by Sharon Salzberg

Workman, $14.95, 210 pages

If you can breathe, you can meditate. So says Sharon Salzberg in her enlightening book Real Happiness: The Power of Mediation. Based on 30 years of teaching experience, Salzberg provides a 28 day program to improve overall wellness by practicing moment-to-moment awareness. Her use of non-technical language prevents the reader from getting bogged down in scientific or theoretical details. Salzberg’s realistic approach to life and fitting meditation into busy schedules is refreshing. Rather than disconnecting, we’re urged to be willing to experiment with time and attention and to live in the moment.

The author divides her book into four main parts which correspond to the four weeks of the self-guided program. Week one focuses on concentration – letting go of distractions and improving awareness by focusing on breathing. Weeks two and three deal with mindfulness, a process that refines our attention and allows a pause for non-judgmental acknowledgment and analysis. Week four is about “lovingkindness,” a compassionate awareness that extends to other people in your life. Salzberg hopes that through meditation, the practitioner will have increased peace, creativity, balance, and clarity. A huge bonus is the included CD with four in depth guided meditations.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin