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This being the first book on meditation for me and I could not have stumbled upon a better one considering my preference for a introductory, secular, rational and most importantly comprehensive overview on Meditation. My compliments to the author for the brevity and lucidness in the writing- it was fun...finally thanx for the extensive bibliography.
Practical meditation is one of the comprehensive and best book on meditation. It has information on what is meditation, how to set up a practice, different techniques of meditation, methods to deepen the practice etc. I recommend this for anyone looking for a good meditation guide book.
After reading Giovanni;s newsletters and teachings, I bought this book and I'm so happy to share that it is the best book on Meditation to practice Meditation and live a calm, centered and focused life. Highly Recommended!
I have about 300 hours of seated meditation practice, so am not exactly a beginner, but I am always looking for ways to solidify my understanding of what meditation actually is, and what it isn't. I have also been looking for a good book to recommend to friends interested in starting a practice. This book is the best one i've found so far for that purpose, with the right combination of easy-on-the-eye graphics and good advice, pared down to the bone - there's no fluff in this book, and although it may have the look and feel of a surface-level introductory book, there is actually much more depth than initially apparent. The most helpful and interesting part for me is the section on 39 meditation techniques spread out across the major traditions including modern secular practices. I feel this would have taken me a long time to collate something like this as an individual searching through books and the internet, and there are a good few in there that I was drawn to and will try in my practice (I have worked solely on concentration practices up 'til now).
Giovanni doesn't really go into his personal story and experience much, but I know from reading his blog that he is a very deep thinker and a true expert in the art of meditation (I think he has around 8-9000 hours formal practice in a variety of techniques, and has had deep insight experiences), not just another person jumping on the ever-growing bandwagon of selling anything to do with meditation. I highly recommend it for beginners all the way through to those with hundreds of hours of practice under their belts.
I bought the book as I was following a meditation course with Giovanni Dienstmann, the book author. He is a very prepared, patient and involved teacher - always ready and encouraging the learner to give his feedback and to take part in discussions with him and within the online peer-support community. You can follow one of his online courses, just search his name online. On his courses, he will guide you on a daily step by step introduction to different types of meditation, (allowing each new meditation type at least a week to get to 'know' deeply enough). By the end of it all, you will probably have found the one for you. Giovanni can start at the very basics, if you are new to the subject and not expect you to do more than 2 minutes on the first day, and an extra minute if you feel ready for it the next day till a maximum of 20+ min/day. There are also zoom meetings on different subject about twice a month, where again you can, if you want, take part in the discussion and suggest further topics. You can also try some of his guided meditations and listen to many of his lessons free on YouTube. This book is again an easy to read and to follow guide to meditation. It is not a thickly written book, but it is full of pictures and 'diagrams' to help you understand and retain concept better, particularly if you are like me a visual learner (most people are so). G. Dienstmann wants to reach as many people as possible with his teaching, which have brought and are still bringing deep changes to his life for the past 30 years. I know he is a genuine persons for many other reasons, but this is not the forum for talking about this. Meditation is not just done sitting down!
The reasons to meditate can be various: to calm down, to become more self aware, to improve your focus.. I have been practising Vipassana meditation for 2 years, which has helped me to be more mindful of my thoughts and behaviour, but also I agree with the author that it is not the best for relaxation. There are other meditations, love kindness for example: very useful to grow feelings of love and compassion towards yourself and others and combat insomnia, or to improve concentration, like trataka or 3rd eye. So plenty to choose and decide which meditation suits you best!
It is not a step by step guide. It is wide-ranging and broad-brush for what that is worth. It must have required much research. The author should have devoted most of the book to whatever method helped him best. All the methods seem to require a lot of effort except the mantra one, which Transcendental Meditation teaches so well, for a fee. TM has helped me and I have been practising it on and off for 38 years.