Influential Spiritual Books - The Soulful Reading List
Reading has always been among my greatest passions, and it's one of my favorite ways to learn. Sure there are faster ways to attain facts and information (''just google it") but the learning I'm interested in comes from the level of the soul, not the screen of a computer.
Many of my most powerful life lessons came from books written by spiritual authors and their personal experiences and research. These authors and their texts have a permanent place on my bookshelf. They are the books I return to again and again for inspiration, perspective, and gentle reminders. They are 'high-vibration' type of books, the kind that urges you to examine yourself and the way you're moving through life. It's not just about reading and understanding the text, it's about putting it all into practice.
The following list contains a few of my favorites. These books are disheveled with dog-eared pages and highlights, flexible spines and coffee stains. I've read them all multiple times and hope that they provide the insight for you, that they've provided for me.
I devour anything from Bre Bre. This includes Ted talks, interviews, podcasts, youtube videos and of course, all of her books. In Daring Greatly, Brene paints a new vision for the way we love, work, and parent that is grounded in the vulnerability. Vulnerability, Brene argues, is our most accurate measure of courage, and brings purpose and meaning into our lives. Her insight comes from extensive research and personal experience which makes her a wise guide to help us become more courageous and resilient. I strongly believe that Brene's books should be mandatory reading for all.
As all good books do, this one found me when I was living in Hawaii. A friend passed on a copy that had been given to him, and the love this book had already received was undeniable. The binding was falling off and the title and author print could barely be read on the spine. A dog had gotten a hold of it, literally, and there was a quarter sized chunk missing from a corner. It was a well-loved book that I've continued to pour more love into. The Alchemist is an easy read and a highly descriptive story that teaches the powerful metaphor of how to pursue your dreams. Read it, pass it along, and buy 5 copies to give to your friends.
WATCH: "Why the Universe if Conspiring to Help You" - Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey
3.) The Celestine Prophecy- James Redfield
A fictional story with very real ideas about energy, wisdom, and developing intuition. The story follows the narrator, a middle-aged man who is unsatisfied in life, into the ancient rainforests of Peru. He is searching for an ancient manuscript with 9 key insights that lead the world towards a completely spiritual culture. It's a fun adventure story that's easy to follow along with while providing a guide as to how to direct future moves by focusing on synchronicity and signs.
Some of my favorite books have come from second hand stores, including this one. I was still new to Seattle and finding my place in a community and city that felt so different than Hawaii. I remember reading the title and thinking that "when things fall apart" felt too dramatic of a phrase. My life wasn't in shambles, but I was feeling challenged in this new season so I picked it up. Within a few pages, I quickly latched to Pema's words and outlook. The book focuses on the Buddhist teaching of right mindfulness, and how it can help us cope with the realities and emotions of modern life.
Short and insightful, Ruiz points out the source of our self-limited beliefs, that take away our joy and replace it with suffering. Based on Toltec wisdom, Ruiz outlines the 4 agreements and explains how living in accordance with them can empower our lives and open us up to experience happiness and freedom. The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word. The Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally. The Third Agreement: Don't make assumptions. The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
This book reminds us that success is a journey, not a destination and that success has many aspects. Each person gets to define what success means to them, but society continues to press that material wealth is the biggest sign of achievment. Chopra's introduction is quick to point out that material wealth in only one component. Success also includes health, fulfilling relationships, a zest for life, creative freedom, peace of mind, emotional stability and an overall sense of well-being. The chapters build upon each other, and end with suggestions for the practical application of each law.
This book kept coming up in conversation and I was urged to add it to my reading list. When I finally did pick it up, I couldn't get past the first chapter. I've experienced this with a number of books, especially spiritual journey type reads. Usually I find that I'm not ready, or not open to receive the book's lessons. So instead of forcing it, I set the book back down and tried again later. Later came on our 3 week trip to South America. With long flight times and rest in between trekking, I slowly made my way through the book, which asks "what would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries?" This book is an exploration of the inner journey and the practice of mindfulness that can transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you.
Even if you haven't read "A Return to Love", I'm sure you've heard one of the most famous quotes from the book. I was introduced to this book many years ago by my best friend. I admit I was troubled by the religious/Christian language and how often I saw the word "God" in print. I interchanged the word God for Spirit (it makes me laugh now that I was stuck on verbiage- God , spirit, universe, it's all the same to me) and forged ahead with the book. Really good decision on my part. Williamson writes about love as the most potent force for inner peace and a fulfilling life.