Customer Reviews: Meditation For Dummies (Book and CD edition)
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on June 24, 1999
This eloquent, insightful book thoroughly explores the simple yet subtle art of meditation. While user-friendly like all of the titles in the For Dummies series, it's also written with a wisdom born of the author's many years of direct experience as a meditator and teacher. Meditation For Dummies covers a range of subjects with humor and grace, from basic instructions to the discovery of our most profound spiritual depths.
In Part 1 Bodian clariifes what meditation is (and isn't) and offers a number of compelling reasons to adopt this "advanced technology for the mind and heart." He also traces the historical roots of meditation and describes the important foundations of motivation, attitude, and beginner's mind, which ensure a fruitful practice. "Ultimately, the great meditation teachers advise that the best attitude to take toward meditation is an open mind, completely free from all preconceptions and expectations," Bodian explains. "One of my first meditation teachers, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, calls this beginner's mind -- and he counsels that the goal of meditation is not to accumulate knowledge, learn something new, or achieve some special state of mind, but simply to maintain this fresh, uncluttered perspective."
In Part 2, the author covers the basics of meditation practice, including pointers on posture and preparing for meditation, as well as a chapter on opening the heart and cultivating compassion. In Part 3, entitled "Trouble-shooting and Fine-tuning," he offer sage advice on developing the right relationship with troubling thoughts, feelings and sensations. The highlight of this section is a chapter on cultivating spirituality that explores the nature of self (or no-self), traditional paths of awakening, and the sensitive subject of finding a teacher (inner and outer), which the author recommends if one wishes to go more deeply into the practice. The book concludes with chapters on how to nurture self-awareness while engaged in daily life and on how to use meditation for healing and performance enhancement, followed by answers to ten commonly asked questions about meditation.
Despite its one-size-fits-all title, Meditation For Dummies is the best book on meditation I've read -- at once subtle and comprehensive, spiritually sensitive yet pragmatic. Be prepared for an easy-to-read, good-humored, and discerning guide on the journey of discovering your true nature through the ancient but timely art of meditation.
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VINE VOICEon December 3, 2000
There are an incredible number of books on meditation, but this one is the largest collection of information on the subject I've ever seen, from the most broad perspective. Bodian is a Buddhist, but he covers many other kinds of meditation in an unbiased way. And he tells you step-by-step how to do them. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and the only helpful thing I didn't cover in my book was how to meditate, even though meditation is valuable, scientifically-validated, and good for your health, both psychological and physical. It wasn't necessary to write about it because so many good books have been written, and Bodian's is the most complete. This is a practical handbook anyone can use to learn to meditate, delivered in an interesting, easily-accessible format. I recommend it highly.
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on July 11, 2000
I never thought I'd write that a book with "for dummies" in the title was one of the most interesting and thorough books I've ever read, but Mr. Bodian's work definitely deserves high praise. As he says in his own review above, this book's title is a misnomer, anyway. It should be something like "Meditation for Just About Anyone/Everyone".
This book is so thorough and well thought out that it is hard to imagine anyone who is interested in learning more about meditation not discovering something of value regardless of what sparked that interest in the first place. In fact, should someone with NO interest in meditation happen to pick it up, I think they would "discover" an interest in it. It's that well done.
The reader will find information on "how-to", applications in everyday life, the history of meditation, references to other resources and much more. All that is missing is someone to do the meditation for you!
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on July 31, 1999
I meditated for hours a day for twelve years earlier in my life. I wish I had had this book! Sometimes a few pieces of simple information can make all the difference, helping you through a blind spot or a thorny hedge that's in your way. This book worked this way for me, and I highly recommend you check it out!
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on November 30, 2003
This is one of the best books on meditation. The author is taking a very unbiased approach, and puts a lot of emphasis on the essense of meditation rather than form. He gives a lot of practical advice for beginners and experienced meditators, and shows different methods and techniques, emphasizing that it's not really the method and technique that matters - choose whatever appeals to you and works for you - what's important is the personal transformation you go through, the state of mind you reach. He compares different meditations to different pathways up the same mountain of self discovery and inner peace.
