Stephanie Alexander
2 minute read
26 Jul 2021
06:00

Book Review | One useful chapter in otherwise doughy verbiage

Stephanie Alexander

Earlier this year I enthusiastically recommended Deepak Chopra’s previous volume, Metahuman, which, unlike so many other of his books, seemed substantial, readable, and informative.

BOOK TITLE: Total Meditation: Stress Free Living Starts Here

AUTHOR: Deepak Chopra

PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House

REVIEWER: Stephanie Alexander


Earlier this year I enthusiastically recommended Deepak Chopra’s previous volume, Metahuman, which, unlike so many other of his books, seemed substantial, readable, and informative.

Alas, with this new book on meditation, Chopra reverts to his familiar wuffly, puddingy prose style.

In fact I’d most liken the book to an ill-made suet pudding: lots of sticky formless verbal dough separating thinly sprinkled raisins.

In my opinion, anyone approaching meditation for the first time should give it a miss.

Those more experienced might, if they’re willing to pick their way through the doughy verbiage, find good stuff, in the form of clear definitions and a whole lot of exercises — though deciding which exercises are good value is a bit of a challenge.

“Though most could be described as spiritual, they are generalised and neutral enough to be used comfortably by anyone of any (or no) religious persuasion.”
Stephanie Alexander

I was lukewarm about most of them but I did find the last chapter, “Vibrating the Silence, 52 Mantras”, useful.

A mantra (from Sanskrit meaning, approximately, a tool for the mind) is a sound, a syllable or set of syllables that may be vocalised or repeated silently with the aim of reducing the mental chatter that so often plagues, distracts and discourages would-be meditators.

The selection is rich and comprehensive, and with each Sanskrit mantra comes a pronunciation guide, a one-sentence translation and a short commentary.

Though most could be described as spiritual, they are generalised and neutral enough to be used comfortably by anyone of any (or no) religious persuasion.

I’m glad to own this book for the mantra collection alone, but I’d be slow to recommend its purchase, especially to beginners.