There are so many great meditation, mindfulness, and spiritual resources out there, including teachers, email newsletters (my personal favorite), Youtube channels, blogs, courses, books, retreats, and temples.
What are the best mindfulness meditation resources out there? Well, the internet is a big place so I can only share from my personal experience.
In this list I include:
- The Best Spiritual Teachers
- The Best Spiritual Websites, Blogs, Newsletters, and Apps
- The Best Spiritual Books
Here are some of my favorites…
The Best Spiritual Teachers
In my opinion, Pema is one of the best spiritual writers on the planet – past or present. Start Where You are was one of the first books I read after hitting rock bottom in my early 20’s. She writes so clearly, lucidly, and with a lot of humor! Check out How to Meditate for an excellent intro to mindfulness meditation.
Thích Nhất Hạnh
I have come to deeply appreciate and learn from Hanh’s teaching. I especially appreciate his work in interfaith dialogue with Christianity. Few people have done so much to spread the wisdom of mindfulness and world peace. He and Dr. Martin Luther King were even friends! Having passed away in 2022, his impact will be felt for generations.
“At this moment no messenger surpasses Spira and the transformative words in his essays.”Deepak Chopra
When you think of spiritual teachers nowadays, you’d probably think first of people like Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, or maybe Jay Shetty.
But if you’re looking for some of the deepest, clearest teaching on nondual / “direct path” meditation out there, Rupert Spira is a powerhouse. He spent decades studying under Dr. Francis Roles and Francis Lucille, in the Advaita Vedanta, Direct Path, and Tantric Yoga traditions.
Check out Being Aware of Being Aware for an excellent primer into his work.
Father Thomas Keating was one of my first introductions into Christian contemplative spirituality. It was from him I learned that Christianity can have a deep, powerful spiritual experience with “God”, which can be experienced easily and predictably. His method of experiencing God should be required reading for every Christian, in my opinion. I respect him not only for his methods of deep prayer, but also for his respect of other religions (which unfortunately is rare for Christians).
Check out Open Mind, Open Heart for an in-depth explanation of centering prayer (a form of contemplative prayer he created).
Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein’s book Seeking the Heart of Wisdom is one of the best, most thorough books I’ve read about classical Buddhist meditation. He teaches in the Vipassanā / insight meditation tradition, along with Sharon Salzberg and Tara Brach.
Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He is also a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
If you’re looking for an intermediate to advanced book on meditation, I’d highly recommend Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. It goes into the classical tenets of Buddhism, including: karma, impermanence, Right Understanding, the 5 hindrances, Eightfold Path, 4 Foundations of Mindfulness, 7 Factors of Enlightenment, and more.
Jack also has an excellent email newsletter, and courses available.
Dr. Joe Dispenza
I was skeptical of Dispenza’s work at first, but I have become a big fan. He does still tend to blur the lines between spirituality and hard science. For instance, he accurately explains the quirks of quantum physics in clear terms (the quantum observer effect, etc). But, he makes large leaps in logic, saying that we enter the quantum realm when we meditate.
Now, I do believe that when we meditate, we are able to manifest pretty much anything we want (like success and physical healing). But as far as I know (and I would like to think I’m pretty well-studied on the topic), we do not know the mechanism behind how we’re able to manifest new realities (new jobs, opportunities, etc). Maybe it’s through quantum phenomena, maybe not. We don’t really know. Though I do tend to agree with that theory. But it is just a theory, for now.
Regardless, Dr. Dispenza is an excellent spiritual teacher. I love the incredible healing miracles his workshops produce in people. And I also love how honest he is about his own practice (admitting that even though he’s been meditating since he was a kid, it can still take him an hour or so to truly get in the moment).
Check out his book Becoming Supernatural for excellent guidance on how to meditate, create healing within yourself, and manifest a better future for yourself.
Michael Taft flies under the radar as one of the best meditation teachers and coaches out there.
Check out some of his credentials:
- Teaches meditation at Google
- Studied from Zen temples in Japan to yogi caves in India
- Has been meditating over 35 years in both Buddhist Vipassana and Hindu Tantric practice
- Senior facilitator in Shinzen Young’s Unified Mindfulness system
- Core faculty at Wisdom Labs in San Francisco
- Featured teacher on the Simple Habit app
- Official advisor to the Therapeutic Neuroscience Lab
- Previously editor-in-chief of Being Human
- Former long-time editorial director of Sounds True
- Author of several books, including the Mindful Geek
Michael has a podcast, offers many amazing resources on the art of nondual meditation on his blog, and also has a Youtube channel with guided meditations.
Best Meditation Websites, Newsletters and Apps
10% Happier is an excellent resource for beginner and advanced meditators alike. It was created by Dan Harris, who was a news anchor who had a panic attack on live television. This motivated him (jolted, really) to learn meditation.
He now offers an app, a book, as well as an excellent newsletter and blog with teachings from the world’s foremost spiritual masters. Highly recommended!
Headspace is my favorite meditation app, partly because it offers free lessons for beginners. 10% Happier and Calm don’t offer any free content, as far as I know and remember. Headspace does also offer more intermediate and advanced lessons with a paid subscription.
