Last Summer I devoured this book .. How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness .. by Jan Chozen Bays .. so of course I have to include this one in my absolute favourite book list.
I started writing my Monday Meditation Musings newsletter many years ago with the SAME INTENTION as this book .. seeking to promote mindfulness in our daily life practices.
The wonder of this book is that it provides a very clear, wise and simple guide to building your mindfulness 'muscle' through a series of 53 exercises. The suggestion is that you take one exercise as your dedicated practice for a full week .. before trying another .. then another .. slowly bringing mindfulness into your daily life.
Jan Chozen Bays, MD, is a Zen master in the White Plum lineage of the late master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She serves as a priest and teacher at the Jizo Mountain–Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, and she is also a pediatrician.
Each chapter in the book presents a new exercise, such as: taking three deep breaths before answering the phone, noticing and adjusting your posture throughout the day, eating mindfully, and using your non-dominant hand (which I wrote further about HERE) .. providing a short description for each exercise along with some of the philosophical background, observations from others who have practiced the exercise, and a deeper interpretation .. what does the exercise really mean?
While the presentation and text are simple to understand .. as with all meditation, it is remembering the practice and doing the practice that is more complex, so there are even some suggestions on how to remember the exercise each day.. alas then its up to you 'to do'. *This is the intention of the Monday Meditation Musing, to arrive each Monday morning as a reminder (a gentle whisper) to continue to explore and 'practice' your meditation.
My favourite reads can be found on the Favourite Reading List which includes:
Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation
Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)