Books about Meditation

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My recommendations (or not) of books on meditation.

Start Here

GET THIS BOOK FIRST: This is by far the best intro to mindfulness meditation that I have read. By far. It's short, 90 pages. It gets to the point and covers all the bases with minimal noise. REPEAT: GET THIS BOOK FIRST

Beginner

This is a textbook on meditation intended to guide you from beginner to enlightenment. The trouble with this book is that it's a textbook. So it's big and a bit dry. Great information but not a thrilling read. I'm considering buying a second copy and chopping it up to see if I could rebind it into a set of smaller works that would be less intimidating and easier to carry around.
Easy to read, just a paragraph on each page, but insightful and... enlightening. :)
Background and discussion plus how Andy came to Buddhism and meditation, it also includes some starter meditations. I can't read and meditate at the same time so I'm not sure ... LOL. Just realized that I've been medit-reading quite a bit recently. If you're mindful, if you're fully present, then everything is meditation. My biggest complaint is that Andy never does explain about the monastery that he has to escape from. I wanted the story of the monastery where he felt he couldn't leave by the front door.

Background Info on Buddhism/Philosophy/Meditation Science

A really good backgrounder into Buddhist philosophy and the many ways that science is coming to the same conclusions about the human mind that some Indian dude did 2500 years ago. Covers how Robert came to meditation and some of his experiences, the basics of Buddhist philosophy and what science has to say about it. A little dry and he used too many Indian words. Indian words are fine except there were so many that I couldn't keep track and after a while I got tired of trying. If you're gonna do that you should include a pullout card that can be my bookmark and translator.
Covers how Sam got into meditation and what he's learned from it, including the "true nature" of the human mind and also what science has to say about that. Also a little dry but an easier read than Wright's book, possibly because I didn't notice the non-English words. I think he just didn't use them as heavily.
This is not a book about meditation so much as it is the story of how Dan got into meditation and why you should too.
Related:
  • 10% Happier podcast
  • 10% Happier app

Intermediate

Intermediate/Advanced

Related Reading

This is books that aren't directly about meditation but I believe they had a strong influence and where I landed once Headspace made meditation stick for me. For many of them the connection will be obvious but for some the main point is just that they introduced new ideas to a young mind so I didn't stuck in ruts of American society.

  • The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell
  • Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather
  • Smiles by Marcia and David Kaplan
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anson Wilson
  • Principia Discordia by Malaclypse The Younger
  • Zen without Zen Masters by Cameron Benares
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig
  • The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon and Time Travelers Strictly Cash by Spider Robinson

Other Sources

Recommendations from people who are not me.

Books to Avoid

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • (2019-03-29) I'm only halfway through this and it's a very odd mix of truth and bullshit. The truth comes when he's describing his experience and talking about the mental state of most humans. The bullshit is when he tries to tell you how to get there. I don't think the bullshit is intentional, I just think Tolle has no idea how he got there so he doesn't know how how to help you get there. It's like he woke up in a beautiful park one morning but he doesn't know where the park is so he can't give you directions beyond "just come here". I also think he suffers from a lot wishful thinking when it comes to Jesus instructions on how to be enlightened.
    • My LibraryThing review