The book is very profound, informative and interesting. Probably the best book on insight meditation, clearly understandable and readable. The quality of the information in the book is excellent and the scope is wide, which makes you want to re-read the chapters again and again. Whether you are or are not a practitioner, or whether you want or do not want to become one, the book is very interesting from the viewpoint of psychology because it opens new realities and widens your mind.
If you have always imagined Buddhism as some mystified religion, or if you have only been educated psychology from the western viewpoint and have felt sometimes that "something is missing", try reading this book. Perhaps, you will be surprised at finding out what Buddhism actually is, and perhaps you will find in the book that "missing part".
"Our life has been spent in sleep and sleepwalking," Jack Kornfield writes in this guide to insight meditation; "meditation means waking up" (p. 52). Coauthors Kornfield and Goldstein are also the cofounders of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. This book is based on "talks given at several intensive meditation retreats" there, and focuses "on the deepening of the inner meditative process, the hindrances one encounters, skillful means of mastering them, and the understanding and wisdom that can arise while in meditative silence" (p. 215). "To understand ourselves and our life is the point of insight meditation: to understand and be free" (p. 7), Kornfield writes. Goldstein tells us that "we practice to open, to balance, and to explore" (p. 18).
Practicing insight meditation is about "clearing or emptying" the mind and heart so that we can listen in a deep and new way" (p. 57). This introductory guide not only contains valuable exercises, but also offers trusted advice about working through the "difficulties and hindrances" that may arise while practicing--desire, aversion, torpor, restlessness, and doubt. "Through practice," we're told, "it is possible to train the heart and mind, to make them concentrated, to make them steady and luminous and free" (p. 39).
The book concludes with a discussion of "the seven factors of enlightenment," mindfulness, effort and energy, investigation, rapture, concentration, tranquility, and equanimity, also offering advice for integrating meditation practice into "our everday lives" (p. 215) so that we may live "a mindful life in the world" (p. 228). Like a finger pointing at "a bright, round moon" from this "floating world" (pp. 129-30), this book is sure to become a trusted resource for anyone interested in living a deeper, more meaningful life through the practice of insight meditation. For those interested in venturing further down "the path of insight meditation," I also highly recommend Goldstein and Salzburg's 12-cassette INSIGHT MEDITATION course.