Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200612.html

December 2006


Guided meditations

mp3

We have a selection of guided meditation CDs and MP3s in our online store.

Our online courses

A student writes...

"I have surfed the web for years looking for information on meditation practice, picking up bits and pieces here and there. The free Wildmind site is one of the best places on the web for basic training -- it's logically ordered, thoughtful, and remarkably extensive and substantive. And the online course has proven to be even better!"


Online course schedule

Plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses! You can sign up for any course at any time.

Upcoming course dates are:

Starting December 4, 2006:

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4w)
 Change Your Mind (4w)
 Awakening the Heart (4w)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4w)
 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4 weeks)
 Mindfulness at Work (4 weeks)

Starting January 8, 2007:

Meditation Courses

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4 weeks)
 Change Your Mind (4 weeks)
 Awakening the Heart (4 weeks)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4 weeks)

Practice in Daily Life and Buddhism Courses

 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4 weeks)
 Living the Skillful Life (8 weeks)
 Karma, Rebirth, and the Psychology of the Six Realms (8 weeks)


Seven great reasons to take a Wildmind online course:

  1. Personal attention: You'll have an ongoing practice discussion with your teacher, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on many years' experience of spiritual practice.
  2. Depth: As you reflect in discussions with your teacher and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your practice to new levels of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured course.
  5. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
  6. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation exercises any time, anywhere.
  7. Availability: There are many opportunities each year to take a course. See the dates above for details.

 

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

The so-called "season of good-will" is rapidly approaching, so why not take one of our online courses so that you can keep your head and not be driven into a frenzy by the holiday craziness?

In this month's issue, we bring you our usual monthly round-up of the latest international news on meditation. One again there's a rich selection of stories covering everything from the controversies of teaching transcendental Meditation in US schools to where to go in Thailand for a meditation vacation. Of particular interest to us was acclaimed Buddhist teacher, B. Alan Wallace's interview in Salon, in which he discusses Buddhism, science, and neurophysiology.

We also bring you a review of 8 Minute Meditations, by Victor Davich, and our usual quote of the month and a commentary by Sunada.

We'd discovered that many of our subscribers hadn't been receiving our newsletter, so we've switched to a different method of sending it out. If you haven't seen our newsletter in a while, welcome back!

Enjoy!


In this issue:

  • Winter course schedule
  • Meditation in the news
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book review

Autumn Course Schedule

About our courses

All of our courses offer a content-rich and interactive experience, with online readings, multimedia content such as guided meditations in MP3 or RealAudio format that you can download to your computer, a discussion forum, and personal guidance in your online journal. And you have access to all these things 24/7.

Our courses are suitable for anyone from complete beginners to more experienced practitioners. You'll learn powerful techniques for reducing stress and developing patience, relaxation, and calmness in a friendly and supportive environment.

STARTING DECEMBER 4, 2006:

Meditation Courses

Taught by Sunada:

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4 weeks)
 Change Your Mind (4 weeks)
 Awakening the Heart (4 weeks)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4 weeks)

Practice in Daily Life and Buddhism Courses

Taught by Saddhamala:

 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4 weeks)
 Mindfulness at Work (4 weeks)

Make sure you book your place now.

STARTING JANUARY 8, 2007:

Meditation Courses

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4 weeks)
 Change Your Mind (4 weeks)
 Awakening the Heart (4 weeks)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4 weeks)

Practice in Daily Life and Buddhism Courses

 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4 weeks)
 Living the Skillful Life (8 weeks)
 Karma, Rebirth, and the Psychology of the Six Realms (8 weeks)

About our teachers

sunada
Sunada

Sunada is an experienced teacher who has been meditating for more than eleven years. Having established her own practice while working full-time in the high tech field and then in arts administration, she understands the challenges of balancing a meditation practice with a busy life.

saddhamala
Saddhamala

As well as teaching regularly at Aryaloka Buddhist Center, Saddhamala is an independent workshop facilitator and consultant, and a faculty member at Granite State College. Her approach to teaching is marked by a gentle and compassionate style.

saccanama
Saccanama

Saccanama's teaching style is characterized by both depth and clarity. If you practice meditation and want to know more about Buddhism, or even if you are just curious to find out what Buddhism really has to say, then either of Saccanama's courses is ideal for you.


