How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery

How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery

This bestselling guide offers a realistic and straightforward approach to achieving inner peace, stress relief and increased self-knowledge....

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Title:How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery
Author:Lawrence LeShan
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Edition Language:English

How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery Reviews

  • Mark

    Meditation can get a bad rap. Often times, the strong opinion of religious folks can deter other folks from walking the meditative path. New age religion folk have their twist, yogis have their twist, Christians have their twist, etc. This book is written in the twist of a learned psychologist who seems to have his head on completely straight.

    I like how he discusses the many different paths one could take for meditation. He also keeps things nice and simple. He has a diverse approach by quoting

    Meditation can get a bad rap. Often times, the strong opinion of religious folks can deter other folks from walking the meditative path. New age religion folk have their twist, yogis have their twist, Christians have their twist, etc. This book is written in the twist of a learned psychologist who seems to have his head on completely straight.

    I like how he discusses the many different paths one could take for meditation. He also keeps things nice and simple. He has a diverse approach by quoting many different people from many different religions. It seems that he has mastered the subject, and helps to connect the dots in areas that were vague to me.

    If you are interested in meditation, this is a great short book to pick up.

  • Marci

    I don't think I have ever read a better introduction to the general practice of meditation. Seriously, two thumbs up.

  • Alexis

    This was an excellent how-to book and introduction into what meditation is, it's difficulty and very interesting comparisons to religions. I recommend it, if you are interested in finding out more on meditating or have an interest in learning :)

  • Una

    I gave this book such a high review because it's not only well-written but a welcome departure from magical crystal guru bs. It includes a respectful summary of different approaches and instructions regarding different types of meditation, but also includes such chapter headings as "alluring traps in meditation and mysticism" and " 'vibrations,' 'energy,' and other cheap explanations of things." At no point did I roll my eyes and I came away from the book feeling like I could (and wanted to) sta

    I gave this book such a high review because it's not only well-written but a welcome departure from magical crystal guru bs. It includes a respectful summary of different approaches and instructions regarding different types of meditation, but also includes such chapter headings as "alluring traps in meditation and mysticism" and " 'vibrations,' 'energy,' and other cheap explanations of things." At no point did I roll my eyes and I came away from the book feeling like I could (and wanted to) start a lifetime of regular meditation. It also explained the pros and cons of seeking a teacher, what to avoid (anyone who claims to have 'the right way' or acts like a 'leader') and how to do without a teacher or group at all(what I'm interested in.)

    The only part I would skip are the last 2 chapters. One is specifically for psychologists (you'd think it would be totally fascinating but it's pretty dull, though helpful for a shrink who wants to integrate meditation into their treatment) and I found the last chapter to be a rambling and unhelpful wrap-up.

  • James

    If you are looking for a short introduction to meditation without a particular religious bias this is the book for you. Organized into twelve chapters each of which discuss a basic issue regarding meditation, the book is as practical as one can be when discussing this concept.

    Why do we meditate? LeShan suggests on the opening page of the book that "We meditate to find, to recover, to come back to something of ourselves we once dimly and unknowingly had and have lost without knowing what it was

    If you are looking for a short introduction to meditation without a particular religious bias this is the book for you. Organized into twelve chapters each of which discuss a basic issue regarding meditation, the book is as practical as one can be when discussing this concept.

    Why do we meditate? LeShan suggests on the opening page of the book that "We meditate to find, to recover, to come back to something of ourselves we once dimly and unknowingly had and have lost without knowing what it was or where or when we lost it." (p 1) There are many names for what this means in reality and LeShan discusses these. I found the sections on how to and what the effects of meditation are to be especially informative. While suggesting that paranormal feelings and events should be excluded from the process of meditation he does not deny that they exist. He follows up with a chapter on the "traps" of mysticism that is convincingly effective. While he encourages those interested in meditation to seek out others who share that interest he definitely believes that this is a practice that may be done alone and he provides suggestions for those who choose this approach.

    Finally, the afterword by Edgar N. Jackson provides a summing up and places LeShan's book in the context of the history of spiritual thought. With the inclusion of referential footnotes this text is an impressive short presentation of meditation for the the thoughtful reader.

  • Cody Weston

    Overall a sound and straightforward introduction to meditation for personal growth. My only complaint is that it veers into the hokey from time to time, discussing such topics as ESP. In my opinion, these discussions detract from the credibility of the text, but I found enough to like that I still recommend the book as a first look into the topic.

  • Jim Parker

    A good basic guide to meditation. Does not really go very much in depth but is very clear and easy to follow for the beginner.

