www.mindfulnessprograms.com; 72 minutes
A practicing clinical therapist also experienced in Buddhist monastic life, Bob Stahl mixes Eastern transcendence and Western pragmatism in his Mindful Healing series of guided-meditation CDs. Stahl addresses problems ranging from back pain to fear and panic, but the keynote CD is Opening to Change, Forgiveness, and Lovingkindness, presenting two basic but powerful meditations in an accessible, guided format without Buddhist terminology.
Stahl's introductory remarks integrate modern neurology and physics with quotations from John Lennon and a principal Buddhist text, the Dharmapada. These are followed by a 15-minute mindfulness meditation, which helps you observe the busy workings of your mind, cultivating a calm that counteracts stress, anxiety, and other negative mental states.
The 34-minute "Guided Meditation for Opening the Heart" that follows is a classic Buddhist metta—lovingkindness—meditation. You are guided to expand your awareness in outward-blossoming circles of love that ultimately embrace all beings. Here Stahl skillfully implements one of Buddhism's core teachings: The way to overcome your own suffering is to cultivate compassion for the suffering of others. Those who are seasoned meditators will enjoy revisiting lovingkindness with Stahl's insights, but beginners should find the CD beneficial with his low-key approach to meditation fundamentals.