Top 8 Resources to Get Your Zen On

Erik Heyl // Content Marketing

In How to Meditate like a Zen Monk, I showed you some of the tools I have used over the years to help me stay on track with my meditation and to enhance it. After all, no one wants to sit for hours on end trying to calm their mind or spend 20 years like Zen monks do…

To that end and to make sure that this post doesn’t go on into absurd infinity (there’s a lot out there), I’ll split this up into several sections: Books, apps, and programs. And for those of you that love to really dig into the topic, I’ll start with books…

Books

Now you might be thinking, “Erik, why on Earth would I want to read about meditation? Shouldn’t I “just do it tm” (with thanks to Nike)? It helps to know a little about why you’re doing meditation, benefits, and how it helps your brain with things like memory, cognition, focus and so on. So here we go…

Thresholds of the Mind by Bill Harris

Published in 2007 by Centerpointe Research Institute and Holosync creator Bill Harris, this was given away when you purchased “level 0” of Awakening, the first stage of the program.. Though short, it delves deeply into the science of the program and how meditation can calm the mind, promote greater focus and over time, make one mentally tougher. Though it does get very dense in some places, it’s still one of the best books you can get on the subject. You can still purchase this on Amazon.

Managing Evolutionary Growth by Bill Harris

Another smaller book by Bill Harris, this one is available through Centerpointe Press and Amazon and was also given away when you moved up from Awakening to Purification in the Holosync program. Though quite small it is again a dense read that focuses on how to handle physical and mental changes that you may be experiencing as you deepen your practice. Topics include:

    • Dealing with sickness while meditating.

    • Staying awake (don’t laugh, this is a thing because your brain is getting a workout).

    • Coping with negative emotions that may arise (for me this was anger and irritation with…well…everything and everyone at the time). 

    • When and where to call the coaching hotline for further assistance (these are people that have gone through the entire program and can help you wherever you’re stuck or worried, they definitely helped me). This is free and on-going.

Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki

For those readers who find themselves drawn to the Japanese arts and style of meditation, this along with his other work,  Zen and Japanese Culture, is the place to start when you want to get into Zen. The author clearly explains the historical background of the practice and gives an excellent overview of techniques, concepts and terminology such as:

    • Zazen

    • Satori

    • Koan

He also gives a clear explanation of the philosophy behind Zen Buddhism. In short, this is the “bible” of Zen and belongs on any serious student’s bookshelf. Can be purchased from Amazon (sadly, there’s no Kindle version).

Apps

There are thousands of apps on meditation, each promising a peaceful experience. Below are just a few, all of which I’ve used.

Headspace (https://www.headspace.com)

I tried this along with my wife, who wanted something a little different to help her sleep, and found that there are many different courses that go beyond just the 500+ meditations the app has. Some include: 

    • Mindfulness at work. 

    • Parents and kids.

    • Mindful money and many others. 

The meditations cover both guided and unguided options, and touch on things like winding down for sleep, quick focus, managing stress and coping with anxiety. You can start with a 14-day trial, with yearly and monthly options to unlock the full library.

Calm (https://www.calm.com)

Similar to Headspace, calm is also a subscription based app, which gives you 100+ meditations on things like anxiety, stress, sleep, along with specific music for sleep and relaxation. It also gives you access to updated “sleep stories” as well as masterclasses. The only option in this case after a 7-day trial is a yearly fee of $89.99.

Mindvalley (https://mindvalley.com)

While this is much more than a meditation app (including things like weeks-long quests on specific topics, communities, deep dives into business topics and more). 

It makes the list because it does have free meditations that you can use in addition to optional paid meditation programs (these are one-off payments, though you can opt for a Mindvalley membership that gives you access to everything noted above).

I’ve found their meditations on sleep, focus and creativity to be quite helpful to me, and the best part is you can pick either 15 or 30 minute versions, so it fits within whatever time you block out for your practice. 

