The Meditative Mind

Book Review:

The Meditative Mind The Varieties of Meditative Experience

by Daniel Goleman

Goleman has written for the NY Times, was former Senior Editor at Phsychology Today and taught at Harvard.  This book is the best survey I have found so far describing meditation and how it is taught in various religions.  He also has a depth chart of the jhanas showing you what can happen as you go deeper into meditation.  He does a short survey of Hindu Bhakti, Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Hesychasm, Sufism, TM, Patanjali’s Yoga and a few others.   I have purchased several used copies of this book and its available to church members if you would like to have a look at it.   He quotes Thomas Merton as saying that what is practiced as “prayer” in Christian churches is but one- albeit the surviving one- of a range of more intensive contemplative practices.  The Desert Fathers meditated with verbal or silent repetition of a single phrase from Scripture, a Christian equivalent of mantra. The most popular prayer was the prayer of the publican, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”  In its short form, Kyrie eleison.


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