It’s no surprise that with its many benefits, meditation has been growing in popularity and attracting people from all walks of life. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned meditator seeking to deepen your practice, there’s a book here for you. We’ve put together a list of the 21 best books on meditation for beginners all the way to those more advanced,.
We hope that it will support and inspire you on your journey to inner peace and harmony.
Best Meditation Books For Beginners
A modern classic and ideal for those new to meditation and mindfulness. Author Jon Kabat-Zinn is known as the “father of mindfulness” and is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher. And notably, a former student of several acclaimed masters including Thich Nhat Hanh.
Though the author has trained with the best teachers he keeps the concepts practical, accessible and easy to understand. Covering everything from the basics to simple techniques that you can practice in everyday life. You will be challenged to live the present moment and fully accept where you are, right here and now.
“Life on earth is a whole, yet it expresses itself in unique time-bound bodies, microscopic or visible, plant or animal, extinct or living. So there can be no one place to be. There can be no one way to be, no one way to practice, no one way to learn, no one way to love, no one way to grow or to heal, no one way to live, no one way to feel, no one thing to know or be known. The particulars count.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
This book from Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun, and author of some of the best books on Spirituality, including When Things Fall Apart. This straightforward guide will teach you everything you need to know about meditation, and is an excellent place for new Zen seekers to start.
From the 6 points of posture, to working with your breath and cultivating an attitude of “friendliness”, the author explores various meditation methods and insights into practicing. Breaking it down with easy to follow steps to help you overcome obstacles ensure long-term daily meditation success.
An essential resource that also teaches the concepts that are vital to living a peaceful life filled with authenticity, compassion and connection.
“In meditation, you are moving closer and closer to yourself, and you begin to understand yourself so much more clearly. You begin to see clearly without a conceptual analysis, because with regular practice, you see what you do over and over and over and over again. You see that you replay the same tapes over and over and over in your mind. The name of the partner might be different, the employer might be different, but the themes are somewhat repetitious. Meditation helps us to clearly see ourselves and the habitual patterns that limit our life.” – Pema Chödrön
If you are looking for easy to understand, step-by-step method for bringing meditation into your life this one is for you. Learn simple routines taught by author, Jack Kornfield, acclaimed meditation teacher and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society.
A quick read that also comes with a CD of guided meditations, so you can get started on your practice right away. If you’ve never used a guided meditation before this is a good way for you begin as it gives your “monkey mind” something to hook into, as you learn to deepen your practice and focus.
As you go along, you’ll discover how easy it is to use your breath, physical sensations and even difficult emotions to create harmony and loving kindness in your everyday life. Ultimately, laying a foundation for a lifetime of inner peace and awakening.
“The point of these teachings has nothing to do with becoming a Buddhist, or learning any Eastern ceremonies or rituals or bowing. The point is that you learn how to work with meditation in order to find benefits from it in your life. When we take time to quiet ourselves, we can all sense that our lives could be lived with greater compassion and greater wakefulness. To meditate is to support this inner potential and allow it to come forth into our lives.” – Jack Kornfield
Since it’s publication over 40 years ago, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become a spiritual classic and must read on the subject of Zen. Teaching calmness and serenity and how to let go and make the mental space you need to peacefully move through the world – “like a cloud passing through the sky”.
Good for all levels of meditators as it goes deeper into the heart of your practice. Sharing timeless wisdom to help you cultivate your mindset, live in the present moment and make the most out of your Zen experience.
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” – Shunryu Suzuki
5. Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan
Chade-Meng Tan, is one of Google’s earliest engineers and a pioneer in the field of personal growth, including teaching his fellow employees how to apply mindfulness at work and beyond. This book is a way you can get personal access to his sought after work in the field of mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and apply it to your own life.
Recommended for the busy person wishing to deepen self-awareness, build confidence through compassion, improve health, feel happier and more creative in today’s modern world.
