The Best Guide to Meditation by Victor N. Davich

Note: this site is not giving legal advice, simply organizing information from various classes and texts. If you need legal advice consult your lawyer.


After a guided tour of meditation, the book's sections are:

  1. First steps (sections 1-4).
  2. The varieties of meditation practices in Eastern, Western, traditional, and contemporary cultures (sections 5-8).
  3. The meditative life (sections 9-12).
  4. An appendix on deepening your practice.

Interesting features include:

  1. 52 (one per week?) meditation exercises.
  2. Question-answer sections on concerns and problems.
  3. Many insightful quotations
  4. Scenes of students and teachers to illustrate a point.


1. It's Easier than you Think

Roots and definitions of meditation:
"an inexhaustible, continual source of energy, insight, and true wisdom.
... the art of opening to each moment with calm awareness." [p.31]

A meditation exercise (marked by a grey bar in the margin) called "Beyond words" [p.38-39] leads you through a meditation of a timeless memory.

2. Jump into Meditation

The breath in meditation; the object of meditation and meditative practice. Ways of experiencing distractions as an unblocked and unscrutinized stream.

One meditation exercise leads you through counting exhalations [p.56] and another leads you through noting exhalations and inhalations [p.57].

"The goal of meditation is to help you spend as much of your life in the present as possible." [p.31]

3. Bridging Barriers to Meditation

11 misconceptions that keep people from meditating plus these 9 pitfalls of the meditation path:

  1. Spiritual materialism
  2. Pride
  3. Being in a hurry
  4. Guru chasing in a spiritual supermarket
  5. Getting high
  6. Everything is illusion
  7. Everything is fate
  8. Miracle obsession
  9. Sidetrack of signs and portents -- the Occult

and 4 strategies for avoiding them.

  1. Listen to your inner voice, your heart.
  2. Laugh at yourself and at situations, to help keep your balance.
  3. Follow the middle, moderate, balanced way.
  4. Make your own best judgments.

4. Developing your Meditation Practice

  1. Posture for stable, calm, and aware balance and meditation.
  2. Space and time to meditate.
  3. Suggested schedule, starting with 10 minutes once per day for a week, after which add a separated 5-minute period to each day. After consolidation, further additions and consolidations are made.

5. Eastern Meditation Traditions

  1. Hinduism: Yoga; Kundalini.
  2. Buddhism: Zen; Insight; Tibetan.

6. Western Meditation Traditions

  1. Meditative prayer.
  2. Gnostic meditation.
  3. Jewish meditation: the Kabbalah.
  4. Christian meditation: the prayer of Jesus; walking meditation; Gregorian chant; Canonical Hours.
  5. Islamic meditation: Sufism.

7. Meditation among Traditional Peoples

  1. African Meditation.
  2. Native American Meditation.

8. Contemporary Meditation Traditions

  1. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.
  2. Visualization of the positive.
  3. Transcentental meditation.
  4. Edgar Cayce.
  5. The Goddess and Women's spirituality.
  6. Trying different techniques.

9. Meditation in action

Includes being present, Karma Yoga (living life as an act of devoted service), and work-practice (samu) in which we concentrate on what we are doing:

When we work in this way, our work actually gives us energy and peace of mind.

10. Meditative Home

Mindfulness in chores, in intimate relationships.

11. From Pain to Ecstasy

Includes overcoming barriers to happiness, distinguishing between pain and suffering:

Pain has three components: Flavor [sharp, dull, pressure, emotion of anger, fear, sadness, etc.], location and shape, and intensity. ... Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. [p.271]


Suffering = Pain * Resistance to that Pain. [p.263]

Also: relieving pain and stress; and a new way of experiencing happiness:

Scoring points is not happiness. [p.267]

12. Meditation from the Heart -- Lovingkindness and Compassion

  1. The Tonglen meditation from the Tibetan Buddhist practice, to inhale the visualized pain and distress from a loved one and to exhale and send them a clear healing light.
  2. Meditation on sending lovingkindness to a loved one, meditating on phrases of wishes.
  3. The Lighthouse meditation, beaming lovingkindness out over the planet.
  4. Sending lovingkindness to your object of hatred.