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Record Type: Review   ID: 589

Mental Discipline: The Pursuit of Peak Performance

Livingston, Michael K.

 The author combines his experience as a member of Harvard’s intercollegiate rowing programs which "induced a sensitivity to and awareness of the physical body that has transformed virtually every bodily cell" (p. v), with music and with Eastern meditation practices to describe what he calls the Theory of Right Practice, which enhances performance and induces peak experience. The theory is presented within a framework provided by his studies of exercise physiology, neurophysiology, and quantum physics, as well as the Eastern teachings, and is aimed at developing a view of human consciousness that is grounded in the extraordinary power of the human will" (p. vi). It joins Western and Eastern views in a system of right practice that follows an introductory chapter that reviews the various "paths to knowledge." Chapters 2-7 explore the Western path. In Chapter 8 he sets forth the principles of conceptual awareness and indeterminacy. In Chapter 9 he presents Eastern theory and applications. In the 10th chapter he merges the Eastern and Western paths "into a single Theory of Right Practice premised on a discipline of mind, which begins with training the willpower and progresses to doing it purposefully. In the final chapter he describes Western applications, in athletic training (competitive rowing), musical training (the violin), and intellectual training (creative thought). In essence, his Theory of Right Practice is a means of taking the human organism to the limits of a chosen endeavor, or "the ultimate limits of conceptualization" (p. 256). Beyond is the realm of indeterminacy, and within this area he feels "the willpower of the mind reigns supreme" (p. 256). Here is the area where athletic records are programmed, performance reaches new heights, and the creator encounters the never-before, and is able to bring back something new for the species.
Publisher Information:Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1989. 270p. Bibl: 257-258; Chap. bibl: 259-262; 14 figs; Index: 263-270
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