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Back in 1968, after a friend gave me a few basic instructions on how to begin meditating, it wasn't long before I realized that I was seriously in need of more information on the subject; thus began for me a lifelong informal investigation into the planet's numerous meditation traditions.

Because I'm a practical person (and one for whom "because I said so" has never been enough of an answer), I soon discovered that it was important for me to examine the "why" behind those traditions—the physiology, psychology and purpose of sitting in meditation; its relationship between physical and mental experience; therelationship of each meditation technique to the spiritual tradition which taught it; the relationship of meditation to "real life."

Along the way, I encountered some remarkable teachers and writings, and every time I found a tidbit of learning (whether from actual experience, from the words or actions of a teacher or from a specific text) which created an "aha!" moment of clarity and discovery for me, I made a note of it to share and compare with other meditators. What I've put into this book is the cream of those practical suggestions, useful quotes, clarifying metaphors and relevant bits of scientific information—things which have not only helped me stick to a meditation practice through thick and thin for over 30 years, but have shown me (and others) the way to real moments of understanding. This is the book I wish someone had given me all those years ago!

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