Book Reviews

Reviews of books about Meditation and Meditation Research

Pink lotus blossomsThis is a book about many different meditation strategies. Research has shown that as you change you may also need to vary your meditation strategy or technique. The author, Morgan Rosenberg holds a graduate degree in physics and wrote  If You Can Breathe, You Can Meditate as a stand-alone guide to healthful rather then esoteric meditation techniques. The book focuses on a secular audience and is very easy to read with lots of reading references to other sources.

In addition to steering the reader through the many meditation techniques Rosenberg also places emphasis on ways to help us ‘let go’ and become non-attached in our modern world.

And what a great title!

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Eight Steps to Happiness: the Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness takes us back to the essential teachings of Buddha and provides a a step-by-step path to  inner peace and happiness. Although the basis for this work was written 900 years ago it is as relevant to us as human beings today as it was then.  It provides a way to understand the cause of our unhappiness and gain inner peace and contentment. The author tells us how to meditate on the ancient Buddhist poem to experience happiness and gain a loving heart.

The author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Tibet at the age of eight. He is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned Buddhis teacher. A founder of the Kadampa Meditation Centers he has written 21 highly acclaimed books on Buddhism which have sold over 800,000 copies.

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Shortcuts to Inner Peace by Ashley Davis Bush is a marvelous book for all those who feel they are too busy to stop, set aside time, sit and meditate. The author, a psychotherapist and practicing Buddhist believed many of her clients – too busy to stop – would benefit from meditation. This book is about ways to incorporate mindfulness into everyday activities.

There are nearly 70 exercises in this book and they include such every day things as becoming aware of ‘going with the flow’ whenever you look at or touch water in your daily life. Your image in a mirror is an invitation to accept yourself as you are, to forgive yourself, to consciously love yourself. The aim of the book is to teach awareness and gradually transform the life of the practitioner.

Title: Shortcuts to Inner Peace
Author: Ashley Davis Bush
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-24324-4
Available from Amazon

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Author: Sakyong Mipham
Published April 10, 2012

Man running in country side

I used to be a runner when I was younger – not professional – just a jogger who got up in the morning, collected the dog and ran to and through and around a beautiful park not far from where we lived. I was already a meditator so I would try to empty my mind as I ran without consciously intending to meditate. I would just try to feel the morning – the mist – the frost or the green of summer. So our meditation research takes us in all directions into many facets of life. This book deals with that combination of action and meditation so, as the reviewer points out, it is a book not just for sports people but for anyone seeking to be mindful in the daily actions. Read Full Article

Aging as a Spiritual Practice

Whether or no you are in the last decades of your life as I am, Lewis Richmond’s book, Aging as a Spiritual Practice is a valuable and thoughtful work with good practical application.   He describes your past as stretching to the left of wherever you are now and your future stretches to the right. The future is always blurred – the message repeats what so many have said before – that we cannot live in the future.

Lewis provides us with useful ways of practicing mindfulness meditation with the breath and also by being mindful of our aging bodies. Not judging them; just accepting them as they are.  Such a practice might assist with the feeling of loss we experience as our youthful beauty and agility begins to change.

And then there is the practice of  “pebbles of life” developed by a  Zen priest. It is about keeping a collection of pebbles each one representing a week of the rest of your life. Once a week you remove a pebble  from the collection and return it to where it came from. I like this idea very much as a way of being mindful about our precious time in this life.

Anyone approaching their mid years or beyond will enjoy this book as it also outlines what it is like to grow old, the effects on ones health and just being old or older in a culture that worships youth.

Lewis’ other books include Work as a Spiritual Practice, Healing Lazarus, and A Whole Life’s Work.

Title: Aging as a Spiritual Practice
Author: Lewis Richmond
Publisher: Gotham Books
ISBN: 978-159-24069-0-6
Available from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store, …