Library: Beginner’s Mind

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These books are selected especially for anyone new to the practicestarting over, or wanting to approach their current practice with a fresh, Beginner’s Mind.

Mindfulness in Plain English
by Bhante Gunaratana

This is absolutely my go-to book for new–or returning–meditators. Now available in a new, 20th Anniversary Edition.

Here’s a sample from the chapter titled, What Meditation Isn’t:

Misconception 1: Meditation is just a relaxation technique.
Misconception 2: Meditation means going into a trance.
Misconception 3: Meditation is a mysterious practice that cannot be understood.
Misconception 4: The purpose of meditation is to become psychic.
Misconception 5: Meditation is dangerous, and a prudent person should avoid it.
Misconception 6: Meditation is for saints and sadhus, not for regular people.
Misconception 7: Meditation is running away from reality.
Misconception 8: Meditation is a great way to get high.
Misconception 9: Meditation is selfish.
Misconception 10: When you meditate, you sit around thinking lofty thoughts.
Misconception 11: A couple of weeks of meditation and all my problems will go away.

Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
by Silvia Boorstein

I love recommending this very clear, kind and honest book about what it means to understand and train the mind.

Here’s a sample: “…I know that my suffering begins whenever my mind, for whatever reason–the enormity or the suddenness of the challenge, its own exhausted state–becomes confused….I continue to suffer, stumbling around in stories of discontent, until I catch myself, and stop, and allow myself to know, and deeply feel, that I am frightened or confused or disappointed or angry or tired or ashamed or sad–that ‘I’m in pain!’ Then my own good heart, out of compassion, takes care of me. It all happens when I am able to say to myself (I honestly do use these very words), ‘Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax. Take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we’ll figure out what to do.'”