Written by a man with his feet on the ground
This book is a little gem. Very easily and understandably written, and, as can often be the case when the padding and the packaging, the complex whistles, bows and fol de rols are removed – the simplicity at the heart of practice is profound.
Clark Strand must be a profound and experienced meditator of many years standing – it is, I assume his real experience that enables him to convey the rightness and essence of ‘being present’ in such an egalitarian, empowering and modest way.
The book has short chapters, which are intensely practical, and cover most of what a new (or indeed an experienced) meditator might wish to know.
The following is typical of his welcoming approach:
In his observation of the simplicity and truthfulness of the meditator’s experience of his/her own practice, he reminds the reader: “there is nothing you will read herein (in his book) that was not implicit in your first experience of meditation. Even knowing nothing. Even not knowing what to do.”
He reminds us of the naturalness of meditation, and that being able to be fully present is something which is already ours – he points out many circumstances in daily life when we are ‘present’, and that meditation is not ‘the goal’; it is a way to be present:
“The secret of meditation lies in understanding that we all have this innate steadiness and calm and we can access it right away, without obsessively monitoring or telling ourselves what to do”
For me, one of the most profound statements is that the way to be truly present, and certainly the way to approach meditation is to come to the practice (of being present) metaphorically naked – free of the robes and badges of our position or standing i.e. ‘I am an expert in….’ ‘I have ….in the bank’; free of the clothes of our belief systems, our philosophies of life, which while helpful will also, by their nature, impose limits; free of all our affectations of persona and projection into the world; free of impediments to free movement, crutches eg addictions, dependencies; free of all we believe we need to stay alive, ‘our last protection against nothingness’. After that, as Strand says: “What is left? And how different is it from anybody else?”
A final quote, from the justifiably glowing accolades on the back jacket of the book, which really does encapsulate Strand’s book perfectly:
“In poetic simplicity, Clark Strand makes meditation as effortless as breathing, as intimate as a heartbeat, as joyous as a child” (quote by Hugh Prather)
Meditation without Gurus Amazon UK
Meditation without Gurus Amazon USA