Mindfulness is a simple, ancient approach to living with insight, first set out by the Buddha in his eightfold path.
Two and a half centuries later, its principles are no less relevant (arguably, they are more so) and no less transformational.
The Mindful Manifesto, published in September and written by Dr Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell, brings this ancient practice into a contemporary frame.
It does so in a way - with lucidity and accessibility - that promises to introduce the benefits of mindfulness to a far wider audience.
Simply, mindfulness is about being in tune with what's happening in front of us, without our perception being clouded by past conditioning.
The idea is that we can come into step with what's real; moving with the flow of life, rather than against it; living with more equanimity and a clearer perspective.
Modern applications, ancient practice
Thanks to plentiful recent research, and the medical profession sitting up and taking note, mindfulness is now being used in clinical settings, to help with increasingly common mental health problems.
Programmes such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBST) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MBCT) are showing huge promise in tackling symptoms of depression and anxiety, at a time when these conditions form around 30 per cent of the average family doctor's caseload.
And on a general level, mindfulness - as a form of meditation and a way of living more skilfully - offers a simple, though challenging, way to gain space in our heads and greater perspective on how we move through life: professionally, personally, socially.
The authors say their intention is to 'offer some insight into what is meant by 'mindfulness' - its roots in meditation and Buddhism, its relevance to modern-day life and the increasing scientific basis for its use in optimising health and wellbeing.'
They succeeed admirably. The writing is engaging and succinct; the chapters themed (A Call to Being, Minfulness of Body, Taking a Deep Breath) to present the reader with a clear, rounded overview of how mindfulness can affect aspect of life.
Mindfulness for real life
For me, one of the book's real strengths is the way in which the authors show the sharp relevance of this ancient practice to every day life, while also placing it in historical (and religious) context.
Towards the end they write: 'Mindfulness is meant to be applied to life itself - to our work, to our relationships, to how we bring up our children.
'If we restrict it to a daily practice session, then we are more than slighly mising the point.
The most profound reason for cultivating mindfulness is so that we can apply it to every situation we face...'
'Far from being about passively avoiding the world, meditaiton offers a foundation for going forward to meet the challenges of living with greater awarness and greater confidence....'
The authors use case studies of ordinary people for whom mindfulness techniques have been helpful in different ways (including how it has helped invidivuals deal with illness) and also, in a welcome personal touch, talk openly about their own experiences.
For the scientifically minded, there are plenty of hard facts and stats thrown into the mix, and an overview of the crucial role Jon Kabat-Zinn has had in taking mindfulness into the mainstream, backed by a body of scientifc evidence.
The book is also peppered with easy-to-follow mindfulness and meditation practices to try at home, with suggestions for further practice.
Above all, The Mindfulness Manifesto is readable, fascinating and incredibly relevant in our dangerously disconnected, stressed-out age.
The book ends with these words: 'Mindfulness is a strong foundation for wellbeing, a quality of awareness that helps us balance, integrate and work more skilfully with every aspect of life - our bodies, minds, emotions and the external world....
'If we can be mindful, we perhaps have a greater change of manifesting happiness. That possibiltiy is at the heart of the Mindful Manifesto.'
For more information about mindfulness, and the buy the book, go to: http://themindfulmanifesto.com/