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How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery Paperback – September 14, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316880620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316880626
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Meditation "is an ageless human experience that has been discovered and explored and used in every period and every culture that we know about," writes Lawrence LeShan, a psychotherapist and scholar. LeShan discusses the psychological and physiological effects of meditation, why meditation has these effects, and different types (or "paths") of meditation. To get the feel of it, he suggests starting with 15 minutes of breath counting--harder than it sounds. "The road of meditation is not an easy one," says LeShan. "The first shock of surprise comes when we realize how undisciplined our mind really is; how it refuses to do the bidding of our will." He gives detailed instructions for several meditations of different types and guidelines for choosing a program and a teacher. This is not a snappy "five minutes to perfect meditations" or a promise of "read this book, achieve instant peace." Rather, How to Meditate is a serious, thoughtful book. "In this most serious area--inner development--we are interested in evolution, which is stable, rather than revolution, which is not," says LeShan. You will see changes, he promises, but gradually. This is the new edition of the classic that has been teaching people to meditate since 1974. How wonderful that How to Meditate has been reissued, giving another generation the benefit of LeShan's work and guidance. --Joan Price


“This is an exceptionally practical and natural description of the meditative life.”—AudioFile

"This is one of the most sensible books on the subject...LeShan’s wide experience and sound scholarship are evident in each helpful chapter." --Library Journal

"This very effective package is highly recommended for beginners as well as professionals and care providers who are often asked about meditation, and who want to be prepared to
discuss it knowledgeably." --Mind-Body Wellness magazine

"LeShan provides an excellent introduction to meditation." --Body, Mind & Spirit Magazine
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Lawrence LeShan published his first professional paper in 1942. Since then he has authored over 150 papers and 20 books, which have been translated into 19 languages. He holds a PhD in Human development from the University of Chicago, has taught at various universities and has lectured and given seminars widely in this country, Europe and elsewhere. He has worked as a research psychologist for over 60 years including six years as a psychologist in the U.S. Army.

Customer Reviews

For anybody new to meditation I would highly recommend this book.
D. Gerzon
Leshan shows how meditation is good in general and is a good complimentary practice toward experiencing several types of benefits.
Citizen John
It is simple and elegant, written concisely and with great clarity.
S. A. Saribay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 102 people found the following review helpful By abt1950 on June 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in order to have a basic yet comprehensive guide to mediation. I had dabbled a little in the practice over the years and knew the basic breath-counting/mantra technique. But I was looking for additional guidance, having already picked up (and discarded) the "Idiot's Guide to Meditation." For me, that book and others like it spend too much time on details of chakras, postures, and energies. I wanted something broader, something that concentrated on the internal, spiritual aspects of meditation rather than on the specifics of different traditions. All religions have their own schools of meditation, and I wanted commonalities, not New Age cliches. I found what I wanted it in this book.
Leshan, a trained psychotherapist, and researcher presents a concise, comforting, and comprehensive guide to the subject. He's very eclectic in his approach--his sources include Christian mystics, Zen Buddhists, and Hindu yogis. He points out what they all have in common, takes what's useful from each traditiona, and distills them into something that's workable for a beginner. He dispels many of the myths that surround meditation-as-fad in our society and stresses the role of individual discipline. He suggests the general outlines of programs, but leaves the actual choices up to you.
The only problem that I had with this book is probably related to its original date of publication--1973. Back then, meditation was still a "way-out" hippie practice that most people looked upon with suspicion. As a result, Leshan goes to considerable lengths to justify the practice for skeptical Westerners. He does a good job with this, but nowadays those parts of his book are less necessary. Nonetheless, this book retains its value as a classic guide to meditation. For me, at least, it's a keeper.
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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Adam Khan VINE VOICE on February 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although Lawrence LeShan has degrees from three universities, he writes with a simple, completely straightforward style. The first section is on the benefits of meditation. And the next section describes how to do four different kinds of meditations.
If you are interested in meditation and you want the author to get right down to business, this is your book. LeShan says what he has to say in 137 pages. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on what works and what doesn't. Meditation works, and LeShan's instructions are effective and practical. I highly recommend this book.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By G. LeFever on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
LeShan wrote How to Meditate years before the hundreds of popular books presenting easier, more simplistic approaches to meditation. And being a scientist himself, LeShan was compelled to stick to a more clinical, validated -- and thorough -- approach. How to Meditate is an excellent volume for those who've been meditating for a period of time and are interested in expanding into different forms of meditation. LeShan provides sufficient background and helpful lessons for each form. Take note that his approach is not touchy-feely and his writing is borderline austere. This is a slim, but informative book you can refer back to year after year.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I wanted to begin practicing meditation again after some years of absence, and wanted a different approach than the Transcendental Meditation I learned in college. I stumbled onto this little book, and it has been absolutely wonderful. It's an overview, and they'll tell you it's just for beginners, but a year later, and probably 10 more "sophisticated" books later, and a lot of time spent meditating, I find myself coming back to LeShan time and time again. He drifts a bit into speculation about the paranormal, but for the most part his teaching is direct, simple, applicable and inspiring. If I was forced to choose only one meditation book from my shelf, this "basic" and wonderful book would probably be the one.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
I stumbled across this little book in the 1970's and have been recommending and sending it to friends, relatives, and acquaintances ever since. It is what it is: an introduction to meditation for beginners and the curious. It is simple, straight-forward, practical, unpretentious, and easy to read and comprehend. Therefore, it is the perfect starter book. It offers an introduction to a variety of meditative techniques but, rather than advocating any of them, urges readers to experiment with the different techniques until what is most comfortable and/or productive for them. After reading it and determining a favored technique, the reader can move on to something heavier. One of the things I have always liked about LeShan is the fact that, in this book, he acknowledges some of the more (potentially) startling by-products or side-effects of meditation but does not emphasize them. This may be a disadvantage as well as an advantage, but this is an introduction to some meditative techniques, not an encyclopedia of meditative practices.
Anyone interested in exploring meditation should have this book and give it a try. Since it was written there has been considerable research into the benefits of anti-stress practices. The medical community is beginning to catch onto the non-intrusive, non-addictive, non-injurious benefits of meditation as an antidote to stress. Perhaps you should, too. With this book and some practice you can learn to take a chill instead of a pill. And if it does not offer enough for you, at least it provides some direction to finding out what will be.
Read the book. Practice the techniques for a month or two. The benefits from the breathing exercises alone, if you honestly and consistently apply them, will lead you to extoll the virtues of this little, big book that is still influential more than twenty-five years after it was first published.
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