Beyond Distraction

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Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind offers a comprehensive map for accomplishing the inviting promise of the title. Shaila Catherine draws on her deep reservoir of meditative experience and her careful study of the Buddha’s teachings to highlight many of the familiar obstacles in meditation practice, and how to overcome them. This book contains a wealth of pragmatic advice for both new and experienced meditators, and it will be an invaluable guide for all those journeying on the path to greater freedom.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening

“Shaila Catherine is a master of the mind. She brings deep wisdom from decades of personal practice and teaching, together with accessible and pragmatic tools in a user-friendly format. Whether you are just beginning to meditate or have logged many hours on the cushion, this book is for you.”—Judson Brewer, author of The Craving Mind

Beyond Distraction offers readers a treasure trove of practices to live a fulfilled life, free from the division of focused versus distracted. Shaila Catherine points out the myriad expressions of distraction, such as daydreams, fantasies, and projections. She then offers skillful means to dissolve the notion of distraction and to engage fully with our priorities. Readable, clear, and down-to-earth, Beyond Distraction deserves a wide readership.”—Christopher Titmuss, author of The Buddha of Love and The Spiritual Roots of Mindfulness

“An excellent, entirely approachable, and eminently practical companion on the path of cultivation from one of America’s most beloved Buddhist teachers. Shaila Catherine has that rare combination of extensive understanding of Theravada Buddhist philosophy and decades teaching vipassanā and jhāna to Buddhist meditation practitioners. If you seek an exceptional guide for developing wisdom, compassion, and freedom from suffering—on the cushion and in daily life—look no further."—Lisa Dale Miller, author of Effortless Mindfulness

“This is one of the most detailed and comprehensive guides to meditation out there. Deeply rooted in the Dharma but easy to follow, this practical book will transform your ability to meditate so you can transform your mind.”—Kristin Neff, author of Fierce Self-Compassion


Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind

Shaila Catherine

The mind can be a potent tool, used to guide extraordinary achievements, inspire good works, and incline your spiritual path toward peace and awakening. But the mind can also produce thoughts that lead to suffering. For many people, thoughts run rampant and seem to oppress or control their lives. Even the Buddha tells us that before his enlightenment, he sometimes found his mind preoccupied by thoughts connected with sensual desire, ill will, and harm. But he figured out how to respond to thoughts skillfully and developed a step-by-step approach to calm the restless mind. Now, Insight Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine offers an accessible approach to training the mind that is guided by the Buddha’s pragmatic instructions on removing distracting thoughts. Drawing on two scriptures in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Shaila shows you how to overcome habitual modes of thinking, develop deeper concentration, and discover the insights into emptiness that are vital for a liberating spiritual path.

Following the Buddha’s pragmatic approach, Shaila guides you through five steps for overcoming distraction and focusing the mind:

  1. Replace unwholesome thoughts with wholesome thoughts.
  2. Examine the dangers of distracting thoughts.
  3. Avoid it, ignore it, forget it.
  4. Investigate the causes of distraction.
  5. Apply determination and resolve.

Each chapter includes exercises and reflections to help you cultivate the five steps to deeper concentration. You’ll learn about your mind and develop your ability to direct your attention more skillfully in meditation and daily activities. And ultimately, you’ll discover for yourself how these five steps boil down to one key realization: In the moment you recognize that a thought is just a thought, you will find yourself on the path to a life of remarkable freedom.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • $18.95
  • ISBN 9781614297871
  • ebook
  • 240 pages
  • $13.99
  • ISBN 9781614298113
about the author
Beyond Distraction

Shaila Catherine has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught insight meditation since 1996 in the U.S. and internationally. Shaila has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand, completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila Catherine has practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw since 2006; she authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to Western practitioners. She is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley.

Other books by Shaila Catherine:
The Jhanas
Wisdom Wide and Deep

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