The Mind Illuminated Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Mind Illuminated is the definitive guide to meditation and consciousness, as it teaches its readers how meditation works, and how to navigate the ten stages of conscious breathing and intentional practice of mindfulness, all while highlighting why meditation is so crucial in everyone’s lives.

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Favorite quote from the author:

The Mind Illuminated is probably the only guide to meditation you will ever need. Why? For starters, it provides a step-by-step approach to mindfulness and intentional breathing by John Yates, who has been meditating for over thirty years.

However, unlike other guides, this book combines history, detailed explanations, various techniques, and overall everything you need to know about meditation. If you’ve been looking for a way to accumulate a large volume of information without looking into tens of articles, guides, practitioners, and webinars – this is it! 

Without further ado, let’s explore three of my favorite lessons from the book:

  1. Implementing meditation in your daily rituals can help you improve focus and memory.
  2. Meditation can help you improve your attention and awareness and differentiate between the two.
  3. The best way to ensure that you start practicing meditation is to create a schedule for it and automate the process.

Let’s explore each lesson in detail and learn more about the benefits of meditation on the mind and body!

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Lesson 1: If you want to remember things more easily and target your focus better, you should try meditation.

Meditation is a mental exercise that involves focusing on one’s breathing or a specific word or phrase, which can be used to help the person achieve an altered state of consciousness. It has been shown to have many benefits, including improved focus and memory.

To start meditating, you need to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. While there are many ways to meditate, some people prefer sitting cross-legged on the floor, while others prefer sitting in a chair, with their hands resting palms up in their laps (this is called “seiza”). 

Once you’ve found your preferred position, close your eyes and begin focusing on your breathing. A good way to do this is by counting each breath as it goes in and out. If thoughts come into your mind—and they will!—don’t try to push them away. Simply acknowledge them and let them go. 

Now, as you practice meditation, you’ll notice that your mind is running places because focusing on your breath gets tricky. Breath isn’t an object to focus on. It’s just..breath! The author suggests that you focus on how it makes your body feel in detail as you inhale and exhale. 

Find that feeling to focus on and discover the joy in it. Then, focus on the joy. Now, that’s a wrap—you’ve successfully meditated. In time, you’ll notice how this mind-body exercise has a powerful effect on you. Focusing and living in the present without zooming out gets easier. You’ll remember things more easily and make order in your thoughts, all because you’ve decluttered your mind by meditating.

Lesson 2: There is a major difference between attention and awareness.

The difference between attention and awareness is an important one to understand. Attention is the ability to focus on a particular thing, whereas awareness is being aware of what’s going on around you at all times. The two are closely related, but they’re not identical.

For example, if you’re keeping your attention on your breath while meditating, you can still be aware of other things like a neighbor ringing your door. But when you notice something in the periphery of your awareness—like a thought arising—you have to gently push it away without shifting your attention from the breath.

Essentially, that’s how you know you’ve got a handle on this whole mindfulness thing. In time, you’ll notice how attention improves without altering awareness. In fact, you’ll declutter your brain in a manner that serves your short memory. 

By learning to deal with thoughts and let them go when you’re meditating, you’re telling your mind how to behave and that you’re controlling it. This way, you’ll learn how to target your attention and focus better. Attention comes and goes, while awareness remains unaltered at all times.

Lesson 3: Set yourself up for success by taking the time each day to actively practice meditation.

You know what they say: “Old habits die hard” – so how about turning that to your advantage? I know that making time for new rituals is not something everybody can do, considering professional and personal responsibilities. 

So how about giving away only 10-15 minutes a day to meditate? A habit is a task we repeatedly do until it becomes automation. Therefore, if you give your best to try it out at first and do not give up, it’ll soon become part of your day, just like brushing your teeth. 

So how can you start doing so? Make time for it—but not too much time! Most experts recommend meditating for 10-15 minutes per day at first, but try to gradually increase the amount of time that you spend each day as you become more comfortable with the practice.

Then, choose a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed or distracted (the bedroom is an excellent choice). Sit upright on a pillow or cushion with your eyes closed and focused on your breath. Focus on your breathing pattern without worrying about making yourself feel any particular way during this exercise. 

This is your self-care time, so make sure to enjoy it without interrupting your attention. Therefore, you need to let everyone know that during this time frame, they should not try to reach you unless it’s an emergency. Focus on yourself during this precious time for meditation.

The Mind Illuminated Review

The Mind Illuminated will shed some light on what meditation really implies and how you can tap into the powerful benefits of breathing exercises with simple, day-to-day practices. 

Meditation doesn’t have to be an abstract concept or a luxury service, but rather a mindfulness exercise that you practice during your self-care time for its benefits on your mind and body wellbeing. 

The book will teach you actionable steps that you can take today to start meditating, debunk popular myths about meditation, and so much more.

Who would I recommend The Mind Illuminated summary to?

The 30-year-old person who needs to find a work-life balance, the 27-year-old mother who decided to give herself more self-care time and work on her mental health, or the 40-year-old person who just started learning about meditation or Buddhism.

Last Updated on November 16, 2022

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.