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Books About Meditation

There's an overwhelming variety of literature about meditation available today. However, instead of presenting you a long list of books, we have selected the ones which are essential to us. Although from different angles, all of these writings dive deeply into the exploration of the meditator's experience.

This book goes deep! Rob Burbea describes in great depth and detail the experiences and insights one can have in meditation. At first glance, emptiness might seem like an arbitrary buddhist concept, when in fact it can be a corner stone in understanding human experience more deeply. We use Seeing that Frees mainly as a workbook for all kinds of questions related to practice. Although you don’t have to consider yourself a Buddhist to benefit from this book, a basic understanding of buddhist terminology is certainly helpful.

Heinz Hilbrecht connects ancient wisdom and modern science in a way that is both accessible and pioneering. In his down-to-earth language, he describes the long-term development of a meditator, which deepens over many decades. Meditation und Gehirn is great antidote to the contemporary mindfulness hype, in which the short-term benefits are often overemphasized over the depth and achievements of a lifelong commitment to meditation. The book can be used as a reliable guide for one’s meditation practice and developmental progress. Unfortunately, the book is only available in German.

When the meditator becomes less attached to gross sense objects, access to deeper and more subtle states of consciousness becomes possible. Focused and Fearless can be understood as both map and guidebook through these deeper realms of meditation. Besides her vivid descriptions of these wonderful states of mind, Shaila Catherine also adds many practical instructions. Deeper meditative states are sometimes described as “attainments” which tempts the meditator to see them as just another ego-project. However, as one dives deeper, it becomes clear that these realms are better described as deeper ways of letting go and as a pathway to liberating insights.

Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson explore the long-term effects of meditation. In Altered Traits, they present their studies of comparing the mind-states and character traits of meditators at different levels of experience and skill. The authors also critically examine existing scientific findings about meditation and argue that we have to look more deeply to understand what they mean. While improved health, relaxation or enhanced work access are proven effects of meditation, traditionally the have been incidental side effects. True contemplative goals have always been altered personality traits and a deep transformation of the human being.

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist is a personal account of the author’s thirty-eight year engagement with Buddhism. His quest interweaves reflections on early Buddhist doctrine, a journey through modern India to visit the sacred sites of Buddhism, and a detailed reconstruction of the Buddha’s life on the basis of the Pali Canon.

When spirituality disconnects us from what really matters: Spiritual bypassing—the use of spiritual practices/beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs—is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. The book casts a lucidly critical eye on our deeply entrenched misuse of spirituality, furthering the body of psychological/spiritual insight into how we use (and abuse) spirituality.

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Look Deeper

Practice

Exploring Obstructive Beliefs

Over the course of our lifetime, we accumulate many strategies to deal with the complex situations we encounter. Some of these strategies might still be helpful, while others are obstructive and outdated. The problem is, even if we have noticed unhealthy patterns within us, it is not enough to just know about them intellectually. This practice explores obstructive beliefs, in order to challenge and transform them.

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Inspiration

Resources for Meditators

We have compiled a list of individuals and initiatives that offer a variety of meditation resources. Most teachings with a certain depth are still to be found within a Buddhist context (Dharma). However, the listed Dharma teachers have a secular orientation.

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