Book Review: ‘Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace’ by Charles A. Francis
Review by Patricia Gale
If you want to change the world, you must first change yourself. This is the guiding principle of Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace (Paradigm Press), by mindfulness meditation expert Charles A. Francis, who shares a concise, easy-to- follow, 12-Step approach that anyone can learn and practice right away.
Francis is one of the world’s leading proponents and teachers of mindfulness meditation. As the cofounder and director of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute and a mindfulness meditation practitioner for over 18 years, he has gained an international audience of more than 11,000 Twitter followers and more than 65,000 followers of his Mindfulness Meditation Institute.
In the book, Francis explains his own spiritual journey that began in his early 20s. He was a frightened young man with low self-esteem, unable to form meaningful relationships. His quest to grow, change, and be more present in the world began with reading books about spirituality and becoming involved in different groups. Francis intuitively discovered he could relieve stress by quieting his mind in nature or through silence.
After many years of practice and a transcendent spiritual experience, he sought a higher level of spirituality. He read books on meditation and began learning how to implement the practice. Experimenting with different forms of meditation, he discovered mindfulness meditation, a secular form of meditation that has its roots in Vipassana—the oldest form of meditation the Buddha originally taught over 2,500 years ago.
The practice boosted his self-confidence, dissipated his fear and anger, released emotional pain, decreased stress and anxiety, and improved his relationships and even his mental ability. Francis believes that the benefits of meditation are almost limitless for those who are willing to put in the effort. By dwelling in the three main sources of spiritual nourishment—our True Nature, the spiritual principles, and our spiritual community—we learn to live mindfully in the present moment.
Those of us searching for an antidote to the craziness of our lives today—and wanting to decrease the mind-agitating background noise caused by our addiction to technology—will appreciate Francis’s fresh approach to finding a new and transformed life using the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Francis shows readers not only how to do mindfulness mediation, but why. He explores the psychology behind the practice, and presents the many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits practitioners enjoy.
Francis’s 12-Step approach debunks the myth that it takes years of meditation to find inner peace. In fact, he’s a major proponent of DIY meditation; in other words, you don’t have to be an expert to form a meditation group. He encourages readers to form their own groups, and offers a companion website with many free downloadable tools, such as the meditation group starter kit, and a unique writing meditation. For people like me who can’t sit still, he even has a meditation one can do while walking!
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to develop mental discipline, deepen their insights, and acquire a sense of inner peace. Francis says all of this is within our reach.