24 Resources to Help Light the Path to Your Mindfulness and Meditation Journey
When I first dove into meditation, I felt overwhelmed. There were so many “experts” and gurus preaching conflicting advice. You’ve probably heard or seen someone talking about the, “right” way to practice meditation or mindfulness, or that you should feel this or that when you practice.
Am I being mindful of every feather that floats by and swirl of wind that touches my face? No, wait! Should I be actually be clearing my mind and not think about anything other than focusing on the nothingness of nothingness sitting in my empty mind? Or maybe think about a word or mantra to help me focus? Ahhh!
After I got fed up with the “right” way(s) to meditate, I instantly found it was easier to practice if I just used the strategies and tools that made the most sense to me. It also became a fun game to filter out the “wise” advice and resources from the dogmatic cult leaders. As I continue to do more of my own research and experiments, I’ve found a few amazing resources: books, guided meditations, music soundtracks, quotes, and apps that have stood out above the rest.
What is Meditation?
Meditation and Mindfulness go hand in hand in my book, as the practice of doing both involve slowing down, being in the moment & fully aware, and putting a halt to the constant, unnecessary chatter of our minds. I meditate to calm my mind, and expand my awareness, perceptions, and consciousness, all while remaining highly alert. But I’m also not demanding these things happen overnight. As with any type of practice, there is no perfect end state, as I am always just working to grow to that next level.
So many people fly by in life and never stop to think about where they are now, at this exact second. What am I doing/saying, how do I feel about it, what is surrounding me, what blessings should I be thankful for, how am I breathing (full deep breaths, or short stressful gasps?). The actions we take, words we use, and awareness of our surroundings/situations are all creating our future. Below are 24 resources that have made it easier and more rewarding for me to practice meditation and mindfulness.
“Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.” — the buddhist center
It’s like having your own personal meditation trainer, proving guided practices, breathing, visualization sessions, along with mindfulness training.
Guided meditations, sleep stories to help you drift into a restless sleep, and even timed breathing exercises.
22. Simple Habit
5 minute, daily meditation sessions to reduce stress, improve focus, and sleep better.
Meditation practices that are organized by theme according to what you are doing/feeling: Struggling to sleep, waking up, taking a break from work, feeling stressed, dealing with all kinds of emotions, etc..
20. Relax Melodies
If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, this is the app for you. Soothing sleep sounds, white noise, and 52 different sounds you can enjoy (including ocean, rain, etc.. Yay nature sounds!!)
19. The Mindfulness App
Guided meditations, mindfulness reminders throughout the day, and progress trackers to keep you on course.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer
“Keep your heart clear and transparent
and you will never be bound.
A single disturbed thought, though,
creates ten thousand distractions.” –Ryokan Taigu in Wisdom for the Soul
“Meditation is the stillness of the mind without the entanglement of the past and without the agitation towards the future.” –Henri van Zeyst in Awareness In Buddhist Meditation (Free download!)
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ―Buddha
“Meditation makes the entire nervous system go into a field of coherence.” ―Deepak Chopra
“What calming the mind is all about
What meditation is for
Is to cool you out so you remember
So you see how it all is.” –Ram Dass in Be Here Now
“You are already that which you want to be, and your refusal to believe this is the only reason you do not see it.” –Neville Goddard in Feeling Is the Secret
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” –Lao Tzu
10. Guided Meditation For Anxiety & Stress
by Jason Stephenson
Sometimes you get home and you really want to relax, but don’t know where to begin. In the past, I’ve gone through the whole day with my shoulders tensed up to my ears, and didn’t even realize it until by husband called it out.
This video is great for a relaxing meditation session with peaceful music that guides you through how to let go of the tension and stresses that can come with life.
9. The Law of Attraction
by Bob Proctor
“The Law of Attraction? The Secret?! Is this girl an idiot?” Woah, woah.. what’s with all the judgement! While some of these ideas and their proponents get a bad rap (some rightly so!), traces of Proctor’s ideas can be found in the achievements of many people I admire.
This may not be a “typical” meditation video.. But it’s a wonderful one that highlights scientific evidence for how your awareness and thoughts can lead to future outcomes.
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” –Buddha
To me, this directly ties into meditation, as my form of meditation is meant to keep me present in the moment, observing my thoughts as an outsider, and understanding that each one of them is shaping my future.
8. Detachment from Over-Thinking
by Michael Sealey
Remember that constant chatter we discussed earlier that swirls through our minds? This is a great video to help that chatter STFU. This guided practice is relaxing thanks to Michael’s peaceful voice. It’s also helpful for learning how to filter out thoughts that aren’t helpful.
After listening to this video, I came out feeling much more focused than before I entered. I was able to concentrate on the things I needed to throughout the day, and it was easier to catch myself when useless thoughts would begin. I’d focus on my breath, and slowly the chatter would fade away.
by Liquid Mind
I’m a sucker for nature sounds, or really any song by Liquid Mind.
This calming soundtrack help put me in a peaceful mental state by listening to sounds that one cannot frequently hear in the SF Bay area (rain, thunderstorms, salty ocean waves lapping on the pebble filled beach .. you get the idea!).
