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Lions Roar : July 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 83 BY ANDREA MILLER Books in Brief THE MAGIC OF AWARENESS By Anam Thubten Snow Lion Publications 2012; 160 pp., $16.95 (paper) In The Magic of Awareness, Anam Thubten teaches that enlight- enment is always available. Indeed, it’s our birthright. Regardless of our culture or religion, every single one of us has buddhana- ture, and—whenever we are ready—we can awaken to it. Accord- ing to Anam Thubten, embracing real life is key. Many of us are lost in our heads, in thoughts about the past and the future. Yet real life—the life that is presently unfolding—is much more interesting than our fantasies and ruminations. Anam Thubten grew up in Tibet and trained in the Nyingma tradition. Now he is the teacher and spiritual advisor for the Dharmata Foundation, a nonprofit based in northern California, which is dedicated to making the Buddha’s teachings available to everyone regardless of background. He is also the author of the best-selling book, No Self, No Problem. THE NOW EFFECT How This Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life By Elisha Goldstein Atria Books 2012; 288 pp., $23 (cloth) In the introduction to this new release, Elisha Goldstein quotes the psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl: “In between stimulus and response there is a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” The Now Effect is about developing awareness, or mindfulness, of this space and thereby recogniz- ing and letting go of habitual ways of living that don’t serve us well. Benefits, according to Goldstein, include being able to focus better at home and at work; feeling more connected to ourselves and others; and relaxing more effectively in moments of distress. The book is choc-a-block with resources—questions to reflect upon, handy cheat sheets, and practices that are at once straight- forward and profound. For those with a Smartphone, Goldstein teaches some of these practices in videos, which can be scanned using the bar code images featured in several chapters. THE SCIENCE OF YOGA The Risks and the Rewards By William J. Broad Simon & Schuster 2012; 336 pp., $26 (cloth) Do you want to cultivate health and happiness? Do you want to be slim and attractive? Do you want personal growth, love, sexual satisfaction, will power, or longevity? Whatever you want, somebody has claimed that yoga can deliver it. But are the claims true? In this groundbreaking book, William J. Broad unpacks what scientists say are yoga’s real risks and rewards. The most alarming of Broad’s findings is that certain postures, including shoulder stand and plow, can cause stroke by reducing the blood flow through the vertebral and basilar arteries. But on a brighter note, I’m apparently not crazy for feeling so good after doing asana. Yoga, according to scientific studies, will not necessarily help people lose weight or improve cardiovascular health, but it does make people feel measurably better. Even those new to yoga experience significant rises in the GABA neurotransmitter, which fights depression, along with improved moods and less- ened anxiety. THE MINDFUL WRITER Noble Truths of the Writing Life By Dinty W. Moore Wisdom Publications 2012; 152 pp., $12.95 (cloth) WORLD ENOUGH & TIME On Creativity and Slowing Down By Christian McEwen Bauhan Publishing 2011; 368 pp., $22.95 (paper) Memoirist Dinty W. Moore was frequently asked how Buddhism had influenced his writing, yet he never gave what he felt was an adequate response. Then Moore had an epiphany: the river