Headspace offers powerful teachings from Andy Puddicombe – founder, former monk, and one of the most soothing voices on the planet. They also have a great documentary on Netflix!
This might be an unexpected addition to this list, but Beatfulness is one of my favorite meditation apps. That’s because they offer binaural beats, which have been shown to “entrain” our brain waves into deeper meditative states. If you’ve ever heard Dr. Joe Dispenza talk about how alpha, delta and theta brainwaves help you reach deeper states of consciousness, binaural beats help you reach those deeper, slower brainwaves.
The binaural beats that Beatfulness offers are great for when I have a particularly wild mental state, or need to deepen my meditation quickly.
A lot of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work is based on research by the Heartmath Institute. When we meditate in specific ways, we create what’s called heart coherence. In this coherent state, our hearts are able to send clear electromagnetic signals that create healing, not only in ourselves but in people and the world around us.
If you want to geek out about the science of meditation and its potential for global healing, you should check them out!
Jamie Wheal / The Flow Genome Project
I’m a pretty massive Jamie Wheal fanboy. I first heard about his work on Big Think, talking about religion, spirituality, and human potential. Uh yeah, sign me up!
In addition to having one of the most thought-provoking newsletters on the planet, and personal development training through the Flow Genome Project, he also has an amazing book called Stealing Fire.
In the book, he talks about how to access flow – our deepest, most transcendent, most effective mental state. He gleans insights from Navy Seals, Google, Burning Man, religion, Silicon Valley, Nike’s innovation team, Red Bull’s training center, and the UN headquarters on how to become a more effective human and solve the world’s gnarliest problems.
Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice is one of my favorite spiritual newsletters, because they send me quick, bite-sized wisdom nuggets every day. The emails consist of a thought-provoking quote, and a challenge to apply the quote to your life. They also have courses, and a pretty extensive library of resources for the spiritual seeker. Powerful!
Psyche is quickly becoming one of my favorite newsletters. I personally don’t think we can grow spiritually without first understanding our psychology, and they do an amazing job of choosing topics that help you become a better human from the inside out.
One of their recent newsletters covered topics about:
- Whether citizens should be morally responsible for how they handle misinformation from the media
- How therapy doesn’t often tell us who we are at our core (our identity and being)
- How to sleep well (always an important topic)
- Why we should reject the ever-popular philosophy of Roman Stoicism
Thought-provoking and challenging!
John Templeton Foundation
Another one of my new favorite newsletters, the John Templeton Foundation shares articles on wellness, spirituality, religion, and personal development.
Some recent topics include whether technology erodes our empathy, how to tame our monkey minds, automating your habits, and the neuropsychology of developing good habits. They also fund research around human development, such as funding $2.2 million for research projects that answer how to have a meaningful spiritual life without religion!
Mindworks is one of the best sites out there for in-depth courses, articles, and ebooks about the practice of meditation. The courses and content are taught by dozens of the world’s best spiritual teachers. As a nonprofit, they also offer memberships and take donations – so please donate if you find their content helpful!
Wisdom 2.0 is an inspiration to me. They head up conferences, workshops and meetups, all around practicing mindfulness in the bustling, tech-driven 21st century we live in.
Speakers include Jack Kornfield, Arianna Huffington, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Anderson Cooper. If you want to learn, get inspired, and connect with other like-minded seekers, check it out!
Deepak Chopra is one of the most influential spiritual teachers alive today. I deeply appreciate his dedication to spreading the wisdom of mindfulness and meditation to a world that desperately needs it.
He has produced many transformational books, courses, certifications, retreats, articles, and even an app.
Best Spiritual + Meditation Books
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
Jack Kornfield & Joseph Goldstein
I mentioned Jack Kornfield earlier as one of my favorite meditation teachers, and Seeking the Heart of Wisdom is not only one of his best books, but one of the best meditation books out there in general.
It covers everything you need to start and deepen your meditation practice, covering the main tenets of Buddhist Vipassana meditation, including the 7 Factors of Enlightenment, and much more. Because it is so thorough, it might be a little daunting for beginners.
But if you are a beginner, and want just one book to teach you almost everything you need to know about meditation, this might be your best bet.
How to Meditate
How to Meditate is one of the most approachable, simple, clear books on meditation. Great for beginner to intermediate practitioners. I love Ani Pema’s style of writing – she’s a gifted teacher, and makes it fun and easy to learn.
Being Aware of Being Aware
Rupert is one of the most gifted spiritual writers in our time. He has many excellent, easy-to-read books about nondual / direct path meditation.
His most popular might be Being Aware of Being Aware, which is what I’d recommend as well. It’s only 128 pages long, and he packs in a lot of great teaching in a dense, but incredibly clear style.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
I believe Emotionally Healthy Spirituality should be required reading for every Christian. This book was pivotal for my spiritual development as a Christian, and it opened me up to a whole new world of contemplatives in the Christian tradition. As I became familiar with those contemplatives – especially Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating – I started to fully understand the value of other religions and traditions outside of Christianity. And that led me to becoming a full-fledged interspiritual writer, recognizing the perennial spiritual value of all traditions.
