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How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery [Paperback]

Lawrence Leshan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery 4.5 out of 5 stars (15)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1984
This simple, straightforward yet powerful guide  has ready helped hundreds of thousands of people  reap the greatest rewards of meditation. Lawrence  LeShan's easy-to-follow and realistic approach  allows you to bring meditation effortlessly into your  life, no matter how busy you are, or how great the  demands on your time are. His specific programs  and exercises provide proven, practical tools for  you to begin your journey and explore the many  revealing paths of meditation

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Here is one of the most practical guides to meditation. As a psychotherapist and researcher, Lawrence LeShan is more interested in the process and effects of meditation than the spiritual motivations. To LeShan, meditation means training the mind, and he likens it to physical exercise. Like a good trainer, he breaks down the different kinds of meditation into easy-to-learn steps and offers counsel about the best ways to go about it and the pitfalls you are likely to encounter. LeShan isn't pure vanilla, however. He wrote at a time (the early '70s) when meditation was still considered esoteric and strongly associated with the paranormal. Still, he keeps his feet on the ground and suggests that you do, too. Meditation, he says, helps get a new perspective on the world and to attain "an increased serenity and competence in being." If you are a beginning meditator, this perennial favorite is a good place to start. --Brian Bruya


"If you're just  considering it, How To Meditate is  recommended equipment for the first steps."  --Hank Basayne, Association of Humanistic  Psychology.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINE EXPLORATION OF MEDITATION FORMS & STYLES March 20 2000
LeShan wrote How to Meditate years before the hundreds of popular books presenting easier, more simplistic approaches to meditation. And being a scientist himself, LeShan was compelled to stick to a more clinical, validated -- and thorough -- approach. How to Meditate is an excellent volume for those who've been meditating for a period of time and are interested in expanding into different forms of meditation. LeShan provides sufficient background and helpful lessons for each form. Take note that his approach is not touchy-feely and his writing is borderline austere. This is a slim, but informative book you can refer back to year after year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book June 20 2004
By abt1950
I bought this book in order to have a basic yet comprehensive guide to mediation. I had dabbled a little in the practice over the years and knew the basic breath-counting/mantra technique. But I was looking for additional guidance, having already picked up (and discarded) the "Idiot's Guide to Meditation." For me, that book and others like it spend too much time on details of chakras, postures, and energies. I wanted something broader, something that concentrated on the internal, spiritual aspects of meditation rather than on the specifics of different traditions. All religions have their own schools of meditation, and I wanted commonalities, not New Age cliches. I found what I wanted it in this book.
Leshan, a trained psychotherapist, and researcher presents a concise, comforting, and comprehensive guide to the subject. He's very eclectic in his approach--his sources include Christian mystics, Zen Buddhists, and Hindu yogis. He points out what they all have in common, takes what's useful from each traditiona, and distills them into something that's workable for a beginner. He dispels many of the myths that surround meditation-as-fad in our society and stresses the role of individual discipline. He suggests the general outlines of programs, but leaves the actual choices up to you.
The only problem that I had with this book is probably related to its original date of publication--1973. Back then, meditation was still a "way-out" hippie practice that most people looked upon with suspicion. As a result, Leshan goes to considerable lengths to justify the practice for skeptical Westerners. He does a good job with this, but nowadays those parts of his book are less necessary. Nonetheless, this book retains its value as a classic guide to meditation. For me, at least, it's a keeper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Place To Start For Beginners Dec 6 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I stumbled across this little book in the 1970's and have been recommending and sending it to friends, relatives, and acquaintances ever since. It is what it is: an introduction to meditation for beginners and the curious. It is simple, straight-forward, practical, unpretentious, and easy to read and comprehend. Therefore, it is the perfect starter book. It offers an introduction to a variety of meditative techniques but, rather than advocating any of them, urges readers to experiment with the different techniques until what is most comfortable and/or productive for them. After reading it and determining a favored technique, the reader can move on to something heavier. One of the things I have always liked about LeShan is the fact that, in this book, he acknowledges some of the more (potentially) startling by-products or side-effects of meditation but does not emphasize them. This may be a disadvantage as well as an advantage, but this is an introduction to some meditative techniques, not an encyclopedia of meditative practices.
Anyone interested in exploring meditation should have this book and give it a try. Since it was written there has been considerable research into the benefits of anti-stress practices. The medical community is beginning to catch onto the non-intrusive, non-addictive, non-injurious benefits of meditation as an antidote to stress. Perhaps you should, too. With this book and some practice you can learn to take a chill instead of a pill. And if it does not offer enough for you, at least it provides some direction to finding out what will be.
Read the book. Practice the techniques for a month or two. The benefits from the breathing exercises alone, if you honestly and consistently apply them, will lead you to extoll the virtues of this little, big book that is still influential more than twenty-five years after it was first published.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Short, simple, yet comprehensive Nov. 14 2000
Because I have been recommending HOW TO MEDITATE for many years, it seems appropriate to add it to my reviews on amazon.com. This little book is packed with great advice on meditating, including a variety of techniques, suggestions for overcoming difficulties with them, and background information to meditation in general.
So many books have been written on meditation since LeShan first published this book in 1974 and this is still the best one I've seen to date. No need to pay for a mantra, get sophisticated instruction, or subject yourself to a guru. Settle into silence and yourself with these instructions and discover which one works best for you.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd like to read it because I've heard its a good ...
The condition of the outside of the book was unsatisfactory. I'd like to read it because I've heard its a good book. I haven't yet read it. Looking forward to it though.
Published 6 days ago by kathryn
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and accessible!
Leshan is a scientist who writes like a poet with the wisdom of a mystic and the pragmatism of an athletic coach.
Published on Oct. 18 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, concise, and light on New Age wishiwashiness
As a person interested in experimenting with meditation but reluctant to delve into New Age nonsense, this book is exactly what I wanted. Read more
Published on June 18 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete, thorough, yet clear and easy
If you are initiating yourself in meditation, I think this is a great book for you. It teaches you how to do it, its effects, etc. Read more
Published on March 16 2002 by "olas"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first book on mediation
If you are interested in buying just one book on meditation, this should be it. Very straight-forward, readable, and re-readable. An excellent value.
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by "dlotspei"
5.0 out of 5 stars The best basic training manual on meditation written.
Although Lawrence LeShan has degrees from three universities, he writes with a simple, completely straightforward style. The first section is on the benefits of meditation. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2000 by Adam Khan
3.0 out of 5 stars good but is not deep enough
Leshan has written a book that presents some meditation exercises gathered from the tibetan, christian and other religions. The meditation techniques are valid and they do work. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2000 by louis smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of schools of meditation.
'How to Meditate' was fun to read giving a easy to digest overview of how one goes about meditating. Read more
Published on July 7 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best $5 I've Ever Spent
I wanted to begin practicing meditation again after some years of absence, and wanted a different approach than the Transcendental Meditation I learned in college. Read more
Published on July 2 1998
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