Most helpful positive review
261 of 266 people found the following review helpful
Eloquent , insightful and good-humored
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.