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How to Meditate : A Guide to Self-Discovery
by Lawrence LeShan [edit]

How to Meditate : A Guide to Self-Discovery
********* 9 Stars!
Price: US$ 8.76, Available worldwide on
Check Availability from: Canada or from United Kingdom
ISBN: 0316880620


Editorial Reviews
Meditation "is an ageless human experience that has been discovered and explored and used in every period and every culture that we know about," writes Lawrence LeShan, a psychotherapist and scholar. LeShan discusses the psychological and physiological effects of meditation, why meditation has these effects, and different types (or "paths") of meditation. To get the feel of it, he suggests starting with 15 minutes of breath counting--harder than it sounds. "The road of meditation is not an easy one," says LeShan. "The first shock of surprise comes when we realize how undisciplined our mind really is; how it refuses to do the bidding of our will." He gives detailed instructions for several meditations of different types and guidelines for choosing a program and a teacher. This is not a snappy "five minutes to perfect meditations" or a promise of "read this book, achieve instant peace." Rather, How to Meditate is a serious, thoughtful book. "In this most serious area--inner development--we are interested in evolution, which is stable, rather than revolution, which is not," says LeShan. You will see changes, he promises, but gradually. This is the new edition of the classic that has been teaching people to meditate since 1974. How wonderful that How to Meditate has been reissued, giving another generation the benefit of LeShan's work and guidance. --Joan Price

From AudioFile
This title was written in the '70s and first published in audio in 1987. This new edition combines the best of the original recording by Lawrence LeShan with clarifying comments from Paul Michael, who serves as a thoughtful guide. The result creates a marvelous balance between the expressive voice of Dr. LeShan and that of the more objective but equally warm host-narrator. This is an exceptionally practical and natural description of the meditative life, and it's so accessible that it takes all of the mystique and weirdness out of the learning experience. To get closer to yourself and to slow down the buzz and clamor of your struggles, whatever they are, this is a gentle and inviting place to start. T.W. AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Examines the benefits of meditation and explains both structured and unstructured methods for gaining greater spiritual awareness.

Popular author and inspirational guide LeShan explains and demonstrates four distinctly different forms of meditation, with instruction in the development of personalized meditation. 32-page guidebook and cassette. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher
This simple, straightforward yet powerful guide has ready helped hundreds of thousands of people reap the greatest rewards of meditation. Lawrence LeShan's easy-to-follow and realistic approach allows you to bring meditation effortlessly into your life, no matter how busy you are, or how great the demands on your time are. His specific programs and exercises provide proven, practical tools for you to begin your journey and explore the many revealing paths of meditation

"If you're just considering it, How To Meditate is recommended equipment for the first steps." --Hank Basayne, Association of Humanistic Psychology. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover
"If you're just considering it, How To Meditate is recommended equipment for the first steps." --Hank Basayne, Association of Humanistic Psychology. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author
"Lawrence LeShan, a pioneer in exploring the therapeutic and ethical implications of meditation, is a practicing psychotherapist. He lives in New York City."

Book Description
"This simple, straightforward, yet powerful guide can help you-just as it has already helped hundreds of thousands of readers since its initial publication twenty-five years ago-reap the profound rewards of meditation. Outlining an easy-to-follow and realistic approach that enables you to bring meditation effortlessly into your life, no matter how great the demands on your time, How to Meditate is an unrivaled source of inspiration and practical instruction for anyone seeking inner peace, relief from stress, and increased self-knowledge."

The Place To Start For Beginners, December 6, 2001
Reviewer: A reader

I stumbled across this little book in the 1970's and have been recommending and sending it to friends, relatives, and acquaintances ever since. It is what it is: an introduction to meditation for beginners and the curious. It is simple, straight-forward, practical, unpretentious, and easy to read and comprehend. Therefore, it is the perfect starter book. It offers an introduction to a variety of meditative techniques but, rather than advocating any of them, urges readers to experiment with the different techniques until what is most comfortable and/or productive for them. After reading it and determining a favored technique, the reader can move on to something heavier. One of the things I have always liked about LeShan is the fact that, in this book, he acknowledges some of the more (potentially) startling by-products or side-effects of meditation but does not emphasize them. This may be a disadvantage as well as an advantage, but this is an introduction to some meditative techniques, not an encyclopedia of meditative practices.

