In a world full of distractions, busy days and stressful jobs, we could all do with a few moments of mindfulness here and there to quieten our minds. From calming anxiety to alleviating the symptoms of depression and even diminishing sleep issues, daily meditations can do wonders for your mental health.
As more people in the UK begin tuning towards a calmer way of life, meditation books have had a boom in sales. But with so many choices, how do you find the right one? Fear not! We’ve written this article to help guide you through your search. As a bonus, we’ve even included a ranking of our top 10 favourite books on meditation for both beginners and experts alike, on Amazon. Take a deep breath, and let’s dive in.
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Table of Contents
Before you start aimlessly searching online for the best meditation book, there are a few things to consider to ensure you pick the right one for you. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know, including our tips on how to buy the perfect book.
With such a broad subject as meditation, it bodes well to first consider the real reason as to why you want a book. This will help you focus your search, and get to the root of finding the best one for you!
If you’ve never meditated before, or you’ve only just dipped your toe into the pool of zen, a beginners book can really help you get started. These books tend to guide you through the main overarching themes, discuss the fundamentals of why we meditate, and distil the years of study on this subject into a clear, readable format.
Beginner books generally focus on practical tips and advice on sticking with it when you become discouraged. They guide you on how to find a place of calm, and give you step-by-step instructions, so that you know exactly what to do and what to expect from your sessions.
If you’ve already read a few beginner books on meditation and you consider yourself a bit of an experienced meditator, you might be looking for something with a bit more sustenance. Meditation isn't a journey that can be finished, and there is always more to learn, another path to explore or theory to wrap your head around.
Learning to deepen your understanding of the philosophies and ideals surrounding meditation is an excellent way to take your practice to the next level. If this is the case, search for books that skip over the ‘how-to's’ to look more at the ‘whys’.
As many adults have already begun to reap the benefits of meditation, parents are now looking to see if it could also help their children. Children, especially those that are particularly young, often have a lot of excess energy and struggle to find moments of calm.
Meditation books for children aim to help them find stillness when they need it the most. This task can often be frustrating for youngsters, which is why a dedicated book is your best bet. It will frame meditation in a way that they'll understand through using stories, pictures and games. A little bit of peace and quiet will surely be appreciated by parents too!
For those who have advanced past the 101 books, you’ll know that there isn’t just one form of meditation. To delve a little deeper into the practice, you might want to look for a book that focuses on a specific form or central topic.
For instance, transcendental meditation concentrates on repeating a single mantra silently for 20 minutes at a time. Whereas Insight Meditation is the practice of seeing the true nature of existence and developing an awareness of exactly what is happening, as it happens.
There are also books that centre around a specific topic, such as breathing techniques for meditation, or meditations for alleviating anxiety and stress. If you’re looking to understand a bit more about the spiritual side of things, there are meditation books that focus on a specific spiritual path, such as Buddhism or Taoism.
The tone is probably one of the biggest things that can put people off the topic of meditation altogether. If you’re a little sceptical of the subject, you might want to go for a lighthearted book filled with facts and research, that provides practical tips.
On the other hand, if you find practicality a little dull and want to sink your teeth into theories, far-out ideas and concepts that give your head a spin, then perhaps a profoundly philosophical book is more your kind. As you can see, this is an entirely personal choice, but one that you should make wisely if you’re to stick with your new practice!
Books come in many different formats these days, and each has its benefits. For example, hardback books are sturdy, beautiful things that can be nicely displayed on shelves and coffee tables, but aren’t the most suitable for carrying around if you like to read on the go.
Then you have paperbacks. These are perfect for slipping into your bag as they are much more lightweight. But without a protective cover, they tend to get scuffed pretty easily. Lastly, there are digital formats such as audiobooks and eBooks.
It can be lovely to sit back and listen to the wisdom being imparted on your ears, especially when it comes to the topic of meditation, making audiobooks a great choice. Equally, dowloading an eBook for your Kindle or eReader of choice, is ideal for travelling or carrying multiple books at once.
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The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation: 10 minutes can make the difference
A Basic Guide From the Masters Behind Headspace
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Mindfulness in Plain English
Understand Theories and Concepts in a Practical Manner
The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness
Geek-Out on the Science of Meditation
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation
An Overview of Insight Meditation
Kerry Lee MacLean
Peaceful Piggy Meditation
A Playful Children's Guide to Meditation
Meditation for Beginners: How to Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Depression and Return to a State of Inner Peace and Happiness
A Meditation Guide for Stress and Anxiety
Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book
A Skeptic's Guide to Troubleshooting Meditation
365 Tao: Daily Meditations
A Meditation a Day With Taoist Philosophies
How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind
The Essentials of Evolving a Meditative Practice
Benjamin W. Decker
Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You
An Easy Step-by-Step For a Beginner Meditator
Written by the same man behind the hugely successful meditation app Headspace, comes this easy-to-follow accessible guide to meditation. If you’re entirely new to the practice, and don’t want to go too deep down the rabbit hole of spiritual philosophies, this is an excellent starting point.
