In today’s world of information overload and unrelenting messages about everything from the economy to terrorism, it’s pretty difficult to feel calm. Fortunately, Sarah McLean has put together a meditation plan that is extremely accessible to the average person.
I interviewed McLean when she was in New York to introduce her new book, Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation. She has described her program as “decidedly mainstream.” Before meeting, I had read several chapters, visited her website, and listened to the first track on her guided meditations CD, “Why Meditate?”
In the opening pages, studies were referenced showing the effects of meditation: decreased anxiety and depression, enhanced immunity, normalized blood sugar, reduction of chronic pain, and lowered cholesterol. A January 2011 article published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging related that researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital had found that after two months of meditating for an average of 27 minutes daily that there was a positive physical change in the gray matter of the brain.
During our talk, Mclean recounted the story of her personal evolution over two decades — with activities ranging from serving as a behavior specialist in the military medical corps to living in a Zen Buddhist monastery in a remote part of southern California. She was the program manager at the Deepak Chopra Center, spent time in Afghan refugee camps, and served as a director at Byron Katie’s School for The Work.