The best meditation books that improve your memory, focus, and concentration

Anthony Metivier Author Of The Victorious Mind: How to Master Memory, Meditation and Mental Well-Being
By Anthony Metivier

The Books I Picked & Why

Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening

By Gary Weber

Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening

Why this book?

Happiness Beyond Thought gives practical guidance on experiencing mental peace that lasts. It isn't caught up in mysticism, but manages to show how some of the wisdom in ancient spiritual traditions make solid scientific sense. As a scientist himself, Weber wanted a secular means of experiencing mental clarity. Since clearing his own mind of unwanted thoughts, he has helped many others do the same.

Although it might seem like it is impossible to rid your mind of unwanted thoughts, Weber is careful to explain that he is focused on a particular kind of thought. Once you understand this genre of thinking, it's much easier to reduce its energy-draining impact on your life. The exercises are simple, but not too simple. When your mind is clear, your memory improves because you have more space for reflective thinking. It's that simple and I highly recommend this book.


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Evolving Beyond Thought: Updating Your Brain's Software

By Gary Weber

Evolving Beyond Thought: Updating Your Brain's Software

Why this book?

In this follow-up to Happiness Beyond Thought, Dr. Gary Weber takes things to the next level by examining a text called Ribhu Gita. Whereas many meditation traditions like Zen are based around difficult-to-understand koans, Weber provides translations and commentary on an easy-to-memorize text that cuts to the core of what "enlightenment" is all about.

Through a series of negations, you learn to think better about your mind, your body, and your fears. As concerns about each of these topics diminish, you're able to enjoy the present moment more fully. When you're more present, you pay more attention and remember more as a result.

Although it is not absolutely necessary to read Happiness Beyond Thought first, it is how I read the books and I do think it would be helpful. Weber provides video links to demonstrations of how he works with the text himself, including mudras that connect you even deeper with the experience.


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The Essence of Enlightenment: Vedanta, the Science of Consciousness

By James Swartz

The Essence of Enlightenment: Vedanta, the Science of Consciousness

Why this book?

One of the most direct spiritual movements is actually philosophical. In The Essence of Enlightenment, James Swartz discusses the concepts that underly a deeply misunderstood tradition called Advaita Vedanta.

Although he retains some of the unhelpful mysticism, the book is still great for its discussion of using philosophical knowledge to reduce your head trash and live more fully in the moment. One of the strengths of the book is its discussion of how to prepare yourself for being able to use the philosophy in everyday life. Although it can be strange to think that you have to be "qualified" to use philosophy, it does make sense and it is a very practical means of cleansing your mind.

A clean mind is better able to remember.


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On the Shadows of the Ideas: Comprising an art of investigating, discovering, judging, ordering, and applying, set forth for the purpose of inner writing, and not for vulgar operations of memory

By Giordano Bruno, John Michael Greer

On the Shadows of the Ideas: Comprising an art of investigating, discovering, judging, ordering, and applying, set forth for the purpose of inner writing, and not for vulgar operations of memory

Why this book?

Giordano Bruno was a great memory master who refined a meditation technique he learned from Ramon Llull. The technique involves using a "memory wheel." Different parts of the wheel contain problems, and an inner wheel contains solutions. Bruno gives many tips on how to use memory techniques so that you can meditate using the memory wheels.

Although very challenging, John Michael Greer's translation is clear and the illustrations help make your use of the memory techniques easy. The book also offers fantastic ideas for developing the best possible mindset for pursuing your meditation and learning goals over the long term.


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The Hermetic Art of Memory

By Alexander Dicsone

The Hermetic Art of Memory

Why this book?

As a student of Giordano Bruno,  Alexander Dicsone keenly observed the problems his students had with Bruno's meditative memory techniques. In two commentaries, he unfolded the memory tradition from another angle, including how to use the moon as a Memory Palace.

The book is not only instructional but humorous and the translation is a delight to read. It is also annotated for the more serious reader who wishes to go deeper into the references in the text and follow up with additional resources.


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