Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Dan Harris, 2017
Harris and his supporting cast of Jeff Warren and Carlye Adler, have written a useful, funny, and profound book about mindfulness meditation. Built around a 10% Happier tour that ten of them took from coast to coast to generate interest in meditation, the book is filled with nuggets of wisdom, memorable phrases, and practical meditation suggestions and methods. The knowledge that I’ve gained in reading a dozen serious books on meditation (the five hindrances, RAIN, the Four Noble Truths, etc) are all here but are packaged in a more practical, simple, and digestible form. Harris continues to promote the meditation practice that for him, like for me, has smoothed out the inevitable bumps of real life and provided a more steady, stable, and solid core for dealing with himself, others, and life’s challenges. Among the many useful phrases that I’m hoping to keep in mind moving forward are “welcome to the party” as a response to the omnipresent intrusions of to-do lists and random thoughts into one’s daily meditation, the definition of happiness as ‘more of the good stuff and less of the bad”, and ‘we don’t meditate to get better at meditating, we meditate in order to get better at life.” Another interesting comment by Harris is that he tries to read a ‘few pages every day’ of a meditation book in order to keep things front of mind. The importance of ‘self-compassion’ is another important concept as is the mantra of ‘concentration, clarity, equanimity, friendliness, and enjoyment’ and the concept of SURF (stop, understand, relax, freedom) as an approach to managing one’s urges. The book is chock full of these nuggets and is a great place for the beginner to start. Highly recommended.