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“8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life,” by Victor Davich

book cover Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

You can expect from Mr. Davich’s book a witty and engaging guide to some basic meditation techniques drawn from the world of Insight Meditation. The book outlines a systematic eight-week program of meditation, including the practices of simply following each breath, staying in the moment by “noting” thoughts as being about the past or future, paying attention to sounds, and some instructions on cultivating lovingkindness.

The guidance is clear and useful, but brief — probably totaling around a dozen pages out of almost 200. Most of the rest of the book deals with the common questions and misperceptions that teachers encounter — along the lines of meditation being the same as hypnotism, or meditation being a form of escapism — as well as some biographical material and a select list of resources.

Unfortunately you can’t, due to the unrelenting self-help-expert persona that Mr. Davich adopts, expect to be treated as an adult. We’re frequently reminded that the book contains no difficult words or complicated ideas. I don’t, it must be said, have any aversion to ideas that are expressed simply, but if you’re going to write that way just do it, and stop telling me you’re doing it! Keeping up his seventh-grade-level approach, the author even supplies us with a little “Certificate of Completion” that we can fill out ourselves. We’re also reminded that the author got an A in an exam and worked for two — not one, but two — Fortune 500 companies, although what bearing this is meant to have on his abilities as a meditation instructor is not clear.

While I felt uncomfortable with the self-help presentation, I still thought that the guidance was apt and that the instructions, although simple, were effective. 8 Minute Meditations would certainly be useful for the readership at which it is clearly aimed — those who are seeking inspiration in the “self-help” section of their local bookstore and are completely new to meditation. More experienced meditators may gain some insights that could feed their practice, but I’d recommend that readers who fall into that category seek elsewhere for guidance.

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