With the aim of demystifying the world of meditation, the book uses simple, relatable language peppered with nuggets of humour to keep the whole thing very lighthearted in tone. The narrative does repeat its points somewhat, but this does help to reiterate advice for absolute beginners.
If you’re already friends with a calm, still mind, Mindfulness in Plain English is an excellent way to deepen your practice. Considered a classic in the mindfulness space, it seamlessly weaves philosophies with practical tips to give an all-encompassing picture of meditation.
The book includes topics such as how to deal with distractions, find the time for your practice and what actually to do with your mind and body during your sessions. The theories and concepts covered are pretty complex, so it won’t be the best for a beginner, but if you’re looking for a read with a bit more meat to it, this is a great choice!
Meditation is no longer just for Buddhists, monks and spiritual seekers! It has now become an accessible and useful practice that even non-spiritual individuals can appreciate and incorporate into their daily lives. If you love geeking out on the sciency-stuff, this is an excellent choice.
The Mind Illuminated includes snippets of the latest scientific research to back up what Buddhists have been saying for centuries, whilst still providing a comprehensive guide to meditation in the traditional way. It shares detailed instructions, clear paths to follow and ways to improve your focus during meditation.
Written by two popular Buddhist teachers, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom provides an excellent overview of one particular branch of meditation. In fact, insight Meditation is supposedly the practice that the Buddha himself strove to teach his pupils.
The book teaches of the form itself, diving deep into the psychological impact of ancient wisdom, and clarifies how to go about your practice. This is a valuable read for anyone looking to study meditation, whether beginner or advanced.
If you’re looking to bring a little calming meditation practice to your energetic tots, you couldn’t do better than reading them The Peaceful Piggy Meditation. This adorable book will guide them through the basics of meditation, whilst removing any boring, long-winded explanations to make the practice appealing and fun.
This is perfect for toddlers and young children, helping them find a slice of solitude so they can begin to understand their confusing emotions. The book also teaches them how to find a quiet, special place, breathe, and feel calm when the exciting world gets a little much.
Meditation is widely known to help alleviate mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. If any of these are something you suffer from, Meditation for Beginners could be just the thing you need.
The book includes an overview of the history and benefits of meditation, with a focus on assisting those who struggle to calm an anxious and racing mind. At only 76 pages, this is quite a short read, so don't expect it to go very in-depth. That said, it’s a great title to start you off!
If you’re one of those who doubts the benefits of meditation, or you’re buying a book to convince the sceptic in your life, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics could be your answer. That's because this book essentially troubleshoots meditation.
It addresses the main concerns that people have surrounding the topic, and aims to squash all of the excuses people give when convincing themselves not to meditate. Providing solutions to each of the problems in a relatable way, and backed up by scientific studies, this is an excellent read for those who are unsure.
The 365 Tao provides a daily meditation for each day of the year. Of course, you don’t need to stick to one every day, as it can be dipped in and out of as you need. Although this book is entirely focused on the Taoist path, it is still widely accessible to all.
This book definitely has more of a spiritual edge than some of the others on this list. So if you’re looking for a practical, no-nonsense guide, this probably isn’t it. If instead you are looking to delve deep into the philosophies and spiritualism surrounding meditation, this is one of the best reads out there!
How to Meditate offers a straightforward approach to incorporating meditation into your daily life. The contents explore the essentials for evolving your practice, phrased in a gentle and wholehearted manner.
It explains the basics of how to get started in meditation, including how to incorporate the breath and refine your posture, and explores deep concepts such as embracing your experience, overcoming difficulties and altering your perception. Although aimed at complete newbies, it might be a bit too advanced, and is probably best suited to more experienced meditators.
Kicking off our countdown is the highly-rated Practical Meditation for Beginners. The book details step by step instructions, providing valuable yet simple guidelines that will walk a complete beginner through each meditation.
It also contains journal prompts and reflections to help deepen your understanding of the theories and philosophies surrounding meditation. The one complaint a few people have had is that whilst the information presented is valuable, it isn’t phrased in a particularly captivating way, often leading the reader to distraction.
There are countless ways to learn how to meditate, from world-famous apps like Headspace and Calm to dedicated Youtube channels and online classes that guide you through their practices. But there’s definitely something gained from reading a book or two.
Books are second to none when it comes to obtaining a deep understanding of theories, practices and philosophies. They allow you to really sink your teeth in, pause when you need to, reflect when it calls for it, and go at your own pace.
Books also enable you to lean into a specific topic. If you’re having trouble focusing for more than a few minutes, there’s a book for that. If you want to learn about the history and roots of meditation, there’s a book for that too! Whatever you want to learn about meditation, there’s exactly the thing that you are after.
Author: Roxy Pratley
No. 1: Andy Puddicombe ｜The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation: 10 minutes can make the difference
No. 2: Bhante Henepola Gunaratana｜Mindfulness in Plain English
No. 3: John Yates｜The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness
No. 4: Joseph Goldstein｜Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation
No. 5: Kerry Lee MacLean｜Peaceful Piggy Meditation
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