review of that 2nd ed.), I figured I'd give this 3rd ed. of "Meditation for Dummies" a try. I'm not sure what has been updated in this newest version, but it follows the same pattern as "BfD."
That is, chapters on Getting Acquainted and Getting
Started introduce the topic. First, the scientific-stress reduction
connection, and then how-to examples. This precedes a nod to a Zen
context (Bodian began in that tradition before expanding into yoga),
before impacts attributed to health and the brain receive coverage.
Finally, exercises are given for love and compassion generation. A CD
offers ten guided instructions to "the most powerful and effective"
types of experiential meditations. I tend to be cautious about such
claims, and about transcendent assertions. Yet, this is Bodian's
orientation. All the same, eating an orange can also lead as a sidebar
shows here to greater awareness, for those of us less transported!
attitude adjustment, dealing with anxiety and tension, mindfulness,
posture, routines, time, self-discipline certainly make up the heart (as
in love and compassion, too) of the message. Chapters for each center
the bulk of the core material as part 2. Part 3 looks at
troubleshooting. That is, unraveling "habitual patterns," dealing with
anger and sadness and grief, therapy, and roadblocks such as boredom,
doubt, attachment, "hypervigilance," and excuses. Side effects, often
claimed by those in the uplifting stages into bliss, gain brief
coverage: wisely, Bodian reminds readers "Side effects are just that."
Treatment of motivations, and solitary as well as group retreats and
workshops, end this part.
Part 4 puts meditation into action. It
takes the Hindu "yoga" path of devotion and the Vipassana one of
Buddhist insight, and other devotional practices. It looks also at
finding a teacher. Happiness is next considered, and this elaborated
treatment nods to the Buddhist understanding as opposed to popular
conceptions--taking the cultivation of compassionate action. For more on
this, Bodian's companion volume on Buddhism is recommended by me.
children, partners: they can be included, and love and work too. Part 4
wraps it up in the Dummies format with "The Part of Tens," reducing the
material to ten FAQs and then ten all-purpose meditations. These aren't
the same, by the way, as the ten selections on the audio CD--see its
own Table of Contents. So are some books, websites, and centers listed. I
was curious if many Jewish or Christian resources or approaches would
be given, but even if a few are listed in the appendices, this book
leans East and New Age. That is a minor drawback for those wanting a
more comprehensive compendium drawing on Western schools. For readers
open to eclecticism, therapeutic and a more syncretic, psychologically
favorable, generally Hindu-Buddhist-insight perspective, perhaps
unsurprisingly, constitutes the gist of this self-improvement guide.
(Amazon US 10/2/12)