Illustrations via Pinterest.Do you meditate?
If you do, you need to read this book.
Photo via The Mind Illuminated website.
The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.)
If you don't meditate, you also need to read this book -- maybe even more so :)
In his book, Culadasa shows how powerful meditation can be. I love, too, that he approaches it not only as a science, but as an art. As he says:
"While this book is a kind of technical manual, it's also an artist's handbook. Meditation is the art of fully conscious living. What we make of our life-- the sum total of thoughts, emotions, words, and actions that fill the brief interval between birth and death-- is our one great creative masterpiece.
The beauty and significance of a life well lived consists not in the works we leave behind, or in what history has to say about us. It comes from the quality of conscious experience that infuses our every waking moment, and from the impact we have on others."
On his website, Culadasa asks this provocative question: What if one thing you did each day could bring you to deep joy, peace, insight, and personal transformation?
And in the book, he goes about answering that question, and offering the reader a 10-step guide to meditation. It is a fascinating, dense, practical guide to taming the mind and reaching a deep sense of peace through frequent meditation practice.
So far, I've only read the beginning of the book: the introduction, the summary chapter that gives a basic idea of the 10 stages of meditative training, and then the chapter about stage 1 (establishing a practice).
In only 60 pages, I've already gained an immense amount of knowledge about meditation and how to build a successful meditation practice... I have yet to put this knowledge into practice in my daily life, but hey! At least I'm learning :)
To give you a brief breakdown of the chapters, here are the ten stages of meditation:
1. Establishing a practice
2. Interrupted attention and overcoming mind-wandering
3. Extended attention and overcoming forgetting
4. Continuous attention and overcoming gross distraction and strong dullness
5. Overcoming subtle dullness and increasing mindfulness
6. Subduing subtle distractions
7. Exclusive attention and unifying the mind
8. Mental pliancy and pacifying the senses
9. Mental and physical pliancy and calming the intensity of meditative joy
10. Tranquility and equanimity
Pretty intense, right?! :)
Highly highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in meditation. Whether you're new to the practice or have been meditating for years, this book offers a new way to think about it and creative, helpful ways to deepen your meditation experience. Find the book here.
A big thanks to the team behind this book for sharing a copy, and I hope to continue meditating and sharing this knowledge with others.