This book starts with my own experience of meditation then expands into a broader journey of scientific discovery, providing not only the evidence but the practical methods by which you can verify it for yourself. The information in this book is based on more than fifteen years of unique research into a phenomenon that I call mental silence, or thoughtless awareness. There are two kinds of evidence given in this book. First, scientific evidence derived from clinical trials and laboratory experiments with varying levels of scientific rigour. Second, remarkable stories and experiences which, although less scientific, provide an important insight into the personal dimension of the ‘mental silence’ experience. These stories are included here precisely because they are remarkable. They will not necessarily apply to every person who chooses to practise the techniques laid out in the following chapters.

I encourage you to be open-minded but sceptical with regard to this book’s claims and assertions. The intention of this book is not to fill your head with facts and figures but to encourage you to engage in a profound personal experiment – the attainment of mental silence, the authentic basis of meditation. Ideally it will inspire you to meditate daily – for it’s not the words on these pages so much as your own experience of mental silence that will persuade you of the great benefi ts of regular meditation practice. Hence the extensive practical guidance provided in the practical sections of this book.

Every moment spent in the state of mental silence will enhance your experience of the present and is an investment in your future wellbeing and fulfilment. Isn’t it worth committing to some regular practice to master that monkey mind and thereby awaken your potential for greater wellbeing, dynamism and happiness? It’s a no-brainer.

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.

Franklin D. Roosevelt