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Heal the Body and Enrich the Spirit

Nov 25, 2011 06:46PM ● By Megy Karydes

While meditation hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years, access to information has changed dramatically, which is what led authors Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor Viereck to update their popular book: Meditation – The Complete Guide: Techniques from East to West to Calm the Mind, Heal the Body, and Enrich the Spirit.

Knowing that no single meditation technique is right for everyone and that personal goals for meditation can change over time, Monaghan and Viereck’s new book covers 35 distinct meditative techniques practiced around the world—from common forms of quiet sitting to more unique practices involving movement and activity.

“When we were writing our first edition in 1997 and 1998, Google did not yet exist,” says Monaghan, who lives in the Chicago area. Viereck’s and her research for their first edition was conducted entirely in libraries and through personal interviews. In order to better describe the meditative forms, they each committed themselves to actually practicing, at least once, every meditative form described in the book.

Monaghan admits that even though they tried to be as thorough as possible, they missed a few things the first time around. “For instance, although I grew up Catholic, and thus can’t explain this oversight, we did not consider writing a chapter on prayer beads, which are found in many cultures and religions,” says Monaghan. “In other cases, the information was not readily available at the time of first writing.”

The book is not only comprised of updates. In addition to additional chapters, many new resources have been added to the end of each chapter. Also, several new books on meditation have since been published about topics such as such as craft-as-meditation.

When most people think of meditation, they probably think of sitting still. Meditation – The Complete Guide dispels that myth by offering a variety of ways to meditate, from making crafts to writing haikus. For those that can’t seem to get into meditation, Monaghan says this book was written with them in mind.

“A very common complaint is that much meditation seems to be ‘sitting,’ which for active people, can be very difficult,” she explains. “Movement meditations like Ta’i chi, qigong, yoga and similar disciplines can be the right answer. I do both sitting and moving meditations and depending on my day, one or the other is frequently more effective.”

Monaghan practices qigong daily, but stops short of teaching meditation to others, preferring instead to conduct classes discussing each of the techniques, with the intention of helping individuals find those that resonate most with their personal goals and desires.

Meditation can take on many iterations, and Monaghan encourages readers to take into account their personalities and interests, compare them to the checklists found after each of the 35 distinct meditative techniques, and be open to trying new methods.

Monaghan doesn’t want this book to be one that just sits on the shelf. She wants it to be used as a guide, coach and resource, all-in-one. With 35 techniques outlined, there is bound to be something for everyone.


Megy Karydes is a freelance writer who enjoys running and writing as her forms of meditation. Contact her at

Experience meditation with Patricia Monaghan as she leads the class, Introduction To Meditation, from 1 to 3 p.m., January 7, at Heaven Meets Earth Yoga Center, 2746 Central Street, in Evanston.

In this instructive afternoon, she will discuss a variety of different meditation techniques to help individuals find the one that best fits their personality and goals. For more information  and to register, visit or call 847-475-1500.

Monaghan will also offer this class from 6 to 8:30 p.m., January 17, at Flourish Studios, 3020 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Call 773-281-8140 or visit