Meditation For Dummies

I've been flirting with the idea of meditation for a long time. A few years ago I even bought the book Meditation for Dummies. It's wasn't half bad -- I just wanted some sort of introduction that would explain what it was and how to do it.

If you have no idea what meditation really is, you're not alone. The way I like to think about it is a practice in quieting down the monster in your head. The voice that rails at you all day long, worrying about things, telling you off, creating drama, and just generally keeping you from a nice, enjoyable existence.

For many years I've read lots of books about quieting down this voice -- from self-help authors such as Richard Carlson and Eckhardt Tolle, to books written by Buddhist monks and scholars. And it has always made sense to me intellectually. But part of me always knew that until I actually got into the habit of sitting my butt on a cushion (or a chair) and practicing it on a regular basis, I would never really know if there were benefits.

This year, I've done just that. Since March, I've been meditating for 10 minutes a day. And I have to say, it's really making a difference. Lots of research is being done at the moment on meditation -- and so far it shows that it can help everything from sleeping patterns to depression and anxiety. What really has won me is how the research shows that there is true plasticity to our brains -- we can change our thought patterns. Or, I suppose, learn to see them for what they are.

But in addition to research, what has helped convince me is hearing other people's stories about how it has helped them. Experience -- even if it is just one person's -- can be compelling.

So if you've ever wanted to know more about meditation, but think it's not for people like you, I have the perfect book for you to read. Skip Meditation for Dummies and read a book written by American television journalist Dan Harris, called 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works -- A True Story

In addition to providing great insight into meditation, its history and how it can help, it's also a fascinating memoir. Harris admits that he long associated meditation with "bearded swamis and unwashed hippies," so if you're skeptical, this book just might be for you.

Note: I was also amused that I had no idea who Dan Harris was, because his television career took off after I left the U.S. So I actually had to google him to see what he looked like, even though he's an anchor on Nightline!

Photo credit: Buddha statue in meditation pose, robe, blue, concrete, Lake City Way, Seattle, Washington, USA via photopin (license)


  1. Been reading a lot lately about the trending "mindfulness" techniques, which is being in the moment . . . sort of meditation! It's all good for the soul.

    1. It's really the same thing - meditation is a way to practice being mindful, so it's easier to do during everyday life (since it's far from easy!!). Thanks for reading (and commenting!). See you soon :)


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