Best Meditation Books

Best meditation book: “Meditation” by Rachel Rofe

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Best meditation book: Meditation: How to Reduce Stress, Get Healthy, and Find Your Happiness in Just 15 Minutes a Day by Rachel Rofe

Why this meditation book is inspiring:

Have you ever wondered how many different types of meditation there are? I don’t think this book covers them all, but it gets pretty close. I enjoyed identifying the ones I might someday add to my repertoire.

What this meditation book is about:

Rachel Rofe’s book is a basic meditation primer. According to her, meditation isn’t about letting your mind go blank, but rather is a way to control your thoughts. You do this by either focusing your thoughts on one thing, or by observing your thoughts in a detached way.

The book lists a large number of health benefits of meditation, from weight loss and slowing of aging to better sleep and less depression. Meditation also reduces cortisol and changes brain activity, bringing it away from “. . . the frontal cortex (which is linked to anxiety and depression) as well as the amygdala (which is where fear is processed).”

There are two main types of meditation techniques:

  • Concentration meditation (structured meditation), and
  • Mindfulness meditation (unstructured meditation).

Concentration meditation is when you focus on one thing, gently bringing awareness back to it over and over: a sound, a visual object, an activity (like walking), a chant, a concept, a mantra, a feeling (like energy coursing through your body), an emotion (like love), a visualization, or your breath.

Mindfulness meditation is paying attention to your actions and thoughts (i.e. being in the moment). This includes body scan meditation, writing meditation, walking meditation, eating meditation, chakra meditation, Zen meditation (living in the now).

A third type is transcendental meditation. TM is restful awareness, and effortless. There is no need to follow your thoughts; instead, you just let them flow while maintaining a mindset of peace and rest.

For more information on this meditation book, see:

Meditation on Amazon

Meditation on Goodreads

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Best book for mystics: “Ten Percent Happier” by Dan Harris

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Best book for mystics: Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

This best book for mystics’ particular appeal:

Anyone can meditate–even an agnostic. Even an atheist. Even a famous atheist with a drug problem. This book convinces us that meditation is for the people.

Synopsis of this best book for mystics:

Dan Harris is a well-known news anchor, an atheist (agnostic?) and a workaholic. Ten Percent Happier is the result of his personal quest for self-improvement through meditation. He starts by relating the turbulent life journey that caused him to seek out this form of therapy, which included drugs and an extremely high stress work environment.

He describes his basic meditation technique: Choose a place to focus on along with your breath—your mouth, your chest or your belly—and gently, non-judgmentally bring your attention back to it whenever your mind wanders. (You can also say “in” and “out” silently if it helps.)

He also describes his “pro” technique: First, ground yourself by focusing on the breath. Then start “noting”—noticing and labeling—each and every thought or dominant feeling you become aware of, without judgment. He calls this “choiceless awareness,” and it’s the technique that led to a great breakthrough that he describes in the book. As you get better at this, you can do it with extreme rapidity. It keeps you very focused and in the moment, almost completely unable to identify with the mind.

Harris also stresses the importance of not worrying about how you feel when you’re meditating (whether or not you feel relaxed, spiritually aware, etc.). If you’re redirecting your attention to your breath every time your mind wanders, your time of meditation was successful. “That’s the whole game.”

The point of meditation isn’t to feel something; instead, it is merely to try. With each session, you build your meditation muscle, like you do when practicing piano or a sport.

At one point, he discusses his interviews with famous meditators and gurus, including Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.

He also describes the experience of going on a ten-day meditation retreat. Most of the time, he was miserable. Finally he realized the reason: He was trying too hard. When he decided to just “be with” whatever was happening, he broke through the misery and had a tearful awareness of love.

Harris also briefly discusses various studies of the brain-changing effects of meditation, including some that later convince him the state of enlightenment is real.

Harris’ conclusion: Meditation helps you become about ten percent happier. He says he went from being a jerk at work to hearing colleagues calling him one of the “easy” news correspondents.

For more information on this best book for mystics, see:

Ten Percent Happier on Amazon

Dan Harris on Wikipedia

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Best meditation book: “Transcendental Meditation” by Jack Forem

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Best meditation book: Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi by Jack Forem

What this meditation book is about:

Transcendental Meditation discusses the benefits of the meditation practice popularized Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They include the following:

  • It lowers the metabolism, which slows down the aging process;
  • It slows the heart rate and the breathing;
  • It reduces stress more effectively than do other meditation techniques;
  • It decreases blood lactate, indicating a reduction of anxiety and stress;
  • It increases alpha and theta brain wave activity, spreading from the rear to the central and frontal areas of the brain;
  • It evens out the brain activity, first by evening out the speed of the waves in both brain hemispheres, and second by evening out the total output of each side.

