I'm a little hesitant to recommend this book, not because it's poorly written or anything, but because it would appeal to a select few, I think. It's B.K. Frantzis' Relaxing Into Your Being: The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Vol. 1 [Paperback]. Mr. Frantzis is a Taoist master and teacher who, as a young man, went to China to study with an aged Taoist master in the water method of Taoist meditation.
When I purchased the book, I wanted to find some additional Taoist meditation practices, and this book provides them within the context of the water method of the Taoist tradition. The water method is contrasted to the fire method as yin is to yang. In other words, the water method accepts what is and works with it gently, whereas the fire method uses much more force and control. The idea of gentleness appealed to me, so this is the book I chose.
However, I was unprepared for what the book offered. I thought it would be a series of nice visualizations, perhaps some mantras to chant, and it is far from that. In this method, the body is used to guide the mind. It presents five aspects of body positions to help still the mind: sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and having sex (yes, really). Mr. Frantzis often breaks down the various exercises into little, bitty parts, and then says to work on those little, bitty parts for a week to a month. When I did that, I found I lost interest in the book because I felt stuck at practicing little, bitty parts and wasn't going anywhere.
Which is why the book has stayed by my bedside for at least three years. I tried reading it, got stuck, put it aside, picked it back up a few months later, got stuck, put it aside, and tried again a couple more times. That's embarrassing to say, but that's how I finally got through it. And I'm glad I did.
More on that next week.