Especially spiritual books, ever since reading Johnathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay at the tender age of 11.
At 19, I got the job of my dreams working at an awesome specialist bookshop called The Inspiration Factory where we HAD to review an inspiring book every month, and my addiction continued.
Now with the digital age, I can whip out my kindle and download a new book with the click of a button, an instant fix!
So anyway, I have read many books and will no doubt continue to read many more, but here are 10 that have had a big impact on my life and perhaps may impact yours too. In no particular order, they are:
1) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A modern classic, I believe Mr Tolle is among the most awakened teachers on the planet today…and possibly ever. His teachings on breaking free of the egoic mind and surrendering to the present moment are crystal clear and oozing with the tangible truth he lives from as a result of his awakened consciousness.
2) The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Similar in subject matter to The Power of Now, this book looks at surrendering to the present moment and letting go of resistance from a fresh perspective with some very practical nuggets of wisdom too.
3) The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
Written by a Mexican Toltec shaman, this book comes from a completely different tradition to the typical Eastern/Buddhist inspired philosophies present in so many spiritual books these days, but truth is truth and there are interesting parallels. Ruiz teaches us that we are living in a dream world of our own making (similar to the notion of the ego self) and that we must break free from this dream in 4 specific ways: Don’t Take Things Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Be Impeccable With Your Word and Always Do Your Best. He goes in depth with good examples on these 4 seemingly simple points, and when put in to practice, I experienced them as profoundly liberating.
4) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Written as a 12 week program to get in touch with your blocked (or seemingly non-existent!) creativity, Julia teaches that our creative self is closely tied to our spirituality, indeed, that is comes directly from something that is larger than ourselves. As well as weekly exercises based on specific themes, she gets the reader to use specific tools such as daily journaling and going on a weekly ”artist’s date”, a solo adventure with the sole purpose of feeding your inner muse with inspiration. I went through the course when I was traveling in my 20s and it enhanced my trip so much as I discovered this inner font of juicy creativity, expression, joy and fun. It is written for anyone by the way, especially people who don’t consider themselves ”artistic”.
5) A Course in Miracles by The Foundation For Inner Peace
Disclaimer: I still haven’t gotten through all of this yet…it is deep and vast! I tried reading it when I was younger but the Christian terminology put me off as I had a big anti-patriarchal-religion streak in me. However, the book does not use these terms in a traditional sense at all, but merely as symbols to convey profound truth, and now that I am older and wiser, I am getting a lot out of it. I find I do have to read and re-read certain sentences to really get them which is why I am still going! The second part has a year’s worth of practical daily exercises to gradually break down our conditioned, fear-based mind so as we can perceive the truth: that our essence and the essence of our creator is Love.
6) Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerry Jampolsky
Gerry has written quite a few books that are all based on the teachings of a Course in Miracles, but are much simpler to understand! I recommend starting with this one if you want to get the gist of what a Course in Miracles is all about, and it is a profound book in it’s own right.
7) Advanced Yoga Practices by Yogani
Most of the in-depth teachings on the higher, more mystical branches of yoga and meditation have been kept secret for eons, only passed down from guru to seeker orally. Yogani, an advanced yogi is controversially breaking this mould by publishing some of these teachings. He is of the opinion that the world needs this information now more than ever, and though there is some small risk in people dabbling in these practices without a teacher, if one is prudent and paces him or herself, all can be achieved with practice. Even if you do not follow his practices, it is a fascinating read to see what the human body and mind can be capable of when set on the path of enlightenment.
8) Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen
This book was on the reading list for my mindfulness diploma course, and I must admit, the title put me off a bit. I expected it to be a simplistic Buddhism-for-dummies overview type book, but was pleasantly surprised. This book gets straight to the essence of Buddha’s teaching, namely that we need to learn to “see” clearly, without any jargon or dogma – very interesting and inspiring.
9) I Am That by Sri Nisragadartta
An Indian classic, this book is written in question and answer format as seekers endeavour to understand the extraordinary state of mind of the author. A simple, poor cigarette maker from the slums of Mumbai, Sri Nisragadartta experienced enlightenment through the help of his guru. Seekers from all over the world started visiting him in his humble Mumbai abode and this book is the result of their fascinating conversations.
10) Go Only As Fast As The Slowest Part of You Feels Safe To Go by Robin L. Posin Ph.D.
Sometimes, through learning about the stories and journeys of others, we also learn about ourselves. Robin was a highly dysfunctional, workaholic, psychotherapist who dropped out of her everyday life in the 70s to slow down and devote herself to her own healing…there is deep wisdom in this book about how to be gentle and compassionate with ourselves and the need to challenge the often harsh mode of life our society values, borne from her own in-depth experience garnered from a life-long dedication to caring for herself, even when that meant going against the status quo.