As a beginner I wanted a book that would step by step explain what meditation is all about, and how I start meditating myself. This is exactly what this book does, and much more!
If you then want to go on and read more about any specific tradition/school, or find a technic for a very specific spiritual or other purpose, go ahead! This book opens the door into the wonderful realm of personal understanding and growth. But you don't have to associate yourself with any religion or school to master the art of meditation and discover the love, joy, compassion and Truth within you, and that's exactly what this books allows you to do. Wonderful! Wholeheartedly recommended!
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on November 27, 2000
This is such a good book. It touches practically all aspects of meditation. After reading it you will feel confident to start meditation or progress along your chosen path.
It is an easy book to read and understand. However, because meditation is such a broad subject this book covers a lot of ground. This can be off-putting to someone who wants a quick introduction. If you are serious about taking meditation to higher levels, this book gives you a very good foundation.
I read the book from cover to cover a few months ago and want to re-read it after having practiced meditation for a few months. This time I will make notes to guide me on what I will do to take my meditation to the next level. The book is chock full of tips. I know there are several tips that I will appreciate more now after some months of practice.
As comprehensive as this book is, it did not cover two areas I would have liked to know more about - using earplugs while meditating on your inner sounds and meditating using electronic feedback devices. I will like to see these areas covered in a more advanced book by the author.
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on June 2, 2002
This Dummies book is a good start for anyone interested in meditation for any reason. The strength of this book is that it is non-denominational. While the author does cast light on the importance of meditation in all of the world's religions, he does not advocate any one religious mediation over the others. The meditation taught in this book is non-religious meditation emphazising the use of meditation for all people. The weakness of the book is that the author seems to be overly enthusiastic about the yoga/tantra/spritual type of meditation and doesn't cover other types of meditation as well as it might. For anyone interested in learning meditation this is a good starting place to pick up your basic technique but futher study will be needed.-MB
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on September 23, 2002
This book takes all of the mystery out of meditation. It's clear and concise language makes it highly readable, understandable, and easy to follow - without making you feel like a "dummy". What I like the most about it is that it doesn't teach meditation from an Eastern Religious perspective - the techniques taught are useful regardless of your religious views.
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on December 14, 2003
1st -PLEASE MAKE AN AUDIO FORMAT AVAILABLE!!! Chopped up into 10-15 minute intervals. Not a new-agey, stoned, egotistical, or harsh voice. Get one to match the author's writing voice. One that's knoledgeable, practical, open, funloving, well rounded, and just plain likeable. Maybe the voice of Steve Ross from the Oxygen yoga show Inhale? I would pay just about any price for an audio version of this book on CD with the right voice.
As the author says, mediation is simple and can be explained in 5 minutes or less. but so what? We already "know" many beneficial things. They are useless unless the mind is engaged and we actually "do" them. That's the true value of this book, it kept me interested enough to DO IT. As other reviewers have commented, this book explains medititation benefits, why we might want to do it, is not "religious" or converting yet has colorful and interesting bits of history and flavor, as well as being practical for step by step. A wonderful balance.
Before, when I was stressed with frustration, anger, or worry I would have dinner with a friend, read, or watch TV or a movie. That would usually help a bit and get my mind off the stress for the evening. But it was back again the next day and still growing.
Now, when I am stressed, which is relatively rare, I read sections of this book for maybe 10-20 minutes to get in the right frame, meditate, and the stress is eliminated. Not temporarily distracted, but gone. And it doesn't return. Moreover, if I encounter the same issues that were stressing me out the next day I do not become stressed out again. I have a clear mind on the subject, decide and do what seems best, and that's the end of it. I've recommended this book to many and even bought it and given it away. If you are having a problem with stress I can't recommend this book highly enough. Many, many thanks Stephan Bodian for this wonderful book!
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on June 11, 2006
This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about basic meditation. In addition to guiding us through different methods of meditation step by step, Stephen Bodian also gives us a short summary of the history of meditation which is interesting and in the same time puts everything into context.

The book can also help you get past the difficulties you might encounter during mediation. All in all a great book.
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