If, like me, you are one of those people sold on the benefits of regular meditation but who really struggle either to commit wholeheartedly to the practice; or who are confused by a lack of ability to attain the expected results that many meditation teachers suggest we should have, may be interested in The Meditators’s Dilemma by Bill Morgan.
Morgan is a clinical psychologist with forty years of experience practicing and teaching meditation. He is also a founding board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy.
Here, quite evidently, is someone who knows a little about the art of meditation along with some of its attendent issues and problems!
Confronting the Challenges
In reading his book it becomes clear from the offset that Morgan accepts the immense difficulties that many in the West experience when trying to practice meditation and mindfulness on a daily basis.
He suggests that many of the obstacles that we experience present themselves simply due to the application of incorrect techniques or through simply making the wrong approach to the practice.
Morgan readily admits that many of these obstacles occur simply because there are fumdemental differences between the Western mind and that of the East.
In his book the author cites several examples of how our inherent mode of consciousness – one that is so attuned towards thinking, actually works against us as we struggle to integrate the essential premise upon which meditation is built.
Another primary problem that he reveals deals with our approach to our own sense of Self here in the West and explains how this so often flies in the face of core Buddhist thinking.
In fact, Morgan catalogs no less than seven primary distinctions between the Western and Eastern mindsets – all of which fundamentally oppose the core features of meditation practice.
Rather than focussing solely upon trying to force those with a Western mindset to struggle with their meditation work the author presents a number of different adjustments that can be made when approaching meditation and mindfulness practice.
In places he likens the approach needed for successful meditation practice to that of the singularly Western fascination with psychotherapy.
In addition he also interweaves ideas related to self-nurturance, relaxated posture, self-play, fun, passion, wonder and gratitude – all of which enable a Westerner to prepare for a meditation session.
Whilst many of these are not generally associated with meditation they do form part of what Morgan refers to as the necessary shift in consciousness that can lead to successful and consistent meditation practice.
Our Review of ‘The Meditators’ Dilemma’ by Bill Morgan
Given the sheer difficulties that present themselves to meditation novices it is perhaps somewhat surprising that this essential Eastern practice has become as popular as it has here in the West.
Furthermore, up until this point anyway, there has been an absolute dearth of helpful advice for those who want to meditate and yet who find it either a tiresome bore or that it imposes negatively on their busy lives.
With The Meditator’s Dilemma many of those obstacles are openly admitted, examined and resolved. It is because of this that I consider the book to be perhaps one of the most important resources that anyone working with meditation practices can possibly read.
Crammed with helpful advice, invaluable insights and some great practical exercises this is a publication of tremendous qualities.
In addition the issues that the author brings to the open when trawling over meditation with a fine-tooth comb also happen to be important philosophical ones which also makes The Meditator’s Dilemma a thought-provoking and challenging publication in its own right.
So, by way of summarising the importance of Morgan’s highly impressive work I would add that it has to be one of those rare ‘must-buys‘ – a book of such value that it transcends others in its genre.
And by way of an additional comment I would add that not only is this a vitally important work for meditators but I would also keenly recommend it to anyone who is active in any form of practical spirituality; including those who are working in the fields of magick, visualisation, remote-healing or any form of inner-plane work.