  • Rose Crawley

    I enjoyed reading LeShan’s book on meditation. It gave tips and explanations of the different forms of meditation. It also touched on how people of different religious backgrounds used meditation in their lives, so it did not single out any religion or talk down about any religions. The only part I did not like about the book was the parts on ESP. I find that to be a bit unrealistic, but if you are looking for a book that will direct you on which path to start your meditation journey, this book

    I enjoyed reading LeShan’s book on meditation. It gave tips and explanations of the different forms of meditation. It also touched on how people of different religious backgrounds used meditation in their lives, so it did not single out any religion or talk down about any religions. The only part I did not like about the book was the parts on ESP. I find that to be a bit unrealistic, but if you are looking for a book that will direct you on which path to start your meditation journey, this book is well worth the read.

  • Bernie Gourley

    LeShan’s book is a secular and scientific guide to meditation. By secular, I don’t mean to suggest that it’s devoid of mention of religion. On the contrary,

    delves into a wide variety of meditation styles that have roots in religion, and it quotes from spiritual teachers across a range of religions--including the mystic branches of Christianity and Islam. I mention the latter because the book seems tailored to bringing individuals into meditation that do not normally think medita

    LeShan’s book is a secular and scientific guide to meditation. By secular, I don’t mean to suggest that it’s devoid of mention of religion. On the contrary,

    delves into a wide variety of meditation styles that have roots in religion, and it quotes from spiritual teachers across a range of religions--including the mystic branches of Christianity and Islam. I mention the latter because the book seems tailored to bringing individuals into meditation that do not normally think meditation as being their bag, which could include atheists, secular humanists, or those whose religious practices don’t involve a mystical component. I just mean that the book is secular in that it doesn’t advocate a specific religion or suggest that one needs to hold any particular spiritual beliefs to benefit from meditation.

    Also, by scientific I don’t mean to suggest that the book gets bogged down in the minutiae of EKG’s or the like.

    is readable to the general reader, except perhaps for chapter 11, which deals with using meditation in psychotherapy. [However, by the author’s own admission, one can skip that chapter with no great loss if you aren’t a therapist.] What I do mean to say is that LeShan takes an approach to meditation that is grounded in real-world, observable results. He tells the reader of the mental and physical benefits of meditation as they are discussed in the scientific literature.

    In other words, if you think that meditation is only for hippie-types who believe in auras and astral planes, this book may convince you otherwise. On the other hand, if you’re one who believes in auras, astral planes, or the idea that only one true guru / path exists, you’ll probably be miffed by this book. There are a couple chapters devoted to ideas that people believe that both have little evidence of grounding in reality and which detract from meditation. This includes ESP, auras, strange maps of reality, and guru-worship.

    The core of the book is chapter 8, which explains how to do meditations of eleven different kinds. The book addresses single-point awareness, breath counting, thought watching, bodily awareness (specifically, Theravada Buddhist style meditation), word association (1,000-petaled lotus), mantra meditation, meditation on “I”, movement meditation (particularly Sufi-style), sensory awareness, safe harbor meditation, and unstructured meditation. The first ten are all types of structured meditation, and an earlier chapter is devoted to distinguishing structured from unstructured approaches to meditation. There is also an earlier chapter that discusses a broad taxonomy of meditation and sub-classes of meditation.

    The book is logically arranged for the most part. It begins with a chapter on why one should meditate. This first chapter sets up two chapters that deal with the psychological and physiological effects of meditation. There is one oddity of organization. The core “how-to” chapter is bookended by a chapter on ESP and one on various pitfalls of spiritualism. It would seem these two chapters should go together as they both deal with things that detract from meditative practice, and not with the central chapter wedged between them.

    The last couple chapters and the Afterword aren’t as beneficial for the general reader as the first 3/4ths of the book or so. One of those chapters is the aforementioned chapter for psychotherapists and the other deals with the social significance of meditation. The last chapter before those that I found superfluous, however, is one addressing the question of whether one needs a teacher to learn meditation. This pro and con discussion seems like a good way to end this book.

    There is a long afterword by Edgar N. Jackson that adds a perspective on what we should take from LeShan’s book. I suspect that if page count were not a concern the book would have ended on the chapter that talks about decisions about a teacher. The last two chapters and the Afterword seem to have been added for the twin-fold purpose of hitting a target page count and to add a couple niche audiences—namely students of psychology and fans of Edgar N. Jackson (i.e. Christians with an interest in mystical approaches to their religion.)

    Overall, I’d recommend this book for those who are new to meditation, those who are seeking to expand their practice to new types of meditation, and those who are interested in the mind in general. As I mentioned, if you think of meditation as a route to see the glow of chakras or to commune with the dead, this probably isn’t the book for you—you’re likely to find its disregard for such otherworldly endeavors to be unappealing.

  • David Doel

    This book was a disappointment. A lot of 1970's buzz-speak. Perhaps, had I been willing to spend several months trying the plethora of recommended meditation approaches, I had gotten benefit, but I'm not willing to make that gamble. However, 1 good Haiku that could have come from St. Francis:

    I said to the almond tree,

    "Sister, speak to me of God,"

    And the almond tree blossomed.

    p.s., don't bother with the Afterword.

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