89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
A Classic, which has changed countless lives for the better.,
This review is from: The Relaxation Response (Paperback)
I read this little book nearly 30 years ago, and was mildly surprised to see that it was still in print (it popped up in my Amazon recommendation list).
I was even more surprised to see that one reviewer called it 'overblown guff' and gave it a one-star review. Way back in the 70's, this book had a profound effect on me, and vastly changed my life for the better - in ways that still continue.
Anyway, the one-star review prompted me to buy it again and reread it, just to see if it was so hopelessly outdated as to deserve the bad review.
Having read it again, I'm left with the feeling that it's a true classic - and like most classics, that means that while it has a continuing relevance, it is also 'of its time,' and CAN feel somewhat dated.
This is an 'updated' version, though the main change seems to be a new 45-page introduction. I found this interesting as a commentary on the book's history, but have to admit that I found the overall tone a bit off-putting (for my taste it was a tad too self-congratulatory and smug).
After the introduction, the book seems to be pretty much as I remember it, and I think I can see why the other reviewer didn't like it. Much of the content now seems totally self-evident to us: Stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes; Our state of mind can have a profound effect on our body and our health. It almost seems too obvious to need saying.
But the thing is, when the book was first published, this was revolutionary stuff. This book was a crucial part of the paradigm shift that took us to our present position, where meditation is no longer seen as the preserve of weirdos and oriental monks.
So why is the book still relevant? Well, this handy little volume still gives, in my opinion, one of the easiest forms of meditation you'll find anywhere, offering the benefits of Transcendental Meditation without costing you the megabucks that the TM movement would charge you. And the scientific data is still relevant for anyone who's interested in the physiological effects of meditation.
In conclusion, yes, in the twenty-first century some aspects of the book will seem too obvious to need saying - but that's largely because this very same book first said them thirty-odd years ago! It's still worthwhile reading for anyone who's interested in meditation or the mind-body connection.
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Initial post: 18 Jan 2009 12:51:33 GMT
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