Meditation in the news

As always, we bring you a round-up of the month's major news stories about meditation.

Organizers say meditation brings peace (Post-Intelligencer) 28 Nov. Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa -- Meditator Stephen Cardinal believes this blip of a city in southeast Iowa could soon alleviate world strife. Read more

Regaining your centre at Thailand's meditation hotel (North Shore News) 28 Nov. Our stay at the Gate of Light allowed us to escape into a carefree, car-free, world. Read more

Asheboro meditation center helps New Orleans heal (News-Record) 28 Nov. Swanson and four other volunteers helped first responders deal with the countless heartbreaking stories they heard by sharing with them something that's as ancient as religion itself: how to meditate. And those folks in New Orleans needed it. Read more

Buddha on the brain (Salon.com) 27 Nov. Ex-monk B. Alan Wallace explains what Buddhism can teach Western scientists, why reincarnation should be taken seriously and what it's like to study meditation with the Dalai Lama. Read more

Mindfulness meditation - for body and soul (Sydney Morning Herald) 27 Nov. It is said to boost performance and wellbeing, decrease anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue, and have beneficial effects on conditions ranging from chronic pain and fibromyalgia to psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. Read more

Researchers seek routes to happier life (AP) 27 Nov. As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Caroline Adams Miller knows a few things about using mental exercises to achieve goals. But last year, one exercise she was asked to try took her by surprise. Read more

Sharing sacred space (Roanoke Times) 26 Nov. Nationwide, established churches are offering a place to worship to other groups. Read more

Fla. tries putting faith behind bars (Philadelphia Enquirer) 26 Nov. Religion-based rehab experiment expands, as does criticism. Read more

Art for the spirit (Bangkok Post) 25 Nov. Beauty and aesthetics can serve as a playground to cultivate mindful awareness, as artist and poet-turned-monk Phra Amnart Ophaso discovered. Read more

To make a peaceful world, start with yourself (Philadelphia Daily) 25 Nov. As I observe world events and sense the pervading fear that's been in the air since 2001, I find myself thinking about what one individual can do. And the thought occurs that each one of us has the potential to be an effective instrument of peace merely by refining and expanding our consciousness. Read more

Meditation can reduce bouts of ADHD (News 14) 25 Nov. About 4 million American children struggle every day with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which makes it difficult for them to focus and learn. Now, some schools are trying a new, simple approach that has been changing lives. Read more

Peace award handed out (Bayshore Broadcasting) 25 Nov. Capel says walking the peace labyrinth -- which she emphasizes is not a maze -- is like prayer or meditation, and it's a different experience for everyone. Read more

Yoga, meditation used to help inmates (KSHB TV) 25 Nov. Lam Chuck Stanford is among a quietly growing number of Buddhist teachers working in U.S. prisons, tending to inmates who had been raised Buddhist or who discovered the ancient faith later, many while incarcerated. Read more

Mind your own business (The Age) 23 Nov. Concentrate on every little action to reduce racing thoughts and stress. Read more

Buddhist monk cuts off member and renounces refix (Reuters) 22 Nov. A Thai Buddhist monk cut off his organ with a machete because he had an erection during meditation and declined to have it reattached, saying he had renounced all earthly cares Read more

Close encounters with the divine (USA Today) 22 Nov. Website, godstories.com, invites people to share their experiences Read more

Guru wants to build Peace Palace (WFFA) 22 Nov. Arlington: City to decide if holistic institute can be built with tax-exempt bonds Read more

In a silent way (Sydney Morning Herald) 22 Nov. High school teacher Scott Grose wasn't sure what to expect when he turned up for the first lesson of a six-week meditation course at Sydney Community College. Read more