Anyone interested in exploring meditation should have this book and give it a try. Since it was written there has been considerable research into the benefits of anti-stress practices. The medical community is beginning to catch onto the non-intrusive, non-addictive, non-injurious benefits of meditation as an antidote to stress. Perhaps you should, too. With this book and some practice you can learn to take a chill instead of a pill. And if it does not offer enough for you, at least it provides some direction to finding out what will be.

Read the book. Practice the techniques for a month or two. The benefits from the breathing exercises alone, if you honestly and consistently apply them, will lead you to extoll the virtues of this little, big book that is still influential more than twenty-five years after it was first published.

Short, simple, yet comprehensive, November 14, 2000
Reviewer: Joan Mazza (Fort Lauderdale, FL USA) - See all my reviews

Because I have been recommending HOW TO MEDITATE for many years, it seems appropriate to add it to my reviews on This little book is packed with great advice on meditating, including a variety of techniques, suggestions for overcoming difficulties with them, and background information to meditation in general.

So many books have been written on meditation since LeShan first published this book in 1974 and this is still the best one I've seen to date. No need to pay for a mantra, get sophisticated instruction, or subject yourself to a guru. Settle into silence and yourself with these instructions and discover which one works best for you.


A gem of a book, June 20, 2004
Reviewer: abt1950 "abt1950" (usa) - See all my reviews

I bought this book in order to have a basic yet comprehensive guide to mediation. I had dabbled a little in the practice over the years and knew the basic breath-counting/mantra technique. But I was looking for additional guidance, having already picked up (and discarded) the "Idiot's Guide to Meditation." For me, that book and others like it spend too much time on details of chakras, postures, and energies. I wanted something broader, something that concentrated on the internal, spiritual aspects of meditation rather than on the specifics of different traditions. All religions have their own schools of meditation, and I wanted commonalities, not New Age cliches. I found what I wanted it in this book.

Leshan, a trained psychotherapist, and researcher presents a concise, comforting, and comprehensive guide to the subject. He's very eclectic in his approach--his sources include Christian mystics, Zen Buddhists, and Hindu yogis. He points out what they all have in common, takes what's useful from each traditiona, and distills them into something that's workable for a beginner. He dispels many of the myths that surround meditation-as-fad in our society and stresses the role of individual discipline. He suggests the general outlines of programs, but leaves the actual choices up to you.

The only problem that I had with this book is probably related to its original date of publication--1973. Back then, meditation was still a "way-out" hippie practice that most people looked upon with suspicion. As a result, Leshan goes to considerable lengths to justify the practice for skeptical Westerners. He does a good job with this, but nowadays those parts of his book are less necessary. Nonetheless, this book retains its value as a classic guide to meditation. For me, at least, it's a keeper.

Brilliant and accessible!, October 18, 2003
Reviewer: A reader

Leshan is a scientist who writes like a poet with the wisdom of a mystic and the pragmatism of an athletic coach.

Informative, concise, and light on New Age wishiwashiness, June 19, 2003
Reviewer: A reader (Portland, OR United States)

As a person interested in experimenting with meditation but reluctant to delve into New Age nonsense, this book is exactly what I wanted. It's loaded with detailed, concrete information and short on vague proclaimations.

Complete, thorough, yet clear and easy, March 17, 2002
Reviewer: "olas" (Costa Rica) - See all my reviews

If you are initiating yourself in meditation, I think this is a great book for you. It teaches you how to do it, its effects, etc. I found the chapter "Integration of Psychotherapy and Meditation" very interesting, and the breathing meditations very helpful and relaxing.

Lawrence LeShan (Biography)

From Library Journal
LeShan, noted therapist and popular author of books on the mind/body connection, including You Can Fight For Your Life: Emotional Factors in the Treatment of Cancer ( LJ 4/15/77), offers further advice for people dealing with cancer. Writing from an inspiring, holistic-oriented perspective, LeShan says that the crisis of cancer offers many positive possibilities for the sufferer--healing, a new life, a peaceful death, the unlocking of inner resources, and the uncovering of hidden self-knowledge. He also gives practical counsel on dealing with hospital stays and practicing meditation, and discusses the human need for a meaningful death. Recommended for public libraries with holistic health or New Age interest.
- Judith Eannarino, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.

Widely considered the father of mind-body therapy, LeShan has spent more than 35 years working with cancer patients. In this book, he presents 29 exercises that involving reflection, discussion and writing that are designed to help cancer patients define their goals and questions and come to terms with their fears. 

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