webSum08revUnplug

 

 

MEDITATION MAY BE our last, best refuge from iPhones, Treos, iPods—and our overscheduled lives. Now Vipassana teacher Sharon Salzberg has come up with a way we can slow down, ditch our electronic gadgets—temporarily, at least—and go on retreat without leaving home. Unplug, her new interactive kit (Sounds True, 2008, $26.95), provides everything you need to visit your “inner Wyoming” (that place of “peace, spaciousness, clarity, and freedom that exists within each of us”) for a restorative hour or day or weekend. This isn’t just spa-in-a-box: Salzberg packs thirty years of experience leading Buddhist retreats into two-plus hours of guided meditations, a set of “contemplation cards,” and a companion guidebook—all designed to help us center the mind, let go of limiting beliefs, deal with hindrances, and open our hearts. There are two CDs containing ten different meditations drawn from traditional Buddhist practices, including breath techniques, mindful walking, and metta (lovingkindness) practice. The thirty-two flash cards offer pithy teachings for reflection. (Example: “Awareness of the breath serves as a clear mirror, not for or against anything but simply to reflect the moment, without the obstruction of concepts and judgments.”)

With basic tools for learning meditation and easing into the experience of solitude, Unplug is ideal for beginners. But there’s enough to interest seasoned practitioners as well: the teaching on dedicating merit, for example, offers a fresh take on interdependence. Throughout, Salzberg’s voice is calm and supportive. Unplugging, she assures us, is an adventure: “It allows us the space to be creative and the freedom to examine options.”

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