“The key is to let go of two things: grasping and aversion. Grasping is when the mind desperately holds on to something and refuses to let it go. Aversion is when the mind desperately keeps something away and refuses to let it come. These two qualities are flip sides of each other. Grasping and aversion together account for a huge percentage of the suffering we experience, perhaps 90 percent, maybe even 100 percent.” – Chade-Meng Tan
Making space was designed to be an inspirational guide for those new to the practice of mindfulness. Written by master teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, it offers easy to follow instructions for living your life mindfully and establishing a home meditation practice.
It teaches creative practices that go well beyond simply sitting quietly. You’ll learn how to set up a breathing room, breathing techniques, walking meditations, and even how to cook and eat a meal in mindfulness. This beautifully illustrated resource will inspire you to make your home your own personal peaceful sanctuary from the business of modern life.
“The energies of mindfulness, concentration and insight can liberate us from our anxiety and worries. We let go of the past and the future, and come in touch with the wonders of the present.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Can you teach yourself to meditate? Author Eric Harrison says yes. Trained in the Buddhist traditions of Burma and Tibet, and has practiced meditation for more than thirty years. He’s developed his own methods that will appeal to those who want the practical side and benefits of meditation without to much of the mysticism.
Teach yourself to meditate, offers easy techniques that are only 15 minutes long. With an aim to make it as simple as possible, he takes the practice of meditation down to its core roots of: Breathing, posture, mantras, body awareness, visualization and detachment. After reading this one, you’ll have a good understanding how meditation works as well as, what it is and is not.
This is an excellent first step for anyone who wants to learn the habit of mindfulness and meditation, but struggles to commit to the practice. Designed to be an approachable “how to”, the author gives you a structured 8 week program that teaches a new technique each week.
Written with clear, supportive step-by-step instructions, Davich, also addresses frequently asked question as well as advice on how to “troubleshoot” the most common stumbling blocks in your mindfulness practice.
“When (because there is no “if” about this) you are meditating and suddenly find yourself mixing up a batch of brownies or deciding whether to eat Chinese or Italian tonight, just realize that you have strayed off. Then, without judging yourself a “bad” meditator, gently return your awareness to your breath.” – Victor Davich
If you are new to meditation or if you just can’t seem to stick to a consistent daily routine, this book is for you. The author explores the most common reasons why a successful practice can be so hard to commit too. Sharing guidance from a wide spectrum of mindfulness teachers, and personal accounts by new meditators, this book directly addresses all of the roadblocks standing between you and maintaining a successful practice.
Including shedding light on how what you might think is boring, painful or uncomfortable about meditating, is actually an invaluable part of an awakened path. Whether you’re just getting started, have a hard time being consistent or have stopped all together, this book can help you get your practice back on track.
“Why is this practice so difficult? I think this is the wrong question. Rather, it’s, why is there so much difficulty in just being with myself…” – Nigel Wellings
Author Sharon Salzberg is a sought after, spiritual author and teacher and along with Jack Kornfield the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society. Using her 30 years of teaching meditation she has created a 28 day program that can change your life.
With clear and concise directions you’ll learn the basics of posture, breathing, and the daily routine to the finer points of calming the mind, distraction, dealing with specific problem areas and tackling the larger issues of compassion and awareness.
This is a great resource for anyone just starting out as it, as it shares twelve meditation practices, including mindfulness and walking meditation. And also follows up with the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the art of meditating.
“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. It’s never too late to take a moment to look.” – Sharon Salzberg
Best Meditation Books For Intermediate To Expert Meditators
In his definitive introduction to Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts gives a clear and straightforward explanation of the principles and practices of this ancient religion. He delves in the origins of Zen and connects the dots to how it influences modern day living.
Good if you’ve been meditating for a few months or more.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts
Perfect for anyone who wants to go beyond basic practices and understand the science behind meditation. Combining traditional Buddhist wisdom with the latest research in neuroscience and cognitive research, the author gives detailed step by step instructions to help your meditation practice.
In this 10 stage program, you’ll learn how to improve memory, focus and expand your concentration while overcoming common obstacles. Filled with illustrations and charts this is the ultimate guide to help you through every step of the meditation process.
