Meditation Now or Never

Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagen.

Book review of Meditation Now or Never

I picked up this book on meditation not sure what to expect. While reading it, I sometimes felt like I know all of this, however, when I sat down to write this book review I realised I had actually learnt quite a bit.

The book is split into three parts – 1. Getting started, 2. From day to day from chapter 11 and 3. For the long run from chapter 27. The chapters are as follows:

  1. It’s about coming back
  2. Why bother with Meditation
  3. Things mistaken for meditation
  4. Sitting on the Earth
  5. Walking on the Earth
  6. What’s your problem?
  7. The three legs of meditation practice
  8. Bringing meditation to life
  9. Bringing your life to meditation
  10. The ins and outs of breath
  11. Constancy
  12. Sitting with others
  13. No judgement
  14. Frog sitting
  15. Stillness in Movement
  16. It’s not about getting things done
  17. It couldn’t be simpler
  18. Zero or 100%
  19. Beyond sitting cross legged
  20. Slowing down
  21. An honest question
  22. Collecting the mind
  23. Sticky sitting
  24. Weather watch
  25. Compassion and candor
  26. What we come to realise
  27. Meditation without doing
  28. Where we lose our way
  29. The colour of meditation
  30. Where to put your energy
  31. At home in the world
  32. Sounding silence
  33. Meditation without gimmicks
  34. no time, place or size
  35. Knowing before you think
  36. Now or never

Books and Apps

It’s a fairly small book and it was quite easy to read. I picked up the book not really sure what to expect from it. I’m not sure if I was looking for some sort of insight or sudden revelation as to how I should do meditation so that it easily fits into my life. I remember pre-kids I used to meditate quite a bit. It made me feel calmer and I also stopped suffering from hay fever.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get back into meditation again. I’ve tried out some apps like Headspace and Calm and I currently enjoy using Calm. Once I start something, I think I want to read and learn as much as I can about it which might be why I chose this book. However, I was also a bit doubtful. How is a book going to help? It’s just a book what do I expect to gain from it?

Well it does have lots of good tips. In the book Steve suggested a few good sitting positions that is comfortable yet still keeps you awake, one of which I have adopted. He also explained how to doing walking meditation and why. Finally it emphasised the point of either doing it now without excuses or not at all – ‘there’s no point doing it half halfheartedly’ comparing it to cooking saying you wouldn’t eat half cooked food if you just didn’t feel like cooking it properly. 

Analogies

Several times throughout the book, Steve said that if the mind wanders off, you just gently bring it back. He said that you shouldn’t go into meditation expecting something. If it happens it’s a good side effect but the whole point of meditation is to just be, even counting your breaths or focusing on breathing even in general should not be done eventually. This idea was compared to a rocket. It’s ok to start off with expectations but as a rocket loses its load to go further up, we too should let go of our expectations to deepen our meditation practice.

Another good analogy was about using a raft to cross the river. Using books – like this one – is the raft that helps you cross the river or helps you to gain a better understanding of meditation. The raft is not meditation leading you to enlightenment as many people have been led to believe.

What is meditation?

One thing that did stand out was the idea that meditation is not escapism or tuning anything out but it is in fact the opposite and is in fact tuning in and facing our problems head on. It’s about being present and living life completely. If anything practising meditation frees us from our insane desire to control ourselves and others.

Meditation can be confused with other types of practices such as relaxation, visualisation and trance. However, in this book Steve focused on the pure meditation or zen practice.

The book also encourages meditating with others, it explains what a sesshin is and also highlights the importance of creating a routine to fit meditation into your life. Generally speaking the book had quite a few interesting points in it but some bits did feel a bit repetitive possibly to emphasise a point.  I’m not sure I want to meditate with others yet but I do want to create a routine and possibly go to a sesshin one day.

You can buy this book using my amazon affiliate link below for which I will receive a small commission for but at no extra cost to you.

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