Foreword Review — May / June 2000
Sharing the practiced truths about meditation to the average Western student is smoothly communicated here from the experienced vantage point of an advanced yogic student of Swami Rama. The author states: “Cultivating meditation and managing our karma are the twin themes…in this book.”
It begins with an introduction of the spiritual traditions taught by yoga masters and proceeds with various terminologies and discussions of the practice including samadhi, “the absence of thought,” and karma, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Personal stories are scattered throughout that emphasize Johnson’s insights into the philosophies. The final chapter discusses the rudiments of meditation and is followed by a handy glossary reference of Sanskrit terms.
There is much explanation of the true essence of yoga meditation. The author writes from the “inside” with obvious inspiration and compassion. She says: “When we meditate, we’re not merely inching toward enlightenment; much more is happening on subtle levels. Every time we create a space of peaceful clarity in ourselves we are helping to purify the polluted psychic atmosphere of our planet… Meditation becomes a selfless gift, our offering for world peace.”
The book speaks to serious students who desire the experience of deeper realms of awareness. The path is the yoga tradition through meditation to discover that essentially infinite consciousness. The lessons experienced from the author’s mentor reflects an unconventional training for the typical, Western religion student. Swami Rama repeatedly tells his students: “I have a mind, but I am not the mind.” Johnson works gracefully weaving her own knowledge through the tradition’s ideology.
The clearly translated philosophies and the author’s genuine love for the study of yoga meditation are expressed throughout the book. She tackles a vast region of intricate Eastern traditions, yet her words are easy to understand. The author succeeds in bringing fresh life into spiritual practice and causes the reader to realize the aesthetic inner beauty and wealth born of quietly sitting, focusing and staying open—in essence, the discovery of an awakened sense of reality.