“True happiness comes from within, which means we can always find joy, in both good times and bad. Although pain and pleasure are an inevitable part of human life, suffering and happiness are entirely optional. The choice is ours.” – John Yates
Whether you are a budding meditator or a season practitioner, this classic best seller can help you further your meditation journey. Sharing valuable insights and step by step instructions, it walks you through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. Including, how to establish a routine that works for you.
“The ‘you’ that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same ‘you’ that comes out the other side.” —Bhante Gunaratana
Do you struggle to quiet your mind and then feel bad when you can’t? The author Jason Siff, believes this is a misguided approach to a natural part of meditation. Urging readers to change their perspective, gain insights and learn more about themselves in the process.
Pick this up, if you are frustrated with your thought processes and looking for a new and refreshing approach to your practice.
A best selling classic by Ram Dass is the ultimate guidebook to exploring the many types of meditation – from mantra, singing, visualizations, movement as well as “just sitting” just sitting quietly, you’ll find the right practice for you.
Along the way he sheds light on the benefits of the practice and provides illuminating advice on overcoming any obstacles along the way.
Everyone has experienced a moment of pure awareness. A moment without thinking ‘I am aware’ or ‘that is a tree.’ Such moments bring a sense of rightness, of clarity, of being at one. Such moments are the essence of meditation.”—Ram Dass
Especially written for those looking to deepen their practice, The Meditator’s Dilemma, addresses the issue of why it’s so difficult to maintain an everyday practice. Written by a psychologist with over forty years of experience practicing and teaching meditation it addresses the problem, its causes and gives actionable techniques to improve your meditation experience.
Learn how to bring the qualities of play, joy, gratitude, warmth, and kindness to your mindfulness meditation practice, while remaining rooted in the ancient teachings of the Buddha. If you are looking to peacefully expand your practice this one’s for you.
“The attachment to concentration becomes one of the last hiding places of the separate self.” – Bill Morgan
Those looking to go further into their meditation practice can benefit from the classic teachings of Tibetan master Chögyam Rinpoche. Which takes the concept of meditation beyond sitting meditations, too applying it as a foundation for compassion, awareness and creativity in all areas of your life.
Exploring six activities associated with the concept of meditation in action—generosity, discipline, patience, energy, clarity, and wisdom. Giving the reader insights into how through direct experience one can transcend the ego and gain clarity and real wisdom.
“We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.” – Chögyam Trungpa
Written by two of the worlds best known, Buddhist teachers, The Path of Insight Meditation, shares the concept of Insight Meditation a practice that can lead to more understanding, clarity and the true nature of our existence.
A quick read that offers readers a summary of the concepts taught in the author’s own meditation retreats around the world. If you’re looking to strengthen your mindfulness practice, cultivate compassion and have heart-based connections with both yourself and others – this ones for you.
“Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind.” – Joseph Goldstein
Loving Kindness The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, is a clear and accessible introduction to the Loving Kindness Meditation, also known as Metta. The concept is simple – fear creates a lack of intimacy, separateness, despair and loneliness.
Metta seeks to dissolve this, as your mind cannot draw on fear while practicing loving kindness.
Drawing on Buddhist teachings which are followed up with practical instructions, exercises and meditations, it enables you to take the concepts and easily apply them to your own life. This book will help you to have greater sense of connection, love and empathy with yourself, with others and discover the joy within.
“The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be our own friend. According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Sharon Salzberg
Just For Fun
Would you like to be more creative and present? Written by Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton of The Mindfulness Project, and filled with inspiring hands on exercises, meditations and creative activities for more mindful living.
I Am Here Now will challenge you to be more present, observe the world with more creativity, curiosity and find mindful moments in your everyday life.
Not technically a meditation book, but rather a fun way to use art as a means to soothe the stress and anxiety that comes with modern day living. Perfect for anyone who wants to decompress at the end of a long day, or just needs a quick 10 minute breather to color their way to calm.
At The End Of The Day…
From the basics, to the philosophical to just plain fun, we hope that you enjoyed our list of the best books on meditation. No matter where you are in your journey – beginner, intermediate or advanced there is a book for you to deepen your practice and support you on the path to be more present, peaceful and enlightened.
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