A 12-step program that aims to guide readers to a kinder life.
“Life tends to go better when we are mindful throughout the day,” writes Carnine (Saint Badass, 2017) in his latest book. But in these pages, he also seeks to broaden the typical ambit of Eastern philosophy’s “mindfulness” with a new term, “kindfulness”—an outward-reaching manifestation of mindfulness’s inward search for serenity. “If mindfulness is how we can ‘be’ in the world,” Carnine asserts, kindfulness is what we can “do”: “being kindful frees people from the often-unpleasant need for distractions that can lead to addictions and violence,” he writes. In 12 steps, the author elaborates on the intriguing connection that he makes between distraction (or “mind-wandering”) and toxic, destructive behavior. The cycle of kindfulness, readers are told, “can soften our deep unhappiness, but quickly eliminating it is rare. Unhappiness during difficult times is our unavoidable teacher for how to be mindfully kind as best we can.” At various points, Carnine turns readers’ attention to negative emotions, such as anger and frustration, and urges them to employ “the Three Breath method” to sap their power. Each chapter details a successive step in achieving kindfulness and includes a “Your Turn” section to document one’s progress. Carnine strongly urges readers to meditate twice daily—once in the morning and once in the evening—and as a result, practitioners of Zen-style meditation will find his book’s path to be far easier than readers who come to the program straight from a more hectic way of life. But, as the author points out, the concept of kindness is as basic as concepts get, however elusive it often is in practice—and thus, the book’s suggestions and strategies will likely find universal application.
A mind-opening guide to self-improvement.