The 11 Best Meditation Books for Beginners and Experts
Looking for the best meditation books you can read to start or continue your meditation practice?
But it can also be a difficult activity to start. Even expert meditators find it hard to continue the process sometimes.
In this article, we share with you 11 meditation books that you can read to motivate and inspire you to deepen your practice. These books can definitely help you find the peace and enlightenment you are looking for, and aid you in achieving a healthier, happier lifestyle.
1. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
Whether you are walking, eating a snack, or simply breathing, you should be able to concentrate on what you are doing. The key is focus, awareness, and self-examination. This mindfulness book provides sincere and useful steps to help the reader learn the art of introspection.
First published in 1975 by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, this book teaches its readers the art of mindfulness through a series of anecdotes and practical exercises. Hanh explains that we should treat our everyday activities as an instrument to develop the gift of awareness.
One of the most popular books by Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness will teach you the importance of living in the present moment with full awareness of reality.
2. Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
Written by Buddhist monk Henepola Gunaratana, this book is exactly what its title suggests: simple, plain, and easy to understand. The author believes that the most effective way to explain something to someone is through the simplest possible language.
Gunaratana also believes that people are often afraid to start meditating because they think it is difficult to do. Hence, they need simplified instructions written in simple language that can teach them how to meditate.
Mindfulness in Plain English is one of the most influential books about mindfulness and meditation.
3. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
10% Happier was inspired by an incident in Dan Harris’s life, when he experienced a panic attack live on national television. At that moment, he knew he had to make changes in the way he lived his life.
This book is dedicated to those who are skeptical about meditation. Harris was once a non-believer. He thought that meditation was either useless or impossible (or both). But after what happened to him on air, he took a journey that led him to believe in the power of meditation and mindfulness.
As a New York Times Bestseller, 10% Happier provides you with a guide to Harris’s own meditation practice. Additionally, it covers a list of benefits of meditation, backed up by scientific evidence and reliable statistics.
4. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
First published in 1994, and with over 750,000 copies sold to date, this book continues to change people’s lives with its lessons on mindfulness and meditation. It is dedicated to both beginners and long-time practitioners.
Jon Kabat-Zinn aims to bring meditation to Western culture, and wrote his book in a way that would inspire Western readers to try the practice. It is not so much a step-by-step procedure as an explanation of the principles of mindfulness.
5. Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport
This is a book I have written along with my writing partner Barrie Davenport, which I humbly believe belongs on this list. It has sold thousands of copies and received hundreds of positive reviews.
Declutter Your Mind is a book that deals with your overwhelming thoughts, daily anxiety struggles, and negative thinking. It is filled with mindfulness techniques and exercises that can help you gain a positive mindset.
If you are looking for inner peace to increase your happiness, I recommend reading this book. It will teach you how to prioritize the most important things in your life and let go of the things that no longer serve you.
6. Make Peace With Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic by Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman believes that we all have an inner critic inside that keeps on reminding us that we are never good enough. This voice inside our heads is what makes us question our abilities, doubt our actions, and distrust our intuition.
In this book, he teaches his readers how to let go and get over that inner critic through mindfulness meditation. Every chapter discusses what creates and destroys the critic. You will find stories of real people who have overcome the voices in their heads.
Coleman has written this book in an informal yet engaging style. You will learn how to live a happier, freer life with the simple meditation practices it teaches.
7. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
A compilation of the teachings of Shunryu Suzuki, this book is one of the most beloved American Zen books. It was first published in 1970, and is considered to be a true, spiritual classic.
The book teaches both beginners and experts what Zen meditation is all about. Suzuki starts with the basics—posture and breathing—then progresses to the perception of non-duality, and everything else in between. He also explains how the essence of Zen meditation should not be forgotten, even when you have mastered it.
Suzuki is one of the Sōtō Zen monks that helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. The book shares his enlightening personal stories and words of encouragement.
8. Meditation in Action by Chogyam Trungpa
Chogyam Trungpa is a Tibetan master who teaches Buddhist meditation. In this book, he explains that meditation goes beyond the formal practice of sitting. He believes that meditation is a combination of awareness, compassion, and creativity.
Trungpa further explains that there are six activities that strengthen the practice of meditation: generosity, patience, discipline, clarity, energy, and wisdom. With all these, one will be able to see things clearly and deal with them with the utmost effectiveness.
Meditation in Action is recommended both for first-time and long-time meditation practitioners. It develops self-consciousness and heightens self-awareness and productivity.
9. Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg provides a practical, detailed, 28-day meditation and mindfulness program in this masterpiece. Her focus is on meditation as a technique and exercise rather than a spiritual practice (imagine running and hiking instead of Zen Buddhism).
The book covers the basics of mindfulness meditation, from posture, scheduling, and breathing to focusing and decluttering. In addition to the step-by-step description of how to meditate, it also lists evidence-based reasons why meditation is beneficial to the mind, body, and soul.
A truly remarkable meditation book, Real Happiness teaches its readers how to use meditation as a means to be more resilient and creative. Moreover, it demonstrates how meditation can give you peace, clarity, and happiness.
10. 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport
I also co-authored this book with my writing partner, Barrie Davenport. In it, we did not focus on mindfulness meditation specifically, but instead listed habits that you can use to achieve a more peaceful, happier life.
In this book, you can choose from 71 short habits that you may want to add to your daily routine. You do not need to complete the habits all at once. The book works like a “menu” for you—choose one, a few, or all.
We understand that most people have busy lives. But despite that fact, we all still need to focus on ourselves and the things that can make us happy. This is the purpose of this book: to bring you small habits that can readjust your life’s course and make it a happier one.
11. Why Can’t I Meditate? by Nigel Wellings
Before describing the meditation practice in detail, Nigel Wellings compiles reasons why meditation is so hard to accomplish, particularly in this modern age. The book lays out all of the potential roadblocks that might hinder your meditation success.
It does not end there, of course. Wellings also offers an accessible guide for both beginners and experts on how to get the best out of mindfulness meditation. In addition, he explains how one can make meditation a permanent part of their life.
Practical yet informative, this book is a transparent approach to meditation. It admits that meditation is boring, difficult, and often scary, but it also provides reasons why people should still consider it as a tool to achieve a more satisfying life.
The practice of meditation is not easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. Remember that nothing is impossible with a heart and mind that believes.
With the meditation books we have shared above, we hope that we can help you motivate and inspire yourself to pursue and continue mindful meditation.
If you have already read one or some of these books, we’d like to know your thoughts! Share a comment or two below, and let us know how these books have impacted your meditation practice.