The little book, 101 Ways to Meditate, makes easy and accessible a simple art, which popular opinion and practitioner conceit often renders complex, esoteric, and/or "flaky"--the art of meditation. Linda Lavid offers more than a hundred approaches to a simple practice that ought to be employed universally, due to its benefits to health, intelligence, creativity, and emotional balance. Meditation is often rejected by prospective practitioners, because they become turned off by the spiritual packaging in which meditation lessons are often garbed. The practices taught in this book are attached to no spiritual tradition, and make no promises regarding ethereal results. They are simple and easy to follow. "Just do it and see what happens" is the message of the book.
In keeping with this message, Lavid offers instruction on 101 various forms of mindfulness practices. The broad variety keeps the practice fresh, where interest might otherwise wane before good habits are ingrained. Lavid also supports building a sound practice regimen by including a 31 day journal in the second half of the book. This is an important benefit for several reasons. For one thing, it speaks to the problem of building and sticking with a meditation regimen, which becomes especially challenging, just when it is most needed--when life grows busy and stressful. If one is going to fall away from practice, it is likely to occur over the first month. Thus, journaling one's daily pattern of meditation activity over the first month of practice helps to reinforce new daily behaviors and overcome the inertia that carries us back to our rat-race lives and away from the centering and grounding that helps us to cope with the stresses. Another key benefit of journaling our meditation progress is that journaling serves one of the most important objectives in meditation, known since ancient times--it helps you to "know thyself." Closing each meditation session with a journaling exercise allows the practitioner to chart her development along the path to meditative skill, and to recognize what methods work best within her life schedule and at what time(s) of day or night.
This little primer on meditation is well worth the low price. Its many suggested forms of mindfulness practice will keep the activity fresh and exciting, while good habits are being developed. By the time the month's journal is completed, the practitioner will be in such good habits and noting such observable benefits that returning to daily practice in any of its forms will not be a chore. This book is a useful addition to the practitioner's library. It would also serve well as a primer for use in teaching meditation to novices.
© 2011 Wendy C. Hamblet
Would-be buddhas, this is the guide you’ve been waiting for.
Meditation is the foundation of enlightenment, but even those of us who aren’t particularly interested in that can recognize and appreciate the benefits of a steady meditation practice – improved emotional and physical health, increased calm, and a keener ability to accept and deal with the little irritations we encounter every day. If only it weren’t such an esoteric endeavor…
Oh, wait. It isn’t. Linda Lavid makes it perfectly clear in 101 Ways to Meditate that any ol’ mortal being is perfectly capable of engaging in a productive form of mediation. Lavid is a self-professed skeptic, a left-brainer who prefers “studies and statistics with results that indicate a success rate beyond randomness.” It wasn’t until she personally experienced the un-quantifiable benefits of hypnosis that she realized the effectiveness of woo-woo therapy. A science-and-math personality isn’t easily foiled, however, so even after becoming a certified hypnotherapist, Lavid kept on searching for a logic-based approach to an ancient healing technique. Luckily her subconscious mind finally won the war, and Lavid got it: simplify the process.
That’s exactly what she’s done in 101 Ways to Meditate – simplified the process so that anyone can take part. Instead of tossing out scary terms like no-mind and transcendent attention, Lavid puts it in language we can all understand. Mediation is “relaxing the body, quieting the mind, and having a focus… There is no right or wrong way to meditate.”
Now that the pressure is off, we can proceed with any of the 101 techniques Lavid provides. There are processing meditations promoting our ability to receive information from the subconscious and unconscious minds; imagery meditations for two-way communication with the subconscious; release meditations for unlocking emotional issues; and inspirational meditations for connecting with our higher selves. Within each of these categories are specific methods for bringing us closer to a particular focus. A grounding exercise, for example, uses imagery to help us draw healing energy through our bodies, and a stress-reduction exercise uses the release technique to help shed stressors and build a psychic shield.
This little volume is packed with just the basics, including a 31-day journal equipped with inspirational quotes that serves as spirited and indefatigable cheerleaders. Lavid’s keep it simple approach is effective and encouraging for anyone who has wondered about meditation but been put off by technical and spiritual tomes. Quick, simple and stripped of pretension, this life-enhancing practice is made easy and practical through 101 Ways to Meditate.