Review by Bob Pajer
“It’s not just about following your breath” says Me Salter, who writes an excellent book on meditation practices from her own point of view as well as from the point of view of many who have worked with her on development an individualized program of meditation for themselves. The practice of meditation described in Salter’s book has many facets. We get to choose what’s best for us. And then go on adjusting based on our own experience.
“Regarding which mindfulness method choose, the most important guideline is that it doesn’t matter. All the methods in the this book develop the core skills of concentration, sensory clarity and equanimity. So pick whatever appeals to you. The more you enjoy, the more you will practise (sit), the sooner you will develop mindfulness skills and taste the positive rewards.”
However, and this is my qualifier, based your reviewer’s experience with meditation. Few really serious meditators are that lenient with the practice they have studied and teach. That may be a good practice or one that’s not so helpful. My own teacher is dedicated to what he has practiced for over sixty years. He is a Roshi in the Empty Cloud Lineage and I can pretty much assure you, he is staying with what he has practices and does not drift at all from his long education on the subject. Its just a matter of greater and greater development of the method you are in, and, those who feel they are really doing well with what they have don’t try a little of this and a little of that. It is the method.
After my studies with him for many years now, I can see the importance of perseverance and dedication. It has taken a long to feel I know anything about it, which is little, why it works and what the future of my life with it will unfold. I just keep doing what I have been doing. As the years go on I do see how much I feel differently, see differently and can see anything “out there” differently (all experiences that may have something to do with again). My mind has changed about my mind, however, and I prefer how I see it today. This new view, which I believe, in a large part comes from my meditation practice, is getting stronger and I’m less likely to take myself too seriously. I’m simply OK leaving here with a passing grade. There is within me now a general inner peace to which I can go to anytime and anywhere.
All I do is sit and focus on the koan, which is at the moment for me, mu (no-thing.) I have found it can take much of a lifetime to delve deeper and deeper into just that and just to realize I’m not there and it doesn’t matter. I have no intention of ever trying to permanently stop my mind wandering, the “bad” mind that is so noisy at times I grow weary of it. It is just there. And it’s not going anywhere. I seem to have little power over its. It’s a nuisance for sure. But minds do this here. The world is made upon it.
I can, however, listen to it, or not. That is the practice. And the ego is extremely unwilling to let its “cover” go. So I don’t try. The ego, however, does hate to be watched, more or less, and will stop its incessant noise if it sees I’m watching. It’s very life depends on it. In addition to whatever it can use to get me to believe I’ve separated from my Source and join with the force it makes up for a better world, or a worse world, whichever is my on my menu for the day.
Notwithstanding these remarks, which come from perhaps thousands upon thousands of hours sitting in mediation for over thirty five years, this is a good book for anyone wishing to improve their meditation practice or learn anew. If I were starting over again, I would just continue to sit based on certain natural ways of pursuing a better life through mediation. Worry not about the results, nor how frustrating it can be at times, because our minds have been trained to make up a body that is in fact an illusion. The turning point for me occurred when I asked myself why I can’t make better headway on the control my noisy mind, why I go off on a side road so frequently, seeming to have no control over it at all. The answer came quickly: Stop cavetdhing about the times you left the field and congratulate yourself for every time you returned. You are always a step ahead of your own disappointment over your progress.”
I recommend this book for the novice considering mediation as a practice and anyone interested in the subject.
Review by Bob Pajer
I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.