TM is distinct from all other types of meditation.

  • It’s not contemplation;
  • It’ not concentration;
  • It’s not mindful awareness (thinking about the present moment);
  • It’s not positive thinking.It is much easier than any of these—even effortless.The basis of the practice is the idea that the mind is not wandering aimlessly as we believe. What we sometimes call “monkey mind” is really our way of seeking out the most pleasant, good-feeling, problem-solving thought it can find. Thus, TM is used not to stop thinking, but instead to transcend thought.TM involves thinking a (nonsense) mantra. The technique itself must be taught person-to-person by a licensed teacher. Many people are able to transcend in their very first session—no long-term practice required.

For more information on this meditation book, see:

Transcendental Meditation on Amazon

Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Goodreads

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Wikipedia

Jack Forem’s official website

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It’s Zen, only more practical. 

Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home on Amazon.

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Best meditation book: “Meditation” by Brian Weiss

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Best meditation book: Meditation: Achieving Inner Peace and Tranquility in Your Life by Brian Weiss

This best meditation book’s essence:

Brian Weiss is a writer best known for books on past life regression. In Meditation, he describes how this practice can be used to experience past-life regressons and discusses the other spiritual benefits of meditation.

From the introduction: “Meditation is the art or technique of quieting the mind so that the endless chatter that normally fills our consciousness is stilled. In the quiet of the silent mind, the meditator begins to become an observer, to reach a level of detachment, and eventually, to become aware of a higher state of consciousness.”

For more information on this best meditation book, see:

Meditation on Amazon

Meditation on Goodreads

Brian Weiss on Wikipedia

***

Want to learn how to clean your house twice as well in half the time? 

Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home on Amazon.

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Official website of Brian Weiss

Best meditation book: “Real Happiness” by Sharon Salzberg

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Best meditation book: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg

What this best meditation book is about:

Real Happiness is an overview of the benefits of meditation. It also describes a 28-day meditation program for beginners.

One of the main benefits of this practice: It gives you a calmness that is always under the surface, even during life storms.

A few tips from the book:

  • Performers can use a lovingkindness meditation before going onstage. Focusing on others makes us much less nervous.
  • When you don’t feel like meditating, “. . . just put your body there.”

For more information on this best meditation book, see:

Real Happiness on Amazon

Real Happiness on Goodreads

Sharon Salzberg on Wikipedia

Official website of Sharon Salzberg

***

Want to learn how to clean your house twice as well in half the time? 

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Best meditation book: “The Experience of Insight” by Joseph Goldstein

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Best meditation book: The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Joseph Goldstein

What this best meditation book is about:

The Experience of Insight takes the reader through a typical insight meditation (also called “vipassana”) retreat.

The retreat, as well as the technique, is a well-known, widely practiced—and rigid—Zen meditation system.

The book also discusses Buddha’s Eightfold Truths and other Buddhist ideas.

Selected quote:

  • “Pain is a good object of meditation. When there’s a strong pain in the body, concentration becomes strong.”

For more information on this best meditation book, see:

The Experience of Insight on Amazon

The Experience of Insight on Goodreads

Joseph Goldstein on Wikipedia

Official website of Joseph Goldstein

***

It’s Zen, only more practical. 

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Best book for mystics: “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Best book for mystics: The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

What this best book for mystics is about:

The Miracle of Mindfulness is the simply and clearly written thoughts of a Zen Buddhist master on the practice of mindfulness meditation.

For more information on this best book for mystics, see:

The Miracle of Mindfulness on Amazon

The Miracle of Mindfulness on Goodreads

Thich Nhat Hanh on Wikipedia

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Best book for mystics: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

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Best book for mystics: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Is this really one of the best books for mystics? Why?

Although you may not actually get enlightened after reading it, The Power of Now is one of the most life-changing spiritual books out there. Not everyone gets it–it took me three times through it before I even liked it. But it was worth the effort once I did.

What will I get out of this book for mystics?

In The Power of Now, enlightened spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle discusses his method for increasing spiritual awareness, namely through maintaining a state of continuous meditation.

His teaching, briefly: You are not your mind. Your life is not the past or the future, as those states exist only in the mind. You and your life are what is right now. When you learn how to hold your mind in the present moment on a continual basis, enlightenment will occur.

What are some highlights of this book for mystics?

There are many portals leading to the Source. They include:

  • The eternal Now (this is the main portal);
  • Dreamless sleep;
  • Cessation of thinking;
  • Surrender (“the letting go of mental-emotional resistance to what is”);
  • Being “in touch with the energy field of the inner body”;
  • Disidentifying with the mind;
  • Silence and empty space. (“You cannot think and be aware of space—or silence, for that matter.”)

