Promotional copy (with commentary, and photos):
“From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir 10% Happier [that’s Dan, not me – I am the author of the never-heard-of-it, non-bestselling consciousness memoir, The Head Trip] this book will get you to meditate. Minus the pan flutes.” [Pan flutes! That was a joke. We make jokes about scary spiritual things to signal our approachable mainstream attitudes]
ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play Ultimate Frisbee, and use the word “namaste” without irony [more jokes, I love Frisbee]. After he had a panic attack on live television [video] he went on a strange and circuitous journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation’s most vocal public proponents.
Here’s what he’s fixated on now: Science suggests that meditation can lower blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain, among numerous other benefits. And yet there are millions of people who want to meditate but aren’t actually practicing. What’s holding them back? [Busyness, mostly]
In Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Harris and his friend Jeff Warren, a masterful teacher and “Meditation MacGyver,” [generous interpretation: Jeff has many meditative tools and likes trying to fix and tweak stuff; honest interpretation: Jeff has attention deficit disorder] embark on a cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that stop people from meditating. They rent a rock-star tour bus (whose previous occupants were Parliament Funkadelic) and travel across eighteen states, talking to scores of would-be meditators—including parents, military cadets, police officers, and even a few celebrities. They create a taxonomy of the most common issues (“I suck at this,” “I don’t have the time,” etc.) and offer up science-based life hacks to help people overcome them. [Then we abandon our meditative tools and fly off the rails into ADD-fuelled fuckery and resentment while trying to write a 300-page book in three months – you can listen to that story in the 113th episode of Dan’s 10% Happier podcast]
The book is filled with game-changing and deeply practical meditation instructions. You’ll also get access to the 10% Happier app, where you can listen for free to guided audio versions of all the meditations in the book. Amid it all unspools the strange and hilarious story of what happens when a congenitally sarcastic, type-A journalist and a groovy Canadian mystic [I did it for Trudeau] embark on an epic road trip into America’s neurotic underbelly, as well as their own. [No argument there, my neurotic underbelly loves beer]
Some photos from the Road Trip