Seriously, I just finished the best book on meditation I’ve ever read.
It’s called “Secular Mediation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy” by Rick Heller. It comes from the Humanist Community at Harvard University.
What makes this book so good? It’s not airy-fairy, like other meditation books, where meditation leads to ineffable states. (The book explains it can lead to a sense of selflessness, but only after many years of practice, and even then, you might not want to have that sense of disconnect from the world.)
Along with clearly describing how to do various meditations, this guide also delves into how meditation should feel. (The breathing meditation should be more effortless than most of us make it.)
It also talks about potential drawbacks from meditation. Other guides I’ve read have never covered these drawbacks, like how week-long silent meditations that you’re not used to could cause mental issues because the brain thrives on social activity.
I enjoyed how realistic and balanced this approach to meditation is. Plus, the exercises are easy to follow.
The Humanist Community at Harvard has worked to transform Buddhist meditations from religion-based to those that speak to secularists. Meditation isn’t about being anti-social in the Humanist world-view. (Being anti-religion doesn’t make one automatically anti-social.) Indeed, the very first mediation presented in the book is one that cultivates compassion for the self and others. Compassion makes for a good foundation upon which meditation and having a good life rests.
I don’t often want most of the library books I read for my personal collection, but this is one of those rare books that I want to turn to again and again, so I may need to seek this one out for purchase.
Best meditation book ever.