Pema Chodron’s “How to Meditate” — A Minor Classic?

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photo by Aravind Jose T (creative commons)

Here’s a review of How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind I wrote a couple years ago. What I like so much about the book is that, beyond being a competent how-to manual, it addresses the difficulties — many of them emotional — that meditators often face:

Recommended. I have read quite a few meditation books and this is one of the better ones, for sure. The key is the subtitle — because really only section one is devoted to the technique of meditation. After that this book rather artfully addresses various difficulties meditators face — whether it be the ceaseless wandering of the mind, the surge of unpleasant emotions, the discomfort of crossed legs.

The book is actually more like a handbook of psychological difficulties one might encounter during meditation, and some very handy suggestions as to how one might deal with them. It’s interesting to me that Chodron studied under Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I believe it was he that said Buddhism would come to the West as a psychology.

The writing is fresh and direct and mostly steers clear of jargon. She writes about meditation in ways that are just different enough from other things I’ve read that I found myself underlining quite a lot in the book. Many of her book covers note that she is the author of “Things Fall Apart” — perhaps one day they’ll note that she’s the author of How to Meditate. She might just have a minor classic on her hands

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kaleachapmanpsyd

Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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