Here are some books I’ve read over the past couple years…
WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES
CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS
This book was a bit of a let down because I think the title and cover description/photo lead you to believe the mythical stories are going to be a little bit different then they actually turn out to be. It is also one of, if not the hardest book I’ve ever read in terms of just how metaphorical everything is and the huge amount of obscure words that I don’t think most people have ever heard of. Stories that are 2 pages long are further explained by the author for sometimes 10—15 pages, going into all the random little metaphorical aspects of the story, things that I don’t think most people would notice without her long explanation. About a quarter of the way through, I actually stopped reading the explanations because they felt like such a stretch from the actual stories and would just skim them and stick to reading the short stories.
I feel like if you have a really deep understanding of spirituality this might be a good book for you but I felt pretty dumb the entire time I was reading it, and many other people have told me they felt the same way. It is a cool read but I don’t think it’s going to have any overall impact on my life in the way that other books like The Power Of Now have.
The Celestine Prophecy
I really thought I would like this book given its popularity but I found it to have a bit too much pseudoscience for me to really be able to fully appreciate it.
It’s a fictional story about an ancient Manuscript found in Peru that holds 9 insights into life which, as just a story, would be fine, but there is an underlying tone in the book that these insights apply to real life, which is where the pseudoscience comes in. The first insight (which is revealed right away so I’m not giving anything away) has to do with the fact that there’s no such thing as coincidences and everything has an underlying purpose whether or not we’re consciously aware of it or not. I’ve never seen any evidence for that, so I classify it as pseudoscience. Many of the things the book talks about are very beneficial to human life though… except he adds a bit of magic and mysticism to all of the insights. And then once you get to the last few pages of the book, the main characters get super powers and the author implies that one day some humans in the real world will get this super power as well. sigh. It’s still a good read though and if you don’t take everything he says literally, there is some wonderful advice to be found!
The book of awakening
This is a book where you read something out of it each day of the year. Personally, I’m not very good at sticking to doing something every single day so I often found myself a few days behind and twice didn’t read it for like 3 months. I also found it to be a bit repetitive which made it harder to motivate myself to read it.. but it’s very interesting to hear the authors unique perspective on life and his experiences with divorce and having cancer and many other things that have taught him lessons. Each days text usually begins with a quote, then an ancient story, a personal story, or just an inspirational message, which is then followed by a few steps to help you really think about the text or apply its message to your life.. or sometimes the tip is as simple as just taking a few deep breaths.
So if you’re able to stick to doing something every day, I think you’d enjoy this book and it could greatly impact your life!
I read this book in under a week because it was that good. This is a true story of a girl in her 20’s who’d just lost her mother to cancer, causing her life to kind of spiral out of control, she started sleeping around and doing drugs, leading to her getting a divorce and finally realizing she really needed to change something about her life. She came across a guide book for the Pacific Crest Trail, a backpacking trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through California Oregon, and Washington, and decided that she would hike that (even though she had no previous backpacking or long distance hiking experience) and that would help her get back on track with her life. She goes through deserts, feet of snow, runs into rattlesnakes and bears, hitchhikes, gets lost, runs out of water in the middle of nowhere, and experiences terrible physical results from not really knowing what she’s doing. I really could not stop reading this book.. I mean it was so good that they made it into a movie -which I though was kinda boring- but the book is fantastic!
Cave in the Snow
This is an amazing biography about the spiritual journey of the well known western Tibetan Buddhist nun Tenzin Palmo. She was born in England in 1943 and moved to India at age 20, alone, seeking to deepen her Buddhist practice with her main glad being to attain enlightenment in the female form, which was considered by most to be impossible. She studied at a monastery where she was the only female amongst over 100 males for 6 years, before she relocated to another area of northern India where she would eventually find a nice 10 x 6 ft cave to call home for 12 years. In that time she would do many months of intense spiritual retreat, not having communication with anyone for up to 3 years at a time, growing most of her own food, experiencing temperatures down to -30 F, nearly starving to death, and never laying down- instead sitting upright on a mediation box to ‘go to sleep’. This is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, it was truly inspiring and even if, like me, you don’t have any plans to live in a cave for over a decade, it is still such a motivating story that I would recommend any one read, but especially females on a spiritual journey!
Wisdom from a Rainforest
stuart a. schlegel
The cover image and title really drew me to this book about an American anthropologist who spends a few years living deep in the forest of the Philippine island of Mindanao with an indigenous tribe. He dedicates his time to studying the people, their language, laws, and way of life and through his experiences with them, realizes how many things he needs to change in his life to be a more peaceful, loving person. It’s really interesting to get to hear about this group of people who live so differently from what we’re use to.
The Seat of the Soul
This is the first book on this page that I didn’t really like. There’s a lot of stuff in here about reincarnation, karma, choosing one’s life and experiences before birth, really just a bunch of stuff that- in my opinion- is truly impossible for humans to know and he doesn’t explain or give evidence for anything he talks about- which is kind of important when you’re making claims that our souls get together in a little pack before our birth and plan out what kinds of joys and sorrows we’re gonna experience is our 756th incarnation.
There’s many good teachings in here as well though about external power and why its not important and how to have authentic relationships- but the underlying message of the whole thing makes each piece of advice seem a bit based in some made up fantasy world. There are many other books out there that provide similar information about how to lead a good life that don’t include nearly as much pseudoscience, and I’d recommend reading those instead.
How Can I Help?
Ram Dass & Paul Gorman
This book will change the entire way you look at helping others and honestly life as a whole. If being of service to people is something that you value and make a priority in your life (or want to), this book will help make that so much more effective. Not only does it teach how to be compassionate to others but it also touches on things that help with our own suffering. You don't have to know anyone who has a serious illness or be a war vet for this book to have a deep impact on your life, because much of it helps with just everyday interactions and relationships.