Mind , body come together to improve life (Wisconsin State Journal) 21 Nov. I believe that we suffer to learn compassion and be more compassionate to others. There's been suffering I've gone through in my life, so I can help others understand their issues. To see those smiling faces when they walk out of class, that's thanks enough for the work I do. Read more

Going on a "peace crawl" with Donovan (The Justice) 20 Nov. To the hippie generation of the 1960s, Donovan, with his "flower power" hits like "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow," was a pivotal mouthpiece for the decade's dogged idealism and mysticism. Read more

Spirit Philanthropy (Forbes) 20 Nov. The world of alternative medicine -- meditation, yoga, acupuncture and a host of related therapies -- will celebrate a coming-of-age moment on Nov. 30. In Durham, N.C., Christy Mack and her husband John Mack, chairman of investment bank Morgan Stanley, will officially open the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine. Read more

Stop the Pain (Psychology Today) 20 Nov. Meditation and yoga have proved to be key in treating chronic pain in addition to drug therapy. Read more

The Mindful Monk (Psychology Today) 20 Nov. Tenzin Gyatso -- the fourteenth Dalai Lama -- on how analytic meditation can be applied to overcome a harmful emotion like anger. Read more

Meditation: Getting Started (Psychology Today) 20 Nov. How to relax the Buddhist way. A few basic exercises on focusing your attention. Read more

Taking a closer look at Peace Palaces' goals (The Plain Dealer) 19 Nov. Last week came news that a movement founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi plans to build centers in Parma, Strongsville and Mayfield Heights. Ultimately, the group hopes to build 3,000 centers -- called Peace Palaces -- worldwide. Read more

Meditation helps heal body, mind (Bradenton Herald) 18 Nov. Jim McLaughlin has lived his life as a practical man. He's a business consultant who served 10 years in the U.S. Navy, has never used illegal drugs, has been married 32 years and has two children, both professionals. Buddhist meditation wasn't on his radar when he started trying to tame some of the chaos in his mind. But in his late 50s, he was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. Read more

Melbourne: Businesses Targeted by G20 Protests (UK Indymedia) 17 Nov. The G20 meeting of Finance Ministers, the World Bank and the IMF is appearing in Melbourne, Australia over the weekend of 18-19 November. They are being welcomed by a series of conferences, creative protests and festivals by a wide variety of anti-globalisation activists. Read more

Meditation and the Monk (CNN) 17 Nov. This CNN video shows how Buddhist meditation brings about wellbeing through changing the way the brain functions. Read more

Businessman finds energy, relaxation through transcendental Meditation (Moorpark Acorn) 17 Nov. Almost 35 years ago, when Paul Squillo came across a Scientific American magazine article about the transcendental Meditation program of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he had no idea how greatly the technique would affect his daily living. Read more

Punjab Sadvipar Samaz holds meditation camp for Jail staff and school kids (Punjab News) 17 Nov. About 40 jail wardens of Punjab are performing meditation in the central jail of Patiala. A special camp for the jail officials was organized by social organization Punjab Sadvipar Samaj in collaboration with North Zone Culture Read more

Brief case: A new childhood (Times of India) 15 Nov. It was a typical Sunday morning that my mother, despite violent protest on my part, bundled me into a car to take me to Vishwa Nirmala Prem Ashram. The ashram is a facility where women and girls are rehabilitated by being taught meditation and other skills that help them overcome trauma. Read more

Meditation lowers heart rate, blood pressure (Miami Herald) 14 Nov. Whether practiced on its own or as a part of yoga, tai chi or some other metaphysical discipline, meditation produces physical relaxation and stress-relieving benefits such as reduced anxiety, lowered heart rate and decreased blood pressure. Read more

Cultivating mindfulness (The Montana Standard) 13 Nov. Imagine a mind that's free, neither wanting nor resenting, worrying or needing. Emotions rise like bubbles to the surface where they're quietly noted, then released -- no judgments passed. Then the mind returns to emptiness, focused on the breath, until the next thought rises toward release. Read more

