Build a Toolkit
Mindfulness meditation is a process of inner discovery, of obtaining a rich and complex understanding of yourself - who you are, what you want, why you're here.
We consider it essential to supplement formal meditation sessions with a dedicated learning approach - building a toolkit of books, quotes, music, films, art, poetry, and so forth. The resources do not need to be specifically related to meditation, but can simply be anything that brings you to a greater knowledge of yourself and the world around you.
Here are a few of our favorites to get you started.
- A Path with Heart, by Jack Kornfield
Tackles some of the most common challenges faced by new meditators, providing practical techniques and guided meditations for overcoming them.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
“In the end, just three things matter:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
- Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
A story of finding the middle path, between asceticism and material pleasures.
“Most people... are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.”
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit
A meditation on what it means to explore, what it means be lost. Personal stories interwoven with historical tales of America's early settlers.
“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it..."
“To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender...”
- The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD
Neuroplasticity and its recent advances, described in layman's terms. Fascinating insights into the ability to unlock obsessions and compulsive behaviors, understand sexual attraction and readdress our relationship to physical pain.
"One reason we can change our brains simply by imagining is that, from a neuroscientific point of view, imagining an act and doing it are not as different as they sound. When people close their eyes and visualize a simple object, such as the letter a, the primary visual cortex lights up, just as it would if the subjects were actually looking at the letter a. Brain scans show that in action and imagination many of the same parts of the brain are activated. That is why visualizing can improve performance."
- Supercoach, by Michael Neill
Life/career/success coaching from a Buddhist perspective. The chapter on goals is particularly brilliant, and will help you get to the core of what it is you want.
"The ultimate level of change is transformation, or what I sometimes call "global change" - a pervasive shift in our way of being in the world. At this level, it's not enough for us to develop a skill or change a feeling. It's our intangible "selves" we want to change, and in doing so, we change our experience of everything.
When we want to make a change in the moment or in a specific situation, we apply a technique. When we want to make a change in a broader context, we install new strategies. But when we want to actually changes lives, we need more than just strategies or techniques. We need a whole new paradigm or perspective - a new way of seeing."
- Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, by Satprem
An in-depth exploration of the physiological and psychological changes that can occur as part of an inner transformation. [Note: this book is phenomenal, but can also be quite intense]
"The first stage, and the fundamental task that gives the key to many realizations, is to silence the mind... Clearly if we want to discover a new country within us, we must first leave the old one behind".
"The error is to believe that only if we could combine ideal conditions of peace, beauty and bucolic solitude, things would be much easier - but there will always be something to disturb us, everywhere. So we might as well resolve to shatter our constructions and take in all this 'outside' - then we will be at home everywhere".
- Anis Mojgani
Spoken word artist with an incredible passion and a talent for using poetry to pinpoint our collective misgivings.
- Elizabeth Gilbert
TED talks from the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
- Brene Brown
Humorous, heart-warming TED talks from the renowned researcher of vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame.