National bestselling author and teacher Steve Hagen strips away the cultural and religious jargon surrounding meditation and provides an accessible and thorough manual for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. Inside you will find:
Simple practices to avoid needlessly complicating meditationWhere most of us get stuck in meditation—and how to get unstuckA unique focus on meditation not simply as a spiritual technique, but as a way of living
Zen priest Hagen, author of Buddhism Plain and Simple and Buddhism Is Not What You Think, offers a brief and wonderfully accessible primer on meditation, which can be a surprisingly difficult practice for many beginners. He helpfully defines meditation via negativa: meditation is not a self-help program, a quick fix, a mind-training technique or a way to relax before jumping right back into the fray of our busy lives. It's a lifelong practice that can, and should, seep into every arena of the quotidian, so that when we're attentively folding laundry or taking out the trash, we're doing meditation. It involves teaching the mind "just to be here," says Hagen. Three dozen microchapters are organized into sections on getting started, establishing a daily practice and doing meditation "for the long run." While there are a few black-and-white illustrations to get readers to try seated meditation in different postures, Hagen emphasizes that it's also okay to sit in a chair (without slouching), stand, walk barefoot or even lie down. The key is to be constant, meditating at "precisely the same time every day" and allowing the mind to settle into the present. "Meditation isn't something we apply to our life," Hagen insists. "Rather, we take it up as our life."