Kangana Ranaut turns to meditation (ApunKaChoice) 13 Nov. Burdened by work and troubled by personal problems, actress Kangana Ranaut has taken to meditation. Read more

Class scheduled on meditation as therapy (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) 13 Nov. The growing use of meditation in psychotherapy will be the topic of a continuing education course for mental health professionals at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty Sunday. Read more

Get Healthy (Munster Times, Indiana) 13 Nov. Feeling stressed? Blame it, at least in part, on that coffee and doughnut you had for breakfast. Read more

Local artist inspired by nature's wonders (The Racine Report) 12 Nov. Local artist Randy Cooper sees Racine's rocky shores as a spiritual place, a place where he goes to meditate and find sanctuary from everyday life. Read more

Phila. region to give peace palaces a chance (The Philadelphia Inquirer) 12 Nov. Maharishi Peace Palaces are going to be built in West Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, among thousands planned worldwide, Sands says. They will serve as havens where devotees of transcendental Meditation will alter the physical reality of the planet through the power of their collective thought. Read more

Mississippi Peace Rally Calls for Attention to Nation's 'true Enemy' (Epoch Times, NY) 12 Nov. About 30 people gathered in front of the Oktibbeha County Courthouse in downtown Starkville, Mississippi on November 4th for a peace rally, calling for an end to the war on Iraq and bringing attention to the nation's true enemy -- the Chinese Communist regime. Read more

Zen Garden (ABS CBN News, Philippines) 12 Nov. If there was a moment of absolute clarity where one can perceive the nothingness and unity of all things, and at the same time gain positive enlightenment as a result, that period is Zen. Read more

Buddhism becoming popular in Fargo (The Bismarck tribune) 12 Nov. Buddhism is budding in North Dakota's largest city. A Buddhist study group formed in Fargo earlier this year. Weekly meditation sessions are held in different settings. And last week, four Buddhist monks visited the area, speaking at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead. Read more

Meditation: Christian Approach (News Today Online, Philippines) 12 Nov. One of the first lessons in meditation whether Christian or non-Christian in approach, is learning to be still. Read more

Priaulx focused on win in Macau (This is Guernsey) 11 Nov. ANDY PRIAULX is using meditation as motivation as he bids to retain the World Touring Car Championship in Macau next weekend. Read more

Meditation Circle Dedicated (KCBD News, Lubbock, Texas) 11 Nov. A meditation circle was dedicated in Huneke Park on Saturday. The meditation circle recognizes the men and women of the armed forces of the United States, and their families for their sacrifices in defense of our country. Read more

New Boulder-based parenting concept brings "heroes" and "dragons" to life (Daily Camera) 11 Nov. A couple months ago, 8-year-old Maya Dayan began talking about her "dragons." She was referring to bad moods or communication struggles -- the darker side of everyone. Read more

Grudgingly, from "Grrr!" to "Ommm" (Denver Post) 11 Nov. The blood lust is gone. The blistering rhetoric has cooled. With the election behind us, we've moved into the Zen phase. Namaste. Read more

Alpha music induces (The triangle Online) 10 Nov. "I don't want to achieve relaxation, I want to achieve meditation," said Levine. His major goal is to make music that will successfully put people in a mental state that allows them to focus and work tirelessly without breaks. The music aims to remove a person from a stressful environment. "I want to eradicate stress entirely," he said. Read more

Om on the Grange (Washington Post) 10 Nov. Five o'clock is meditation time in this town of 9,500, about 100 miles southeast of Des Moines. Read more

Enlightened reality (Malaysia Star) 10 Nov. One of Tibet's most prominent monasteries, Gaden, was completely destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution but has since re-established itself in India. JAMIE KHOO visits the new site. Read more

Didgeridoo meditation clinic at Creative Arts (TownOnline.com) 9 Nov. Come to Creative Arts to relieve your stress and muscle pain. Joseph Carringer will use the didgeridoo to send participants on a journey of meditation and shamanic healing. Read more

