Book Review: Be The Change

June 1st, 2010

(This review, written by me, was originally published on another blog in January, and I’m sharing it here since I really like this book, and  I agree with the authors: Meditation can make us more kind. That kindness can extend to the earth, which needs some love!)

Meditation has a lot to do with everything. Or it can, if you let it. People practice meditation for many different reasons. Some of the health reasons noted for meditating include helping to conquer anxiety, stress, depression and pain. For some, meditation is part of religious practice.

Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be The Change, contend that meditation can do so much more: It can open the door to loving kindness, to helping each other, to getting outside the world our minds have made for us to find reality.

By using meditation, we can learn to see others in a different light and be more open to helping them, instead of focusing on our own stories.

Does that sound deep?

It is deep. After all, a forward for Be the Change was written by HH The Dalai Lama. The book contains what I’m calling “thought excerpts” from more than 100 meditation practitioners from many different walks of life.

The contributions could also be called mini stories. You’ve heard of some of the contributors (Jane Fonda, Ed Begley, Jr.), but you can read more about any of them in the contributor bios in the back of the book. The contributors explain how meditation has profoundly touched their lives.

The thought excerpts are interspersed with text from Deb and Ed, a married couple dedicated to meditation. They’ve written more than 16 books on personal development, social action and meditation. They’re also corporate consultants, bringing peace to stressed execs.

So, does this book teach you how to meditate?

Yes, in a way. And it does a bit more than that. For much of the book, the authors and contributors explain what meditation is and what it can do. That may sound boring, but it’s not.

The final section of the book focuses more on actual meditation practices. You won’t learn how to meditate just by reading the book. You’ll have to practice what you’ve learned.

As HH The Dalai Lama said in his forward, “Treat this book as you would a cookery book. You wouldn’t merely read recipes with approval, you’d try them out. … Like cookery, meditation only makes sense if you put it into effect.”

I recommend Be The Change for anyone wanting to explore meditation, or for anyone just looking to become a kinder person and make a difference in this world.

(Disclosure: I received a courtesy copy of the book for review.)

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