All of Liquid Mind’s soundtracks are available for free with Amazon Prime, so enjoy!
6. 2-Hours Epic Music Mix
by Pandora Journey
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it’s not the slow, relaxing music like Liquid Mind produces, but this is the type of soundtrack that makes me feel empowered, strong, and ready for the day.
It’s especially useful when looking to be in the present with an activity you are doing such as drawing, writing, or doing the dishes. With this soundtrack playing in the background, you really can’t entertain many thoughts other than the importance of the task at hand (like scrubbing each pot and pan like it’s your life’s duty… for those few minutes anyway! ;) ).
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Aside from the fact that Martin Luther King held Thich Nhat Han in high regards, and even nominated him for the nobel prize, he is also considered one of the most influential Buddhist leaders in the West. His book highlights different methods and thoughts on meditation, but also shows how to incorporate this practice into everyday events. Many Buddhist teachers say that being mindful in everyday activities is more important than sitting meditation.
“I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.”
This book really made me analyze how I go about my days, minute by minute. After reading it, I find myself remembering to be more aware far more often throughout the day. In those moments where I remember, I fight to be appreciative and enjoy where I’m at.
by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
A meditation article isn’t complete without mentioning the Dalai Lama. If you’re looking to shift your mindset to one of happiness and contentment, this book offers an interview-style read that combines modern psychology with time-test Buddhist wisdom.
It’s overarching theme is that achieving happiness solely depends on the state of one’s mind rather than external circumstances. The, “happiness” buzzword gets thrown around a lot, but this book goes much deeper, gravitating towards peace and fulfillment.
If you’re looking for more background on the Dalai Lama, his autobiography is a great place to start.
3. Be Here Now
by Ram Dass
When I have suggested this book to others in the past, it seems like some have had preconceived notions about it being a, “hippie, druggie, out-there” type of book. But, the fact is that this book has wisdom for days, is filled with art, and even borders on poetry. Be Here Now really made me question which thoughts I was allowing into my head that were not being of any help. Ram Dass poses questions such as:
How many of us spend our days wishing we were doing something else or were somewhere else; devote our timeshare to thinking about future and past events; convince ourselves that the future will be perfect if we just keep doing what we’re doing?
These are the types of hard questions I look for to question the nature of my reality and correct any undesired thoughts and behaviors that might creep in.
While you may not agree with every piece of the book, the practice of just being there while you read it is powerful.
by Michael Singe
Singer shows how to step back from your thoughts, and become an observer of them. He details how to allow the melodramatic thoughts of life flow through you, while you observe them as an outsider and let them pass. This, he says, is key to living a conscious life.
“The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you
are in the thoughts themselves — that is the day you will find your way out.”
I really loved the chapter where he poses the question, “Who are you”. As he guesses at the type of answers we may provide (My original answers: “I’m a 26 year old woman from Maryland, have 2 siblings, and work at Google”…wrong… “I am my experiences”…nope, try again… “I am my thoughts”…dig deeper, he says…), he showcases how we are none of those, and are purely Consciousness/Awareness. Here is an experiment from the book to try:
“Notice that with a single glance at a room, or out a window, you instantaneously see the full detail of everything that’s in front of you. …Look at all the colors, the variations of light, the grain of wood furniture, the architecture of buildings, and the variations of bark and leaves on trees. Notice that you take all this in at once, without having to think about it. No thoughts are necessary, you just see it.
Now try to use thoughts to isolate, label, and describe all the intricate detail of what you see. How long would it take your mental voice to describe all the intricate detail of what you see. How long would it take your mental voice to describe all that detail to you, versus the instantaneous snapshot of consciousness just seeing? When you just look without creating thoughts, your consciousness is effortlessly aware of, and fully comprehends, all that it sees.”
This experiment ends with the answer to, “Who am I?”:
“I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me.”
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This book introduced me to the concept of daily mindfulness meditation, broken up into tiny, easy to digest chapters- yet loaded with insights and depth. Kabat-Zinn suggests we constantly pose the question, “Am I awake now?”
The biggest take away I had was how the simple act of stopping for a few moments during each day and being fully aware of my actions and surroundings is the best way to create a path and future that I want.
“If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing… We may only go in circles…”
The author frames meditation in a way that does not overwhelm, and presses the issue that we should never think, “Am I doing it right?”. If you can stop for a moment and focus on your breath, you are meditating. This is a victory you should consider celebrating. Remember that you can win small victories each day, and that over time, they’ll compound into something you can’t imagine now.
His references to Walden are also fun, as the author (Henry David Thoreau) meditates in his own way by taking in nature and solidarity for his ~two years at Walden Pond. This book is next on my reading list (I know, I know.. how have I not read this classic before?!).
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I hope you enjoyed these resources to help with your explorations into meditation and mindfulness.
What resources have you found along your journey? Click respond and let me know your favorite books, articles, videos, or music soundtracks below. I’m looking forward to checking them out!
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