Love-ologist | Spiritual Podcaster | Awareness Influencer | Lifelong Yogini | Recovered Fuckup
As an author and artist, communication is tantamount to TeZa Lord’s spiritual offerings to the world. ZLORD is in its third year podcasting, which, along with social media posts of visionary art, positive thoughts and Mind-Stiller meditations (video rituals) offered on YouTube and social media is how TeZa Lord currently spreads her message of Love. Her message is to offset/neutralize the fear and confusion “out there” by using the internet as her medium. Her work is about the interconnectedness of all beings, not just the world’s blended family of humanity.
TeZa is the author of four nonfiction books covering subjects such as bridging diversity within families and cultures, sharing the shaman’s worldview of animal wisdom, teaching empowerment to imprisoned juveniles, and what embracing joy brings to us challenged humans. Her undaunted positive outlook is spiced with irreverent humor and spontaneity. Being as aware as possible is her practical approach, embracing the wide range of her experiences. See tezalord.com for more information about her work.
My 10 Best
by Kahlil Gibran
When I was no more than twelve years old, an enlightened teacher introduced this book to our middle-school class as part of what was called “Social Studies.” This book changed my life more than anything up to this point. From that moment on, enraptured by the eerily soothing black-and-white drawings of people in the “spirit bodies” (nude), directed to understanding their actions and insights by Gibran’s clear and concise prose—I immediately set off searching for Nirvana everywhere I could. Even though I didn’t know what Nirvana was, I wanted what The Prophet (and my Social Studies teacher himself explained in discussions as we read aloud) promised us was the “secret” to life’s mysterious yearnings. From then on, I was a seeker. At first in the forest, under rocks, in quiet hidden spots, I looked, I listened. All to no availm of course, until many years later, after I was initiated into meditation at the age of 20, was I to find that Nirvana resides within my own Being.
Through the help of other books, living close to Nature, working with living and passed-on teachers, and a dedication spawn by having read The Prophet … I happily found Nirvana. Then my goal became to sustain that inner state.
transcribed by Confucius (500 BCE)
Transcribed on bamboo tablets after existing only as an oral book for thousands of years before, I discovered this “oracle” as a bewildered teenager and began to approach it for counseling and guidance. It showed up in my life after my earlier fascination with the Ouija Board (as a tween) and clumsy attempts at experiencing altered states (as a young child, making a kazillion snow angels in fluffy snow, finding myself in trances, i.e. compelled to continuously make the sign of the cross over my chest, discovering how “to make myself faint”—a dangerous experiment that entailed self-hypnosis and securing a hesitant accomplice, my big sister, to “catch me”—till she didn’t one day, oops!). The I Ching spoke to me not like a paranormal parlor trick or an out-of-body experience, but as an ancient and totally trustworthy counsellor. I also like it was based on “catching the moment” by throwing coins, or yarrow stalks, later and more ceremoniously. This book also exemplifies my love of ritual also.
Needless to say, I developed a very deep, lifelong relationship with the I Ching. The first time I threw the coins it told me it would speak to me like my wise grandmother, and indeed it still does. I keep detailed notes on all my “chance” approaches to the Oracle to verify how its advice and insights have helped me in my spiritual and earthly development. While others groove with Tarot cards, I deeply resonate with the I Ching’s wisdom based on “everything changes.”
Light on Yoga
by B.K.S. Iyengar
After suffering terrible physical pain for years, diagnosed as scoliosis but never relieved by western doctors or chiropractors, on my own I found instantaneous relief at the age of 18 by learning how to do hatha yoga, the physical poses, from this and several other books. Assuredly, Iyengar’s book is the most thorough of those I learned from, with its in-depth descriptions, photos, and history of each poses’ name, and of course, its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. My study and practice of yoga, beginning with the asanas (poses) began my discovering relief from physical pain. And then, relief from my severe mental anguish followed, in time. In the natural course of moving one’s body, especially stretching the spinal column to the breath’s direction, harnessing it to one’s spirit within—yoga (my own body!) taught me that Nirvana resides within each one of us. I have studied with many different yoga and meditation teachers, using many different approaches to this ancient method of maintaining a healthy balance of body-mind-spirit.
Note: I became “grandfathered” (automatic certification) as an official yoga instructor in the early 90s because of my background, avoiding having to go through the usual lengthy process of instruction others have to. This special privilege was closed by YA (Yoga Alliance, which officially licenses yoga teachers in the USA) at the time I became certified while volunteer teaching juvies in prison (described in my book In the ‘I’, 2006).
by Shakti Gawain
After pursing my heart’s desire to its fullest—after art school and then drawing plants for Harvard botanists—I lived in the West Indies for a decade both sailing and having an inter-island “Roots n’ Fruits” shipping business, meanwhile also exploring my dark shadowy pull toward more thrilling things than meditation and yoga asanas. Finally, I found myself crashing and burning in New York City where I got sober in 1984 from substance abuse.
