Are you interested in starting a meditation practice or maybe you want to understand more about how to deepen your practice and why we practice meditation? There is a wealth of information out there on meditation but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming to know where to start. Books can be a brilliant place to find information, inspiration and ideas. Here are five books that I found incredibly enlightening for my meditation practice. They all share different aspects and angles of meditation and are great for dipping back into time and time again. Here are Resilience Yoga's 5 best books on meditation.
1. Meditation and Mantras - Swami Vishnudevananda
Swami Visnudevananda lived as a karma yogi and activist with a mission to share positive vibrations and the message of peace with the world. This book walks you through the reasons for meditating and the potential impacts on our bodies and minds. With a mix of theoretical content and practical aspects, it outlines approaches and different types of meditation. The explanations of the chakra system and the use of the mantra in meditation are explained simply but with enough context to understand the philosophy behind them and give an indication on how to incorporate them into a meditation practice. The later editions also include a chapter on obstacles to meditation found in modern life. This is a great book to read if you want to understand different types of meditation and how these are linked to yogi philosophies. It's also a perfect reference to dip back into when you want to explore something new to try in your meditation practice. First published in 1978 you may need to find a second-hand edition to add to your bookshelf.
2. The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness - Pema Chodron
This book is beautiful to work through and develop a deeper meditation practice. Pema Chodron shares the daily readings on loving-kindness and self-compassion as delivered to a group of meditators sitting in a month-long retreat in a Buddhist monastery in Nova Scotia. The short passages explore being kind to ourselves, making friends with ourselves and being present in everyday life. The teachings are short and easy to digest, with a wonderful combination of Buddhist philosophy and relation to modern living. By sharing her experience in this way Pema Chodron has bought aspects of meditation retreats into the home and you will really feel like you are joining other practitioners in your journey. This is a great book to support you through a month of change or challenge and I promise it will become a firm favourite for reflection and introspection.
3. Being Peace -Thich Nach Than
A beautiful book from Thich Nach Than. Although he has published over 100 books this remains a best seller. “If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” The beautiful passages shared by Thich Nach Than offer reflections on how our actions have an impact on the people and the world around us. It offers inspiration and ideas on how we can bring more peace into our lives and the lives of others. This is a great book for anyone wanting to find more connection or those wanting to explore what adding aspects of loving-kindness can do for their lives. Although not solely focused on meditation techniques it provides a sense of how to use our practices to create a more harmonious planet.
4. And Breathe - the complete guide to conscious breathing for health and happiness - Rebecca Dennis
As a breath coach, Rebecca Dennis shares simple breathing exercises and testimonials from her clients in this easy read. The explanations of breathwork and practices to focus the mind on a sole point help to explore why using the breath, including in meditation can benefit physical and emotional health. By trying out the exercises and hearing other people's transformation to bring a greater awareness of the breath, this book is guaranteed to make you look at your own breathing patterns. It's the perfect book for adding some breathwork to meditation practice and exploring how these approaches can add stability and grounding to your life.
5. Buddha's brain - Rick Hansen and Richard Mendius
The Buddha's brain combines modern science and ancient teachings to explore how by controlling aspects of our minds we can create greater happiness, love and wisdom. This is a book for the science seeking meditators out there. It's a great blend of the how and the why and has lots of techniques to improve compassion and insight. Although originally written in 2009 the message remains current. The authors come from the world of science and meditation - combining their expertise in psychology, neuroscience and meditation. The book starts with a discussion on the self-transforming brain before delving into subjects such as causes of suffering, happiness, love and wisdom. Definitely, one for the more scientific minds and a great step by step guide if you are new to or want to explore more about mindset and meditation.
And before you rush off to that online shop.....Be conscious about your reading choices. If you fancy purchasing a book from the 5 best books on meditation take a few minutes to find a small retailer or local bookshop to support. There are some fantastic online shops championing independent bookstores. Being mindful about where we purchase can impact the longevity of indie publishing and ensure that we continue to have a breadth of exciting and inspiring books at our fingertips. I particularly love buying second-hand books where I can. The idea that the book has been read and enjoyed by someone else and has a history of its own adds to the romanticism of flicking through the pages with a cup of tea.
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