Dean Sluyter offers a skilled meditation guide in his new book, Natural Meditation

by Dean Sluyter

Jeremy Tarcher/Penguin

Dean Sluyter is in the grand tradition of authors who interpret traditional enlightenment teachings and apply them to modern Western life. In his latest book, Natural Meditation, he certainly accomplishes that task with a rare combination of insight, clarity, wit, and pragmatic common sense.

Can you learn to meditate effectively from a book? That’s an open question. But if any book can do the job of a skilled meditation guide, it’s this one. Sluyter knows as much about clear, concise, captivating prose as he does about the nuances of meditation. That rare combination makes Natural Meditation as enjoyable as it is useful.

We’ve come a long way from the days when meditating marked you as weird. Now, physicians recommend it, and no one blinks if you’re late for dinner because you were meditating. But misconceptions remain. One is that all meditation practices are the same. Another is that it’s difficult; as in, “I tried to meditate, but it’s so hard” and, “I’m not good at it.” Sluyter is here to tell you it was hard because you tried, and there’s no such thing as being good at it. The key words in his title are “natural” and “effortless.”

Meditation, he asserts, can be as natural and effortless as a leaf floating to the ground. The mind wants to settle down. Sluyter shows you how to allow it.

Reviewed by Phil Goldberg, the author of numerous books including American Veda. Phil is one of the featured speakers at the June Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research.