Book Review: Ten to Zen by Owen O’Kane

Ten to Zen cover image

Some people may be reluctant to try meditation or mindfulness because they think it takes too much of a time commitment to be effective. Also, they may find it hard to image sitting for an extended period without getting restless. Owen O’Kane, a psychotherapist and mental health professional, has a suggestion for those folks and others who may want to reduce the anxiety and stress in their lives. It’s a ten minute practice that he calls “Ten to Zen,” which is the name of a book O’Kane has written on the practice.

O’Kane is quick to say that his method isn’t based on Zen Buddhism. Instead, he says he uses the term in a colloquial way that is more to do with being “in the zone” or “chilled out.” It’s about being focused, yet relaxed. The same could be said of his book, Ten to Zen: Ten Minutes a Day to a Calmer, Happier You. O’Kane’s tone is conversational, and it almost feels as though you could be sitting next to him while he explains how getting into the habit of sitting and reflecting for ten minutes a day can enhance your life.

The book starts with O’Kane’s background, why he came up with his idea, how it helps, and what kind of commitment it takes. Subsequent chapters go through each step of the process, describing what practitioners can focus on each minute of the time they set aside. I decided to go through the process myself as I read, and I found O’Kane’s suggestions to be helpful. I’ve meditated some in the past, but never regularly. I have been more successful with this ten minute regime than with things I’ve tried before.

It’s also effective that O’Kane goes over his suggestions several times. He also sums up each step several times as he builds upon them. For me, this helped to solidify the process in my mind so I wasn’t always distracted by wondering if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing at any given moment.

I’ve also found his two minute mini-mindfulness session to be helpful for combating insomnia and other stressful situations. Based on my experience, I recommend Ten to Zen as a way to get into meditation and make it a part of daily life.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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