Reviewed by Geraldine Charles
I've had the item "meditate" on my “to do” list for years, on and off, and so it should be as my own mind has damn near driven me crazy on occasion, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. I have a constant committee meeting going on in there and creative work is often the only way I can get any peace! Mostly I just decide I’m too busy to meditate.
So when I saw this book and requested a copy to review, I also decided that the best way to do so would be to follow the suggestions as closely as possible, and report on progress!
As advised, I didn’t want to use the words “try” or “should” or any of a hundred more suggesting obligation, work and failure. So I simply left the book lying around and changed its position from time to time so I wouldn’t get too used to seeing it in one place and having my busy mind ignore it. I quickly realised that under the alarm clock was NOT a good place. Too many negative associations!
I can report that I’ve had some success and am loving the concept of just sliding away from the racing mind, of releasing myself from it, as suggested in the introduction:
“Instead of waiting to control, suppress or eliminate our racing thoughts, we will unhinge, and release from racing thoughts. We won’t change what is racing, but we will strengthen what isn’t racing.”
Much of what Dee Willock suggests seems obvious to me now, and simple common sense. So why did I never think of it? Often the best ideas are like this, impossible until thought of and completely clear once understood:
- Obvious that meditation isn’t to be thought of as work – that’s the mistake. I used to get angry with myself for not being like friends who seem to be able to sit forever, staring holes through walls. But blaming myself and resolving to “try harder” of course set up a loop where the very act of “trying” set me up to fail.
- Obvious that If meditation becomes pleasure, then I will want to do it and not keep forgetting a chore that no-one will care about whether I get around to it – except me.
- Obvious that by forcing myself into a posture that’s just plain uncomfortable, I am going to be keen to get it over with.
The author suggests that instead of associating meditation with a list of “shoulds” we “now look at it as a kind of treasure hunt for the curious”. Sounds good to me. She also suggests ignoring the advice about posture and adopting any that feel comfortable. Lying down is one suggestion, but I tend to fall asleep, but sitting up reasonably straight works for me.
We start easily, deciding NOT to meditate but simply watch our breath – and of course thoughts pop in – and now we watch the thoughts, simply accepting the mind’s activity, and once done, go back to the breath. Don’t “try”. Just be. Easier said than done for me, but while I remain a complete beginner, I have made enough progress to see that I may just succeed, and that, for me, is a minor miracle.
I don’t want to give away too much of the techniques discussed as Dee Willock deserves her book to be bought!
Published by O Books, you can buy this on Amazon as a paperback or for Kindle.
A web designer and all-round computer person, Geraldine is responsible for a number of websites. In her spare time she writes articles and poems, loves researching Goddess in mythology and also produces artwork on her beloved computer. She also runs an online correspondence course called "Getting to know the Goddess".