Quiet the Mind – Matthew Johnstone


Published April 1st 2012 by Robinson Publishing (first published March 1st 2012)
Full title: Quiet the Mind: An Illustrated Guide on How to Meditate
Author: Matthew Johnstone
Genre: Non-fiction, self-help, mental health
Pages: 72
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening line:

“You would think sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes a day would be relatively easy but for some it can be challenging, verging on impossible.”

Goodreads synopsis:

Meditation is simply a way of giving our brains a well-deserved break and can actually help our brains to function healthy and happily. This illustrated guide is an inspiring and practical book which shows you how to meditate without the need for uncomfortable lotus positions or prayer beads!

My review

I found this in my local library and I remembered reading Johnstone’s other book I Had a Black Dog and that it was a brilliant insight into depression. I had no idea that he’d done a book about meditation, so I figured I would give it a go.

I’ve read a lot about mindfulness and mental health recently, and most of the books are full of words and dense texts and exercises. The most visual one I’ve read is How to be Mindful by Anna Barnes, but this one actually seems to explain and introduce meditation for someone who may not have tried it before.

This book was an adventure from the start, and it introduced medidation slowly, and put it into content before explaning what it is and how you can do it. Johnstone starts with the idea that there’s a city behind the doors of your mind, where all the stuff in it is related to you and dedicated to exploration and creativity.

That’s when he says that this natural state of thinking, and creative process and positive thought can be ruined by negative thoughts that enter our mind. This is where meditation can come in and help.

The layout of the book is in typical Johnstone style, with plenty of illustrations and bright colours, but this topic warrants a bit more explaining, and a bit more words. But there is not a lot of dense text, and all the information is presented in various fonts, and made to be very attractive to the eye.

The visual representations of calmness and disturbance are clever, and it’s the best portrayal I have seen so far of how meditation can help to calm the mind.

It’s worth noting that I am part of the category of people who find it difficult to meditate, to the point that I give up on it very easily, and am more inclined to switch off when reading a book on the subject.

This one kept me reading because of how fun t makes learning about meditation, although Johnstone advises that every time you see the words ‘in and out’ that the reader is to do the breathing exercise, and partake in a bit of meditation while reading. I admit, I had a go the first time, but quickly gave up.

This is a good little guide for anyone wondering what meditation is, but who doesn’t want a lot of dense text, or 200 pages to get through on the subject. This is a visual, condensed version that anyone can benefit from. It’s an introduction, a taster covering the basics. The illustrations are, as ever, brilliant.

Link to the book on Goodreads; Quiet the Mind



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