Teaching meditation involves describing practices and states of mind which are typically difficult to pinpoint in clear language, but Belgard skillfully shares the meditation experience with readers.
The text is divided into two main sections–the first focuses on theory while the second concerns the practice of meditation. Each chapter begins with an icon of an iris, representing New Orleans’ Blue Iris Sangha meditation group, of which Belgard is a cofounder. The author draws attention to major concepts by placing them beside the face of a meditating Buddha, thereby setting them apart from other text. Throughout, Belgard uses stories from his years of teaching meditation to exemplify ideas and support his points. The author focused on helping students learn to forgo self-centered thought patterns in exchange for breath-centered consciousness. This process, according to the author, moves students toward a state of equanimity which allows them experience compassion and understanding. Belgard brings a modern reality to the art of meditation by focusing on essential motivations rather being a stickler regarding proper form, even remarking, "Today the Buddha might sit in a chair to meditate (especially if his joints were as sore as mine have been recently)." His contemporary and occasionally humorous writing style makes the text approachable and likely to be embraced by a wide audience. The latter half of the book includes useful exercises for novices to attempt. Belgard designed these exercises in order to bring students closer to understanding the interconnected nature of reality. Fortunately, he communicates his instructions in a writing style both simple and elegant.
An artful, straightforward tome on meditation.