Purnama book corner: meditation

An intention we have had all along while creating Purnama Rituals was to give value, share our knowledge and experience, and encourage self-growth. We are aware of how difficult it can be to stay mindful each day with the multitude of tasks sometimes being overwhelming. Therefore, to support you on this path, we are starting the Book Corner series, in which you will find books recommended by us on all different subjects related to mindfulness. These are the books that have proved to be beneficial to us and important on our journey, and they may also do the same for you. We encourage you to expand your knowledge and draw from various sources in order to consciously strive for a mindful, full life.

We have so many books on our list that we want to recommend to you that we decided to divide them thematically – today we present to you a list of books on meditation. Each of the authors has a slightly different view and, above all, experience gained during conversations with people, travels or lectures. However, you will surely find something for yourself in each of them, and to help you make your first choice, below you will find their short descriptions.

Making Space – Thich Nhat Hanh 

Find peace and calm amid the busyness of your life with this new book by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Designed to be both inspiration and guidebook for those new to mindfulness practice, Making Space offers easy-to-follow instructions for setting up a breathing room, listening to a bell, sitting, breathing, and walking meditations, and cooking and eating a meal in mindfulness. Whether you live alone or with a family, this beautifully illustrated book can help you create a sense of retreat and sanctuary at home. 

The Compass of Zen – Seung Sahn 

The Compass of Zen is a simple, exhaustive—and often hilarious—presentation of the essence of Zen by a modern Zen Master of considerable renown. In his many years of teaching throughout the world, the Korean-born Zen Master Seung Sahn has become known for his ability to cut to the heart of Buddhist teaching in a way that is strikingly clear, yet free of esoteric and academic language. In this book, based largely on his talks, he presents the basic teachings of Buddhism and Zen in a way that is wonderfully accessible for beginners—yet so rich with stories, insights, and personal experiences that long-time meditation students will also find it a source of inspiration and a resource for study. 

The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within – Osho 

The Book of Secrets is a step by step guide to find the best meditation suitable for you. 112 methods of meditation are described and introduced here with helpful background information to give contemporary people a door to meditation. Reading this book, not only will your outlook on life change, but so will your life. If you want to know more about life and yourself this is your book. 

Each chapter that focuses on describing specific meditation techniques is followed by a chapter of questions from those who were present during the talks. In most cases, their questions relate to the techniques given in the previous chapter. So, as you start to experiment with a technique, it will be helpful to look into these chapters for some extra hint, some greater depth of understanding, or response to a question that might have arisen for you in your experiments. 

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice – Shunryu Suzuki 

In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern Zen classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. 

Meditation for Beginners – Jack Kornfield 

“Insight” or vipassana meditation is the time-honored skill of calming the spirit and clearing the mind for higher understanding.  Now, in this course created especially for beginners, Kornfield offers a straightforward, step-by-step method for bringing meditation into your life. Using the meditations included in this book, you will discover how easy it is to use your breath, physical sensations—and even difficult emotions—to create tranquility and lovingkindness in your everyday life.  These simple, elegant practices are so easy to learn that you will begin enjoying the benefits immediately—while laying the foundation for a lifetime of inner discovery and awakening.“With humor and insight, Jack Kornfield patiently explains the Buddhist way to bring deep spirituality into your everyday life.”  

Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life – Jon Kabat-Zinn 

With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play—and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are. 

Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness within mainstream Western medicine offers a book that you can use in three unique ways: as a collection of reflections and practices to be opened and explored at random; as an illuminating and engaging start-to-finish read; or as an unfolding “lesson- a-day” primer on mindfulness practice. Beginning and advanced meditators alike will discover in these pages a valuable distillation of the key attitudes and essential practices that Jon Kabat-Zinn has found most useful with his students, including: 

  • Why heartfulness is synonymous with true mindfulness 
  • The value of coming back to our bodies and to our senses over and over again 
  • How our thoughts “self-liberate” when touched by awareness 
  • Moving beyond our “story” into direct experience 
  • Stabilizing our attention and presence amidst daily activities 
  • The three poisons that cause suffering—and their antidotes 
  • How mindfulness heals, even after the fact 
  • Reclaiming our wholeness, and more 

By getting to know the perspective of meditation masters, teachers and students, it will be much easier to start or enrich your practice. Meditation primarily improves our ability to remain aware and mindful, although there are many more advantages to it. It improves concentration, ignites creativity, promotes the development of willpower and relieves negative states such as stress.
That’s a lot for a practice that you can start with just a few minutes a day, right?