Yesterday I finally released my new meditation guide, via email, to the early-bird crowd. Feedback has been awesome again. Thank you everyone — I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.
So today, Making Things Clear: A Brief Guide For People Who Think Meditation is Hard is available to everybody else. Some of you have been waiting for this guide and already know what it’s about. If so, you can get it here.
For those who don’t know, Making Things Clear is a non-denominational, no-experience-necessary guide to meditation. It spells everything out in simple terms, with no spiritual pretensions. It’s meant for those who are new to meditation, or who aren’t but still resist doing it on a regular basis.
I’ve been singing the praises of meditation since I started this blog, and I know some of you do it regularly. I believe it’s one of the most versatile, universally beneficial activities human beings have discovered so far. Even our science community has gotten over its skepticism about meditation’s benefits.
A lot of the upsides of meditation are still totally unsung though. Last month I shared a post in which I stressed one of the biggest ones for me: the freedom expanding effect of regular meditation. Fewer parts of life seem off-limits, because you’re learning how to experience what happens openly, without recoiling from it. You get better at being at ease in less-than-appealing situations, freeing you to take the best course of action without freaking out so easily.
You might remember this easy-going stick man and his improved life path:
From last month’s post:
“In real life terms, this means it becomes a conspicuously simpler matter to pick up the dumbbells when you’re feeling lazy, to broach a sensitive subject instead of avoiding it, to save instead of spend, to get up when you planned instead of lingering in bed, to show up instead of canceling. It gives you an increasing sense of freedom to leave your normal comfort zones, and to live outside of the crowded, picked-over realm of the low-hanging fruit.”
Yet with all the praise and respect our culture has expressed for this practice, for the most part it’s waiting in the barn unused. People frequently dismiss meditation as “not for me”, even people who have actually done some experimenting with it.
This reluctance is really common, and I think it’s mostly due to how meditation is typically presented: foreign, religious, abstract and difficult.
I wrote this guide to address that problem. Most meditation books embrace one tradition or another, along with the customary dry language, lotus imagery and long-windedness. My aim was to explain clearly what meditation is and how to do it, but most importantly, dispel the falsehood that it is intrinsically difficult.
It’s not. This myth is based on the simple misunderstanding that to meditate is to stay focused on the breath, and that if you have trouble doing that, you are having trouble meditating. This makes people think trying to meditate is like trying to balance a coin on a needle — it’s close to impossible, and they don’t have a lot of fun trying.
This is a tragic misunderstanding of the practice. No wonder people aren’t interested. Meditation should be approached with a relaxed, easygoing attitude. Losing track of the breath isn’t any kind of problem, or failure, or interruption. It’s totally okay and totally expected, and contributes to the benefit of the practice as much as any other part of it. And there’s much more to be experienced in meditation than just the breath.
Anyway, all of this is in the guide, along with everything else you need to know to get from “What the hell is meditation?” to establishing a fruitful, regular practice.
Making Things Clear is shorter and more direct in its approach than its predecessor, You Are Here: A Modern Person’s Guide to Living in the Present Moment. The focus of You Are Here is on developing small, mindful habits throughout your day, to make life calmer, simpler and more fun. Meditation and mindful living complement each other very well — each makes the other easier, and amplifies its benefits.
Making Things Clear is going for $15 until the end of the week. You Are Here is normally $27, but if you want to pick up both at the same time it’s only $35 all together.
- The PDF version of the guide(s)
- mobi and epub versions for Kindle, Kobo and other e-readers
- Future editions of the guides, including the revised and expanded edition of You Are Here, with the supplemental section Mindfulness for Becoming Fit
Thanks so much for your support, and I hope you enjoy the guides.
Photo by Joe del Tufo