Best Books for Those Who are New to Meditation

Have you thought of doing meditation, but don’t know where to start?

There are many different types of meditation such as:

  • Buddhist meditation (e.g. mindfulness meditation, Zen meditation, and vipassana meditation)
  • Hindu meditation (e.g. mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, and yoga meditation), and
  • Catholic meditation (e.g. contemplative prayers).

There are also different forms of meditation such as guided meditation, walking meditation, and visualization meditation.

Below you will find 10 great meditation books for beginners. Most of the books in this list focus on mindfulness meditation because it is one of the easiest to practice.

Plus, it’s non-secular, you don’t need any prior knowledge of Buddhism and spirituality to perform this meditation.

Top 10 Best Meditation Books for Beginners

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1. Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana

The most effective way to express something that people understand is to use the simplest language possible. This book is a great introduction to meditation especially if you are new to it or find it confusing.

The focus of this book is in Vipassana meditation (also known as insight meditation). In Vipassana meditation, you cultivate two mental qualities in a balanced ratio — awareness and concentration. Both are needed for meditation.

This book teaches you how to deal with distractions when meditating, what to do with your body and mind, where to sit, and more. If you are someone who needs a detailed yet simple guide on how to meditate, this is the book for you.

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2. How to Meditate by Pema Chodron

This book gives you everything you need to know about meditation.

From posture to working with your breath, this book explores meditation in-depth and offers many meditation approaches and insights. Not only is this a great introduction for beginners but for people who find their meditation practices challenging, they will also find this book useful.

Written by an American Buddhist nun, the author shares her insights in a gentle, down-to-earth, and honest manner. Reading this book will inspire you to meditate.

If you want a book that gives you something more than information, this is a wonderful book to read.

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3. Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield

If you are thinking about meditation but don’t know where or how to start, this is the book for you.

This book is perfect for newcomers because it provides a step-by-step guidance on how to meditate. You can listen to the guided meditations included in the CD or download them online. The audio will help you to facilitate your meditation practice and you can use it with children too.

Reading this book will also help you to work with sensations in your body, emotions, and thoughts. It’s good for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. At the end of the book, the author also shares some tips on how to cultivate a daily meditation practice.

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4. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This book is about living each moment fully and being in touch with where we already are.

Even though mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice, the author reminds us that mindfulness meditation is a universal practice and anyone can benefit from it. Most of us meditate to reduce stress and pain. But this book is also suitable to those without any critical problems in life.  

If you are someone who likes to explore things on your own and doesn’t like to be told what to do, this is a great book for you. The author shares some basic aspects of formal meditation practice and offers sufficient suggestions and instructions for you to engage your own meditation practice.

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5. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breath is a tool. Breath itself is mindfulness.”

This book encourages you to use your breath to unite your body and mind. Our body and mind need total rest, but even a good night sleep can’t provide us with the relaxation we need. The only way to calm ourselves down is with mindfulness meditation.

Originally written in Vietnamese as a long letter to his colleagues and friends, this book is personal and direct. The author uses both anecdotes and practical exercises, but you won’t find a long list of steps and instructions on how to meditate.

If you are someone who enjoys learning through stories and insights, this is the book for you. The book also ends with a chapter on mindfulness exercises. In this chapter, you will learn how to be mindful in different situations.

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6. Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

From the title and the book cover, you might have guessed that this book is written by someone related to Google.

The author, Chade-Meng Tan, is one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer. He teaches mindfulness techniques to his colleagues in Google.

This book is a blend of Buddha teachings and psychology. It is both scientific and spiritual. So if you are someone who needs scientific facts to support your mindfulness practice, then this book will give you the information.

Inside this book, you will find funny cartoons and detailed instructions on how to perform mindfulness meditation. This book is most suitable for beginners and those who love humor and jokes.

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7. Why Can’t I Meditate? by Nigel Wellings

Most of us like the idea of meditating, but how many of us actually commit to it?

Beginners give up on their practice because they find meditating boring, challenging and painful. If you have doubted your ability to meditate or if you have a tough time continuing your mindfulness practice, read this book. This book is written for struggling meditators and it will help you get your meditation practice back on track.

Inside this book, you will find practical ways to help you meditate. There is also advice and personal accounts from both Buddhist mindfulness teachers and new meditators. If you enjoy reading how others overcome their meditation challenges, you will find this book interesting.

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8. 8 Minute Meditation Expanded by Victor Davich

Develop a powerful mindfulness practice in between television commercials.

If you want to build a habit of meditating but not able to commit to the practice, this is the book for you. Structured into an eight-week program, this book teaches beginners a different meditation technique each week. With just 8 minutes a day, you can quiet your mind and restore your emotional well-being.

This book is a wonderful place to start, especially if you have often thought about doing meditation but doesn’t know how. Also, if you are someone who is curious to try meditation, there is little to lose by committing eight minutes a day.

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9. Meditation Now: A Beginner’s Guide by Elizabeth Reninger

Meditation doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. This book is written to help you incorporate meditation exercises into your busy life.

Inside this book, you will find step-by-step instructions for 18 meditation techniques that you can do within 10 minutes. You will also find positive and quotes that will uplift your mood.

This book is great for beginners because it addresses new meditator’s questions and concerns right from the start. It’s also great for someone who is unsure if meditation is for them or not and want to find out more.

If you want something instructional and easy to read and follow, this is the book for you.

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10. Getting In the Gap by Wayne Dyer

The place of peace, also known as “The Gap” by the author, is the gap between our thoughts and meditation gets us into this gap.

This book is about Japa meditation and making conscious contact with God through meditation. Japa meditation, also known as Mantra meditation, is to chant or repeat a mantra or the name of God. The author finds this meditation technique the most useful to help him stay in the gap.

Even though the teachings in this book is universal, it is more suitable for those who are open and don’t mind Christian or spirituality references in the book.

But this book is also good for new meditators because it has a FAQs chapter that answers all the meditation questions that the author received over the years.

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Yong Kang

Yong Kang

Hey there, I’m Yong Kang, best known as Nerdy Creator. I’m an author of seven books. I write about spirituality, self-compassion, and mindfulness. I love reading books, especially non-fiction. The list above is a combination of what I have read and my research. Each year, I create a Top 10 list of my favorite books.