Sunday, July 5, 2009

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

"Breakfast with Buddha," a novel by Roland Merullo

What would it be like to be on an American road trip with the Buddha?

Also... How to Meditate

At the bookstore over the weekend I thumbed through the pages of "Breakfast with Buddha" and and could not stop reading. I purchased it and finished it before the weekend was over. This was the first book by Roland Merullo that I've read. I have never read such a mixture of insightful dialog and deep spiritual questions intertwined with a beautiful, witty, funny, and easy to read story!

This book does not point to one way of life or one religion as having all the answers. Rather, it makes the reader see the similarity and inclusiveness of all faiths, and raise the appropriate personal questions. The descriptions and experiences of Otto on the road during a drive from New York to North Dakota with a smiling holy man, Rinpoche,in the passenger seat were priceless. The author described the restaurants, Inns, and attractions along the way as a worthy travel guide. The descriptions of the many different cuisines (Thai, Hungarian, Mexican, Nepali, Chinese, German...) that the characters sampled along the way were very authentic.

The best parts of the book were the ones that dealt with Otto's seeking answers to questions like:

"What is the meaning of life?", "How is it really possible for a holy messenger to take human form on Earth?", "What is the underlying principle that makes sense out of life?"

Otto's reluctant, and many times humorous, journey into the world as explained by his travel companion was interesting and insightful. The simple yet wise ways to make our complicated lives and relationships make sense were enjoyable to read.

The book had a nice story, good advice, and great bits of insight. A relaxing, enjoyable, fun to read book.

To purchase this book from Barnes and Noble click here.

How to Meditate

To me, meditation means simply trying to quiet your thoughts so that your mind can be clear, even for a brief moment at a time. With practice you are suppose to increase the duration that your mind is still.

Why, what is the advantage, what do I get out of it, and why in the world would I do this?

For me the answer is: peace and relaxation.

The degree of relaxation and what impact it has on my day-to-day life varies with what's currently going on in my life. I've found I have more energy to deal with challenges, overcome anxiety, and have a sense of well-being after I am able to meditate.

The most frustrating and difficult part of meditating is to stop the constant hum of thoughts that come in and out of my conscience when I have "a zillion things on my mind." Allowing sufficient time, and patience, in a soothing place free of distractions is the key. You can light a candle or burn incense, or anything to give you a soothing and calming feeling. Even just sitting comfortably at home and breathing deeply is very soothing. It is sometimes relaxing to just even try to meditate and have a few moments of pause.

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