This blog is for all the skeptics who tried to meditate, but couldn't get through a sitting. I hope that sharing my experience and my book recommendations can inspire you to give it another shot, because meditation works. It will change your life in a positive way.
As a typical busy New Yorker, forcing myself to sit still for 5 minutes felt like a torture. I was accustomed to the lifestyle of always rushing through everything, calculating the clock backwards so that there was not a minute in a day that didn't go wasted, and constantly worrying about filling in the future schedule. I am totally a "type A" person obsessed over efficiency and speed for everything I handle, whether I am in the office working, at home cooking, or at school studying.
Then one day, I became so overwhelmed with everything happening in my life that I desperately searched for a tool to use for an immediate "escape." In 2019, meditation practice became super trendy - there were many beautiful meditation centers popping around the city (including MNDFL which I love), and there were so many stock photos of peaceful meditators all over the internet and social media that I thought, maybe this actually works?
When I sat down to meditate for the first time in my life (through an app called Headspace), it was really hard to do. I felt antsy, wanting to move my feet and hands, and immediately thought that it was going to be a waste of time. My mind was racing through with thoughts like "I could be reading a self-help book filled with advice on how to change my life instead", or "I could be replying to emails I've been putting off", or "How could this actually change anything." I felt exhausted after every session for the first 10~12 times.
Then one day, during a session, I was thinking about everything I should be doing instead of meditating as usual, and then noticed those thoughts going through my mind. It was as if there were two people in my head, and I was judging my own mind for the incapability of not being able to stop thinking...at the SAME TIME. Then it hit me - if I could see these thoughts go through my mind, then I must have a control over those thoughts as well.
As soon as I experienced the so-called “noticing” of my thoughts, I hit the books to further explore meditation to find out if what I had experienced was “correct” (and it was). I’ve read a ton of books related to meditation, and below are ones that I really enjoyed reading and helped me further my practice. I do love reading about zen buddhism and quotes by the Dalai Lama as well, but I’ve kept those out from this list. Also, if you can’t tell, I am a big fan of Michael Singer and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Recommended books for beginners: