2007-12-09: The Attention Revolution

The Attention Revolution

Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind (2006)

by B. Allan Wallace (19?-)

This book is supposed to be about the benefits and methods of achieving mindfulness. As noted by a commenter on amazon.com, the word Revolution in the title is overstated. I thought the book would introduce ideas the author acquired from his Tibetan Buddhist practice without the baggage; I was mistaken. Wallace uses many quotes from Buddhist and related sources, and many Tibetan, Pali, Sanskrit or other words, often with little explanation. The overall impression is of promoting the religious setting within which the practices were developed.

He describes “the nine stages” of the practice, and adds a tenth chapter that is beyond them all. The first three stages seem to be accessible to ordinary people in their ordinary lives. Later stages require a full-time commitment for a period of months or years.

In some ways this is a more ambitious book than Strand’s The Wooden Bowl, which is also about meditation, but more explicitly without religious trappings. It could have been like an advanced course to follow Strand’s introductory course. The recent interest of some cognitive researchers in meditation and the mental states revealed or created by it might eventually result in such a book.


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