Be The Change – Ed and Deb Shapiro

 Be The Change

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Sterling Ethos (November 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402760019
ISBN-13: 978-1402760013 
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Meditation. The word tends to bring thoughts of New Age hokum to people’s minds. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would’ve thought so as well. I always perceived it as boring. Who wants to sit there for 10 minute, an hour, or any extended period of time and do nothing. However, I’ve always kept an open mind on everything, and did so on this subject as well. I’m glad I did.

Ed and Deb Shapiro have written 15 books on many areas, chiefly among them meditation. They’ve taught meditation for 25 years. This book, while not the full meditation training guide I expected, is very informative. It’s written in a collaborative style. People such as Patch Adams, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fond, and many others contribute stories and ideas on how meditation has helped them in their lives. Some of these stories can be very sad and emotional.

The book itself is broken into four parts:

Part 1 is an introduction to the principals. It tended, at least for me, got me comfortable with the idea of meditation. It defined what it was, how people used it, and how it was beneficial, not just to the individual, but to the world. Change is a concept that has been talked about a lot, but while this is in a way the same change the President talked about, it isn’t about a change in politics. It is more about a change in ourselves, how we relate to the world, and do so through meditation.

Part 2 spends time showing how we are all connected. The authors at one point use the example of our hands. If we cut the left hand and the right hand does nothing, then the whole body could die, but by working together it survives. Part of meditation is taking time to reflect on this connection among all of us, or even among our own systems. I actually experienced something along this line a few years ago. I was on a ventillator for Pneumonia. I was miserable and wanted the machine disconnected. However, number for heart rate, or breathing rate kept getting in the way. Finally I began concentrating fully on those areas. Eventually I was able to keep the rates within the range to disconnect the machine. The nurses said they had never seen anyone get their rates to respond that quick. I didn’t think so at the time, but after reading this book I think I was unknowingly using meditation techniques.

Part 3 covers how meditation has been beneficial in business. Companies such as Google have meditation training for their employees. It cuts down on stress, reduces absenteeism, and increases productivity. One story relates how a person went in to train a group of Wall Street type executives. When the person announced a few minutes without an agenda, it seemed to send a sense of panic through some of the participants. It seems they weren’t used to working without an agenda.

Part 4 puts all of the information and techniques discussed into practice. While there are practice meditations in various places of the book, they seem pretty sparse. This section teaches you how to begin with controlling/concentrating on your breathing. From there it moves on, from working on our own inner problems, to wishing the best for the outside world, including those we aren’t crazy about.

I’ve seen some people who are concerned that this subject interferes with their religious beliefs. However, reading it I saw just the opposite. It didn’t tend to relate to any particular deity, but rather to communicating with our inner selves, and extending that to the deity of our choice.

I’d really recommend this book. If you’re stressed or anxious, want to change the world, or just change yourself, you’ll find something in this book you can use. Pick it up when you get the chance. I think you’ll like it. You can visit their website at:

A Thank you to Julie at FSB Associates for the review copy.

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*DISCLAIMER* A copy of this book was provided to me for review. This in no way influenced my review.