Meditation can make you feel like an island. You muster your inner resources and do your best to shut out external stimuli. It feels like it’s you and your consciousness, all alone, against the world. But no person is an island, and sometimes a little outside help is exactly what you need to help take your meditation practice to the next level.
Whether you’re new to meditation and mindfulness or want to expand your range of meditation techniques, embrace beginner-mind. A good meditation teacher, app or even a book can help you grow. Here are six bestselling books on meditation that will help you take your practice from ho-hum to wow-om.
- 1. The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
- 2. Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life by Deepak Chopra
- 3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- 4. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
- 5. 10% 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
- 6. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chödrön
- Bestselling Books on Meditation: The Final Word
- 1 1. The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
- 2 2. Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life by Deepak Chopra
- 3 3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- 4 4. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
- 5 5. 10% 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
- 6 6. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chödrön
- 7 Bestselling Books on Meditation: The Final Word
1. The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
Nobody writes books that blend spirituality with practicality quite like Thich Nhat Hanh. His style speaks to the hearts of people across the globe, from all walks of life. Whether you are struggling with depression or Chron’s disease, nihilism or capitalism, readers agree, The Miracle of Mindfulness could be the guide to meditation that changes your life.
Hạnh encourages readers to transform their own lives through mindfulness and meditation. Whether it is a conversation, washing the dishes, or zazen meditation, you have the power to give the present moment your full attention.
Hahn’s book is an accessible guidebook. It is full of meaningful anecdotes, musings, and recommendations to help you increase mindfulness in every part of your life.
“There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.”
2. Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life by Deepak Chopra
With ninety books, including many best-sellers, Deepak Chopra has a lot to offer anyone interested in meditation. His 2020 release on meditation didn’t the same attention as past books, but it’s a fascinating deep dive into meditation.
Total Meditation focuses on the idea that meditation should not be a discrete activity, like going for a bike ride.
It should be a total immersion, an activity as essential to every moment as breathing. Total Meditation is full of exercises and insights meant to help you integrate meditation into your daily life as an uninterrupted mindset, rather than just an occasional or habitual pastime.
“Waking up is about learning how consciousness operates and then applying its principles accordingly. No other knowledge is like this, and none more valuable.”
3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Love or hate his rococo writing style, there’s no denying that Eckhart Tolle’s books have sold by the millions, inspiring people worldwide. One of those people is Oprah, who made a ten-part podcast with him about his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
Humans have become too identified with their own brains, argues Tolle. We are so focused on the past and future that we operate on autopilot, unable to focus on now.
Tolle’s book aims to help you turn off the constant stream of uncontrolled thoughts that run through your mind and allow you to focus on the present moment and pursue real happiness.
“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”
4. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
This New York Times bestseller gets positive reviews from people from a wide variety of religious traditions. This book is less about providing sample meditations or concrete strategies for meditation and more about exploring how ego gets in the way of consciousness.
This book is a good place to begin your exploration of self and consciousness, creating a foundation for meditation.
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”
5. 10% 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 book is less how-to manual or theoretical treatise and more narrative nonfiction. In it, TV journalist Dan Harris describes his journey to embracing meditation after having a panic attack on Good Morning America.
10% Happier explores meditation from a variety of angles, including both the spiritualism and the neuroscience. Harris addresses many of the factors inhibiting people from meditating, from ego to skepticism to high-pressure jobs.
In 10% Happier, Harris explores his realization that “the voice in my head—the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember—was kind of an asshole,” and shares with reader what he learned about how to turn that voice off.
“According to the Buddha, we have three habitual responses to everything we experience. We want it, reject it, or we zone out. Cookies: I want. Mosquitoes: I reject. The safety instructions the flight attendants read aloud on an airplane: I zone out. Mindfulness is a fourth option, a way to view the contents of our mind with nonjudgmental remove.”
6. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chödrön
American-born Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön is best known for a compilation of her talks, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. In How to Meditate Chödrön delivers a concise, direct book. It is a perfect option to introduce meditation for beginners, as well as giving insights useful for experienced meditators.
This book is written in a style that makes the reader feel like a student in a meditation class taught by Chödrön. It is practical in addressing common concerns and questions. The book also includes exercises the readers can use as jumping-off points for experiments in meditation.
“There are very few things you need in order to begin a meditation practice. In fact, all you need is you.”
Bestselling Books on Meditation: The Final Word
It’s not usually possible to work directly with a world-renowned meditation teacher, but we can still learn a lot from their written teachings. These bestsellers on meditation barely scratch the surface when it comes to outstanding books on meditation.
For a deeper dive, check out the work of renowned authors like Jack Kornfield, Karen Casey, Sharon Salzberg, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and the Dalai Lama. Finding a book that speaks to you might take your practice of meditation to the next level.
You’ll also love our round-up of the best meditation apps.