Meditation has been widely recognized as a powerful tool that can aid in stress reduction, improve focus, and promote overall well-being.
Practiced for thousands of years across various cultures worldwide, its benefits have been validated by modern scientific research.
However, starting a meditation practice can be daunting, particularly for beginners who may not know where to start. A great way to begin a new practice, whether it be meditation or anything else, is by diving into books.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best meditation books for beginners, based on the below:
- Overall Effectiveness
Why We Chose These Books
Although an abundance of information is available online, a well-reviewed book authored by a celebrated meditator offers a concise walkthrough of their practice, making it an excellent starting point.
There is an absolute plethora of meditation books available on the market, each with a unique perspective and approach to the practice. Much like meditation practices, which have their own traditions and philosophies.
As a beginner, there’s no point getting into all the philosophical speculation, and it’s more about getting stuck into the practice.
Not all meditation books are created equal, and finding the right one can be a complicated task.
We’ve decided to keep it concise, offering you three clear options, with the intention of addressing the issue of infinite choices online.These recommendations are based on three meditation techniques/philosophies that I have personally studied and practiced.
This will enable you to make an informed decision and select a book that aligns with your preferences, whether you prefer a straightforward approach or a more in-depth exploration of the practice.
- 4.67/5 on Goodreads
“Science Of Being And Art Of Living: Transcendental Meditation” by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is a guide to understanding the philosophy and practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM).
Popularized by celebrities such as Oprah, David Lynch and Ellen DeGeneres, Transcendental Meditation actually has its roots in ancient Indian vedic practices.
If you’re new to transcendental meditation, this book is a great place to start. The book introduces Transcendental Meditation as a simple technique that enables the mind to naturally reach a state of calm awareness, resulting in a feeling of inner peace and lightness.
Why both this book and Transcendental Meditation is a good place to start, is that it doesn’t ask you to buy into spiritual beliefs, as the practice is the be-all and end-all of what this meditation is about.
The meditation guru author goes quite in-depth on the benefits of the meditation, talks about scientific research to back it up, and also talks about the application of the meditation in social settings.
Furthermore, the book provides beginners with an overview on the mantra-based technique.
#1: Accessibility 3/5
The book provides the theory, and the background of the technique, but Transcendental Meditation itself is bestowed through instructor-to-student learning, which costs a fair bit of money.
The book is intended to act as a supplement to the process of getting involved with a certified instructor, so we rank this as a three out of five.
#2: Depth 4/5
The book is written by the man himself, Maharishi. With this in mind, we can confidently say that this book covers the main points of TM, so it would be ideal for a beginner. For this reason, we score it at a four out of five.
This book is a systematic inquiry into the ultimate reality of the universe, ranging from the obvious phenomena at surface level, to the subtle intricacies of consciousness and the environment.
The book is a direct investigation into reality, and the ‘transcendental’ state of being – from Maharishi’s pragmatic lens, through the description of the practical technology of Transcendental Meditation.
#3: Overall Effectiveness – 4/5
We’ve given this book an overall effectiveness score of four out of five. We think it covers the basics and background of TM, and gives a great framework for the application of the technique in your life from scratch.
The latest edition of this book has a self-contained index. So definitely a practical option to get into the basics of this technique as a beginner.
- 4.13/5 on Goodreads
In “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle presents a spiritual self-help guide that highlights the significance of embracing the present moment.
Mindfulness is a key tenet of meditation, which is essentially the concept of being present, aware, and knowing.
There’s a good chance that if you’re looking into meditation, you’re looking to overcome something mentally or emotionally, or develop something spiritual.
In The Power Of Now Tolle explains that our difficulties stem from fixating on the past or future instead of immersing ourselves fully in the present moment.
All important topics when one gets into meditation, the author introduces and emphasizes the concept of letting go of the ego, surrender, and finding meaning beyond material achievement.
Furthermore, he gives a range of practical techniques and insights that are key to a baseline understanding of what meditation cultivates.
#1: Accessibility 5/5
This book is our first choice when it comes to accessibility. It is super easy to read, being clear and straightforward, so we award it a five out of five.
The author writes in a conversational tone and nicely translates his own experiences into teachings, which is relatable as a beginner into meditation.
This book serves as an introduction to the philosophical background of meditation. It can help readers access the fundamental principles that they will soon undertake.
The book discusses meditative topics such as the present moment, how focusing on the past and future can affect us, and how contemplating our seat of consciousness can anchor us to any state of realization that we hope to achieve as meditators.
#2: Depth 3/5
The book is actually fairly short, which could be a good thing for you if you’re looking for a bitesize intro into the background of meditation.
So for this reason, it doesn’t go into too much depth. Not that you need an encyclopedic foundation in whatever new hobby you take up, like meditation.
#3: Overall Effectiveness 4/5
We’ve given this book a four out of five, as it gives a well-rounded introduction into the philosophy behind mindfulness, in a concise and effective delivery.
We think it will serve as a great first book to learn about the concepts of meditation, and living mindfully.
- 4.37/5 on Goodreads
“The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation: As Taught By SN Goenka” by William Hart is a comprehensive guidebook that introduces the reader to Vipassana meditation, a technique that has been practiced for thousands of years in India.
The specific tradition here of Vipassana, dictates that this very technique was the main teaching of the Buddha.
Whether or not you are into spiritual philosophy, the chance you might be practicing what the enlightened Buddha practiced is an exciting chest to open.
This book specifically focuses on the teachings of SN Goenka, a renowned meditation teacher who popularized Vipassana meditation globally.
It’s a tradition with a Burmese lineage, and the book serves as an excellent resource in outlining the principles and techniques in a straightforward manner. Ideal for a beginner.
It’s also a fairly quick read, and the author provides useful tips for maintaining the required states during the meditation, such as focus and equanimity, helping a beginner establish a basic toolkit in founding their own practice.
Beyond just a quality description of the technique, it explores the connection between the mind and body, through a Buddhist scriptural framework, while remaining non-sectarian. Meaning you don’t have to subscribe to any particular faith.
#1: Accessibility 3/5
Paradoxically, this book is both incredibly accessible, and technically inaccessible, so we’ve given it a three out of five.
It’s accessible because it’s written clearly and concisely and provides all the theory you need to get a basis in the practice as a beginner.
However, please don’t let this discourage you. I highly recommend attending. You can use the book as your segue into the technique and then decide whether you want to pursue a retreat or not.
#2: Depth 4/5
The Art of Living delves deeply into its subject matter, making it both easily readable and comprehensive in the information it presents.
The content provides practical instructions and descriptions from SN Goenka and the author, going beyond superficial explanations.
As you may get more into Buddhism as well, you will learn that the discourse from SN Goenka generally, and specifically in this book, echoes more archaic and complicated instruction from early Buddhist spiritual scripture.
This provides a huge advantage as a beginner, as you can accessibly absorb the depth of the scriptural meditation teachings without being discombobulated by antiquitous, verse-like language and grammar.
#3: Overall Effectiveness 4/5
We’ve given this book a four out of five for its overall effectiveness as it’s a comprehensive foray into the ancient Buddhist Vipassana technique, for the modern world and reader.
Reading this in conjunction with maybe one day going on a retreat serves as a great way to comprehend the relationship between your mind and body and can be a solid starting point into spirituality, as it is a practical assessment and teaching.
Whichever book you choose, practice is the most important, as well as dedicated. Choose a path and stick to it, at least for the early stages, so you can give that technique your best shot.
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