I get that meditation may sound like the simplest thing in the world—all you have to do is be present with the breath—but if you have ever tried it you know it’s not really easy. That’s why it’s helpful to get some expert advice from people who have been doing it for a long, long time. If you don’t have many local resources where you can learn about meditation, I recommend picking up a good book on how to meditate.
Having read literally hundreds of books about meditation in the last 20 years, here are my top recommendations. I’ve chosen eight that are accessible, inspirational, and will provide basic instruction as well as guidance for how to launch a consistent practice.
How to Meditate by Pema Chodron
I’ll just come out and say it: Pema Chodron may have done more for making the Buddhist meditation teachings accessible than anyone in the 21st century. While some of her books, such as When Things Fall Apart, may be better known, this is the recently published go-to guide to learn the ins and outs of calm-abiding meditation. This book includes sections on working with strong emotions and how to accommodate everyone in your life with an open heart; if that’s something you’re angling for, this is the book for you.
Zen Mind Beginners Mind by Suzuki Roshi
This book came out in 1970 but remains the most accessible Zen meditation manual I have ever seen. It opens with chapters on the appropriate post…