by Linda A. Lavid Full Court Press, 2010 Review by Wendy C. Hamblet on Jan 4th 2011
The little book, 101 Ways to Meditate, makes easy and accessible a simple art, which popular opinion and practitioner conceit often renders complex, esoteric, and/or "flaky"--the art of meditation. Linda Lavid offers more than a hundred approaches to a simple practice that ought to be employed universally, due to its benefits to health, intelligence, creativity, and emotional balance. Meditation is often rejected by prospective practitioners, because they become turned off by the spiritual packaging in which meditation lessons are often garbed. The practices taught in this book are attached to no spiritual tradition, and make no promises regarding ethereal results. They are simple and easy to follow. "Just do it and see what happens" is the message of the book.
In keeping with this message, Lavid offers instruction on 101 various forms of mindfulness practices. The broad variety keeps the practice fresh, where interest might otherwise wane before good habits are ingrained. Lavid also supports building a sound practice regimen by including a 31 day journal in the second half of the book. This is an important benefit for several reasons. For one thing, it speaks to the problem of building and sticking with a meditation regimen, which becomes especially challenging, just when it is most needed--when life grows busy and stressful. If one is going to fall away from practice, it is likely to occur over the first month. Thus, journaling one's daily pattern of meditation activity over the first month of practice helps to reinforce new daily behaviors and overcome the inertia that carries us back to our rat-race lives and away from the centering and grounding that helps us to cope with the stresses. Another key benefit of journaling our meditation progress is that journaling serves one of the most important objectives in meditation, known since ancient times--it helps you to "know thyself." Closing each meditation session with a journaling exercise allows the practitioner to chart her development along the path to meditative skill, and to recognize what methods work best within her life schedule and at what time(s) of day or night.
This little primer on meditation is well worth the low price. Its many suggested forms of mindfulness practice will keep the activity fresh and exciting, while good habits are being developed. By the time the month's journal is completed, the practitioner will be in such good habits and noting such observable benefits that returning to daily practice in any of its forms will not be a chore. This book is a useful addition to the practitioner's library. It would also serve well as a primer for use in teaching meditation to novices.