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My 10 Best
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
This was the first “spiritual” book I ever read way back in 1981 and it couldn’t have been a more perfect introduction for a slightly skeptical, Western beginner. I had no idea people like Yogananda existed. That such states of consciousness existed. That a pathway to Truth (with a capital “T”) existed for humans. To say I found his personal story and his humble integrity inspiring is a massive understatement. It set the tone for my own spiritual journey.
by Richard Bach
Spirituality can be playful? We really can create stuff with our minds? These were the big takeaways for me when I read—and re-read and then re-re-read—this wonderful little story about an American flyboy and his level-headed yet reluctant spiritual teacher, Donald Shimoda, as they barnstorm Middle America in their bi-planes. Want to open someone’s mind in an unthreatening entertaining way? This is the go-to spiritual parable book of the 20thcentury.
The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav
This was the first book (1986) that opened my eyes to the field of quantum physics and how science was beginning to substantiate what the Eastern mystics (and Jesus) were talking about when they said things like “I and my Father are One.” Although mostly about the latest scientific findings (back then!), the book was relentless in relating these findings to mystical teachings and I was gobsmacked and pleased with the validation it provided.
The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot
Another early read (1991), The Holographic Universe introduced me to the idea that this “reality” we call the 3-D experience could well be a holographic projection from another level of consciousness so far “above” our own experience — so much more ephemeral and archetypal and foundational and Cosmic — it blew my mind. (In a good way!) Again, using scientific models to explain mystical realities was a real boost in credibility for my educated 20thcentury mind.
The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard
I ran across this book at a tumultuous time in my life (2005) where “I” and “my reality” were beginning to disappear during deep meditation. Then I’d open my eyes and “presto!” there “I” was again. What was real? My very real (and painful) waking life as a human on Planet Earth? Or the non-physical non-egoic bliss of REALITY experienced with my eyes closed? This book showed me I was not alone with the question and provided some really interesting thoughts to chew on and guided me to A Course in Miracles.
A Course in Miracles
Hard to argue with the updated teachings of Jesus. It doesn’t hurt that this quasi-channeled, quasi-automatic writing tome by psychologist Helen Schucman is the essence of pure logic. The 365-day Course is designed to dismantle the human ego’s perspective and insistence on a false reality. I found it marvelous, incredibly accurate and consistent (and therefore affirming)—and dust-dry, deeply intellectual, challenging reading. Not for everyone. But if you’re the kind of person who wants to logic your way to heaven, this is the book for you.
Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution by Ken Wilber
Another dive into the head-spinning intricacies of life as we know it and wished we knew better. Wilber is a thoroughly logical mystic and this book is saturated in information about—yep—sex, human/global ecology, and how we’re evolving into higher levels of consciousness. He even dissects enlightenment as an evolving state of awareness. Definitely mind-expanding. And if you love history, science, psychology, physics, sociology, massive fascinating footnotes, and a truly compelling, organized-yet-out-of-the-box theory of awakening, this is a book for you!
Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic by Osho
I spent much of this book hating Acharya Rajneesh, aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, aka Osho. What a pain in the ass he was as a kid. And his “pain in the ass” persona didn’t change much over time. His story pushed every “nice” socialized button I had. And there, of course, lies this book’s extraordinary value. OMG! What an astonishingly liberated soul he was! If you want to see what being beyond this mortal coil looks like while still being in a body, look no further. Awesomeness!
Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Somé
Malidoma was kidnapped from his village in Burkina Faso in East Africa by Jesuit priests and raised in their monastery school for boys. At 18 he ran away back to his village, only to find he no longer fit in their mystical, magical, natural world. An amazing and beautiful story about making the journey from deadened modern programming back into mystical reality.
Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru
I had to include this book because Sadhguru is my guru and he has the most delightful, straight-forward, no BS approach to spirituality of any teacher I’ve ever heard about, read, or seen. He’s not about “philosophy,” although he can philosophize with the best. He’s an Indian guru who teaches people inner yogic practices designed to re-engineer their consciousness and thus their lives. This book provides inspiring, practical, common sense, transformational spirituality all the way through.