Psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “moment-to-moment awareness . . . . cultivated by purposefully paying attention to things we ordinarily never give a moment’s thought to.”

If you are a traveler on the path to meaningful work, I encourage you to use mindfulness practice as the container within which you can . . .

  • Clarify your values
  • Build your confidence
  • Create a system of support
  • Execute a plan of action

. . . all in the service to awakening to the flow of change in your work and your life.

I see mindfulness practice as both the tool for discovering and the foundation upon which to build your own meaningful work.

This list is a collection of my favorite works on mindfulness, the ones that have added the most practical advice to help me establish my daily practice and keep it going across time. 

Jon Kabat-Zin, Ph.D.
Jon Kabat-Zin, Ph.D.
Cover of Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook

Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis, Beth Eshelman. Line drawings and charts included.

Relaxation is the mother of mindfulness and this book is the standard for relaxation training. It details effective stress reduction methods such as breathing exercises, meditation, visualization, and time management in a step-by-step format. Widely recommended by therapists, nurses, and physicians throughout the U.S., each new edition is substantially revised and updated to reflect current research. 

Cover of Finding the Quiet Mind

Finding the Quiet Mind by Robert Ellwood.

A miniature book with a big message. A simple but powerful set of instructions on the practice of mindfulness.

Cover of Monastery Without Walls

We yearn for perfect peace yet live in a noisy, high-speed rush to “win” by being the one who dies with the most toys!

Sacred life takes root in the silence of solitude.

Monastery Without Walls speaks to the monk or mystic in each of us, affirming our place in the sacred silence of inner reflection. It shows how everyday life is full of opportunities to live as if the world itself were a place of holy retreat and our work a sacrament from God.

Cover Image of Chop Wood, Carry Water

Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life by Rick Fields, Rex Weyler, Rick Ingrasci, and Peggy Taylor.

Though first published in the early 1980s, this book still feels new.

A good basic guide to the development of spirituality in everyday life.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Beginnings
2. Learning
3. Intimate Relationships
4. Sex
5. Family
6. Work
7. Money
8. Play
9. Tuning the Body
10. Healing
11. Technology
12. The Earth
13. Social Action
14. Inner Guidance
15. Perils of the Path

Cover of Greater Energy at Your Fingertips

Greater Energy At Your Fingertips by Michael Reed Gach.

An approach to mindfulness through the body, using posture, acupressure, and breathing techniques to heighten your awareness.

Cover of Celebration of Discipline
Cover of Celebration of Discipline Workbook

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster.

Quite possibly the best book available on modern Christian spirituality. It contains specific chapters on meditation and prayer as mindfulness practices.

Cover of The Miracle of Mindfulness

A classic manual on meditation, concentration, and relaxation, containing an appendix rich with specific mindfulness practices, including several for everyday living.

Cover of The Sun My Heart

The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh.

This sequel to The Miracle of Mindfulness goes beyond meditation, concentration, and relaxation into the realms of insight. Thich Nhat Hanh draws from Buddhist psychology, epistemology, and contemporary physics and uses many anecdotes to illustrate this journey.

Cover of Constructive Living

Constructive Living by David K. Reynolds.

Clear, concise lessons in mindfulness for overcoming shyness, depression, fear, stress, grief, or chronic pain.

This book can help you make substantial changes in your personality and character so that your entire life simply works better.

A concise summary of Anthropologist David Reynolds’ successful attempts to bring the complex Japanese psychotherapies of Naikon and Morita to America.

Cover of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. 

Shunryu Suzuki had a gift for making Zen accessible to Westerners, revealed by his extensive use of anecdotes and analogies. 

This is a classic! One of the most accessible works ever written on Zen Buddhism and Zen-inspired meditation techniques.

This collection of dharma talk transcripts also offers explanations of some of the more esoteric aspects of Zen philosophy.

Whatever your religious background, there is much to learn from this slim book.

Cover of Skillful Means

The ultimate guide to applying mindfulness in everyday life, especially at work. Arguably the most significant contribution in the English language to the understanding of the Buddhist concept of “right livelihood.”