Students unwind at Zen Society gatherings (The Daily Free Press) 9 Nov. The Zen Society begins its weekly meetings with the Daoist practice of Soen-Yu exercises to sync the body and mind, with strong emphasis on breathing. The group then begins yoga relaxation to focus and prepare the mind for meditation. Zen meditation follows for 15 to 20 minutes, ending with a Dharma talk by a guest speaker from the Cambridge Zen Center. Read more

Competitive athletes turning to yoga to improve performance (Happy News) 9 Nov. Athletes are gradually getting over the misconception that yoga is just meditation. According to Gwen Lawrence, Yoga Instructor to members of the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and New York Red Bulls, "Yoga is not simply sitting around omming all day." Read more

Another cult classic from David Lynch (Radar) 9 Nov. If you thought David Lynch was out there, wait until you read his book. In recent months, the oddball auteur behind Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet has been stumping for his spiritual discipline of choice, transcendental Meditation. In January, he'll issue a book on the practice, which critics deride as an Eastern-flavored cousin to Scientology and Kabbalah. Read more

Biofeedback devices are all the rage for keeping calm (Seattle Post Intelligencer) 9 Nov. Biofeedback, a darling of the '70s, is back -- and smaller than ever, thanks to an exploding array of consumer gadgets that make nervous-system training nearly as easy as shuffling an iPod. Read more

Journey for the soul (Jewish Week) 9 Nov. As part of its monthly program to bring women together to "rejuvenate mind, body, and soul," Chabad of Potomac's Women's Circle on Sunday hosted the Jewish Meditation and Painting Workshop for more than 30 Jewish women of all ages and backgrounds. Read more

Zen meditation and Dharma talk to be held at St. Mary's (Putnam County News and Recorder) 8 Nov. On Saturday morning, November 11th, Bonnie Myotai treace, Sensei of Hermitage Heart Zen will offer an introduction to Zen meditation at St. Mary's Church in Cold Spring. The class includes instruction in Buddhist methods for calming mind and body, while intimately exploring the implicit questions of human life. Read more

Buddhist stress relief (Sydney Star Observer, Australia) 8 Nov. Buddhist leader the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche is currently in Sydney giving talks on coping with stress and healing the mind. Read more

Zen and the Art of the Muzzle Blast (Los Angeles Weekly) 8 Nov. You'll be surprised at the deep state of relaxation required to shoot well. Read more

Contemplative Spirituality - The Latest 'Christian' Craze (News With Views) 7 Nov. When one leavens the Christian faith with New Age teachings and practices, the result is a sacrilegious synthetic that is every bit as damning as the New Age itself. Read more

Meditation may increase alertness (The Daily Targum) 7 Nov. A study conducted by University of Kentucky researchers found that meditation might be as effective as sleep in raising a person's level of alertness, and members of the University say they agree with the finding. Read more

Meditation and prayer room welcomes students of all faiths (The Commonwealth Times) 6 Nov. There is a quiet room tucked in the underground of the University Student Commons. A room previously packed with heavy traffic, computers, cameras and telephones is now soothingly silent and welcoming. Read more

Peace in the Park feeds inner spirit (Florida Today) 6 Nov. The purpose, said organizers, was to put hundreds of attendees in touch with their inner spirit, along with other meditative philosophies and peace-driven organizations that help others across the globe. Read more

Living in the moment, Williams enjoying his time in Canada (USA Today) 6 Nov. When it comes to the search for elevated self-awareness and a higher plane of existence, Ricky Williams may be the introspective athlete of all time. He is a vegetarian, a yogi, a veritable Buddhist philosopher in shoulder pads. Read more

Velux 5 Oceans: Zen meditation helps Shiraishi cope with unpleasant conditions on Spirit of Yukoh (BYMNews.com) 5 Nov. Koji also revealed his unique method of coping with the conditions on board: "This is an important time to keep mind and spirit clear. Zen meditation is really valuable for us now." Read more

Retreat seeks to train 'monkey mind' (Delaware Online) 5 Nov. All around me seekers in white robes with closed eyes and controlled breathing stretched toward Enlightenment. I -- cross-legged, rebellious and desperately wanting to scratch my nose -- wanted enlightenment on one question only: Why, oh why, had I signed up for a Buddhist meditation retreat? . Read more

