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Best Books on Meditation for Beginners, Kids, Anxiety and More

Written by Brittani Sponaugle and updated on July 29, 2018
Meditation Books

Everyone will find a different approach to incorporating meditation into their lives. There is no one book that is the be-all-end-all to mediation teachings, just like there will not be one book that makes everyone grasp the sometimes challenging topics of ego and consciousness that meditation brings to the table.

Just as people prefer a certain style of meditation, a book that helps one person may not be the right one for someone else. There are so many books available and some are more challenging in their subject matter than others. Here is a guide as to which books you may find most suited to your particular need.

Meditation Books for Beginners

When you first begin the practice of meditation, it can be hard to know where to start. A meditation book can help give you a foundation and make your meditation more meaningful. Finding the right teacher or technique to guide you is an important step and books by authors with a strongly developed meditation practice can really help.  

Jack Kornfield is not only a trained Buddhist monk but a clinical psychologist too, and his teaching background helps him to explain meditation with great insight. In his book Meditation for Beginners, he will show you how simple it is to start and develop a routine of daily meditation.

His step-by-step methods are straightforward and easy to learn. The point of his teachings is not for you to learn rituals but to discover the benefits of meditation in your life. You will learn how to use physical sensations, your own breath, and even difficult emotions to create peace in your life.

How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind is a wonderful book to introduce you to the practice of sitting meditation. It is by American born, Pema Chodron, a Buddhist Nun. All of the elements of sitting meditation are broken down clearly, from breathe and posture to working with the attitude, intellect, and emotions.

Meditation Books for Anxiety

It can be hard to maintain inner calm when you are subjected to much stress. Many people struggle with anxiety and have no idea how to deal with it. A book can offer advice to help guide you to experience inner calm and increased wellbeing.

The book Body Calm by Sandy C. Newbigging reveals the damaging effect mental stress can have on the body. In the book, Newbigging teaches a new self-healing meditation technique that can help to keep the body healthy. You will also be introduced to research that proves what meditation can do to keep you healthy and understand more about anxiety triggers and the sources of stress. Some quick-start cures for reducing stress and increasing calmness are also given.

Meditation Books for Children

Introducing kids to the practice of mindfulness helps them to build self-awareness, awareness of others, and of the world around them. Learning how to be fully present can benefit them for the rest of their lives. It will help to alleviate stress, anger, and worry, improve their focus and help them sleep.

Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordon Nance is a children’s book that helps to introduce deep breathing and ways to keep calm.  He uses the analogy of a puppy to explain how the mind wonders. When training a puppy it does not help to yell at it and it doesn’t work to calm the mind either. Taking deep breaths works for the mind like giving a puppy a treat.

In Sitting Still, Like a Frog by Eline Snel guides children into developing mindfulness with imaginative visualizations. Children visualize a frog jumping, stopping, and sitting very still, looking at what’s around him. When he sits still, his belly rises and falls, just like a child’s belly.

Meditation Books for Women

It’s often inspiring for women to read books written by other women who have benefited from establishing the practice of meditation in their lives.

Meditation Now: A Beginner’s Guide by Elizabeth Reninger is a best-seller that promises a peaceful mindset within 10 minutes. Some people may be put off by that description but it is filled with insightful discussions and offers step-by-step instructions for 18 different meditation techniques that can be practiced anywhere, anytime. It also contains inspirational quotes and tips.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron will help you to find a way to go on when you are overcome with anxiety, fear, and pain. Chodron believes that there is a fundamental happiness that is available, despite our difficulties. To find it, you have to stop running away from suffering and learn to approach it fearlessly. This enables you to use even very painful situations to discover the indestructible nature of love and truth.

Meditation Books for Men

Many men struggle to maintain balanced lives and battle for serenity because they are so pressured to perform. 

Touchstones is a book of daily meditations for men, with contributions by various authors. The daily touchstones begin with quotations from many sources and conclude with affirmations. The role of man as a spouse, father, lover or friend is explored and lessons about integrity, intimacy, and spirituality are given along the way.   

Wherever you go, there you are is a book written by the world-renowned scientist, Jon Kabat-Zinn. If you have any doubts about the validity of meditation for health, this book will help to change your mind. This teacher of meditation is credited with developing mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). This technique has been used in clinical trials to test the effects of meditation on the brain and body. He argues that meditation can be practiced by anyone at any time and has written this accessible guide to developing the practice of meditation as a natural activity in daily life.

Other High Value Meditation Books 

The Untethered Soul is a book that serves both meditation newbies and novices. The book acts as a guiding light to transcend the ego and realize the true Self which is arguably one of the most important concepts to grasp when practicing meditation.

Michael Singer incorporates themes of spirituality without stepping on anyone’s specific personal beliefs.

He provides practical tools to help transform thought patterns, the thoughts that keep us stuck telling the same--often false--stories about ourselves to ourselves.

He validates worldly pains without undermining them and then offers meditation techniques to reduce anxiety and aid in managing stressful or overwhelming situations.

He can get a bit repetitive throughout the 181 pages, but in a purposeful way. Some of his examples lack the evidence that an analytical mind may seek--but he nonetheless delivers a succinct message of hope, compassion and peace that can be found through a commitment to meditation.

The Mind Illuminated isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a very detailed step-by-step guide to help anyone reach a deeply profound meditative state, to wash away thoughts of self-doubt, stress, anger, resentment and woe. At 485 pages long, it’s best if you’re seeking a comprehensive understanding of mediation as a practice and way of life.

The authors discuss the evolution of mediation and the development of practice through practical applications for everyday life. This sucker won’t sit on your shelf collecting dust, as it’s a wealth of information you’ll likely pull it out again and again to dive into different aspects of the practice as you begin to grow.

Stories interwoven with wisdom and decades of personal experience give The Mind Illuminated a unique take on meditation. The technical writing is well unpacked, not sticking to one particular tradition of meditation, yet explaining many important traditional terms in ways that other meditation books fail to.

Consider The Mind Illuminated a precise and motivating manual on how to meditate and how to actually achieve higher states of being as explained in old Buddhist literature.