The Best Book on Meditation Bliss More by Light Watkins, Book Review
This is perhaps the best book on meditation and I so wish that I had read this book while I was still a beginner. When a friend suggested this book I was already meditating and happy with my practice. Yet I am so glad to have read this and this has in fact been the best learning in meditation.
Whatever courses I attended never spoke so much in detail as to what to do and not do or what to expect from your meditation. The author here has shared from his years of meditation, as a student and also as a teacher.
Watkins really simplifies the process of meditation and addresses all inhibitions that you may have as a beginner. The book is simple and would easily help a beginner understand and adapt a daily meditation practice.
Though most people would feel that meditation cannot be learnt from a book, this one truly is an exception. Also in my opinion meditation is a personal experience, it is more important to know what to expect and then eventually it is a experience that you undertake. Having said that I also agree that group meditations have a totally different energy. But the inability to be a part of a group must not keep you from starting a meditation practice.
The book is basically divided into two parts
Part one talks about how to enjoy meditation. He calls it EASY meditation technique so obviously the first chapter talks about getting yourself in a comfortable position.
Second chapter talks about the wandering mind. He compares how we excercise to keep our body in shape, we must meditate to keep the mind in shape. So the wandering mind is the very reason for us to meditate. The biggest concern for a beginner to meditation is that he feels bombarded with thoughts. Watkins normalizes this by asking us to treat all thoughts as a part of meditating experience.
He talks of various steps we go through to reach the settled mind. The settled mind where you experience pure bliss,also commonly known as Samadhi or nirvana. He also explains what exactly he means by EASY. He then talks about timing your meditations and how much to meditate for getting the benefits (contrary to what you may be thinking, he just advises twice a day minimum ten minutes and no more than 20)
Chapter 3 talks about the settling sound. This is basically a mantra to settle the busy mind. He claims that the mantra suggested by him is universal and when used correctly can help even the busiest of minds settle fast. It definitely did work for me!
He then defines what exactly to expect from a settled mind and how exactly to use the settling sound. There is a ten minute practice meditation given here. He answers some FAQ,s regarding the settling sound and in the end gives some guidelines on how to know if you were meditating correctly.
In chapter four he talks about the natural tendency of mind to roam and why not to fight it? He suggest not to indulge in thought shaming. He then goes abot explaining what makes your meditation “HARD” and gives a quick review of the technique as suggested by him
After chapter four you can start putting this practice to work. In chapter five he talks about the exchange principle. He stresses that it is important to make a financial exchange in the form of a donation, because then you would be serious about your practice. He suggests if someone is not able to make a financial exchange he or she can think of donating their time to a social cause.
He also talks about how many people after some years tend to move away from meditation. But then the every excuse you make for not being able to meditate has a reason that states why you must meditate.
Chapter six tells that why we must meditate regularly for a period of ninety day to achieve a liftoff and completely integrate meditation into our life. Consistency truly is the key.
Part two of the book “ why we Meditate” talks about the benefits of meditation. In chapter 7 Why it works he tries to make us more aligned with respect to our expectations. It tells us how and why we should not look at the various results from studies and just see the difference we feel in ourselves from since when we started meditating.
Chapter 8 talks about how it helps you sleep better and has examples of real life insomniacs. How meditation can help even people with severe sleep problems sleep much better.
Chapter 9 talks about the benefits of meditation on releasing stress and leading you to a feeling of bliss. It tells how you experience stress being released during meditation. The symptoms that show that body is releasing stress during meditation. He talks about anatomy of stress, the fight or flight tendency and again the chapter has many experiences shared where deep rooted stress was cleared away via a consitent meditation practice.
Also he again talks about how and why not to judge your meditation by the thoughts that haunt you while meditating. Most beautiful take away from here “ How you feel outside of meditation is the best way to track your progress with meditation. The worst way to determine progress is to base it on what you thought about during meditation.”
The next chapter talks about how meditation can also help one get rid of medication. Though he also warns, that until unless advised by the physician we must not stop the medication. The chapter again has examples to inspire and motivate you.
The eleventh chapter talks about cognition developed from meditation. So cognition is a fairly common symptom that you experience by regularly settling your mind in meditation. Initially it seems like luck or coincidence but then eventually you do realise that it is an extraordinary miracle of meditation.
The chapter talks about the most common types of thoughts in meditation. It also talks about hitting a meditation plateau, wherein you feel you are not going as deep as often. He advises to remain patient and consistent with the practice at such time. Again the chapter has examples that will help motivate you and keep going!
Chapter 12 and 13 again talk of benefits derived by people from meditation thus reinstating our faith and desire to meditate.
So while part one will talk about the process and what exactly to expect part 2 will inspire you and motivate you. But once you start putting this book into practice you would have your own experiences to be inspired with. Nevertheless it is a good book to go back to in case of doubts and if you hit a plateau.
If you are just starting your practice and you don’t know where to begin and have no access to a good class, I strongly suggest you take this book as a guide. Also if you have tried meditating in the past and been unhappy with the experience, read this book and give it another shot. You had definitely love it! You may buy the book on amazon here.
I recently wrote an awesome blog to help beginners start a meditation practice. It has lots of insights from this book and many more from my 10 years of daily practice.You may check it out here.
Do share your views about this book if and when you read it. Also do share any other book that your read about meditation and that greatly influenced you. For me this definitely is the Best book on Meditation!