Book Review: Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation by Sarah McLean

This is why we always stay open to options!I love that this book is called “Soul-Centered” as I feel it covers a lot of great ways on how to live a more soul-centered life. To me, the meditations were almost just secondary bonus material. Though I must say there is a lot of great techniques and as you explore them you are sure to find a way or combination of ways to meditate that will work for you. This book is really a discussion or “how to” about living a more soul-centered lifestyle. Something most of us could benefit from. It has lots of great information, reinforcements and reminders of good practices to incorporate throughout your day not just when you are meditating. Overall this is a wonderfully approachable book to both the subjects of meditation and living a more soul-centered life.

With any book I read there are just some thoughts though that really stick with me and are heard and reinforced at the right time (all in right timing, right?). Here are a few that were really resonating with me that I feel were well explored and perfectly mentioned by the author:

“When you’re feeling anxious or fearful, it’s a clue that your focus is likely in the future; when you’re feeling grief or depression, your attention is probably in the past. If you’re feeling ashamed or embarrassed, you are probably tuned in to an unclear or distorted image of yourself. Your emotions are clues as to where your attention is focused.”

Such a great reminder to stay in the now. The now is so much more peaceful than whatever you are dwelling on.

“If a thought causes you stress, yet you can’t break the habit of thinking it again and again, you can consciously decide to question the thought, rather than believe it right off the bat… Instead of assuming that your thoughts are true, ask yourself these questions:

– Who would I be if I didn’t believe that thought?

– How would I live my life without the thought?”

Love it! Question the thoughts you have. Don’t just accept them. Then she goes on to say…

“The fact that you can question yourself and your thoughts means there is a thinker of the thoughts, and that is who and what you connect to…”

What a great way to get soul-centered! Observe the observer.

“Thoughts in meditation are an indication that you are releasing stress… And the more stress you release, the more you can connect with your soul.”

What a great way to change your attitude about those pesky thoughts in meditation. They are releasing themselves from you. In my meditation I took up the habit of helping the stress thoughts to release. If I thought of someone who was stressing me, I wished them, “Love, Joy, and Laughter” a creative thought that just would not go away, I said, “Thank you, I love you” Acknowledging the Universe for sending me the thought, yet helping it go away until I was in a better place to think about it. After the thoughts eased I then try to requite my mind. It seems to be helping.

And you know the author, Sarah McLean, is cool when she quotes my favorite fiction writer Tom Robbins! I have leant my copy of “Still Life with Woodpecker” to someone, so did not remember this, but love it…

“[Still Life with Woodpecker says,] ‘There are only two mantras… yum and yuk’ It is binary really: something is ‘yummy’ if you like it and want more (yes), and ‘yucky’ if you don’t like it and are repulsed by in (no).”

Love it!! So simple. I used this to help me make a decision this last month. Instead of analyzing the crap out of things I just asked, “Is this more of a yum or a yuck?” I got a yuck feeling. How easy was that to tap into?

“In my study of Buddhism, I’d gotten the impression (wrongly) that the Buddha taught that desire was the cause of all suffering… I later learned the Buddha actually taught that it’s the attachment or clinging to desires that causes suffering, not the desires themselves. It made sense; how could I not have desires?… desires are naturally part of who we are as human beings.”

Oh you know I am all over this one! Desires are natural just don’t become attached!! That’s got Unscribbling written all over it – follow your desires, just don’t become attached to just one way to fulfill them!)

She also does this great exercise to realize that “what you look for is what you get” with her niece and demonstrates…

“… the mind usually finds what it is looking for and little else.”

It is so brilliant. I’m not going to tell you because you just need to get the book.

These quotes are just a few of the gems you will find in this book. Was I right when I said that the meditation practices were a nice bonus, but the good part were in the rest when Sarah is discussing the soul-centered lifestyle? She’s got it figured out and presents it in an easy to digest manner. Newbies and aficionados alike will enjoy this. Lot of good points to ponder and thoughts that will help you to become more soul-centered.

Book Discription: Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation presents a secular, mainstream view of meditation and applies it practically as a tool for personal transformation. Each week’s lesson in the 8-week program contains a key for navigating the journey of self-awareness, and each week’s meditation practice builds on those of the previous weeks, making the process accessible and enjoyable for novices and experts alike. Inspiring stories from Sarah’s own experience and from the students she’s taught in her 20-year career as a meditation teacher further enrich the text. Her approach is grounded in leading-edge brain research that shows meditating for 27 minutes a day over 8 weeks can make a huge difference by altering the gray matter in areas of the brain that govern learning, memory, empathy, and stress. 

Each of the lessons in the 8-week program is designed to provide a structure for creating a successful and sustainable meditation practice. As the readers build their meditation practice, they learn to undo stressful habits that don’t serve them, cultivate compassion for themselves and others, and listen to and trust their inner wisdom. 

The Soul-Centered journey is one of finding out who you really are; navigating your life based on that peaceful, loving, wise part of yourself; then fully and fearlessly expressing yourself in the world.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.