I spent a bit of time studying Buddhism and the Visuddhimagga and the practices that speaks to me most are the ten kasinas. I love meditating on earth, water, fire, air, dark blue, yellow, blood-red, white, light and bounded space. I have had wonderful meditations on these subjects especially, (perhaps because I am an artist) on the colors blood-red and white.
But, Buddhism is not my path and it seems that Western Psychologists are obsessed with Buddhism and especially Mindfulness. I really prefer other things like Mantra, Mandala, Mudra and Yantra and the Tantric Path. I am glad we have the Jung Institute in Los Angeles that does some work in this direction. I also am very attracted to the Taoist Path but there really wasn't much talk about it in Goleman's Book. I have studied with Mantak Chia in the past and he comes to Los Angeles in June and I have signed up for at the least the weekend workshop and if I am not working I will do more. I think knowing about Taoism makes my teaching of Yin Yoga much deeper.
I had never heard about Hesychasm, Fourth Way and Choiceless Awareness before and I don't know if people are still practicing all these techniques or not anymore. I am not intrigued enough to look them up and see. The book, The Meditative Mind, is pretty old, it dates to 1977 its hard to really take everything as up to date especially the research on meditation. It seems like many of the IYT books are from the mid-70s I would actually really like to see the reading list updated. I don't think the reading list should be the same as if I was taking the program in 1980 because it is actually 2017 now and a lot of things have happened in almost 40 years of research on Yoga and Meditation, I think Buddha's Brain or the Body Keeps the Score maybe should replace some of the required reading.
I very much believe what Goleman said about TM that the mantras are mantras that many Hindus have been using for hundred if not thousands of years. I was initiated into TM by my cousins who have been practicing since the 60s. I use so of their techniques but I work with the mantra I chose is important for me at the moment. I don't stick to my mantra. And I recognized my mantra when it was given to me and what goddess it was associated with even though my cousins didn't come forth with that information.
I haven't been changed by Goleman's book and I do believe the book is heavily weighted towards Buddhism as I have said before that although I have had some times in my life where I flirted with and even practiced Buddhism it is not my path anymore. I don't remember reading any discussion of Samkhya philosophy which Buddhism develops out of in the book. I would like to not have seen all of Tantra lumped together. Also I think in the altered states of consciousness maybe there should have been some discussion of Iowaska because people are using that drug a lot now to open there consciousness.
In generally, the book seemed like an adequate but imperfect survey of meditation.