—a new book by Megan McDonough
Focusing attention in meditation can be a challenge. There’s a softer, gentler, and kinder way to cultivate mindful awareness. With Radically Receptive Meditation, experience the simplicity of an open focus—one that works with the mind as it is, trusting a natural unfolding as the heart of the practice.
Whether you’re new to meditation or are a seasoned practitioner, this lighthearted and succinct guide provides a novel approach to the practice–one that does not involve following the breath or focusing concentration. Just the opposite, in fact. This practice is about opening the lens of your attention, fully embracing the organic, natural movement of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. A quick read with a long impact, Radically Receptive Meditation might just give you a completely new appreciation of sitting still.
What people are saying...
“Megan’s open approach cultivates possibilities. I couldn’t agree more with her message— notice more, live more.”
—Ellen Langer, founder of the Langer Mindfulness Institute, is the author of eleven books and more than two hundred research articles on mindfulness.
“This book is a must read—and re-read—for meditators, wanna-be meditators, and non- meditators. It is an awareness opener and a potential life changer.”
—Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, is the Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer for Wholebeing Institute and author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.
“A wonderfully pithy, juicy, wise, wholehearted, beautiful, and useful guide.”
—Rick Hanson, PhD, is founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.
“I love this pocket guide! Megan’s compassionate approach is paradoxical yet straightforward, flexible yet steady, simple and wise. Readers who practice the teachings will quickly flow into self-awareness, deep insight, and self-acceptance. And, you’ll have an approach you can easily adopt into your daily life for the rest of your life.”
—Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D. is the author of Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing, and Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character.
“So much is packed into this delightful pocket guide: pure joy, science, ancient scripture, positive psychology, great stories, along with excellent and unique instructions for both the initiated and uninitiated meditator. Megan writes the way she teaches and lives her life–with complete dedication, lots of fun, brightness, curiosity, care, and awe. As soon as I finished this lovely book, I closed my eyes and started to meditate, radically receiving myself just as I was. Best meditation I’ve had in a while! This book is a keeper.”
—Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, E-RYT 500 is the founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance® LLC, and creator of the DVD Introduction to Yoga and Meditation.
“Clarissa Pinkola Estes once wrote that we must learn to love our own life force more than we love cooperating with our own oppression…this is the path toward a life that is authentically ours and one that resonates with a sense of thriving. Megan McDonough’s simple yet wise guide invites us into this possibility. By following her own wisdom toward a practice that it true, flexible, and yet certain, she offers us permission to engage in a practice that will bring great benefit—and to do so in a way that elevates our own thoughtful consideration of what works. Sitting on the cushion is a pain in the ass, to reflect one of the quotes in this book, and yet sitting in a way that serves us, cushion or no cushion, brings the best of the traditions of the meditation practice from the East into alignment with the best of the spirit of the West: that of experimentation, risk-taking and joy in the individual expression. Reading this I felt wonder and relief: relief at the permission inherent in an open approach to meditation, and wonder that a longstanding practice can become new again.”
—Maria Sirois, PsyD is a clinical psychologist, inspirational speaker, author, and wellness guide.
“What does it mean to be present? So many paths articulate aspects of the practice, from counting breaths to naming thoughts to remembering mantras to sending compassion to self and other. Ultimately, all paths lead to a sense of receptivity of the here and now. Megan McDonough beautifully articulates the fruit of practice, opening to a sense of allowing – and the wonder that comes with it.”
—Jonathan Foust is the cofounder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute.
Meet Megan's Meditation Teacher: Jason Siff
Recollective Awareness Meditation allows one’s meditative experience to unfold naturally; and when the meditation sitting is over, one recollects what happened during it, often writing down details. This practice started to take shape out of Jason Siff’s time as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka during the 1980’s. Leaving the Buddhist Order in 1990, he moved to Los Angeles, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology while continuing to teach meditation to local Buddhist groups. In 1996, he co-founded the Skillful Meditation Project. As head teacher and director, Jason leads meditation retreats at various centers in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia. He also teaches at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, where Megan first experienced the power of his work, prompting her to write Radically Receptive Meditation based on her interpretation of the practice.
Jason is the author of Thoughts are Not the Enemy: An Innovative Approach to Meditation and Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions Get in the Way, both published by Shambhala Publications.
For those wanting to know more about the practice, or work with a teacher skilled in mentoring others, please go to the Skillful Meditation Project website.