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The ability to sustain close mindfulness is a learned skill that offers profound benefits in all situations. This book explains the theory and applications of the practice the Buddha called the direct path to enlightenment. These simple but powerful techniques to cultivate mindfulness will allow anyone, regardless of tradition, beliefs, or lack thereof, to achieve genuine happiness and freedom from suffering. By closely minding the body and breath, we relax, grounding ourselves in physical presence. Coming face to face with our feelings, we stabilize our awareness against habitual reactions. Examining mental phenomena nakedly, we sharpen our perceptions without becoming attached. Ultimately, we see all phenomena just as they are, and we approach the ground of enlightenment.Bringing in his experience as a monk, scientist, and contemplative, Alan Wallace offers a rich synthesis of Eastern and Western traditions, along with a comprehensive range of meditation practices interwoven throughout the text. The meditations are systematically presented, beginning with very basic steps, and then gradually built upon to encourage the reader to consider, investigate, contemplate, and meditate on some of the most challenging questions imaginable. Wallace stresses that the process of discovering the answers experientially is essential. The goal of these practices is the radical healing that results when mental obstacles are overcome and the fundamental nature of experience is witnessed. This insight catalyzes an irreversible transformation.