Want to Learn Meditation without Religion?
Help me make this book a reality at Indiegogo — Michael Taft
“Michael Taft is steeped in practice and deeply trained in multiple traditions. He is extremely articulate about subtle states of mind and important distinctions in meditation, for both beginners and long-time practitioners. He’s also very open, warm, and supportive – plus deeply wise.”
~ Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain, Hardwiring Happiness, and Just One Thing
My name is Michael Taft. I’m a mindfulness meditation teacher who’s been practicing meditation for decades. I’m writing a book to share the best of what I’ve learned and I’d like your help in bringing it to life.
Called The Mindful Geek, this book details how to derive the benefits of mindfulness meditation without having to join a religion or drink anyone’s metaphysical Kool-Aid. In the book, I give you step-by-step instructions in the powerful and reliable techniques of mindfulness meditation, and outline the psychological and neuroscientific research underpinning these practices — all without you having to believe in reincarnation, karma, or other sacred cows.
My motto for the book is simple: You shouldn’t have to join a religion to get the benefits of meditation.
By treating mindfulness as a scientifically-based, psychological technique, you can keep your atheistic or agnostic secular skepticism and still maintain a powerful, regular, and deeply effective meditation practice. In this book I won’t refer to anything “spiritual,” ever.
That is because meditation doesn’t require you to believe in it to work. Like any good technology, if you use it correctly, it will do the job reliably whether you believe in it or not. And—make no mistake—meditation is a kind of technology; a technology for hacking the human wetware in order to improve your life. This book is a practical, hands-on manual about how to make the most of that technology for yourself.
As the title makes clear, this is a book for the smart, skeptical, and technically-inclined. It’s loaded with flow charts, diagrams, and Star Trek references. I have also taught a lot of meditation programs at tech corporations like Google, so this material has been field-tested on some world-class geeks.
See for yourself: Get a peek at a sample chapter from the book here.
I’m an experienced author, editor, publisher, and meditation instructor. I’ve been creating material about mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality my entire adult life.
I’ve been meditating for well over 30 years, and have completed intensive practices in Buddhist, Hindu, and secular traditions. I’ve meditated in Zen temples in Japan and yogi caves in India and logged thousands of hours at hardcore meditation retreats. I love that stuff, and maintain my lifelong practice.
Starting in about 2007, I began working on the Being Human project, which gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the leading scientists in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, biology, and evolution. This radically reshaped my understanding of my meditation practice and began the process of secularizing my teaching. I’m now an official advisor at the Therapeutic Neuroscience Lab at UMass, collaborate on large curriculum for corporate meditation trainings, and teach in college courses at institutions such as Vassar. I’m not a neuroscientist or an expert in biology, but I bring these topics into the book in an informed way.
Many of the practices in the book come from Shinzen Young’s Basic Mindfulness system (in which I am a senior facilitator), and which is also highly secular.
I was the editorial director of the meditation publishing company Sounds True for many years, where I created teaching programs with some of the greatest teachers of our time. For example, I edited the perennial audio hit The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young, and recently edited his upcoming book of the same name for Sounds True. I also was the producer and interviewer behind one of Robert Anton Wilson’s last interviews, Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything — a pet project of mine that I really love.
I wrote and published a book entitled, Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept and co-authored (with Peter Baumann, former member of Tangerine Dream) the book Ego: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of an Enlightened Humanity. I’ve edited a number of other books, such as the NY Times bestseller Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson and DreamTending by Steve Aizenstat. I’m also the founding editor and a major contributor on the meditation blog Deconstructing Yourself.
“Michael Taft is a gifted teacher of mindfulness with an impressive track record of helping people get results. As one of my senior facilitators with over 30 years of practice experience, he has a comprehensive understanding of meditative traditions and practices, and is able to translate that into science-friendly, secular language. I recommend him wholeheartedly.”
~ Shinzen Young, meditation teacher and author of The Science of Enlightenment
“Michael has a deep understanding of meditation practice and its underpinnings, and manifests the wisdom and compassion that comes from this. He is also a skilled listener which is an important complement to these other critical components.”
~ Judson Brewer, MD,PhD, Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and an associate professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School
“I have known Michael Taft for fifteen years and have seen him teach various meditation classes as well as academic classes in the Department of Religion and Asian Studies at Vassar College. Michael is a truly accomplished teacher with a skill set that spans and integrates Asian Buddhist and Hindu tradition with Western Neuroscience and contemporary practices of Mindfulness in corporate as well as personal contexts.”
~ Rick Jarow, PhD, Professor of Religion at Vassar College and author of The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide.
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