It's laid out in a format where there is a story of someones experiences and then the authors reflect on that and support it with great wisdom. The blandness of the cover might turn you away but it truly is a beautiful book that i think everyone would benefit from reading.
by daniel quinn
A very unique fiction book about a man who sees an add in the paper that reads:
TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL
Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.
...and decides to find this teacher. Throughout the time him and this unique teacher spend talking through many problems that the world is facing, not only does the narrator's view on mankind change, but so does the readers. The book talks a lot about 2 different types of people we see in the world and what makes them different- it offers a really unique perspective on why humans have come to the place we currently are.
the four agreements
by don miguel ruiz
A very simple book based on Toltec wisdom. This is a short read with very basic principles so if you are just a beginner to your spiritual/personal growth journey, this is a perfect book for you. The 4 agreements (basically just things that you should do if you are looking for personal freedom) are:
Be impeccable with your word
Don't take anything personally
Don't make assumptions
Always do your best
by paulo coelho
This is a fictional story of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who has a dream that there is some secret treasure near the Great Pyramids of Giza and decides to make the journey there to find it. Along the way, he comes across a gypsy, a king, and an alchemist- all of whom impact his journey. What begins as a journey to find an external treasure turns into a an inner journey of fulfilling his Personal Legend (destiny) and finding a greater treasure within. It's one of the easier reads on this list and one of my few complaints is that I wish it was a lot longer!
A New earth
by EcKHART tolle
I read this book right after the second time I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and it's kind of like an extension of that book in my opinion. They both talk about the same ideas and practices- this one seemed a little bit more comprehendible for me but that also may be because I read it after reading The Power of Now twice but I would still recommend reading it after that book. Either way, read both of them and your life will never be the same!
by jiddu krishnamurti
If you are in middle school, high school, or college- this is a book that you need to read. I'd recommend it to anyone but if you are currently in some sort of education program, do yourself one of the biggest favors ever and pick up this book. From teachings Krishnamurti gave in India (in the 60's i believe) to students, the book is set up in a question answer format. If you're looking for meaning in your life and/or have no idea what you want to do with your life, i think this is a really good read that can help you figure out what you want to don't want to do with your life as well as how to learn to think for yourself!!
by ray bradbury
This is a fiction book than takes place in a future where books are banned and people live vicariously through these huge TV-type things that cover 3 to 4 walls in certain rooms of their homes. People hardly talk in person and, like I said, basically live their lives through those TV's that are a little bit like FaceTime. The main character is a fireman (in this world, firemen do not save houses from fire, they burn down houses that are suspected to have banned literature in them) and he meets this very eccentric girl who is different from everybody else and opens up a whole new world to him.
Stillness in mind
by simon cole
This is a book that I've read recently enough at the time of writing this that I should be able to remember it but I honestly had a hard time making sense of some of the terms and wording of certain phrases so I sped through the book and cannot recall basically any of it. But I thought I would put it in here because different books help different people more than others so I highly recommend maybe checking this book out if you are looking for a book on mindfulness without all the eastern ideology and terminology in it!
meditation for beginners
by jack kornfield
This is the first book I've ever read on meditation and I'm really glad it was because it was perfect for someone like me who had never really known how to do it. I'd tried a few guided meditation videos online but none of them worked as well for me as this book. There are 8 different types of meditations or focuses for each session that the author talks about and it comes with a audio CD of guided meditations for each chapter/category which include: Working with sensations in the body, Working with feelings and emotions, witnessing your thoughts, forgiveness meditation, loving kindness mediation, etc.
be here now
by ram dass
One of the most beautiful books ever written. Begins with a brief story of the authors life and ends with a manual on yogic and spiritual living but the middle section of the book is the part that will blow your mind. I'm not sure how to describe it but it's not really a book, it's simply a piece of art. Here are some images to better describe that part of the book (x, x, x).
Buddhism for beginners
by thubten chodron
For anyone who is interested in Buddhism but has absolutely zero prior knowledge to basically anything about the religion and philosophy of it, this is a perfect book for learning the basics. You don't have to want to become a Buddhist to read it, you just have to have a desire to discover the life changing teachings of other religions in the world.
The untethered soul
by Michael a. singer
This is another amazing book that I will be rereading in the future. It's about helping on find inner peace through surrendering to what is. Mindfulness, inner energy, and awareness of thoughts and emotions are some of the main topics of this book and again, this book is great for anyone to read.
The power of now
by EcKHART tolle
I read this book at the same time as the next 2, it went way over my head (but still changed my life), then about 2 years later read it again and it is by far the best, most life changing book I have ever read. It has probably taught me more about life than any other single source I can think of and even though it can be somewhat difficult to understand- I think everyone needs to read this book.
by elizabeth gilbert
I read this book either right before or right after Daring Greatly and therefore can't remember much of it. But it is also about vulnerability, letting your creativity flow without fear of judgement. As you can see from the image, Elizabeth Gilbert is also the author of the very popular book, Eat Pray Love, and she talks a lot about her experience with vulnerability in the creation of that book. If you're a creator of any sort of artistic content (music, books, videos, etc) or are striving to embody your more creative side- you must read this.
By brene brown
This is one of the first 'self-help' books I read so I hardly remember it but would love to reread it. In one word, this book is about: vulnerability. It's perfect for teens, young adults, and parents, guys, girls- doesn't matter, this book can hep you to put yourself out there and go out of your comfort zone. Definitely going to reread this one day.