Meditation for Dummies

^z 23rd August 2023 at 7:39pm

Lucky find at the local library used-book sale: Meditation for Dummies, a thick, highly readable guidebook by Stephan Bodian. Yes, it's repetitious and overly mystical at times. But in compensation it's well-written and quite skimmable. And there are strikingly thoughtful (sometimes even poetic) sections.

Overall Meditation for Dummies (1999) is a kissing cousin of Meditation Made Easy (1998), which I described as "... a relaxed, enthusiastic, wide-open, joyful exploration of a broad continent of concepts, led by a friendly and knowledgeable guide." Both books are rather like megamalls, with everything from big department stores down to hole-in-the-wall niche shops and tiny kiosks. Something for everybody, if you don't mind hop-skipping over silly bits.

And best of all, Meditation for Dummies is rich in my favorite feature: lists! Chapter 4 ("Laying the Foundation: Motivation, Attitude, and Beginner's Mind"), for instance, expands upon five reasons to meditate:

  • Improving your life
  • Understanding and accepting yourself
  • Realizing your true nature
  • Awakening others
  • Expressing your innate perfection

All noble, in distinctive yet overlapping ways. And a few pages later in Chapter 5 ("How Your Mind Stresses You Out and What You Can Do About It") author Bodian suggests:

... it's the inner turbulence and confusion through which we filter and distort our experiences that causes most of our suffering and stress, not the experiences themselves. The good news is that meditation can teach you how to calm the troubled waters of your mind and heart, turn some of your inner claustrophobia into inner spaciousness, and find your way past your filters (or avoid them altogether) so you can experience life more directly — and reduce your stress in the process. ...

Good stuff, if uneven in the execution. More thoughts from Meditation for Dummies later ...

(cf. other good books on mindfulness and meditation: Wherever You Go, There You Are, Finding the Quiet, Lunchtime Enlightenment, Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, What Is Meditation, Meditation by Eknath Easwaran, Fully Present, Waking Up to What You Do, ...) - ^z - 2011-03-26