Book Review and Giveaway
Last May I challenged myself to a 30 day writing project. My thought being, it takes roughly 30 days to develop a habit, so for each day in May I wrote a blog post. It was a success on some levels, but I failed at making writing a daily habit.
Writing is a form of meditation for me. I write more than what you see here on my blog. I do not always enjoy the process of writing, but I enjoy it most when I am singularly focused on it and my only purpose is on finishing my current sentence and thought. I love those moments when I am completely absorbed in the act of writing.
Mindfulness is something I seek to achieve in all aspects of my life – writing, relationships, work, eating, exercise. I want to be happy and present in what I am doing in the moment, not regretful of my past, or anxious of my future. I want to learn to be present in the now, and find a greater joy in the present. I believe meditation is a path to the joy I seek.
I have dabbled with meditation – taking a group class here, listening to a guiding voice there. Each experience with meditation has been restorative and encouraging, but my knowledge and understanding of it is relatively minimal. So this May I am challenging myself to another 30 day project.
For the next 30 days I am going to explore different types of meditation, and practice meditating for at least 20 minutes each day. My goal over the next 30 days is to learn more about the many styles of meditation, and to find the one (0r ones) most compatible with my needs. I also hope in the process to establish a habit, and continue beyond May to dedicate the time each day to meditate.
“There is no end to the meditative process: it is a lifelong practice that can be undertaken by anyone, regardless of age and spiritual beliefs, and there is no right or wrong time to start on your meditative path.”
Beginner’s Guide to Buddhist Meditation is a beautiful book, filled with soothing images and helpful charts. Organized in a way to guide the beginner from the basics – how to meditate, when to meditate, where to meditate – through the styles and obstacles of meditation, Feldman’s book opens a simple and straightforward door to meditation. There are no rights and wrongs in Feldman’s meditation teaching, only loving kindness and heartfelt communication.
“Meditative teaching is not an exhortation or demand but an invitation to explore the ways of walking new paths of mindfulness and wakefulness. It is an invitation to discover a deeper well-being and inner richness that can transform every aspect of our lives.”
One of my goals for my journey into meditation is, according to Feldman, one of the central teachings of meditation: to be at ease with the events of my mind and body.
We all know that even in the mildest flare, we can become consumed and overwhelmed by the pain we are experiencing – and even by the pain we are not currently experiencing, but are remembering and anticipating. Pain is a powerful motivator for fear and anxiety. I believe it is possible to overcome fear and anxiety, and I believe meditation can help by teaching me compassion, peace, and understanding.
“Understanding: Central to the Buddhist path is the understanding that we cannot avoid aging, sickness, or death. We cannot avoid all loss, sorrow, and heartache, and the endeavor to do so only magnifies pain. We do begin to see that confusion, agitation, fear, and stress may become optional in our lives.”
Fear and stress are an option? If this is so, I doubt we can just accept that it is. At least for me I know it will take practice to learn to let go of my ingrained responses and accept joy. I want to learn to find the joy that exists with the pain. I believe it is there. I just need to learn how to find it.
“Meditation is not about avoiding or softening the blow of moments of conflict and difficulty that we are bound to encounter during our lives. Rather it is a means to approach these moments with clarity, understanding, and calm.”
Beginner’s Guide to Buddhist Meditation is so rich in thought, context, and instruction, I am certain it will serve my desire to develop a regular meditation practice to reread it several times. It is simple and approachable, but Christina Feldman has packed so much guidance and wisdom into its short 96 pages, each time I open it a new passage jumps out at me. Just look back over all of the above quotes and you can see the richness of concepts and wisdom Feldman shares. It is a great tool to begin my journey into meditation.
Are you interested in learning how to meditate, or in deepening your current meditation practice? Then let me recommend Beginner’s Guide to Buddhist Meditation to you. And fortunately I can do more than recommend it. Feldman’s publisher Rodmell Press has again generously donated a book to give away to one commenter. Just leave a comment, and on May 14 I will randomly select a winner to receive this beautiful introduction to meditation.
Join me on my quest for more mindful living. Through meditation we can learn to find acceptance of our illness and joy in the meaningful act of living.
“In your meditation, as in your life, you will have to choose over and over whether to follow the paths of impatience, judgment, frustration, and complexity, or the pathways of patience, acceptance, balance, and simplicity. Increasingly, you will come to understand that the choice lies in your own heart.”