“The thing is that you don’t have to worry about whether you can fit it in because meditation will bend to fit into your life; it’s that simple.” In Meditation Made Easy (CICO, 2014) Stephanie Brookes shows us how to incorporate simple meditations into our daily life. Beginning and seasoned meditators alike will find effective techniques to stay motivated in their practice. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations drawn in a subtle palette, Stephanie’s inspiring words lead the way to a place of greater ease.
Let’s face it, life gets hectic. If you find yourself at odds with balancing work and personal priorities, you’re not alone. Busy schedules often get in the way of the best-laid plans. “Our routines have to adapt continually to meet the ever-changing demands of our real-life commitments, and it is natural then that our meditation practice has to readjust accordingly—whether you decide on a daily five minutes, fifteen minutes, or simply integrate mindfulness into your lifestyle—use the practice in the way you want and don’t be governed by what the current trend calls for.” Thank you, Stephanie! So where do we begin?
The benefits of meditation are well known, from alleviating stress and anxiety to bringing more clarity to our thoughts and actions. Stephanie starts there and then moves on to the concept of “beginner’s mind”; misconceptions about meditation, mindfulness, and mantra; and meditation basics. The second half, and the heart of the book for me, is the practical information and step-by-step techniques. Here we discover a variety of manageable meditation sessions that fit into even the busiest schedule. Stephanie covers a wide range of situations, such as self-healing, relationships, and balanced living. There is even a section for meditations on the go.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the practices. The beauty of the self-healing meditations is that you can mix and match them depending on your needs and moods. These include:
- Just as you are
- Count the breath
- Body scan
- Inner smile
Meditation also helps us navigate our relationships with more clarity. Here we can discover greater awareness through:
- Mindful listening
- Paired meditation
- Meditation for compassion
Balance, too, is an essential ingredient to leading a fulfilling life. The following exercises support just that:
- Release negative thoughts
- Find your path
- Simplify your life
- Look to the future
- Reach your potential
You can even find meditative moments on the go, wherever you happen to be:
- Washing the dishes
- Outdoor meditation
- Gym meditation
- Mindful shopping
- The mindful commuter
Daily meditation can greatly improve our well-being, yet people often worry that to meditate correctly they must invest a tremendous amount of time in uncomfortable positions. “The long-suffering meditator should take a much-needed exhale when I suggest that meditation need not take hours of your day. Meditation should not make you feel like a martyr, but rather be a practice you can use whichever way you feel appropriate.” I appreciate what Stephanie calls her “soft-core” approach, named so because these shorter, bite-sized bursts of meditation bring the practice very gently into our daily lives.
Meditation Made Easy reminds us that meditation is not a one-size-fits-all practice. With Stephanie’s knowledgeable and engaging guidance you will be able to create a routine to fit your own personal lifestyle. Keep it simple and flourish on the path to inner peace.
“Meditation has a habit of coming in and out of fashion, but what remains true is that the practice works because it is essentially about cultivating a better understanding of who we are in the here and now. As the world continues to speed up, meditation keeps us grounded in the present, the only place we can ever truly ‘be.’” I couldn’t agree more.