One of my favorite authors and books: I learned about emotions, understood how they worked and influenced us, reading this book



Shaila Catherine has sat (meditated) in silent retreat an accumulative eight years. At times she was in a Burma jungle on a sheet of plywood for months meditating in solitude.

Her insights and ability to share her wisdom in a simple way, changed my relationship with emotions and myself.

I highly recommend reading this book, then apply her wisdom to daily life.

Editorial Reviews


“Focused and Fearless is a wonderful book. Shaila Catherine describes the paths of deep concentration and transforming insight in a way that both inspires and enriches our practice. Her prose and her understanding are exceptionally lucid. This book is a treat to read.” — Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

“Focused and Fearless is a beautifully written introduction to jhana meditation that demonstrates the importance and necessity of deep concentration.” — Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw

“This is the best book on these practices I have seen. It’s five-star.” — Christopher Titmuss, author of Mindfulness for Everyday Living

“The exercises are fun, plus they really work. I love this book.” — Kate Wheeler, editor of In This Very Life: Liberation Teachings of the Buddha

“The language here is so alluring thorough that readers will, I am certain, be inspired to redouble their zeal for practice.” — Sylvia Boorstein, author of It’s Easier Than You Think

“Shaila Catherine represents a new generation of Dharma practitioner in the West.” — Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

“Developing a stable and undistracted mind is essential to most forms of meditation. This book will be of interest to anyone, regardless of their style of practice, wishing to incorporate the deeper stages of concentration of jhana into their meditation.”, Inquiring Mind

“Among the many how-to books about Buddhist meditation, this book stands out for its deep commitment to the frames of reference developed in the Pali Canon, specifically the role of concentration (both ‘momentary concentration’ in the insight path and the jhana path), and its relationship to insight. With these frames, Catherine is able to create exercises and steps that develop calm meditative states and lead to liberating insight. This book is both a pragmatic manual and a deeply traditional understanding of Buddhist meditation practice. It suggests itself as a helpful guide both to beginning and advanced students.” — Mu Soeng, Resident Scholar at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and author of The Heart of the Universe

“This is a ‘user-friendly’ concentration book. Through practical exercises and clear examples, Shaila makes the ancient wisdom of the jhanas accessible to all.” — Amy Schmidt, dharma teacher and author of Dipa Ma: The Life and Teaching of a Buddhist Master

“Rigorously investigated and lucidly explained, Shaila Catherine penetrates the mysterious world of jhana practice. Her book’s strength lies in that she knows the territory intimately and teaches from her own experience. The author has deeply devoted her life to awakening through meditation, and her confidence and wisdom ring true throughout the whole book. This inspirational and fascinating manual will help many of the rest of us down this path.” — Diana Winston, author of Wide Awake, A Buddhist Guide for Teens, teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Director of Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA.


Shaila Catherine is an author, Vipassana meditation instructor, and the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist Meditation Center in Silicon Valley.

Shaila began her mindfulness based meditation practice in 1980 and has accumulated over eight years of silent retreat experience plus several years (1990-1996) studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand. She has taught internationally since 1996.

An authority on jhana, Shaila’s focus is on the development of concentration and the deep states of blissful absorption. She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat focused on jhana as the basis for insight from 2003-2004 and trained with Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, from the Pa-Auk Forest Monastery in Myanmar (Burma).

Her books include Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity (2008) and Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (2011).

For more information on Insight Meditation South Bay, a calendar of events, links to lectures, and to read Shaila Catherine’s blog, please visit the Insight Meditation South Bay website at

5 responses to this post.

  1. Just ordered her book Marty. Looks great 👏🌈

  2. Let me know what you think

    I am revisiting it and rediscovering her wisdom

  3. I will 👌

  4. Ordered mine as well, thanks!

  5. Great

    Looking forward to see what you think

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