Stress Less, Accomplish More delivers a strong endorsement for the benefits of twice-daily meditation practice. There is a significant body of evidence supporting these benefits, which Emily does a nice job of synthesising and applying to her Ziva Technique.
The book teaches the user what Emily calls the Z technique, rather than the full-blown Ziva meditation. It intentionally avoids providing a robust scientific or practical guidance for practising Ziva, citing the inadequacy of the written medium to appropriately deliver such a powerful concept, though it's not clear that this inadequacy is valid. In reality, this comes across as a marketing gimmick and lead generator to sell the more expensive online course. As a result, the book does not feel like it stands alone as a complete resource, and anyone looking to fill in the blanks will need to conduct their own independent research or pay the $400 course fee.
I have no doubt the book could be significantly improved by adding an additional chapter or two of theory, process, and mantra selection, or making available to all readers the full video series that does this, rather than just the first three 'teaser' video's on the Mindfulness phase. The Z technique is however robust enough to provide value. It outlines the process of a short period of mindfulness, an extended period of internally reciting a mantra, and transitioning through gratitude to visualisation on future goal achievement. The book also does a great job of providing the motivation to actively schedule twice daily blocks for meditation.
I heard Emily Fletcher interviewed on Dr Mark Hyman’s podcast. I was drawn to Emily’s beguiling voice and great practical understanding of meditation. Mostly I found her book helpful but there are three points which bother me. Firstly, she does not explain why she called her meditation Ziva. I suspect it is simply a marketing tool. Secondly she makes some outlandish claims on how Ziva meditation will change your life, but other than some testimonials, she fails to support her claims with any science. Lastly I think she should make it clear that her meditation is based on the golden oldie Transcendental Meditation (TM). So what is she describing? Ziva meditation is performed twice daily, 20 minutes each time. You start off with a mindfulness meditation and I must say it is terrific. This lasts two minutes. Then you meditate on a mantra and she recommends the word ‘one’. Now if you want a more personalised mantra you can go to TM and pay a bunch, or you can go to Ziva on line and pay a bunch. Or you could google some old Sanskrit mantras like Om and choose one you like. I think promoting a personalised mantra is just a money grab. Then you finish off with Manifesting, this is basically visualising your goals. I learned TM 40 yrs ago and practiced it for a year or two, then mostly neglected it, played around with other forms of meditation including vipassana. I have recently resumed a regular practice based on Dr David O’Hare’s book Heart Coherence 365. This induces some healthy physiological changes that settle down your autonomic nervous system. You achieve this by breathing ‘through your heart’, six breaths per minute and you do this for five minutes, three times a day, hence 365. This has achieved some of the changes I have yearned for over the years. So what I found most useful reading Emily’s book is her descriptions of what can go wrong when you mediate on a mantra and what you can do about it. This is her real gift and I thank her for it. As a result, I am adding 15 minutes mantra meditation to my 365 habit. I will use the mantra given to me all those years ago for a large sum of money (oh, did I tell you it was om!). I’m hopeful that Emilies meditation tips will make it worthwhile for me. Time will tell.