The book The Mind is the Map: Awareness is the Compass and Emotional is the Key to Living Mindfully from the Heart by Dimitrios Spanos and Christina Reeves smacks, in some ways, of capitalizing on the current craze for the “mindfulness” approach to daily living. A deeper inspection of the work, however, reveals a work with timeless relevance rather than a facile volume capitalizing on a momentary trend. Despite being a relatively short work, fewer than 300 pages, Reeves and Spanos do an exceptional job covering the topic, but some may find the book redundant at points. This actually fits well, however, with a work constructed along conversational lines rather than a static and stuffy book brimming over with research and footnotes.
The generosity of spirit filling this book is one of the strongest things working in its favor. Reeves and Spanos empathize with their potential readers; the tone is one of two writers who acknowledge they have faced the same questions in their own lives they pose to readers in this book. This shared humanity makes the reading experience all the more illuminating; there are no judgments or lectures lurking in these pages but, instead, an open-armed recognition of our common humanity. The aforementioned conversational prose style further underlines this quality.
There is a small amount of repetition. One may get the feeling reading this book that the authors are often restating themes, albeit in different language, that they explored earlier in the work. You can, however, look at this quality as the authors attempting to reinforce points they are trying to make – after all, one of the book’s central tenets has everything to do with “teaching” readers how to undo years of mental conditioning in an effort to break through to a different level of consciousness and, as such, reiterating previously stated points isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The language is thankfully varied, so if this is a flaw in the book’s makeup, it is a minor one.
The short length of the book allows readers to consume it in a single or two sittings, but I believe those interested in its thoughts will find it to be a book they can revisit many times and discover new things. Perspective is a malleable thing and what we are not receptive to on a given day we may find ourselves more open to hearing or reading on another. The book dabbles a little with less than practical realities of our everyday lives that may not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no question it submerges itself in the grit and hard driving facts of human existence more often than not. The Mind is the Map acknowledges we are all flawed, products of our environment and upbringing, and doesn’t shirk the difficult aspects of our nature.
This, among other reasons, is why you cannot dismiss this work as just another entry in the ever expanding catalog of books on “mindfulness”. The Mind is the Map: Awareness is the Compass and Emotional is the Key to Living Mindfully from the Heart is an impassioned volume, not full of chest-beating, but rather a probing and sincere look into the fabric of the realities we construct around us and how, with honesty and a exploratory spirit, we can remake our own world and better realize our latent potential within.