I must have read a small library of meditation and spirituality-related books in my 10 years as a meditation instructor and lifelong practitioner. What is the best book on meditation, then, if you ask me, as many of my students have? It depends on your motivations for being interested in meditation, I would suggest. Would you like to learn how to include meditation into a wholesome daily schedule? Are you sick of your emotional ruts keeping you back? Do you long to know the answers to timeless spiritual questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”
I’ve broken down this list of the top meditation books into themes with these considerations in mind. Select the one that, in light of what you’re presently seeking or interested in, you believe best fits you at this time. When your practice of meditation develops, you can return to reading the other books.
First, what precisely is meditation?
This question will be addressed in a somewhat different manner in each of our recommended meditation books on this list. But don’t be alarmed by those different viewpoints! One reason meditation has been a steadfast, universal practice for hundreds of years is its adaptability.
The best way to describe meditation is as a practice that allows you to see and comprehend yourself more fully over time. It’s a technique that encourages you to carefully and compassionately examine your body, mind, and spirit and can take many different forms.
Many books by knowledgeable and compassionate teachers can assist to demystify meditation and explain how it can help you with the same common problems that have plagued people for hundreds of years, such as anxiety, loneliness, sadness, lack of purpose, dissatisfaction, and more. I fervently suggest these two books:
1. Meditation for Beginners: Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield is a kind and knowledgeable meditation instructor. In this book, Kornfield provides straightforward explanations of the what, how, and why of a regular meditation practice. The book Meditation for Beginners will guide you step-by-step through a variety of activities and explain how they can improve your sense of innate wellbeing and help you deal with difficult situations.
2. Real Happiness: Sharon Salzberg
Another educator and author with a talent for using clear, interesting language to describe meditation is Sharon Salzberg. A thorough review of meditation’s tenets and techniques, True Happiness focuses on honing three critical abilities: concentration, awareness, and loving-kindness. Each chapter includes a brief introduction, some exercises or practices, and frequently a response to a frequently asked question regarding a particular aspect of meditation.
3. Making Space: Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Creating Room is a brief, energizing read about starting a meditation practice. It is packed with advice and guidance on how to establish a habit that will be enjoyable and meaningful for you. I especially appreciate the author’s numerous imaginative “outside of meditation” techniques, which include a variety of activities you might engage in to infuse your daily activities with meditative awareness. Your MQ (meditative quotient) will start to rise as a result of these seemingly easy workouts.
4. The Book of Secrets: Deepak Chopra
Several books about meditation, spirituality, and health have been written by Deepak Chopra. He writes with authority about meditation as a fundamental ability for self-awareness, growth, and flourishing health as a longtime spiritual practitioner and doctor. Many of Chopra’s books may be included on a list of the “greatest meditation books,” but I chose The Book of Secrets because of all the unexpected things it reveals. The issues Chopra chooses to write about and the inventive ways he does it have helped me discover the “hidden depths” of my own life. What You Want, You Already Are and You Are Really Free When You Are Not a Human were two chapters that had a significant impact on me and my teaching.
5. Radical acceptance: Tara Brach, Ph.D.
Because of the approachable and compassionate nature of her teaching, Tara Brach is a well-liked Buddhist figure. Brach, a clinical psychologist by training, discusses the benefits of meditation by drawing on her extensive knowledge of people’s daily challenges. I suggest reading Radical Acceptance, her debut best-seller, for its comprehensive examination of emotional equilibrium and well-being.
The main thesis of the book is that a lot of us have ingrained perfectionism and self-criticism behaviors that keep us in a constant condition of “I’m not OK.” According to Brach, overcoming this fundamental “error” is the key to letting go of self-destructive thoughts and feelings. Internal conflict decreases when the misunderstanding fades, which boosts our happiness and enables us to interact with others from a position of greater wholeness.
6. When Things Fall Apart: Pema Chödrön
Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön has been writing and instructing for more than 40 years. She approaches teaching with a “we’re all in this together” attitude and is humble and amusing. She is an expert in converting Buddhist doctrine and practices into clear modern English. Chödrön is an expert at lovingly meeting you where you are because she has a deep awareness of sadness in all of its manifestations, from daily anxiety to depression to despair. She frequently explains my own mental or emotional uncertainty in When Things Come Apart in a way that is so realistic that I know she must have been on the same path as me and had discovered ways to adapt and develop through meditation.
7. The Power of Now: Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now is a thorough investigation of the causes and mechanics of our confusion, doubt, fear, loneliness, and sadness as well as how to find the part of ourselves that is unaffected by these problems. The forgetting of our original identity as spiritual beings, according to Eckhart Tolle, is what causes this unhappiness. He shows how by truly embracing this moment and its power, we might all find the true nature that we all share. This meditation book belongs in the “Classics” section down below!
8. True Meditation: Adyashanti
The Western instructor Adyashanti corrects the fundamental misconceptions regarding meditation in a collection of short pieces. In Real Meditation, he explains how true meditation is more about letting who you already are show itself than it is about practicing different techniques.
The chapters “Let everything to be as it is,” “Ending the conflict with your mind,” and “Our natural propensity is to awaken” paint a picture of meditation as a letting go of effort, which is not typically connected with meditation. Adyashanti is a Zen Buddhist, but he invites you to examine your experience with new eyes by using simple, ordinary language. The book includes a CD containing the three essential techniques.