January 11, 2006
Reviewer: Jeffery from Toronto, Canada,
Personally, when considering which audio series to buy, I'd like to have some idea of the use to which it has been put by other people in the community, and the particular value others have gained from it.
So since "The Essential Teaching" is the only one I own (as yet), let me try and give what I would like to get.
My reason for getting this series was partly because one of the tapes it contains is explicitly for beginners, an introduction to the practice (a how-to) which places it in the context of Christian historical tradition and current experience and language. I wanted something fundamental, and this was it. The subsequent tapes in the series build on this foundation, gently warning against common errors and diversions (common with me, at any rate), providing encouragement and urging faithfulness, and pointing out some landmarks of the new world opening up to the meditator.
The paradox of the practice of meditation is that it is utterly simple -- so simple that I, for one, at first felt I must be missing something -- yet it is very far from easy. This series of talks provides the essential reassurance that, yes, it really is as simple as that, and the even more essential encouragement to continue and be faithful in the practice as our silence deepens.
For me, this series has been essential in both senses of the word -- both as a basic distillation of John Main's wisdom which satisfies both mind and heart, and as an absolutely necessary support for my often halting progress in a practice that has so enriched my life. I have also shared it with friends who have shown an interest in meditation.