Meditation can be life-changing. It can help you focus, calm anxiety, and just be a nice reset for your mind, body, and soul. And that’s just the beginning of what meditation can do for you. But it’s also a lot harder than it looks. I’ve been working towards having a successful meditation practice for the past several years, and some months have been better than others. Sometimes I’ve had to reset and rethink what meditation means to me and why I’m doing it. I think the important thing to remember through your meditation successes and setbacks is that mindfulness and meditation are a journey. The books on this list can help you on that journey. And if you’re coming to this list with no experience with meditation, these books can help you get started.
We all have preconceived notions about what meditation is and who practices meditation. In Meditation is Not What You Think, Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches us why meditation is a practice that can be integrated into your daily life. This book acts as the first part of a series designed to educate readers about all aspects of meditative practices. Meditation is Not What You Think answers the most common questions about what meditation is and why it’s beneficial to the yogi and the businessman alike. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a pioneer of mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, and he brilliantly shares his wisdom in this essential book on meditation.
Even if you know what meditation is, forming your own practice might feel daunting. Instead of stumbling through the creation of a practice, let Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness innovator and educator, introduce you to different types of meditative practices everyone can employ in their daily lives. Read about different types of meditation and techniques for mastering mindfulness. This book explains the what of meditation, and provides a good description of how to integrate meditation into your life. With detailed explanations of what meditation looks and feels like, this book is a vital tool for anyone curious to try meditation, no matter what their skill level or familiarity with the practice.
Mindfulness sounds like a simple way to live in the moment and enjoy each experience in one’s life, but as I mentioned before, practicing mindfulness isn’t always so easy. In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat–Zinn—innovator, educator, and expert on mindfulness and meditation—teaches the ins and outs of mindfulness and how everyone can benefit from it. Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness and meditative practices as “non-doing,” the ability to let things happen in their own way, in their own time. Everyone can live in the present moment and add richness to their daily lives, and Wherever You Go, There You Are can help you get there.
This classic book helps readers integrate mindfulness techniques into their daily lives through small, simple gestures. Composed of 366 essays written by and for women, Simple Abundance can be read at once or savored over time throughout the year. Overall, this book shows that everyone is capable of being their most authentic selves, even in seemingly mundane situations--like a trip to the thrift market or while working in the garden. Learn to appreciate and be mindfully grateful in everyday situations and acknowledge your own Simple Abundance.
Stop Missing Your Life is a book about mindfulness and meditation in our everyday lives. In this book, Muscara shares his knowledge gained from studying psychology and living in a monastery for six months, distilling those values and ideas into an easy-to-understand guide to mindfulness in the busy modern world. Muscara offers a new method for practicing mindfulness in your daily life through the FACE model (focus, allow, curiosity, and embodiment), and explains the benefits of incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Discover the power of enjoying your life instead of letting it simply pass you by!
Coming to Our Senses is an eight-part conclusive work on mindfulness and meditation that walks readers through any questions they might have about meditative practice. Longtime educator and mindfulness innovator Jon Kabat-Zinn provides an in-depth examination of meditation and mindfulness, from its origins to its application in our daily lives. Kabat-Zinn’s anecdotes and instructions are easy to understand and thorough, making this collection a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in meditation.
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Miracle of Mindfulness is one of those books you're likely to see on a lot of lists for mediation books. And if you read it, you'll see why. Thich Nhat Hanh offers practical suggestions and accessible anecdotes to help anyone learn to practice mindfulness, no matter what your previous experiences with meditation and mindfulness have been. This book offers up a healthy mixture of spiritual guidance and practical guidance as Thich Nhat Hanh offers up mindfulness practices for almost every activity in your life, from eating a tangerine to washing the dishes.
Pema Chöön; Pema Chöön
When I first started meditating, Pema Chödrön's books were frequently recommended to me to help build my personal meditation practice. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind is particularly good for beginners. This book breaks down the practice of meditation and mindfulness into easy-to-follow steps.
Huston Smith (Preface by); Richard Baker (Introduction by); David Chadwick (Afterword by); Shunryu Suzuki; Trudy Dixon (Editor)
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Sōtō Zen monk and teacher Shrunryu Suzuki is full of little vignettes about Zen meditation and practice. Suzuki is responsible for popularizing Zen meditation in the United States, and these are his eye-opening reflections on the practice.
Turning the Mind into an Ally is a practical and jargon-free guide to Buddhist principles that's easily understandable for a Western reader. Sakyong Mipham, one of the most highly respected young incarnate lamas of Tibet, is able to infuse Eastern ideals with Western sensibilities. This is a detailed but never overwhelming guide to meditation.