ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play Ultimate Frisbee, and use the word “namaste” without irony. After he had a panic attack on live television, he went on a strange and circuitous journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation’s most vocal public proponents.
Here’s what he’s fixated on now: Science suggests that meditation can lower blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain, among numerous other benefits. And yet there are millions of people who want to meditate but aren’t actually practicing. What’s holding them back?
In this guide to mindfulness and meditation for beginners and experienced meditators alike, Harris and his friend Jeff Warren, a masterful teacher and “Meditation MacGyver,” embark on a cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that stop people from meditating. They rent a rock-star tour bus (whose previous occupants were Parliament Funkadelic) and travel across eighteen states, talking to scores of would-be meditators—including parents, military cadets, police officers, and even a few celebrities. They create a taxonomy of the most common issues (“I suck at this,” “I don’t have the time,” etc.) and offer up science-based life hacks to help people overcome them.
The book is filled with game-changing and deeply practical meditation instructions. Amid it all unspools the strange and hilarious story of what happens when a congenitally sarcastic, type-A journalist and a groovy Canadian mystic embark on an epic road trip into America’s neurotic underbelly, as well as their own.