“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.”
– Thích Nhất Hạnh
Meditation and mindfulness are ancient traditions rooted in Eastern spirituality, but that hasn’t stopped Western teachers from adopting and leading mindful practices fit for modern day society. Whether it be yoga, meditation retreats, podcasts, or books, people today are eager to learn more about mindfulness and how to center themselves in the midst of a fast-paced life and busy schedule.
To help you start your own journey, here are a few of our favorite books on meditation and mindfulness for beginners.
**A short note: We encourage readers to seek out resources about the ancient Eastern traditions of mindfulness and meditation to further cultivate respect for the practices. While they have been modified for today’s society, it’s important to remember these practices are much more than buzzwords or current fads. Readings from Thích Nhất Hạnh are a great place to start!
1. The Headspace Guide To Meditation & Mindfulness
Author | Andy Puddicombe
Authored by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and founder of Headspace—the world’s largest online meditation platform—The Headspace Guide To Meditation & Mindfulness has one goal: that every person would take 10 minutes a day to be present and mindful.
An excellent guide for beginners, this book encourages techniques to help readers be mindful in every area of life—such as in relationships, at work, and while eating. While mindfulness can seem like an ancient practice not fit for the modern world, Puddicombe debunks this myth and shows everyone how daily meditation can lead to a more fulfilling and peaceful life.
*Many readers suggest pairing The Headspace Guide with the Headspace app
Reviews | “This is the only book on meditation you will ever need. Andy Puddicombe demystifies what is commonly an esoteric practice and brings it right into your living room, your office and your heart.” – Patricia Ryan Madson, Author of Improv Wisdom
Price | $11
2. I Am Here Now
Author | Alexandra Frey & Autumn Totton
I Am Here Now is a wonderful book to begin your journey towards daily mindfulness. With its simple instructions, hands-on creative activities, and space for journaling, it’s an intentional and practical guide to learning mindful living. It is also one of the most widely accessible as it is available in 19 languages.
Written by Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton of The Mindfulness Project—a London-based organization—anyone who purchases this book also gains access to guided audio meditations from Tara Branch, a world-renowned meditation instructor.
Reviews | “…(This book) has encouraged me to explore other ways of thinking. By engaging the various exercises I felt like I had a better understanding of what mindfulness can be and how it could be a tool that I can use to navigate my challenges as well as my joys to have richer experiences.” – Shannon Spiller, Amazon Review
Price | $11
3. The Little Book Of Mindfulness
Author | Patrizia Collard
A short and interactive read, we love The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr. Patrizia Collard. Because of its small size (it really is little!), it’s the perfect book to carry with you throughout the day. A delightful and helpful read for anyone new to mindful living and meditation, Dr. Collard’s guided exercises are excellent for learning to slow down and practice mindfulness, especially during stressful moments. Sweet and calming illustrations alongside the text are a lovely bonus.
Reviews | “I was looking for an introductory book on mindfulness. This is it! In addition to the beautiful illustrations and wonderful meditations, there are also exercises to stretch both the body and the mind. This is a simple approach to a lifelong practice.” – Kathleen Welton, Amazon Review
Price | $7
4. The Miracle Of Mindfulness
Author | Thích Nhất Hạnh
Written by Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh—the revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet and peace activist, and global spiritual leader—The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation is the real deal and quite possibly the best guide out there. Starting with the basics of mindful breathing, this book is perfect for for beginners. Subsequent meditations throughout the text are straightforward and gentle.
While originally published in 1999, this book is still one of the most celebrated and widely known mediation guides on the market. We highly recommend it, as well as other works by Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Reviews | “I found (this book) extraordinarily useful, not only because of his helpful and clear suggestions, but also his example of kindness in the world. This book is a story told in a conversational tone, an instruction for beginning as well as long-term meditators, and a poem of hope for humanity.” – Noms Redding, Amazon Review
Price | $8.50
5. Real World Mindfulness For Beginners
Author | Brenda Salgado
Edited and curated by Brenda Salgado, Real World Mindfulness for Beginners is one of the more recently published books on the topic and includes expert guidance from leading meditation teachers in the United States.
Readers will find that chapters are aimed at daily struggles and challenges, and included exercises address topics like stress, grief, anger, and more. Because of its straightforward and applicable nature, this book is a wonderful introduction for those who are just beginning their mindful living and meditation journey.
Reviews | “Editor Brenda Salgado has brought together a wonderful range of wise, contemporary voices on timeless topics like how to handle difficult emotions and how to change painful habit patterns. The guidance offered here will benefit anyone seeking practical mindfulness techniques for everyday contemporary living.” – Sharon Salzberg, Author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
Price | $10
6. Start Where You Are
Author | Meera Lee Patel
A #1 Best Seller on Amazon, Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel is a meditative journal perfect for creatives and artists who wish to explore mindfulness and intentional living. Patel, a Nashville-based author known for her hand-lettering and success as a stationary artist, invites readers into self-exploration and mindful practices through vibrant imagery, inspirational quotes, and open-ended prompts with space for journaling.
A bright, calming, and truly thought-proving work, Patel’s creation is a great introduction to mindfulness and meditation.
Reviews | "Meera Lee Patel's journal for self-exploration is a work of art on its own, filled with lushly illustrated prompts and advice, and plenty of room for you to discover and create your own beautiful revelations." – Buzzfeed
Price | $13
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kayti Christian, a staff writer for The Good Trade, is a storyteller, creator, activist, and avid traveler hailing from Colorado, now living in London. With 30+ stamps in her passport, she is passionate about responsible tourism and is always looking for new ways to be a more conscious traveler. She is currently pursuing her MA in Creative Nonfiction Writing at City, University of London.