3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Mara M. Zimmerman has meditated all throughout her life and has taught meditation and yoga for over 20 years. In her nonfiction book How to Meditate and Why, Zimmerman lays out the basics of meditation and asserts that meditation is beneficial for everyone, even if you meditate for just one minute each day. She covers various types of meditation performed by different religions, but insists that you do not have to believe in a religion to meditate in that way. In fact, meditation can be as little or as much as you want it to be. Although Zimmerman gives readers a few suggestions and ideas for meditation techniques, she does not try to push one technique over another. The entire emphasis of her book is focused on making you, the reader, feel more at home in your body and helping you learn how to be still and connect to the world around you.
I chose to review this book because I'm a very anxious person and I like to always be in control of myself and my surroundings. However, recently I've realized that there are things I'll never have control over, and I have struggled not to let that and other negative events overwhelm me. As good as I am at grasping on to things and keeping my protective walls from crumbling, I'm probably not so good at just letting things go. This is especially true when it comes to my anger and grudges I hold against people that I know are poisoning my mood, but I still feel vindicated for having them because I know that that person is wrong, without a doubt.
I have tried meditation two or three times, only one of those times successfully. In that time, I was able to completely empty my mind using a mental image and lost track of time for almost half an hour...but because I had my eyes closed, I wasn't sure if I had just fallen asleep sitting up or not. That's why I appreciated the methods mentioned in Zimmerman's book. She says that meditation is all about controlling your breathing and improving your posture, because focusing on these things that we take for granted each day will bring us back into the present. Plus, she says that meditating for just one minute each day is enough to have a small effect on our bodies and mental health. I'm all up for that!
Unfortunately, I did find some faults in the book. I prefer to be told explicitly how to do something and why and although Zimmerman's title matches that perfectly, I thought some of her suggestions were vague. I know this is because she wanted to treat all of the methods equally, but I think she could have included a few more examples or suggestions for "getting in the meditative mood." Also, there were plenty of mistakes throughout the admittedly short book, as well as areas that said "Insert picture of ..." instead of the picture itself. I thought this might be because I received a pre-release PDF to review, but the book is already out on Amazon, probably with the same issues.
I'm definitely going to be incorporating some of Zimmerman's suggestions into my everyday life in the hopes of relieving stress and improving my health, posture, and outlook on life. Because of the abovementioned issues with the book, I can only rate it 3 out of 4 stars. However, I would recommend it to anyone who is interesting in meditation but not sure they want to jump right into the deep end from the start. This is the perfect book for people who want to test out the meditation waters but who don't want to change their everyday lifestyle very much, or who have a hard time believing in the mystic and religious stereotypes that are often applied to meditation.
How to Meditate and Why
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like katiesquilts's review? Post a comment saying so!