Book Review: Meditation for Your Life

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Meditation for Your Life by Robert Butera, PhD

Nowadays most everyone has heard of meditation and usually it’s associated with sitting still on the floor cross legged either for minutes or hours. This quintessential meditation image can be intimating to some and thought useless to others. What Meditation for Your Life aims to do is make meditation accessible to everyone by explaining that there are multiple ways to meditate. By observing your own personality type and lifestyle each person needs to discover the way that fits best.

The six meditation types are: Breath, visualization, mantra, devotion or prayer, mindfulness, and contemplative inquiry.

In the first section the author, Robert Butera, goes out of his way to tell you that meditation will not be easy, even when you find your “type”. Likening the experience to a child who plays a sport and loses his first game never wanting to play again; or someone who has undergone a painful breakup and swears off dating; Butera encourages the reader to try try again because the rewards are not immediate, but definitely worth it.

The book is similar in the way that Butera expects you to do some work. He suggests journaling responses to different questions, pertaining to what activities you enjoy, personal stresses, nutrition, etc. He covers all parts of life, explaining how each connects to meditation. While you can read it front to back without doing any of the self-exploration offered, that’s where the real reward comes from. The point is not just to read the book and meditate for 5 minutes out of your day but to begin bringing the meditation mindset into your whole life.

Once you’ve really dived into those depths, Butera starts to explain the different types of meditation practices. For each type he includes a couple different exercises to experiment with and summary questions to ask yourself afterwards. For even though you’ve done all the previous journaling and exploring your lifestyle and personality it comes down to trial and error. There’s no magic formula, no short cut, you just have to do the work.

It’s the same with a yoga practice. We all know the benefits, we’ve heard how it will help our life, and yet sometimes it’s still hard to actually get on the mat. Part of the magic is in the determination, the will power to practice even when it’s challenging, when you’re tired, or sore, or grumpy, when it’d be easier to just go home and watch TV. There’s no short cut, it’s just day in and day out getting on the mat and doing the work. You may not even notice the benefits at first but they’re there.

If you’re interested in starting up a meditation practice or just exploring the different styles feel free to talk to one of our teacher and borrow this book from the studio!

–Gretchen

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