The Best Books Ever Written About Meditation

With modern life seeming so unrelentingly busy and hectic, we could all use a relaxing escape from it all. While not all of us can afford a resort getaway or a spa day, meditation can be a simple way to calm your nerves and ease your mind. It doesn’t take too long to do and can actually improve your mental state if you take time out from the day to give your brain a break and let your senses take a breather from the usual noise that bombards them. There are a lot of people who feel this is beneficial but many may find it difficult just how to achieve meditation. The stereotype is that of someone crossing their legs while listening to monks chant in long and deep passages. While that’s certainly one method, there’s more than one way to meditate. Here are some of the best books on the subject that can lead one towards the attainable goal of inner peace and perhaps a clearer focus to conquer the day.

Mindfulness in Plain English

written by Henepola Gunaratana
Published in 1991
208 pages

With so many misconceptions surrounding meditation, it can be difficult to decide what form of it is best for you. Mindfulness in Plain English aims to not only dispel the myths of the process but also walk readers through the benefits of meditation in an easy-to-read format. Updated from the writings of Bhante Gunaratana, this book contains plenty of useful steps and advice on what is possible with meditation while also harping on why it’s so important to harvest kindness within our souls. This is a strong resource for those just starting to dip their toes into trying to find themselves more at peace.

Catching the Big Fish

written by David Lynch
Published in 2006
181 pages

Most people know David Lynch as the creative force behind The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks, but Lynch is so much more than a filmmaker. He views himself as an artist with ideas flowing through him to conceive of anything, be it a movie or a painting. His book, Catching the Big Fish, reveals his secrets for being so creative thanks to the enlightening sensation of Transcendental Meditation. He gives practical examples of how this meditation led to him conceiving some of his most brilliant thoughts that he transferred into different mediums. For any aspiring filmmakers or artists out there who feel stuck in a rut, this is the meditation book for you.

Insight Meditation

written by Joseph Goldstein
Published in 1993
208 pages

Joseph Goldstein draws upon his 20 years of experience in Buddhist retreats to ruminate on the powerful benefits and practices of meditation. His book is as much a guide to how strong meditation can be as an ally on the quest for a better self as it is a collection of stories and teachings on the way of the Buddha. Questions are answered and broader topics are explored in this useful book for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the more enlightening practice of Buddhist meditation and philosophies on life.


Why Can’t I Meditate?

written by Nigel Wellings
Published in 2015
384 pages

For the most frustrated of the frazzled who find the practice of meditation more of a chore than a break, the mindful expert Nigel Wellings is here to help with making meditation an easier thing to integrate into your schedule. He doesn’t just aim to teach the reader about these practices but instructs them on how to make them have lasting effects on your life. He offers practical and compelling ways to make meditation work for you, regardless of your background in spirituality or mental blockage. Think of it as a helpful hint book on trying to find your own path of peace without making it too difficult by adopting mental exercises that work best for you.


written by Amit Ray
Published in 2010
146 pages

Doctor Amit Ray amasses a wealth of wisdom and insight into making meditation a fully-integrated part of your daily routine and lifestyle. Guided with beautiful illustrations and simple instruction, Ray’s book gives readers a clearer path on the core concepts of just what makes meditation work and how to make it work for you. It’s an intimidating read that is written simply enough that anyone can jump right in and discover just how much more joy they can get out of their life by bringing this well-rounded exercise into your lifestyle.

What is Zen?

written by Alan Watts
Published in 2000
96 pages

Chances are that your exploration of meditation will eventually lead you to the word Zen and you may be wondering just what that means. Well, Alan Watts aims to answer that simple question and so much more in his simply titled book, What is Zen? Everything about Zen is divulged in this informative read that covers everything from its religious origins to its cultural influences in both Eastern and Western culture. Watts’s writing is about clever and calm in divulging the history and practices of attaining Zen, guiding the reader with the most modern methods of reaching that goal.

