Anxiety. Sadness. Stress.
These are three things that we all fight to varying degrees. We have all known moments of anxiety. We have all been sad. We have all been stressed. But thanks to healing practices like yoga and meditation, we don’t need to be anxious. We don’t need to be sad. We don’t need to be stressed.
This is the underlying principle of Joy Rains‘ book Meditation Illuminated.
Joy has grappled with anxiety as long as she can remember. When she was a child her father called her “Miss What If” because of her constant worrying (something I can empathise with). In her late 20s Joy began yearning for peace of mind, and started looking at meditation as a path to this peace. Joy has now been meditating for about 30 years. Through the decades she has learned how to focus on breath and how to steady her mind. Meditation Illuminated is a framework for those who wish to achieve the same steadiness, the same peace, and the same freedom from anxiety.
“It took me years to understand what meditation was about and how to meditate,” Joy told me, “so I wanted to offer others the simple explanations that I longed for when I was a beginner.”
While Joy was influenced by spiritual teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh, Mata Amritanandamayi, Paramhansa Yogananda, Eknath Easwaran, and Tilden Edwards, she keeps Meditation Illuminated accessible to those without a desire to dive deep into the Eastern traditions. Meditation Illuminated is accessible to all regardless of religion, which is something I really love about this book.
Meditation Illuminated was written over the course of a year. “I thought it would take less time than it actually did! But when I started the process, I realized the book needed careful tending so that the material was easy to understand and accessible,” Joy said.
In the pages of the small, 150 page book, you’ll learn how the mind works, how meditation works, how to meditate, how to apply these skills to daily life, and how to deal with obstacles that arise during meditation. You will be guided through specific meditations to calm your mind, open your awareness, and increase your happiness. I love the breath meditations. I have always been drawn to breath meditations and the stillness and serenity that comes from focused breathing.
“My favorite meditations are the two stone meditations,” Joy said. “I love stones! I have a small hand-woven basket of stones and use different ones for meditation. They serve as wonderful, tangible reminders of coming into the solid ground of the present moment. Of course, I love breath meditations, too, since the breath is always available and accessible.”
The book can be used a number of ways. It can be a reading meditation (meditating on the words you’re reading), or you can read the meditation, and meditate upon what you’ve just read. Joy also suggests the meditations can be read by you, or to you by someone else as you meditate. You can also record an audio file of the meditation, and play it during your practice.
“When people realize that they can interrupt all the STUFF (Stories-Thoughts-Urges-Frustrations-Feelings) that the mind churns out on a regular basis, allowing them to find even an instant where they are not overcome by their busy minds, it is truly transformational,” said Joy.
If transformation is your goal, if you want to be calmer, kinder, and less stressed, this book is for you. Get your copy today on Amazon.com.
Readers can also find free guided meditations on her website, www.joyrains.com. One is a short meditation that is approximately 2 minutes long, and the other is closer to 20 minutes. What’s more important than the length of time one meditates, is to pick a length of time that is manageable so it can become a regular practice.