Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being. These books are here to help you with your well-being problems.
1. Making Space by Thich Nhat Hanh
Making Space is the perfect book for beginner meditators.
In this short read, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh breaks down (in a very simple way) how to best establish a home meditation practice. It includes a ton of creative practices and suggestions as well – that stretch beyond just simply sitting in meditation.
2. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
Unlike many of the books on this list, this one is written for pure skeptics by someone who was once a hard skeptic himself – ABC News anchor Dan Harris.
If you feel you still have a bit of skepticism in you, or you did at one point and would just feel more at home listening to someone like you, this is the perfect read.
3. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind is a classic not just in the meditation space, as Shunryu Suzuki’s popularization of the “beginner’s mind” principle has made it catch on in other spaces, such as business and art.
4. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Miracle of Mindfulness was the book that started it all for me. With this, Thich Nhat Hanh would introduce me to a practice that transformed my life and rid me of my constant anxiety. For that reason alone, it would get a place on this list.
However, The Miracle of Mindfulness is more than just sentimental. It’s the classic introduction to mindfulness meditation and it does a better job of describing what it means to live meditatively — and what that can do for us as human beings — than virtually any other book I’ve ever read.
5. Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts
This is a bit of a unique one. One, because it’s technically an audiobook (hey, I’m allowed to bend the rules once). Two, because it’s less about teaching the practice of meditation and more about handling many of the things that will happen during your practice and to you as a result of a deep and consistent meditation practice.
6. What is Zen by Alan Watts
Another from Watts, this is the clearest and most straightforward explanation of the depth of meditation practice I’ve found.
However, keep in mind that anything by Watts is generally a little advanced. Nothing crazy, just make sure you’ve been meditating for a few months and are serious about getting the most from a long-term meditation practice. If you fit that classification, you’ll get so much from this book.
7. Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Mindfulness in Plain English is a unique guide because it breaks down the topic of meditation in a way that none of the other books on this list do. Perhaps for this reason, it’s considered by many to be the quintessential mindfulness meditation guide.
8. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever You Go, There You Are is the perfect “modern” meditation guide from the ‘father of modern mindfulness’, Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Like 10% Happier, this book is perfect for anyone who is a bit turned off by the heavier Buddhist-themed speak or anything with a “spiritual” perspective to it. By no means is it shallow, as Kabat-Zinn is a deep meditator himself, but it’s more welcoming for a newcomer who might be turned off by such themes
9. Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki
This next book is virtually unknown, despite the fact that it’s by the same author as one of the great meditation classics I covered earlier– Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
However, unlike Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, this isn’t an epic love letter to meditation and the quintessential Zen meditation guide, it’s more about little insights for and about meditation practice and how that applies to living everyday life. For that reason, I’ve found it to be the perfect compliment to Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
10. Meditation in Action by Chogyam Trungpa
Written by the late Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Meditation in Action goes deeper into the practice of meditation in an interesting way that makes it stand out from the rest of the books on this list.
These books are the best that there is. You won’t find any more like it. Try one or two of these.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
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