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Meditation: The Complete Guide

A new edition of this book will be published in November, 2011, with many additional chapters describing the uses of prayer beads, Jewish meditative traditions, taize singing, and many other ways to explore meditation. Additional resources have also been added to the extensive bibliographies, making this an excellent source for the beginning and advanced meditator.

There is no doubt that meditation is good for us. In fact, for Westerners who live in the midst of stress and information and sensory overload, meditation is probably crucial to mental and physical health. Yet for many people it is still a mysterious, esoteric practice. Confusion abounds. Do I need to follow a certain religion in order to meditate? Must I believe in God? Do I have to close my eyes and meditate every day for half an hour in order for it to be effective?

Authors Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor Viereck have done a great service in helping readers understand the many forms and effects of meditation. By dividing the book into nine sections--Shamanism, Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Western Traditions, Creative Meditations, Meditations in Life, and Active Imagination--readers can see the ideology behind the many forms of meditation. Each brief chapter then describes a specific meditation, such as sketching from nature, walking a labyrinth, needlecraft, trance dancing, taking a pilgrimage, and practicing breath awareness. Within every chapter the authors offer specific instructions and suggestions as well as a comprehensive list of resources. Meditation: The Complete Guide is a well-written book that blends comfortable narration with extensive research--a valuable resource for beginners and even old pros. --Gail Hudson