am 25. August 1998
Reading and using The Relaxation Response may have saved my life in 1989. It may also have destroyed my life, for it turned out to be the first paving stone on a spiritual path which lead away from much of what was accepted and familiar. The path brought me to most of what I treasure today.
I was a thoroughly Western, rational, mechanist, Ayn-Rand-Objectivist, John-Wayne-style "I'll do it myself" individualist whose life was thoroughly unsatisfying. Each day I came home from a thankless, stressful job to a cold and chaotic home. I would sit on the couch a feel as though worries and disappointments were rushing about in my mind like a bunch of cats and dogs, chasing and screaming with no pause to even start on a resolution.
I remembered having heard about a book called The Relaxation Response. All I knew was the title and that it was written by a "legitimate scientist." For a couple bucks, it seemed like a safe bet. Since it was written by a Harvard doctor, I could read it without admitting there was anything wrong with my modern, secular worldview.
The detailed description of his experimental methods, the charts, graphs and citations gave me comfort as I read about techniques brought to the West by gurus and swamis. Dr. Benson verified the physiological changes brought about by meditation and Christian prayer, then cut away the mythology, dogma, and ritual. The process which remained is simple enough to fit on two pages of the book.
I followed the instructions. I felt some peace. I repeated the process. The peace expanded. I added headphones playing the sounds of waves on a beach. Calm and clarity began to enter my daily life. I was able to be transported by music. I enjoyed a walk in the woods.
I still lost my job. My wife still left me. I still got sad.
I added yoga and spirituality to my life. I opened myself to a wider spectrum of experience. My courage increased.
I kept on with my life. I made changes. I remarried and had children. I succeeded in a new career. I expanded and deepened my social contacts. Everything I lost seems only to have cleared the way for a better life.
I highly recommend The Relaxation Response for anyone looking for a Western, scientific bridge to eastern wisdom. I do note, that in the years since learning The Relaxation Response and teaching it to others, I have noticed that I am unusual in having learned it from a book. Most people need a teacher and a group to get the effect. The scientific detail in the book may nevertheless be what it takes to make you feel safe about taking a meditation class.
am 21. Oktober 2014
Bittet Hintergrundinfo, die man aber nicht notwendiger Weise benötigt. Wikipedia-Info reicht. Such Dir ein Mantra (bei Benson ein Wort) und einen ruhigen Platz und los gehts. Es ist so einfach. Allerdings würde ich jemanden ohne Erfahrung mit Autosuggestion (z. B. autogenes Training) oder Meditation raten, einen Einführungskurs zu machen. Autogenes Training ist finde ich ein guter Einstieg, da im Prinzip ähnlich, nur mit keinem Mantra, sondern verschiedenen Sätzen. Nach dem Kurs, kann man dann mit seinem Mantra arbeiten. Oder man geht in Richtung des meditativen Yogas (Stichwort: Yin Yoga). Vorteil eines Mantras, dass aus einem Wort besteht, ist, dass man sich ganze 15 - 20 Minuten darauf konzentriert. Man ist ganz darauf fokusiert. Da man sich meist ein Wort sucht, dass einem gerade wichtig ist, ist es nicht falsch, wenn sich irgendetwas im Leben ändert, auch mit einem anderen Mantra zu arbeiten.
Was ich auf jeden Fall empfehle, ist sich ein Mantra in der Sprache Sanskrit oder Hindi auszuwählen. Hier findet man einiges im Internet. Die Wörter klingen in Deutsch zu hart. Wörter können Geduld, Mut, Glück, Glückseligkeit, Trost usw. sein.
am 12. April 2000
It's a very easy reading book. I am actually writing a dissertation on how meditation reduces anxiety. This book is the starter and is very helpful. It's just good to know that an ancient method is been scientifically proven and accepted in western world. Also, a Harvard Medical Doctor and Professor, an authority figure, writing about it is just real convincing. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. Sometimes I just wish he does more study on meditation specifically for concentration, and other kinda effects.
am 26. Juli 2000
Truly a remarkable book. I'd been curious about meditation for years and it was Benson's book that finally got me to sit down and do it. I didn't understand what he was talking about -- all the science and stuff -- and my sleep has suffered tremendously. I cut out coffee, but still, after practicing these techniques I can now only get about 1-2 hours of sleep at the most. You can just imagine what this did for me. Yee gads. I feel more relaxed and at peace, something traditional religion had never given me. My co-workers have noticed a definite difference, and I've only been at it for a few years. My most recent employee evaluation was not a good one. I'm not sure if it's related, but my skin dried up soon after I began meditating. It's almost spooky how rapidly things begin to change. I'm definitely going to continue!
am 10. Juni 2000
This is a book which I personally bought in it's original hardback form around about 1975 and it is amazing to see that this book and it's 'teachings' have stood the test of time, and even today in this the new millennium, we can still find a book which is capable of explaining more about a simple yet powerful technique than all of the electronic multimedia devices ever could. It's a tribute to Herbert Benson himself, but it's also a work of great significance and when I read it way back all those years ago, somehow I just knew that it was destined for greatness and would be around for a very long time to come. I am glad to see that I was not wrong! This book is a necessity in this day and age probably even more so than it was in the mid-seventies of the last century as it shows you just how it is that you can come to a state of true relaxation and explains the effects of medititation on the mind and body, the benefits of which are worth more than anything I can think of in this hectic, fast-paced world in which we live. Never mind the date of the first edition, just buy this book and I can tell you right now that it will be the most worthwhile investment you will ever make in your entire life. You're life and your world will be so much better for having read it! Believe it, it's all true! George Blades.