Galleys for this arrived late so I’m just reading it now but I don’t have to get to the end to recommend this wholeheartedly for anyone interested in theories of mind. Kingsland is a former Guardian science editor and the writing is crisp and entertaining on every page.
The book looks at the ancient “science of enlightenment”—Buddhism—and considers it through the lens of more contemporary science. The result is a journey that pretty clearly illustrates how Buddhist practice anticipated the findings of cutting-edge science by two millennia. It nicely supports the arguments of the bestselling 10% Happier and the just-released Capture that meditation, far from being a fad, is a powerful tool in helping to mediate our mental and physical state of being.
“Kingsland expertly weaves the story and teachings of the Buddha with clinical and scientific research to engage in a highly readable examination of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. … Adeptly incorporates Buddhist and scientific terminology in such a way that concepts are easily understood through the context of the narrative. … A satisfying read.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
Tracing Western scientific research on the subject of meditation from the 1960s to the present day, the author details studies demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness in battling chronic pain, mental illness, addiction, and even aging while emphasizing that the benefits of mindfulness have been enjoyed for centuries without the help of modern science. … Brain science and Buddhist lore combine in this compelling treatise on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“[A] fascinating exploration of the neuroscience behind meditation. … Kingsland skillfully dives in and out of various subjects — the neurological relaxation response to meditation, the difference between pain and suffering, emotional regulation — and effectively paints a neurological picture of the mind without devaluing Buddhism’s spiritual image of cognition.”
— Publishers Weekly
Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment (9780062403858) by James Kingsland. $27.99 hardcover. 4/26/16 on sale.