Life's a "drag" for stressed British workers (OnRec.com) 3 Nov. A Monster Meter poll recently asked British workers, "How do you cope with work related stress?" 1,988 respondents voted. Read more

Singer: Meditation a better high (Asbury Park Press) 3 Nov. "It was probably me and The Beatles and one Beach Boy in the music world that really brought meditation to the attention of our generation, as an alternative to drugs and the inner journey through magic plants,'' declares Donovan. Read more

Turn on, tune in, chill out (TheStreet.com) 3 Nov. In what has got to be the wackiest new sprout on the consumer electronics bush, solid-state electronics, processors and light-emitting diodes have conjoined to create a new generation of digital chill-out pods, unwindos or personal relaxers -- whatever you want to call them. These portable gadgets track your breathing, heart rate and other bodily functions to tell you -- get this -- whether you are in or out of the mellow zone. The amazing part? In my testing at least, these gadgets actually work. Read more

Prayer or meditation all right, just keep school officials out of it (The Baxter Bulletin) 2 Nov. Wilson County, Tenn., and Marin County, Calif., are about as different as any two places in America can be. But last month school officials in both communities appeared equally confused about what constitutes "state-sponsored religion" in the public schools. In the Bible Belt, not surprisingly, the religion at issue is the majority faith. And on the Left Coast, not surprisingly, the conflict is over transcendental Meditation, a practice developed by the Indian spiritual teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Read more

Upcoming movie documents the Beatles' trip to India (The Rock Radio) 1 Nov. Beatles' famous 1968 trip to study transcendental meditation in Rishikesh, India is the focus of an upcoming movie. The still-untitled film, which will blend archival footage with newly shot scenes and interviews, is being directed by Mira Nair, who is best known for her 2004 film Vanity Fair. Read more


begging monk

Support our translation project

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portrait

Quote of the Month

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men."
- Herman Melville

Earlier this week, I watched an episode of NOVA, a public television series in the U.S. about current issues in science. The topic was climate change -- and specifically how particulate pollution reduces the sun's warming effects on the earth, and what this phenomenon implies about global warming.

One segment of the show in particular struck me quite deeply. According to one theory, the industrialized nations of Europe and North America threw enough pollutants into the atmosphere to change rainfall patterns in Africa. And this is thought to have been the direct trigger for the devastating Ethiopian famine of 1984-85, which killed over a million people. The fact that the collective activities of industrialized nations are causing global climate change is not new news, of course. But to see so graphically how my comfortable modern lifestyle may have directly contributed to the horrible deaths of over one million people gave me severe pause.

A basic tenet of Buddhism is that all of our actions have consequences, and that we need to live responsibly, as though our every thought, word, and deed has an effect somewhere, on something. Hearing this story brought this teaching home to me quite profoundly. When I turn the thermostat up in my house so I'm a bit more comfortable, or drive to the store because I don't have the time to walk -- these casual little actions I undertake as an individual have their consequences, some of which can ultimately be quite dire.

So what can I, one of six billion humans on this earth, do about all this? In my darker moods, it can feel overwhelming and hopeless, that nothing I do could make a difference. But there's a fallacy in that thinking. If my irresponsible little actions multiplied by six billion people can cause global disaster, isn't it also true that my positive little actions similarly multiplied could bring about the exact opposite? The point of this teaching is not to plunge us into despondency, but to rally us to action. I DO have an effect in this world, and my positive actions DO make a difference, no matter how small. I have renewed my commitment to living my life more mindfully and responsibly, and to make an effort to be a positive influence in this world.

- Sunada


book cover

Book Review

8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life, by Victor Davich (Perigee trade, paperback, $12.95).

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.

Bodhipaksa is the founder and director of Wildmind.


Copyright (c) 2006, Wildmind Meditation Services.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212, Newmarket NH 03857, USA.
1-8777-MEDIT8

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