NEVER RELAXED review-expert meditation author Garin Jones’ newest book

The author and his inspiration; Garin Jones with Jesse and Molly Jones; photo by Carolynn Jones
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Writer, web content coordinator and meditation instructor Garin T. Jones has written 2 very different volumes on meditation/mindfulness. 

WARNING! This Book Will Make You MEDITATE, produced, published, and artistically designed by Dinosaur House, 2022, is a children’s book in bright pastels accented with large swaths of black and white. Featuring hip characters- a zebra and fleshy blobs with humanoid features- it projects a wry oddball humor introducing kids to very sophisticated concepts in simple, fun ways. The easy-to-read little guide to calm, clear thinking is sure to capture the attention of young minds, and the primary meditation exercises are set forth in unpretentious instructional prose. 

By contrast, NEVER RELAXED: The Practice of Neurotic Mindfulness, self-published and just released, is a deliberately self-effacing yet self-assured presentation of the meaning of neurotic thinking, the benefits to be gained by mindful meditation, replete with examples of before-and-after states of being and a guide to targeted practices designed to achieve a balanced whole. 

NEVER RELAXED by Garin Jones; cover art by Julie Madison

Interestingly, the author’s writing is not all that different between the 2 books; he is direct, witty and disarmingly goal-oriented: he wants you to meditate. WARNING’s explanation, “Meditation is exercise for your brain”, and (It) “helps us understand where thoughts are from and where they are going”, is essentially the same message as NEVER’s “With meditation, I was able to create the space to see where my neuroses were a problem and where they were an opportunity”. This last observation, by the way, is the key to Jones’ particular unique viewpoint: all experiences can be seen as both a sword and a shield; if Covid keeps you locked away from loved ones in a basement “guestroom”, that timeout can be utilized to recognize the precious connections with loved ones waiting just upstairs. 

In an extended upbeat interview with the author, the affable Jones embodied the rare ability to project joy; in admitting his all-too-human frailties he demonstrates the strength achieved through deliberate, habitual meditation. In essence, he wants everybody to turn their attention to their attention: the young, the old, the centered, the nutty- you and me.

“Being neurotic is experiencing a bombardment of associations between your thoughts and your feelings. It’s the state of constantly jumping to conclusions, rejecting clarifying information, refusing to ask appropriate questions; there’s a frayed quality to the behavior”, he commented. “Another way of looking at the neurotic is to understand that this is the mental state of the sensitive overthinker; this person feels their emotions in a more raw way- and their thoughts are swirling”, he explains, adding, “Sensitive people are curious and can be brought to a healthy understanding rather than stay caught in ‘analysis paralysis’ by the practice of mindfulness”.

WARNING: This Book Will Make You Meditate by Garin Jones; cover art by Nicole Bauer and Katiuska Pino

What is mindfulness? “Mindfulness is an even-paced clarity of mind in which one is aware of thoughts and feelings but not enslaved by them: the person has the space of mind to make the best decisions,” said Jones. “It’s a state you reach by practice over time. Meditation is the primer for the practice, and the goal is to return oneself to a calm place”. I am reminded of WARNING’s advice to achieve STILLNESS: “Life tries to make us mad…sad…bad…Calming our thoughts eases emotions”.

Jones’ goal in writing the books was to provide a useful way for others to access ideas that he’s proud of; whirling mind can be fun! His ultimate answer to the question, What is neurotic mindfulness? “It’s the essence of creativity”, he responds. “It’s stepping back from the spiking hypomanic moments of being slightly nuts and asking yourself, ‘Do I want to go there?’, and being able to decide instead of being driven”. 

Both books are available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited, they are well worth a read!


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