“Mindfulness is modish, but can it deliver? If you are after a reliable guide to the possible benefits and harms of mindfulness and meditation, this is the book for you. Clear, readable and measured, it sifts a wealth of evidence in order to assess the real effects, and get beyond the hype”
– Linda Woodhead MBE, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University
‘Mindfulness and meditation are practiced by millions of people around the world, and their benefits are being hailed by everyone from doctors and mental health professionals, to parents and teachers. Mindfulness programs are being rolled out in schools and prisons, in workplaces and homes. Its popularity has exploded, and everybody knows all the ways it can transform our lives and make us happier, calmer, and better people. Yet nobody ever seems to talk about the negative impact it can have too, and to what extent it can really change us as people.
In their ground-breaking book, The Buddha Pill, Dr. Miguel Farias and Dr. Catherine Wikholm put meditation and mindfulness under the microscope and challenge the mainstream perception of what they are for, and who should be practicing them. Now, in this fully revised and updated edition, they’re back to separate fact from fiction.
Dr. Farias and Dr. Wikholm reveal what scientific research – including their own ground-breaking study on yoga and meditation in prisoners – tells us about the benefits and limitations of these techniques for improving lives. As well as illuminating the potential, they also highlight the darker side of these practices. With such powerful and transformative abilities, meditation and mindfulness can be triggering, unsettling, and anxiety-provoking for certain people. Their effects vary widely, and peace and compassion may not always be the end result. This is especially true for young people, who have very complex emotional needs – aspects explored in a new section focusing on meditation and children.
This isn’t simply another book about the route to enlightenment and happiness, nor is it a ‘how to’. With a clear and compassionate approach, The Buddha Pill offers a compelling examination of research on Transcendental Meditation, recent studies on the effects of mindfulness and meditation, and fascinating contributions from spiritual teachers and therapists. Farias and Wikholm weave together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change, challenging assumptions and helping people realize which self-development practices are – or are not – right for them.’