Find Inspiration in Books for Adults
Practising mindfulness on your own and working things out yourself in your little corner of the United Kingdom is all well and good, but you’ll find many benefits to accessing the knowledge and experience of other people through books. Here are recommendations for advanced readers (Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Mister God, This Is Anna are good for older children too):
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story by Richard Bach (Element). This modern classic is the story of a bird called Jonathan who doesn’t enjoy the habitual actions and attitudes of his fellow birds, and acts with courage, kindness and creativity. Through his actions, he discovers his true potential.
Many of his attitudes are mindful in nature, and his transcendent experience echoes the belief that awareness can lead to realising you’re far more powerful and interconnected to others than you ever imagined.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (Rider). In this moving account, Viktor Frankl talks about his observations and personal experiences in Auschwitz. He noticed that those who were willing to give their last piece of bread to others seemed to live longer. He concluded that you can take absolutely everything away from human beings, except their attitude in any given circumstance.
External influences alone didn’t determine the experience, but the inner conviction of the prisoners. Frankl, who was a Viennese psychiatrist, felt that human’s deepest desire is to find a greater meaning and purpose in their lives. Many of his insights reflect those in mindfulness – a fascinating read.
Mister God, This Is Anna by Fynn (HarperCollins). This incredible story concerns the resilience, wisdom and intelligence of a little girl called Anna, who had to live through challenging circumstances. Anna was tremendously mindful in her observations and insights, and let go of any limiting thoughts that adults around her had.
The following books are more directly related to mindfulness practice:
Mindfulness For Dummies by Shamash Alidina (Wiley). If you’re enjoying this workbook, you may like the original book, too, as a helpful companion title. Mindfulness For Dummies has different audio meditations either as a CD or downloadable MP3.
I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj edited by Sudhakar S. Dikshit (Chetana). This spiritual classic is filled with timeless teachings from one of India’s greatest sages. Nisargadatta often refers to the value of living in the present moment and tuning into the observing self, stepping back from thoughts and emotions.
Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh (Rider). Zen Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh explains how to live mindfully with yourself, your family and the world at large in this book.
Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Piatkus). A very detailed book that’s ideal for life- and executive coaches, psychotherapists and those who wish to consider teaching mindfulness to others.
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Piatkus). A handy collection of bite-sized chapters written by one of the great mindfulness teachers of our time. Ideal for dipping into every morning or evening for a spot of mindful wisdom.
The Book of Life by J. Krishnamurti (Harper San Francisco). This book is an inspiring collection of extended quotes from a widely respected philosopher and spiritual teacher. His advice about listening is particularly good.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle (Hodder). A highly popular modern book on the concept of living in the present moment as a way to spiritual awakening. Some people love this book; others find it too spiritual.
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (Piatkus). A great introduction to mindfulness written by Mark Williams, a top professor on mindfulness who works at Oxford University in the UK, and journalist Danny Penman. Includes a handy audio CD with several 10- to15-minute meditations.