Updated May 11, 2017
For meditation resources local to the Houston area, go here.
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Mindfulness & Mindfulness Meditation Resources
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., created the first MBSR clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and it was so successful that it’s been replicated all over the country. We attended an 8-week MBSR program taught by Micki Fine in Houston, TX, and it launched us into a whole new world. This was our first training in mindfulness and mindfulness-based meditation. What a spectacular program for mental, emotional, and physical health! You can search for programs in your area here.
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
This book not only provides an excellent introduction to the practice of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation, but also outlines the program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and teaches a variety of meditation techniques. It’s a great book!
Simply the best at-home resource I know of for the absolute beginner. Headspace teaches mindfulness meditation baby-step by baby-step. They offer a free 10 day trial, and if you decide not to sign up they’ll never contact you again. Should you decide to take the $8-$13/month plunge, you’ll get an outstanding, stress-free education that, after the first 30 days, is customizable.
Silence and Stillness in Every Season: Daily Readings with John Main edited by Paul Harris
This book offers basic instruction for meditation that cultivates inner silence before God, using the prayer phrase maranatha. It encourages you in daily practice with short selections from the writings of Benedictine monk John Main. I practiced this meditation almost exclusively for a year, and it changed my life.
World Community for Christian Meditation
Founded by John Main, WCCM offers online information, retreats and training, local meditation groups, and online meditation groups. Click above for the global website. Click here for the USA website.
The Method of Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
This is a brief pamphlet guide (in PDF form) on the kind of Christian meditation or contemplative prayer known as Centering Prayer. It outlines each step and explains some background information. This way of praying has enriched my relationship with God immeasurably.
Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
Kent teaches a form of Christian meditation without ever calling it by that name. She uses the term “breathing exercise.” No matter the words used, these techniques develop your ability to live in the present moment. Kent writes primarily to mothers who are feeling out of breath from life’s demands.
Insight Timer App
You can set bells to ring at custom intervals, time your meditations, and track your accumulated meditation hours over time. The app also offers thousands of guided meditations. The basic app is free, but I recommend purchasing the upgraded bell tones for a more beautiful experience.
While I don’t believe that relaxation can substitute for a meditation practice, it’s an important part of any effort to improve health and quality of life. I often meditate in the morning and do a relaxation exercise mid-day. Here are my favorites:
Rest Assured by Michael Krugman
While designed for insomnia, the Rest Assured exercises calm my nervous system any time of day. They are mindfulness-based but also incorporate “micro-movements,” and the combination of the two is the best thing since sliced bread for those of us who live on the anxious/stressed side. My top recommendation.
Ten Minutes to Relax: Experience the Love Response by Eva M. Selhub, M.D.
These relaxation exercises are unusually powerful and will appeal to those who enjoy guided imagery. Two of the three 10-minute techniques incorporate healing color, sometimes called “divine light,” which I find helpful. (I learned about this CD through the Pelvic Health and Physical Therapy Center in Houston.)
This is an at-home biofeedback program measuring heart rate variability (HRV). My husband uses it at work to calm his mind and body and bring them into a higher-functioning state, and I have used it to track my physiology during meditation. This is a powerful tool.