The subtitle is “How to change your Brain, Mind and Body”, and the authors set out their journey as “close friends and collaborators on the science of mediation since the 1970s”. They are both trained psychologists, moving on to Journalism and Neuroscience respectively, and this is “the book we always wanted to write but could not”.
They set a task of trying to sift through competing claims about meditation, “social media are rife with such claims – and hyperbole ad copy can be enticing. So we offer a clear-eyed view based on hard science, sifting out results that are not nearly as compelling as the claims made for them.”. Alas, in doing so, something gets lost, and I felt at times this was a directional work with a hint of superiority running through it. Objectively I think the authors loose something in only looking at hard science, as if they know the numbers for everything and the value of nothing, taking mediation out of its wider context of mind body practices. An example of this is in the introduction, we meet their mediation classification of levels 1 to 5 and wide and deep classifications – very clinical, perhaps for some daunting, and I feel unnecessarily reductionist.
For sure this is an interesting book, but there’s nothing earth shattering in its content, and for me I can’t say it was a work that held me enthralled.
For someone coming to mediation for the first time and wanting a scientific primer this may be useful, but I think there are better ways to approach practice, and was that are kinder to yourself than the dictatorial hierarchical approach of the authors.