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Ruby Wax's "Sane New World: Taming the Mind"

… or as I like to think of it Mindfulness, but without the hippy dippy vibe.

This has been on my ‘to read’ list for ages. At the back of my mind, I wondered whether it would be too tempting for a comedian to turn everything into a punchline, but I kept hearing good things and it finally punched it’s way to the top of that overcrowded list. My very short review is: Read it!

For if you allow the brash, abrasive side of Ruby’s public persona to stop you, you’ll miss learning how your mind works. This book isn’t just about Mindfulness, it’s about Neuroscience.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll get bogged down in scientific jargon, this is a book written for everyman. And, in my humble opinion, it does so with nice touches of self-depracating humour. There is a decided lack of ‘woe is me’ for a less than perfect childhood (very less than perfect by the way), instead her attitude reminded me of these words from Arthur Ashe:

Ruby isn’t a celebrity clambering firmly onto the Mindfulness bandwagon. Instead she has done her homework – by which I mean that she has studied and not just read about it. She trained first as a Psychotherapist, then went on to take a Masters at Oxford. For behind the crazy exterior is a woman who needs hard, scientific fact. How can one not take your hat off to her?

Two lines which struck me sufficiently that I noted them in my journal were:

“The main thing that calms your mind is compassion for yourself. I know that idea makes many people wince (it does have the whiff of patchoili oil), thinking they’re being self-indulgent, but being kind to yourself when you notice your mind has wandered calms down the vicious thought patterns, which in turn impacts the re-wiring of neurons.”

On kindness to others: “all our feelings ripple out to the next person; working like neural wi-fi (the emotional pass the parcel).”

The book ends with a series of exercises in Mindfulness which you can practice yourself. I did. But I’ll also be doing the proper 8-week training. And despite a fairly lengthy interest in Mindfulness, I’ve not even come close to that before. Kudos Ruby!

"Sane new world: Taming the Mind" is available from amazon

© 2016 Caring Coaching originally posted 9th September 2016