The No-Nonsense Meditation Book Book Summary - The No-Nonsense Meditation Book Book explained in key points
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The No-Nonsense Meditation Book summary

Steven Laureys

A Scientist’s Guide to the Power of Meditation

4.7 (531 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

The No-Nonsense Meditation Book by Steven Laureys is a guide to meditation that focuses on cultivating mindfulness and improving mental clarity. It offers a straightforward approach to meditation with practical tips for beginners.

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    The No-Nonsense Meditation Book
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    The brain’s evolution explains why we worry so much.

    The human condition is fraught with constant thinking. Our heads never stop spinning with thoughts, ideas, analyses, and worries. At times, this cognitive noise can be overwhelming. 

    But it’s that ability to think quickly and clearly that launched us on our evolutionary path to the top of the food chain. And though our brains have come a long way, they’re not as modern as you might believe – in fact, they’re downright prehistoric. Like the monkeys we once were, they can’t sit still. They swing from neurological branch to branch, warning us about threats, dreaming of a brighter future, and ruminating over the past. 

    It’s no surprise, then, that we struggle to enjoy the moment and spend so much time fretting instead.

    The key message here is: The brain’s evolution explains why we worry so much.

    Survival is a stressful business. Avoiding danger and making the most of opportunities in an uncertain world requires hypervigilance. That’s true of pretty much every living being. 

    Take microbial bacteria, the first life forms on our planet. They evolved crude sensors that helped them steer clear of dangerous areas and find safe places bustling with food.

    Our prehistoric forebears weren’t much different. Their minds raced with questions: like Where is it safe to sleep? Will that animal eat me? Are these berries tasty treats or toxic killers? Survival gave the brain a full-time job as it sifted through sensory and experiential data to make life-or-death decisions. The easiest way to end up in trouble, after all, was to switch off. 

    Over the millennia, Homo sapiens became smarter. They got better at identifying threats and found ways of making life more comfortable – think fire and agriculture. These evolutionary milestones made us what we are today: a species with unparalleled control over our environment. 

    Life on prehistoric savannas and steppes couldn’t be more different to life in the twenty-first century, yet the human brain hasn’t changed much. Our brains remain hypervigilant even though supermarkets don’t stock poisonous berries and we’re unlikely to be devoured by wild animals. Anything that looks like a threat – say, a rude remark or an argument – causes the brain to go into overdrive. 

    Like our ancestors, we find it hard to switch off. Unlike them, we can afford to. We don’t have to lead anxious, fretful lives. We have the luxury to be calm and enjoy the present moment. We just need to learn how. 

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    What is The No-Nonsense Meditation Book about?

    The No-Nonsense Meditation Book (2021) explores the science behind meditation. As the latest neuroscience research shows, you don’t have to be a monk in search of nirvana to reap the benefits of meditation. In fact, it’s a great solution to many distinctly modern problems like stress and chronic anxiety.

    Who should read The No-Nonsense Meditation Book?

    • Natural worriers
    • Would-be meditators
    • Scientists

    About the Author

    Steven Laureys is a Belgian neurologist and author who specializes in the neurology of consciousness. He is a professor at the University of Liège, Belgium, and the director of the Coma Science Group at the city’s University Hospital. Laureys’s work has been distinguished with the William James Prize and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award.

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