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Author Shai Tubali has explored the philosophical and spiritual quest from young age and has been sharing his observations and techniques developed from studies of ancient to modern cultures around the world and how they endeavor to reach the divine in various ways. He has published several books in English, German and Hebrew. He also connects to like-minded people via his teaching and his blog at www.shaitubali.com
Shai Tubali’s latest book published by Llewellyn Publications – Minnesota is called the Complete Book of Meditation.
We extend our thanks to the writer for providing us the review copy and we are happy to share our review of this book with you.
|Book Title||:||Complete Book of Meditation
Llewellyn's Complete Book Series - 17
|Published by||:||Llewellyn Publications ( January 8 2023)|
|# of Pages||:||312 (Paperback) 278; (Kindle EBook)|
|# of Chapters||:||10|
Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.
The cover page of this book is designed with calming and gentle colour scheme. An elegant, beautiful, plant bursting with flowers reminded me of the Bonsai trees that can condense the life essence of a majestic tree in a smaller form.
The Book and What we Thought of It:
Every year, countless books are published with themes of self-motivation, self-improvement and spiritual arena. Ever since the development of human civilisation, there have been numerous questions about who we are and how we get past the noise of the world around us to reach the spiritual fulfilment. As the author mentions in this book, from ancient India to all around the world, there are texts and other forms of art that explore our journey towards the light and one of the oldest used and best known technique for this is: Meditation.
This Complete Book of Meditation provides comprehensive view of many techniques from variety of cultures as well as modern research and school of thoughts to give the reader one reference book. The author starts with the concept of chakras, right at the beginning of the book:
In the first three chapters Shai Tubali, discusses meditation itself – from concept to technique – and how it is an essential requirement for humans, rather than a task.
Meditation is a deep human need, it is a relationship between you and your true self.
Some of my favorite parts of the book are from these chapters as the author shares ideas explaining how we all get lost in the distractions of our complicated lives that lead us to unsatisfactory existence, how we always dream of a life we do not have and put off living the reality for the sake of things which are not part of our reality:
Always be here and now. Do not think too far ahead.
Attachment is the wish that everyone and everything we are attached to will remain unaffected by time, change, sorrow, and illness. Since this wish is practically impossible to fulfill, we enter a state of existential tension.
Our thoughts are actually not special at all. They all consist of the search for increased pleasure and the avoidance of pain; of control over every moment; of comparing every moment to an imagined alternate reality; of eternal dissatisfaction, worry, expanded experiences of danger, and eternal searching. If we look closely into each of our thoughts, we will discover that they all somehow fall into these categories.
And what meditation does is not change the world around us – it changes our perspective. The author elaborates on the purposes and benefits of meditation with insightful thoughts and quotes:
Meditation cannot change your life, but it can definitely change you. Life will remain the some-unsafe place that it is—nothing outside will become any nicer or softer—but these techniques will make it possible for you to build the inner stability to face life’s harsh reality.
But what meditation really does is finally bring us back to real reality, to this life. It reveals to us that in a sense, for most of the day we are in a highly ungrounded state of daydreaming, caught in a perpetual dream about alternate realities even though our eyes are wide open. Meditation rechannels the energy wasted on this daydreaming and returns this precious life force to our body and to our energy system.
And so the reader understands the why of it, and from chapter 4 onwards, the author tells us how. Each chapter is focused on one chakra and some techniques of meditations to improve the energy flow from that particular chakra:
Chapter 4: Root Chakra Meditations: Ground Yourself and Align Your Body and Mind
Chapter 5: Sacral Chakra Meditations: Experience the Joy of Life
Chapter 6: Solar Plexus Chakra Meditations: Build Your Presence and Inner Power
Chapter 7: Heart Chakra Meditations: Open Your Heart to Love and Compassion
Chapter 8: Throat Chakra Meditations: Use the Hidden Powers of Sound
Chapter 9: Brow Chakra Meditations: Open Your Inner Vision
Chapter 10: Crown Chakra Meditations: Connect to Universal Reality
Each of the above chapter carries an introduction to what part that particular Chakra plays in our body and spiritual selves and how we can teach ourselves to open it to its full potential. Then the author shares a few techniques with historical and cultural background and step by step instructions for each. For example, chapter 4 contains techniques of walking meditation, standing meditation, body scan and zazen.
The step-by-stem guidance for each techniques is clear and easy to follow. For example, below is a sample for the technique of walking meditation:
Instead of focusing on the soles of your feet, you can do loving-kindness meditation (see chapter 7) while walking: on each step, focus on the feelings of loving-kindness and think, May all beings be happy, may all beings be at peace, may all beings be free from all suffering (or May I be happy, may I be at peace, may I be free from all suffering).
I loved the widespread cultural and ancient techniques that the author has gathered from ancient and modern India – from the references from Rigveda, Upnishadas, Buddhism and Osho to name a few. From Sri Yantra to Aum chanting to Kirtan kriya for Satnam – all of it explored to help the reader. There are references to the Chinese Tao, Asian Zen, Japanese forest bathing, Hasidic Hitbodedut, Sufi zikr as well as whirling dances and much more. There are also some modern techniques researched and accepted as part of current medical practices – like body scan and positive feelings methods.
As a lot of this techniques are widely known and discussed, how is this book different from other such books? I think it is the author’s views in every chapter that will speak to the modern reader. The author also distils the idea of each chakra in simple words, for example, the solar plexus chakra is about ‘how to be’ or ‘who I am’.
The fundamental activity of the “I” is comparison: internalized voices that compare obsessively, unrealistically expecting us to somehow become not-ourselves—a completely different self. Given the fact that our selves were handed to us as products of the genius of the universe, trying to become a different self makes very little sense, and that’s the source of our pain.
The historical references and notes have been well-researched and there is a bibliography at the end for readers wanting to explore a particular technique in depth, if it works well for them. This book is a good starting point for a reader looking to start their journey in the meditative world and trial a few techniques until they find the one that works for us. The beauty of the compilations is in that it shows how sometimes contradictory seeming techniques can lead you to the same result and same goals. Whether you are seeking yourself or the divine:
Through study of books one seeks God. By meditation one finds Him.
A comprehensive guide to the need for meditation and techniques from around the world that can help the reader begin their journey towards the better life…
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - Complete Book of Meditation by Shai Tubali - Kindle EBook - Amazon IN
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- Buy - Complete Book of Meditation by Shai Tubali - Kindle EBook - Amazon US
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