Meditation Made Easy
Meditation Made Easy Meditation Made Easy

Meditation Made Easy by Preston Bentley

Meditation actually isn’t that hard. It does require effort. And time.

Books on meditation tend to take one of two paths. One path focuses on scientific research into the benefits of meditation and “mindfulness”. The other concentrates on the spiritual nature of meditation, which is generally associated with Eastern religions such as Buddhism.

Preston Bentley, author of Meditation Made Easy (subtitle: “More Than 50 Exercises For Peace, Relaxation & Mindfulness”) veers from those paths at the start. He defines the practice of meditation somewhat differently in a brief opening, then moves briskly to the fifty exercises in the title. In the author’s view, individuals may be meditating actively and not be aware of it. He sees meditation in everyday activities such as physically demanding activities like distance running or carrying heavy loads, or in breastfeeding. In his view, because the breastfeeding mother may be fully engaged in the moment, noticing sights, sounds and sensations, she is mindful. Similarly, the distance runner may be noticing how each muscle feels, how his feet are handling the repetitive pounding from the pavement, and in touch with breathing, in other words again, mindful of his circumstance and condition.

As one begins to learn meditation by practice, focus on breathing and breath control are the opening steps, followed by techniques to control the inevitable stray thoughts that zip into one’s consciousness. While Mr. Bentley delves into that, it is rather brief at the beginning but more expansively later in the text. Rather, the author catalogs 50 different meditations. Those are combinations of short and long meditations, concentrations on a specific thought, and yoga poses. The yoga poses aren’t the most challenging and therefore suitable for most readers.

The final section of the book does go into mindfulness, and some explanation of the potential benefits of mindfulness, meditation and yoga that authors frequently present first. His definition of meditation presented in this section is a good one: “In its simplest terms, meditation is a quieting of the mind.” I agree with that view. We are assaulted minute-by-minute by social media, news, background noise, and more importantly, from the cascade of thoughts about what must be done next, what we are now late in getting done, what we forgot to do, and how someone hurt our feelings or was rude to us. Learning the ability to turn that off and let the mind clear creates new mental power.

Mr. Bentley introduces a new concept (to me anyway) “gray space,” i.e. a mental state between meditation and intentional thought, which he views as a critical addition to mindfulness.

Before any book is offered on Big Brain Place, one of the owners has to have read and endorsed it. This is a reliable user manual to help one get started with meditation, and offers some different concepts for short meditations for the practitioner used to silent, fifteen minute or more sessions.