One line summary: A non-hippy, non-religious, easy to read introduction to mindfulness and meditation, even for those who have tried before and decided it wasn’t for them
Andy Puddicombe is the brains (and voice) behind the excellent Headspace app, which I have used for a while now. He was brought up in Bristol (UK) and in his 20s lived and trained in monasteries all over the world, eventually leading to him being ordained in Tibetan Buddhism in India. When it comes to experience and training, he is clearly ‘the real deal’.
And yet this book doesn’t contain a whiff of Buddhism. Andy’s strictly sectarian approach aims to bring mindfulness and meditation to the Average Joe, without any joss-sticks, orange robes, prayer beads or sanskrit. And he does a great job.
This book is aimed at everyday people with busy lives, who just want a bit of calm, a bit of perspective, and a way to get a break from the incessant mental chatter. Or in his words, a bit of ‘headspace’.
The tag line ’10 minutes can make the difference’ says a lot about Andy’s approach. The idea is to make the whole thing realistic and do-able for anyone. He explains the benefits behind even very short periods of meditation, with lots of useful tips about how to approach the whole thing, and how to avoid the common pitfalls. No need for sitting in the lotus position (or even cross-legged for that matter) and no need for hour long stretches of meditation at a time.
The book is divided into 3 sections. Part 1, ‘Approach’ helps you to understand the mind and how it behaves, and what it’s likely to do when you attempt to meditate – it’s a very useful section, with lots of reassuring stories from Andy’s own experience. Part 2, ‘Practice’ is the shortest of the three, and describes the simple meditation technique that Headspace listeners will already be familiar with.
Finally, Part 3, ‘Integration’ talks about how to bring the benefits of meditation into everyday life. This is also a very helpful section – after all, most people are meditating in order to have a beneficial effect on their day to day life, and this section gives lots of tips and some everyday mindfulness exercises to help with this important aspect of integration.
This is a small book at just 272 pages, and written in a light, engaging tone. There are plenty of illustrative stories and it never feels dense or heavy. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s new to meditation or mindfulness, or anyone who has tried before and found it too difficult, or couldn’t get to grips to with it.
It’s available at Amazon, here: