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Lions Roar : July 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 82 With Meng’s self-deprecating humor, a peppering of off-the-wall cartoons, prac- tices with names like “The Siberian North Railroad,” and tips on topics such as “Being Effective and Loved At the Same Time,” “How Not To Strangle Your Mother-In Law,” and “Mindful Emailing,” Search Inside Yourself makes for a ripping read. But don’t be fooled—the occasionally slapstick tone shouldn’t detract from what is actually a first-rate (as well as fun) med- itation training. The practice sections are innovative, easy to navigate, and clear, and they’re backed up by plenty of crunchy data for the rationally minded. And whereas the “B word” doesn’t get mentioned in A Mindful Nation, Meng has no issue with combining traditional Buddhist presenta- tions and practices (such as tonglen) with twenty-first-century understandings of the brain, all served up with the kind of irreverence, dynamism, and freshness you might expect from one of Google’s early pioneers. It might be tempting to raise an eyebrow at his unrepressed enthusiasm for changing the world, but given that Meng has already played a role in engineering major habit shifts among a large percent- age of the planet’s population, who’s to say he (and Google) can’t do it again? Meng’s model for the widespread adop- tion of meditation is physical exercise, the health-inducing benefits of which were firmly established in the twentieth cen- tury and now lie unquestioned. “I want to create a world where meditation is widely treated like exercise for the mind,” con- cludes Meng. In the company of eminent scientists such as Richard Davidson, dar- ing politicians like Tim Ryan, plus a little Google gold dust, the fulfillment of that goal may not be so far away. ♦ Meng’s model for the widespread adoption of meditation is physical exercise, the benefits of which were firmly established in the twentieth century and are now unquestioned.