Don’t get me wrong, I love books. Books are an important part of the path. (Movies too – at least, they’re a part of this path!)
As awesome as books are and as much value as can be gained from them in imparting information and teaching new things yada yada yada, there’s one thing you can’t learn from a book, and that’s meditation.
Sure, you can learn about meditation from reading a book, and you can get interested in the subject, and you can even get inspired enough to go out and try it. But you cannot learn how to meditate from a book.
When a qualified teacher explains a meditation technique, you are getting not only the information about it, and a set of instructions, but you’re also getting an empowerment. You’re learning the art of meditation from the inside out; the teacher is communicating with you on multiple levels, and showing you how its done with her mind. The best teachers actually help you to meditate – it’s easier to meditate when you’re around someone who meditates well.
So when you find that you’re being drawn to meditation and you decide to learn how to do it, it’s best to seek out a teacher who’s been doing it awhile, who’s studied with accomplished masters, who’s been properly trained, and has achieved a level of mental control and stability in their own practice.
Teaching yourself to meditate would be like teaching yourself to drive. Sure, maybe you could figure it out on your own… but it’s unlikely you’ll get very far, and you could even do some damage before you get out of the driveway!