November 07, 2009
Last updated: March 23, 2010
Top 50 Reviewer - View all my reviews
Are you looking for deeper insight, more peace and happiness in your life, and want to contribute positively to our world? If you are, "Be The Change" may just be the book for you. Deb and Ed Shapiro, authors of fourteen other books on meditation, personal development and social action, have written an inspiring book, skillfully weaving these three topics together with the intention of encouraging readers, through meditation, to become more aware, kind and compassionate: all essential qualities for making the world a better place.
We understand that meditation calms the mind, helps us to be still and to pay attention, and to become more present in the moment. The authors up the ante by suggesting that through practice, we become more deeply connected with who we are, and thus recognize our connection with everyone and everything else in the world. This process fosters greater understanding and compassion, with a two-fold effect: it changes people and their behavior, and therefore, changes the world. "Meditation is naturally extended through generosity, sharing, and serving; the antidotes to selfishness, greed, and desire.”
What makes this book so inspiring and engaging, and different from many other books on meditation, is the Shapiros’ effective use of narratives from more than a hundred people. This makes the format lively, the content more intimate, and the motivation to meditate more compelling. The contributors, including HH the Dalai Lama, celebrities, authors, people suffering from mental and physical ill-health, prison inmates and meditation experts (a contributor’s biography is included), speak candidly about the circumstances that led them to meditate and what positive benefits they get from their practice. Sometimes the narratives do interrupt the flow, but they provide the reader with plenty of material to relate to.
If you have tried to meditate before but lacked the willpower to stick with it, "Be The Change" will motivate you. The book concludes with a variety of meditation techniques, including sounding and moving activities, which can be useful for those who find it difficult to sit still. According to the Shapiros, there is no right or wrong way to meditate: "All we need to do is keep coming back to the breath or practice, be willing to keep going and give it time. Our intent is more important than what happens."