The meditation experience demystified—an essential guide to
what goes on in meditation centers of many spiritual traditions.
Today's would-be student of meditation is confronted with such a wealth of available traditions from which to learn that it can make the prospect intimidating. Where should I start? Which one should I try? Come and Sit is the perfect companion to guide you on your way.
From Christian centering prayer, to Sufi dhikr (chanting the names of God), to Zen Buddhist zazen (formal silent meditation), this book demystifies both the kinds of meditation practiced in different spiritual traditions and the places people go to do them—and gives you a real feel for which method might suit you best.
Why do people meditate? How might meditation affect my life? What kinds of meditation are there?What do people do in each meditation tradition? Do I have to be a member of a specific religion topractice meditation? Where should I start?
Meditator and journalist Marcia Z. Nelson addresses all of these questions as she takes you on visits to meditation centers of seven different types—Christian, Zen, Insight (Vipassana), Tibetan, Hindu, Sufi, and Jewish—representing the wide range of spiritual traditions that can now be found throughout America. She shows what a typical visit to each is like and talks to the teachers and the people who go there to discover how they got started, why they keep going, and what benefits they derive from the practice.
A list of further resources for in-depth exploration of each tradition, a directory of centers, and a glossary of terms make this guide exactly what you need to start meditating.
Come and Sit is not only a handbook for the beginning meditator, but also an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know more about the world's great meditation traditions.
Nelson (The God of Second Chances) offers the quintessential work for anyone who is commencing meditation practice. She notes today's need for meditation that fits all traditions, adapting "ancient teachings to answer the contemporary need for a spirituality that is deep enough to provide inner peace and flexible enough to fit today's non-monastic lifestyle." She has a strong grasp of the historical and spiritual background of the seven traditions she explores: Christianity, Hinduism, Sufism, Buddhism (Zen, Tibetan and Vipassana) and Judaism. She explains in non-threatening layperson's terms the goals of each tradition, what to expect in that tradition's meditation practice and what resources are available to understand more. To this end, she includes a helpful glossary of terms and a list of meditation centers and organizations. But the book is not just a how-to manual; Nelson describes her own personal experiences as she practices in each tradition's meditation centers and interviews students and teachers about how meditation has affected their personal lives. Her encouraging and informative tone helps to make meditation accessible to a general audience. Yet she is wise enough to caution readers that she "found no one... who reported instant enlightenment, no matter how greatly it was desired. Instant gratification is more appropriate for microwave soup than a spiritual journey." Well said.