Book Review: Susan Piver’s Start Here Now

2015 August 30

starthere

Yes. I know I told you that I had given up reading and reviewing books for a bit. After a few decent ones came my way, I decided to withdraw my ultimatum on book reviewing , but rather be more mindful with the amount of books I was signing myself up for taking on. Would be weird to burn out on reading and reviewing Buddhist books wouldn’t it. Entirely possible, but weird.

So here’s a little glimpse into the latest book from Susan Piver as I hop back in the reviewing saddle.

I’ve been following Susan Piver for some time given I “got my start” with Shambhala meditation and she’s a notable part of their community. She’s also a writer and teacher so I was fortunate to have attended one of her workshops a ways back. I’m drawn to her authentic style and willingness to talk about the shitty stuff like heartbreak and depression. Birds of a feather I guess!

Her latest book is a welcoming introduction to meditation titled Start Here Now: An Open Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation. Yup. The title really does say it all. You won’t find any surprises in here folks. It’s a great book for those who are looking for information on how to develop a meditation practice. For others (including yours truly) who have a few hours under their meditation belts, I see this kind of book as a support for my own efforts to teach meditation. There are also nuggets of wisdom within that helped my own view towards practice and provided a new way of looking at, well something that I have been looking at for some time. There are a million ways to look at a blank wall in meditation, so I’m always up for reading a new take on an old subject!

The book covers quite a bit of ground – from how to start and continue a meditation practice, defining what meditation is – and isn’t, tips for integrating meditation in to daily life, obstacles and antidotes that may occur, the various styles of meditation and suggestions for where to go when you want to go beyond reading about meditation in a book.

It’s an actionable and jargon-free book that offers real-world advice for those who are interested in meditation. I appreciate Susan’s willingness to take on some of the myths and misconceptions that surround meditation as well as her ability to share her own personal experiences with struggle within her life – both on and off the cushion.

Given she’s a trained meditation teacher, this book and the corresponding videos come from someone in the know and who has been at it for years. Like a trusted friend, Susan helps cut the mystery and bullshit around what meditation is and isn’t. I particularly appreciated her chapter on depression and meditation, as it is sadly too rare that this topic is addressed publicly.

I highly recommend Start Here Now for anyone who has been toying with the idea of introducing meditation into their life and needs a clear and concise primer to give them the kick-start they need. It would make a great gift for that friend, lover, family member or colleague who would like to sit down and shut up. And hey, doesn’t the world need a few more badass folks willing to sit in silence with their minds?

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