10% Happier

written by Dan Harris
Published in 2014
256 pages

Dan Harris was best known as an anchor on Nightline but now shifts his investigative skills into reporting on the research about attaining happiness. Delving into the depths of spirituality and self-help, he explores the various ways to find happiness and make it last. It’s a bit of a personal journey considering that he had a panic attack on Good Morning America and strived to make changes in his life. His quest of the emotional finds him addressing pastors, gurus, and brain scientists, trying to find the root of happiness be it through spiritual channels or the analytical world of neuroscience.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

written by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Published in 1994
304 pages

Jon Kabat-Zinn gives some highly informative guidance in charting a course for a life more mindful. Whether you’re highly experienced in the methods of meditation or you’re just starting out on your journey to attain enlightenment, this book is written for any skill set. There are many intriguing thoughts present as with the theory of non-doing which stresses more about letting events unfold naturally than the misunderstood definition of being about laziness. There are also some invaluable descriptive meditations likening to natural Earth elements, providing a fully-realized visualization to place yourself in the right mindset to become one with yourself.

The Heart of the Revolution

written by Noah Levine
Published in 2011
224 pages

As the bestselling author of Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, Noah Levine divulges his learnings from having been a leader in the area of American Buddhism. His book is one of deep empathy and the steps one can utilize to find their way to both understanding others and showing compassion. Ruminating on his experiences as a teacher, Levine provides all the tools necessary for a person to become more whole in being comfortable with themselves and the world around them. Written as a joyous awakening of the soul, The Heart of the Revolution has become a revered book by experts in meditation, including author Lama Surya Das who called Levine “a rebel with both a good cause and the noble heart and spiritual awareness to prove it.”

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

written by Shunryu Suzuki
Published in 1970
138 pages

As a light read, Zen Mind is designed to be an easy enough guide for those either just starting to get used to meditation or are curious about the concept of Zen. This is an incredibly engaging guide that welcomes all with such inspiring writings as “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Suzuki Roshi’s teachings in this book are both simple enough to understand yet unique enough to make one think deeper about attaining a higher level of mindfulness. Though many years old, this book has come highly recommended as one of the most essential reads on the topic.

Practicing the Power of Now

written by Eckhart Tolle
Published in 1999
128 pages

As a highly inspiring teacher of the spiritual, Eckhart Tolle stresses The Power of Now in a book that doesn’t relegate itself to one mere religion, philosophy, or doctrine of mental transformation. His writings are designed to give readers the tools to break free the shackles that bind their minds from higher thought. The knowledge present in this book will not only seek to awaken your consciousness but keep it awake everyday practices to keep your awareness of all things constant. It’s also a real gentle read that’ll help those seeking a sense of calm and quiet with trying to become a better person through meditation.

Practical Meditation for Beginners

written by Benjamin W. Decker
Published in 2018
172 pages

Expert meditation teacher Benjamin Decker lays out a simple method of meditation designed for those who want to learn as much as they can in a short amount of time. In just ten days, he guides the reader into practicing ten different techniques of meditation in simple instructions that are written with a step-by-step approach. This includes everything from walking meditations to body scans. The book is also a great way to experience a variety of meditations to explore the nature of various mindful routes that span Zen and Vipassana.


written by Thich Nhat Hahn
Published in 2001
227 pages

For those seeking out meditation as a way to curb their fury, this simply titled book by Vietnam refugee Thich Nhat Hanh will tackle that very emotion we seek to quell so often yet always seems present. As spoken of in Buddhist lore, anger is one of the three states of mind that can lead us down a path to unhappiness. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a very destructive emotion as well. Hanh’s writing is designed to help readers come to terms with this part of themselves through exercises that will not only focus your energy but help you better maintain relationships and repair whatever damage anger has already done to our lives.

Waking Up

written by Sam Harris
Published in 2014
256 pages

So you’re not religious? No problem. You don’t need to observe a sense of deep spirituality to attain the benefits of knowing yourself through meditation. New York Times bestselling author Sam Harris aims to explore this concept through his own beliefs in neuroscience. Written with a new atheism bent, Waking Up is a book designed for the 30 percent of Americans who don’t identify as religious but may want some of the benefits of being mindful and one with themselves. It’s a book as informative with its science as it is enlightening with its contemplation on reality.

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation

written by Sharon Salzberg
Published in 2004
240 pages

Regarded as one of the top teachers in meditation around the world, Sharon Salzberg draws upon her years of wisdom to devise an eye-opening experience for readers seeking the path of meditation. Focusing on the aspects of concentration, mindfulness, and lovingkindness, her book is incredibly easy to follow and designed to be a 28-day program that can fit your schedule. The goal is that one will not only become used to the practices of mediation but use them wisely to enhance our lives.

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