicing "Mindfulness" meditation for about 7 months now. It's been very helpful, and suits me well. A couple of months ago, I attended my first retreat, of 4 days, at Spirit Rock. It was easily the most profound thing I've done in my life. And one of the hardest. And I'd do it again in a second.
Unfortunately, because of my schedule, I'm not able to attend another retreat for several months. So, when I heard about people taking "personal" weekend retreats alone, I decided to try one myself. This book is a -wonderful- "manual" for doing such a retreat. I locked myself in my house for 3 days, and used this book as my teacher. Sylvia writes so warmly... I really needed her compassionate words when my meditations got rough. I found myself laughing aloud many times during the retreat. It was a hard retreat (I find meditation -very- hard to practice daily, but I do it anyway because that's the only way really), but I emerged with a similar feeling as my first retreat -- more aware, and more loving toward myself.
I would not recommend this book if you have never attended a formal retreat (in a group setting, with experienced teachers). But, if you've done that, then this is a great way to supplement and boost awareness "in-between" formal retreats.
I took one star away only because I found the timetables hard to keep up with. My 2nd night, I didn't get to bed until 11pm. Maybe I should have given it five. Oh, just let me have this one grudge, please? :)
Thank goodness for people like Sylvia. She knows exactly how to make the self-critic in my meditation ("I'm not DOING it right!") run for cover.
This book and all it proposes did not help me at all. I think it's a waste of money.