As I mentioned in my review of 10% Happier by Dan Harris, I’ve decided to give meditation practice another try. I tried meditation shortly before I started traveling last year, but the habit wasn’t strong enough to be sustained throughout the non-routined days of extended travel.
But 10% Happier inspired me to give it another go, and as I started sitting again every day, I also picked up my copy of Sit Like a Buddha: A Pocket Guide to Meditation by Lodro Rinzler, that Graham got me for Christmas. I read & enjoyed his book The Buddha Walks into a Bar a few years ago, and thought that a refresher on meditation would be helpful as I worked to start up a regular practice.
This little book is under 100 pages: simple and concise. Meditation is not a complex idea or practice, it’s exactly the opposite, so it’s appropriate that a guide to it not be a giant tome. His approach is simple and helpful: he starts by having us think about why we want to start a meditation practice, then he shares the basics of meditation technique, discusses the common obstacles that come up when we start sitting and how to overcome them, and then (most importantly in my opinion) shares his views about how meditation helps us off the meditation cushion – in our every day lives.
I think a lot of people (myself included) can get easily discouraged when starting mediation, and may question its value, especially when we’re struggling to focus & stay present on the cushion. How can it possibly be helping us in the rest of our lives, when it’s still so difficult during the actual practice? But as I mentioned in the 10% Happier post, it’s the practice that matters, not how “good” we are at it. Lodro Rinzler writes about this in Sit Like a Buddha, and encourages us to approach our practice with kindness and gentleness. He also describes the (sometimes subtle) ways meditation will impact our lives: helping us find peace, become a more Dharmic person, and helping us relax with who we are.
My own meditation practice is still very new, but I’m enjoying it. It’s still hard – my mind wanders all over the place and I constantly have to remind myself to focus, but I’m sticking with it. I’ve already noticed “off the cushion” benefits: I’m getting better at focusing on one thing at a time, and identifying my real priorities. I’ll share more thoughts on how it’s going and what I’ve learned after I’ve been practicing longer.
Lodro Rinzler was at BEA this year, and I wanted to meet him so I went to his signing even though I already owned this book. He graciously signed another copy for me, so that I could give it away here. You can enter in the Rafflecopter widget below: for entries you can leave a comment on this post, Tweet a link to this giveaway, and/or visit the Books, the Universe & Everything Facebook page.