This book not only teaches the importance of silence and solitude in our spiritual walk, but also the importance of, you guessed it…emotional health. I learned that being with God is much more valuable than doing things for God (which is just religion). I also learned the signals of poor emotional health: being offendable, sensitive, defensive, intolerant, and impatient with others. And their opposites: healing, acceptance, gratitude, and resilience.
The Miracle of Mindfulness
Thich Nhat Hanh
An excellent and clearly-written introduction to the beauty of mindfulness, he not only covers how to meditate, but also how to actually live with mindfulness (even when we’re not meditating). That includes doing the dishes, laundry, and any other seemingly-mundane task.
As we deepen our level of mindfulness, we deepen our ability to open our hearts to others, have compassion for them, and bring humanity together.
Be Here Now
No list of spiritual books would be complete without Be Here Now by Ram Dass. I actually didn’t know about Ram until around 2021-2022.
Ram was quite the character. He was formerly a Harvard professor named Richard Alpert until he encountered psilocybin and LSD. Then everything changed. Psychedelics helped him see the perennial truth that there is no self (including the professor formerly known as Richard Alpert). He then was promptly fired from Harvard, and became one of the most impactful spiritual teachers of all time.
The book itself is a trip – filled with artwork that was seemingly and likely inspired by LSD. So go ahead, tumble down the beautiful rabbit hole that is Ram Dass. 🍄🍄
The Mind Illuminated
John Yates, PhD
The Mind Illuminated just might be the most comprehensive guide to meditation in existence. It is written by Dr. John Yates, who is not only a neuroscientist, but also a meditation master.
It presents a 10-stage program that guides the seeker from beginning to advanced stages of meditation. It also shares some of the hindrances and obstacles you probably will face along the way, and offers solutions for how to overcome those hindrances.
The Mystic Heart
This book, along with Answering the Contemplative Call below, is one of the most important influences on my interspiritual views. Coming from a heavy Christian background, I also always had the intuition that all religions might lead to the same transcendent presence (God). Wayne Teasdale taught me why that is true.
With the foreword written by the Dalai Lama, Wayne presents a complete argument for why the mystical traditions of Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and all other traditions, all offer similar paths to the same end result: Experiencing spiritual transcendence.
My oh my, if that truth really took hold in the world, how much more united and peaceful we could be. Religious bigotry and conflict could be a thing of the past.
If you’re curious about how all the world’s ancient traditions help humanity access our deepest wisdom, you won’t regret checking it out!
Answering the Contemplative Call
Another one of my recommended books for all Christians, Carl McColman outlines the ancient contemplative roots of Christianity, from Jesus to Teresa of Avila to Thomas Merton. Once we understand the history and practices of true Christian spirituality (through silence and solitude), we can then easily see how those practices are the same as other traditions.
Dr. Joe Dispenza
I consider myself a bit of a purist when it comes to meditation and spirituality. I would much rather learn from time-tested teachers and traditions like Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, than New Age mysticism and Law of Attraction folks (though they do offer a lot of valuable wisdom). Spirituality is mainly about letting go of our desires, not obsessing over manifesting those desires.
But I’d say Dr. Joe Dispenza is one of the exceptions. In Becoming Supernatural, he mainly explains how to do three things: Using meditation to let go of yourself, heal yourself, and to manifest your desires. Dispenza does all of this from a place of true compassion and deep personal practice, from what I can tell.
His teaching aligns perfectly with all the ancient practices of nondual meditation: Becoming no one, no thing, without desire or want. It’s from this place of deep, peaceful awareness (what he likes to call the “generous present moment”), that we are able to heal ourselves and manifest our desires.
He teaches all of this with in-depth science throughout. Some of the science is solid in my opinion, particularly how heart coherence creates electromagnetic energy that signals our body to heal itself. If you look at his sources, he bases a lot of this on the research of the HeartMath Institute. Even Dr. Caroline Leaf (who is on the Christian side of the spirituality + science topic) presents similar studies in her work. Very exciting and interesting stuff. Our spiritual state has a scientifically-measurable impact on reality.
Where Dispenza has less hard science to lean on, is how spirituality is a quantum phenomenon. He says there is a unified quantum field that permeates all things, filled with infinite possibilities, that we are able to access when we meditate. He uses examples like the quantum observer effect and experiments by Rene Peoc’h to argue for this. Both of which are fascinating, to be sure. But to presume that the main reason we can manifest new realities is because we enter a quantum field, doesn’t have much hard science to back it up.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with theories, and I don’t mean to sound overly critical. His theory of quantum spirituality actually makes a lot of sense to me, and could very well be true. But he presents these findings as scientific fact, which could be misleading.
Either way, no one can argue his methods and results. They work. People are healed in his clinics, and the law of attraction works. So if you want results in your health, success, and inner peace, I’d highly recommend this book.
Open Mind, Open Heart
For those wanting to stay in their Christian tradition and want to deepen their spiritual practice, this book is for you.