It’s not necessary to use all these portals, just one.

Note that love isn’t a portal. It’s what’s inside the portal.

On the body portal:

Tolle suggests we make a practice of continuously keeping part of our attention focused on the body and the energy that makes up the body. “Body awareness keeps you present. It anchors you in Now.” Keep part of your attention on “the inner energy field of your body. To feel the body from within, so to speak.”

  • “The body can become a point of access into the realm of Being.”
  • “The body that you can see and touch cannot take you into Being. But that visible and tangible body is only an outer shell, or rather a limited and distorted perception of a deeper reality. In your natural state of connectedness with Being, this deeper reality can be felt every moment as the invisible inner body, the animating presence within you. So to “inhabit the body” is to feel the body from within, to feel the life inside the body and thereby come to know that you are beyond the outer form.”
  • “If you saw an angel and mistook it for a stone statue, all you would have to do is adjust your vision and look more closely at the ‘stone statue,’ not start looking somewhere else. You would then find that there never was a stone statue.” But there was an angel in its place. The statue is only a vague representation of what truly there, but it does in fact point the way.

How to meditate using the body portal:

  • “In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.”
  • “To become conscious of Being, you need to reclaim consciousness from the mind. This is one of the most essential tasks on your spiritual journey. It will free vast amounts of consciousness that previously had been trapped in useless and compulsive thinking. A very effective way of doing this is simply to take the focus of your attention away from thinking and direct it into the body, where Being can be felt in the first instance as the invisible energy field that gives life to what you perceive as the physical body.”
  • “Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet — in your abdomen, your chest? Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy? Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it. The more attention you give it, the clearer and stronger this feeling will become. It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive, and if you have a strong visual sense, you may get an image of your body becoming luminous. Although such an image can help you temporarily, pay more attention to the feeling than to any image that may arise.
  • The feeling of your inner body is formless, limitless, and unfathomable. You can always go into it more deeply.
  • Please open your eyes now, but keep some attention in the inner energy field of the body even as you look around the room. The inner body lies at the threshold between your form identity and your essence identity, your true nature. Never lose touch with it.

Other ideas of note:

  • On emotional pain: “Focus attention on the feeling inside of you . . . the pain-body. Accept that is there. Don’t think about it—don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an idiot of yourself out of it.”
  • On identity/ ego: “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and educational [accomplishments], appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal family history, belief systems, and a political, nationalistic, racial, religious, or other collective identification. None of that is you.”
  • “The ego’s needs are endless. It feels [continually] threatened . . . lives in a constant state of fear, want. Once you know how the basic dysfunction operates, there is no need to explore all its countless, manifestations, no need to make it into a complex personal problem.”
  • On defensiveness: “Watch out for any kind of defensiveness within yourself. What are you defending? An illusory identity, an image in your mind, a fictitious entity.”
  • On the mind: “The mind in itself is not dysfunctional. It is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you . . . mistake it for who you are. It then becomes the egoic mind and takes over your whole life.”
  • On removing the identification with mind: “Time and mind are inseparable. Remove time from the mind and it stops.” Therefore, remain in the Now and you will remain separate from ego.
  • On meditation: “The moment you realize you are not present, you are present.” . . . “Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it.”
  • “Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself, ‘I wonder what my next thought is going to be.’ Then wait for it alertly. You’ll notice it takes a long time to have a thought. As long as you are in a state of intense presence, you are free of thought.
  • On illness: There is no illness in the Now. The belief in illness, the label and the past and& future of it, is what “keeps the condition in place, empowers it, gives it a continuity in time.” Only time makes it real.
  • Become transparent to things you don’t like. Let them flow through you. Don’t react.
  • “Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.”

  • “Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

  • “Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”

  • “The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.

Where can I find out more about this book for mystics?

The Power of Now on Amazon

Eckhart Tolle on Wikipedia

The Power of Now on Goodreads

Official website of Eckhart Tolle

***

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Best meditation book: “Zen Meditation in Plain English” by John Daishin Buksbazen

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Best meditation book: Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Daishin Buksbazen

For more information on this meditation book, see:

Zen Meditation in Plain English on Amazon

Zen Meditation in Plain English on Goodreads

***

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Best meditation book: “Catching the Big Fish”by David Lynch

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Best meditation book: Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch

For more information on this best meditation book, see:

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity on Amazon

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity on Goodreads

David Lynch on Wikipedia

***

It’s Zen, only more practical. 

Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home on Amazon.

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