Muse (https://choosemuse.com)

Another meditation app that can also be used with the Muse or Muse S headband for biofeedback or things like how calm your mind is, your heart rate, your sleep and even your movement. 

There are free meditations that you can use with this as well, though the premium version (which doesn’t require either headband to be used) gives you access to hundreds of meditations, guided sleep meditations, nature sounds (ocean, desert, rainforest, etc) as well as many guided courses from beginner all the way to Zen meditation. 

There are also courses on topics such as:

    • Mindful work

    • Mindful relationships

    • Happiness

    • Stress

    • How to deepen your practice

    • Changing habits.

To get the absolute most out of the app and get the biofeedback and sleep features (what they call “digital sleeping pills”), you’ll want a headband. 

Note that for the sleep functionality the Muse S is required. When you purchase a headband, you’ll get a year of access to the premium version of the app. 

For me, the renewal next year will be $35, which is far cheaper than other apps such as Calm or Headspace.

Programs

This will be a short section as I’ve only really used one main program, which is Holosync by Centerpointe.

Holosync by Centerpointe (https://www.centerpointe.com)

As you may recall this is the program I found and “went all in” on when I was in those dark places that some of you reading this will unfortunately know well.

That said, Holosync is different from the apps I mentioned earlier because it is meant to be a program that is cumulative and to be used daily.

You know it’s a serious bit of business when each level, including the very beginning one, has specific instructions on how long to use a section and then when to move forward, along with a 1-800 number you can call if you need help or feel overwhelmed.

The beginning stage, Awakening, is meant to ease you into not only consistent practice (with a good set of headphones like the CRI-300s or Apple AirPods I mentioned in my earlier post), but to build up that “meditation muscle.” 

You’ll start off with a half hour of what is called The Dive and for the first 14 days this is all you’ll listen to and is the only option with Awakening Level 0, which is the introduction to the program.

From there, Awakening Levels 1-4 have you doing the same 14-day start with The Dive but after that, introduce a deeper meditation called Immersion for another 30 minutes. 

As you progress, Immersion becomes deeper and stronger, and each level is typically meant to be used over a period of 8 weeks, though you can use them longer as this is not a hard and fast rule. 

Purification, the next stage of the program, is designed to help get rid of any nagging mental or emotional issues and is practised in the same manner as Awakening.  

The final stage, Flowering, is meant to help you finish the program (I’m not at this stage yet, I’m currently on the third level of Purifcation).

Each stage consists of 4 levels which go anywhere from 8 weeks, to 6 months at the Flowering stage.

There are various options you can pick such as digital only, CD or both CD and digital. Centerpointe always has sales so you’ll never pay full price. And they have payment plans where the cost is split up over 6 payments. 

Every so often they will have a sale on their Inner Circle, which is their top tier and gets you the entire Holosync program (not all at once as it’s meant to be worked on in stages), plus discounts on their other smaller suites of at least 50%. 

I have personally used their Journey to Self, Wu Xing Power Suite, Youthful Mind, Total Self Confidence and Ultimate Success and Wealth suites. 

These are excellent for working on specific things you may want to deal with and provide a perfect way to keep your meditations fresh as these range from 20-38 minutes and can be used interchangeably.

The beautiful thing about Holosync is that there is not set time limit for how long you can be in a particular stage or level though they recommend not shortcutting the program. 

All You Need To Do is Start…

Well, there you have it, my top 8 resources to help jumpstart your meditation and get you feeling calmer, more focused and feeling like your best self. So, go get your Zen on! Once you start, and remain consistent, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do so earlier. I know I did!

About the Author

I've always loved to write and when I came across copywriting and content marketing, I knew this was it for me. But what does that mean "for you"?

You'll have someone in your corner that will take your emails and punch them up (sales letters too!), and if content is your game, the last thing you want is something that tries to speak to everyone, or that sounds robotic.

I always write as if I'm having a conversation with a friend.

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Erik Heyl

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