by Dr. Susan G, Shumsky
a review by John Gilbert
Have you ever picked up a book and gotten so engrossed you didn't want to put it down? That doesn't happen to me very often. But Exploring Meditation by Dr. Susan G. Shumsky, published by New Page Books (ISBN 1-56414-562-X) is one of those books.
Now, I'm an experienced meditator. I started using Paramahansa Yogananda's (Autobiography of a Yoga) meditation techniques in early 1955. I've been practicing meditation ever since and I've been teaching it since late 1972. There's not much about meditation I haven't been exposed to in all those years. I'm not saying I know it all, but I think I understand it pretty well.
Just about the time I begin to get these feelings about understanding something pretty well, the Universe taps me on the shoulder and teaches me something new. My most recent tap came through the loving touch of Exploring Meditation by Susan Shumsky. You may wonder how this meditation book for beginners could have a profound effect on an advanced meditation student. The answer is by its profound simplicity.
Exploring Meditation is a beginners manual. Dr. Shumsky explains complex ideas in easy-to-understand language. She doesn't cloud meditation techniques with mystery and speak in incomprehensible ways. She tells her readers how it is and invites them to discover their own truth for themselves. I like this approach to teaching because it empowers students to take control of their own lives rather than making them dependent upon the teacher.
Exploring Meditation is divided into six parts. Part One discusses your Higher Self so you understand better about who and what you really are. Part Two discloses her approach to meditation and gives several sound tips for practicing meditation. Part Three describes several Hatha Yoga postures and breathing exercises. Part Four describes Karma and the concept of reincarnation. Part Five is a short course on developing your intuition and Part Six is a short course on advanced meditation.
Susan was a student for twenty-one years of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who founded Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi was trained in Mantra Meditation. In this form one uses a repetitive sound or group of sounds to occupy the mind so meditation can occur. Mantra Meditation is one of the eight basic schools of eastern meditation. It's like chanting inside your head.
Been there. Done that, and I put off reading Susan's book several weeks because I expected more of the same. Wrong. Susan's developed her own approach which she calls Divine Revelation Meditation. It has nothing to do with mantra. But, as you move inward following her technique, you could use mantra to become centered, peaceful and calm.
I like Dr. Shumsky's approach to meditation. I learned a few things myself. I suggest this book to anybody wanting to explore meditation in his or her life. You can sample the book for yourself by visiting Susan's website and reading the first chapter of this book. Your local bookseller can obtain a copy for you and so can your local library. Give it a try. I think you'll like this book. I did.