There’s a wide range of interesting and enlightening resources out there if you want to find out more about mindfulness. Below I’ve listed those that were most useful and engaging for me.
Penman, D. and Williams, M. 2011. Mindfulness – A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Piatkus. London. UK.
As title’s go, this one is pretty ‘Ronseal’ (i.e. ‘does what is says on the tin’). Penman and Williams sprinkle all-too familiar stressful scenarios throughout this guide which reassure us that, not only do they know the challenges most people face on both a short- and long-term basis, they are normal people experiencing the same world as their reader, and are therefore best-placed to offer advice.
This guide is endorsed by Ruby Wax and contains a foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, it’s fair to say two people approaching mindfulness from very different angles. But this only serves to demonstrate how accessible this book is for a diverse range of people. Clearly structured and expressed, even those with no previous experience of mindfulness could easily follow the eight week course suggested. The free CD of meditations also makes staying on track even more straightforward.
Kabat-Zinn, J. 1994. Wherever You Go, There You Are. Piatkus. London. UK.
If mindfulness was a religion, JKZ would be the prophet. But it’s not, so we just have to settle with recognising him as the one who brought mindfulness to the modern, western world. That’s certainly not to say modern mindfulness is consumerised or without the purity with which it was created.
The essence of this book (and he’s written a few!), is the impermanence of… everything. All experiences we go through are temporary – nothing can last forever. And while, unfortunately, this applies to the positive ones, it’s something he skilfully brings us to terms with; “like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with.”
This guide is all about keeping it simple. He explores the concept of being totally present in each moment using familiar situations, helpful tips and a wide range of theories from both the ancients roots of mindfulness, renowned philosophers and modern experts.
Hanson, R. 2009. The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain. New Harbinger Publications. Oakland. USA.
Similar to Penman, Williams and Kabat-Zin, Hanson strikes the perfect balance between accessible and informative, practical and educational. This manual contains fascinating and insightful details on how the brain evolved, individual and specific functions, and reasons behinds certain responses and reactions. Unless you are a psychologist or already a neuroscientist, you will definitely learn something reading this book!
Hanson is fully aware that it’s a challenging read at times! But this book is in no way inaccessible. It seems he really wants us to learn more about our brains so there are a ton of strategies used to make the content more comprehensible for a beginner; helpful sub-headings, clear diagrams to support the scientific explanations, key subject matter in boxes and a list of condensed points to close each chapter. By the end you really get the feeling that you’ve learnt from an expert and that what you’ve learnt is both current and can change the way you think about thinking.