I read this book because I wanted to know the latest on the correlation between meditation and observations of brain science. Hanson covers seven practices: steadying the mind, warming the heart, resting in fullness, being wholeness, receiving nowness, opening to allness, and finding timelessness. He devotes a chapter to each of the practices and includes one or more examples of guided meditation for each practice.
Much of the brain science was beyond my immediate understanding. I felt that information was more academic than I preferred. I appreciated Hanson's stories of his own experiences with the practices as well as other insights. I think the strength of the book is in the guided meditations. I appreciated most the meditation on warming the heart.
Hanson emphasizes the learning process of the brain, that it is in stages. Because of it, we must exercise deliberate practice. A steady mind or awareness of the now will not just happen by accident. Hanson suggests starting with one minute of meditation a day. I found that doable and could immediately sense the benefit.
This is a good book for readers who want to understand how spiritual practices affect the brain. I do think the sample guided meditations are the best aspect of the book. While not considered a “religious” book, many of the principles are from Buddhism. I do feel the meditation principles and practices can be used in other spiritual disciplines.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times bestselling author. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he has spoken and taught worldwide. He and his wife live in northern California and have two adult children.
Harmony, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)