This post was first published in March 2016, but we’re back today with three new suggestions.
Namaste 🙂 Want to practice being mindful? I have a little list of books to get you started, or further you on your way, if you’re already a meditatin’ fool. Each time I post something on instagram that is introspective, I feel like I’m preaching a little bit. That makes me a little self conscious or unsure because I never know how you’ll react, but time and time again it’s been well received, therefore I can only assume you’d like to know more about being mindful since that’s where all these post stem from.
What does it mean to be mindful? To me, it means living life with intention and opening your awareness in the present moment without passing judgement. It’s kind of like being a screen door on a breezy day. There’s a lot going on outside the house as well as inside, but you’re simply an observer of both. You’re enjoying the breeze, feeling the sunshine or raindrops, but you’re not reacting to either, just enjoying the flow of life.
Why is that advantageous? Well, it gives me the ability to stay in the moment, instead of being regretful or judgmental of the past, while avoiding unnecessary anxiety and anticipation of the future. Staying mindful in the moment allows me to clearly interpret what is going on around me, but at the same time not getting too attached to every input entering my brain. I can sift out the extraneous information, which gives my monkey brain a rest, allowing me to process things more clearly and accurately. Switching off my brain’s autopilot mode allows me to slow down. It gives me the space to discover and enjoy the lovely little things in life and how quickly they can come and go, while at the same time realizing the same is true for the not so lovely little things we all endure on the day to day.
Being mindful is an ongoing daily practice. In the beginning it’s tough. I would say I’ve been practicing mindfulness and mild forms of meditation for three years now and I am considerably less emotional than I was in the past. I can see the bigger picture. I can act accordingly. I can deal instead of freaking the f!ck out. I can move closer to my truth. Life is easier even though it hasn’t changed in any major way. I’ve changed. Join me on this journey, life is beautiful once we tell our brains to STFU.
These are all books that I think have greatly impacted my mindfulness journey. I’ll update this post as I come across more or remember others that have helped. As an aside, I don’t associate myself with any major religion, it just so happens that Buddhism focuses largely on meditation and mindfulness, so many books that intertwine these two topics reference Buddhism in the process.
Siddhartha was written way back in 1922, but you’d never guess. It’s a novel about the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (my favorite author). It’s quite an easy read, but it caused me to ask a number of introspective questions and form my own moral code.
The Buddha Walks Into A Bar A Guide to Life for a New Generation – Speaks to a slightly younger crowd about navigating one’s way through this chaotic world. It also offers simple and effective ways to jump into the world of meditation.
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom Is easily one of my favorite books and one I’ve read three times in three years, most recently this past weekend when I read it cover to cover. Buddha’s brain combines scientific knowledge from neuroscience and psychology with practices you can incorporate into your life every single day. It basically teaches you how to rewire your brain that was meant for survival, allowing you to trash all the unnecessary incoming information and focus on what will help you thrive today. I can’t say enough great things about this book.
How To Train A Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness – Is a simple guide for every day mindfulness. I love the way this book is set up. It has 52 short chapters with real techniques and challenges to nurture a more mindful existence. I’m seriously considering creating a mindfulness club that works on these exercises week by week. Wanna join?
The Tao of Pooh is ingenious. I was physically shaking my head yes during each chapter of The Tao of Pooh. Author Benjamin Hoff introduces concepts of Taoism in relation to a character we all know, Winnie the Pooh. If you’re curious or already headed towards a life of natural living and simplicity, pick up this book!
The Four Agreements – is basically a simple code of conduct for every day life. While there’s nothing particularly new in this book, it’s concise and easy to put into practice immediately. Whenever I’m feeling upset or confused by a situation or outcome, I think of this book and figure out where I went wrong.
Untethered Soul – Wow. I finished the Untethered Soul about a month ago. I’m still referencing my highlights each week to glean some guidance and inspiration. The Untethered Soul explores many corners of the human condition and offers ways to gracefully navigate them with consciousness.