The somewhat longer review: the book is exactly what it sounds like—a guide to meditation practices, written from an entirely secular viewpoint. And it’s hugely welcome. The vast majority of writing, teaching, and other guidance about meditation come from a religious or supernatural perspective. So when humanists want to pursue these practices, we’re given teachings and techniques we mistrust because they’re founded on supernatural assumptions. We understand that the mind is a product of the brain and the rest of the body, and that the mental or physical practices of meditation might affect how we think and feel—but we have to figure out which of these practices have good research supporting them, and which are nonsense or even dogma. We might even be subjected to teachings that denigrate us, telling us that our supernatural soul is the most important part of our being and our lives are hollow if we don’t believe in it. Even supposedly secular teachings about meditation are often rooted in supernatural ideas about “energy” and whatnot.
Thus begins my review of Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy, for The Humanist. To read more, read the rest of the review. Enjoy!