Sobriety began the Light-filled phase of my life. Along with meeting my meditation teacher at precisely this point, and seriously plunging into a dedicated meditation practice (experiencing Nirvana within as a result, with patience and discipline) … I was greatly aided in my healing from brokenness by Shakti Gawain’s wonderful book of 1985. I especially used her “Pink Bubble Technique of Letting-go” as frequently as I could, to eliminate the demons that had driven me to such self-hatred as drugs and alcohol over-use are. I will forever be indebted to this book and its too-soon departed from us, noted author and founder of New World Library publishing, Shakti. I believe Creative Visualization was the first “official” book to instruct how to use our inner vision for attaining spiritual peace and harmony. Since then there have been a flood of this type of book but I never was touched by any as I was by Gawain’s. Her methods literally saved my life, as much as the spiritual fellowship of the 12-steps of recovery did.
by Elisabeth Haitch
This book opened my inner vision to how influenced we are by our past lives. In vivid detail Elisabeth (1897-1994), who fled war in Hungary to become a yoga teacher in Switzerland, describes how she experienced flashes of her past lives. Then, in a book within a book, she describes that an ancient past life in detail. In real-time seclusion, she allows herself to plunge into vivid meditations to take her back to her previous lifetime without restrictions from her daily busy life as wife, mother and spiritual teacher. Both sections (present day and past times) were/are mind-blowing to me. This book really changed my concept of working with my own karma, the residues (samskaras in Sanskrit) of our past lives, plus our present karma as well. When Elisabeth “comes back” to her present life she recognizes everyone she’d been in relationship with before, via their eyes’ uniquely individual sparkling light of consciousness. Truly, this book was, and remains, a life-altering experience. Note: I did not connect with Haitch’s other books about Tarot and other esoteric subjects. Being somewhat of a science geek, there is a lot of technical, mathematical information in Initiation which remains incongruous to me. One day perhaps I will be able to unlock its mystery. I will revisit this book again, I always think, but now that I’m writing this list I realize the time is now.
Being aware of past lives is enough for me. After reading this book, I was so fully immersed in Elisabeth’s, that I’ve never been drawn to doing any past-life regression exploration of my own, I was so fully satisfied with having read this mind-expanding exploration (taking place in ancient Egypt). However, it did strike a spark with me to incorporate “working with” past lives more fully in my spiritual overview. Yoga, my chosen path of philosophy, fully embraces this concept. As also does the Edgar Cayce foundation, the A.R.E. (Association of Research and Enlightenment) of which my husband and I are life members and active students of Cayce’s (1877-1945) readings.
by Herman Hesse
Before Buddhism, there was the ancient philosophy of yoga that shares some of the same scriptures as Hinduism: the Vedas, the Ramayana, etc. The first Buddha (boddhi being the Sanskrit word for enlightened) was Siddhartha Gotama, as all followers of Eastern mysticism know. In this slim book of the German writer Hesse (1877-1962), a fictionalized version of Siddhartha’s life, which I try to reread once a year, Siddhartha is portrayed much more worldly than he is in historical accounts of the young Prince who left his privileged place, his palace, deserting his wife and baby, to embark on a quest for true understanding.
In Hesse’s rendition, Siddhartha never reaches that elevated status, and remains forever a (sometimes misguided) seeker. His adventures take him to mistaking worldly pursuits as “the goal in life” when he confuses success and wealth with his earlier desire for spiritual attainment. His childhood friend, Govinda (a Sanskrit name for Krishna, also a fact known to all we yogis) follows him, until their paths part ways when Siddhartha falls in with the foibles of worldliness. While Govinda becomes a devoted monk and reaches inner peace, Siddhartha has to “crash and burn” the same as I, a recovering addict, had to. The old friends meet again where Siddhartha has settled to lead a quiet life in retreat, as the tender of a river crossing boat, content at last with his simple life.
I’m attracted to Hesse’s writings, since childhood when I read his fictional “Damien” and feeling I, too, had a “mark of Damien” upon my forehead, a special calling. That calling has become stronger as the years flow by. Hesse’s works, including “The Bead Game” (Magister Ludi) are fictional accounts about the spiritual journey. I find Hesse’s Siddhartha to be a masterpiece (not, as some literati claim, “The Great Gatsby”), not only for the strong feelings it brings out of me of myself the main character, but I’m simultaneously also his companion, many of the other characters in this marvelous hero’s journey story.
Becoming a Writer
by Dorothea Brandee
It may seem strange to count this “how to write” as a spiritual book for my special list, because its subject is not directly a deepening of a spiritual perspective, but rather, it offers help about tapping one’s “inner creative genius.” To be creative is to me (an artist and writer), is the same as a person striving to be Self-realized. We are all eligible to be enlightened according to the Yoga Sutras, a sacred text of yogic philosophy. Becoming a Writer shows how we are all capable of tapping the inner state of truly believing we are a creative genius. This is accomplished by the home-spun instructions of a noted writing teacher of the 1930s and 40s, as she instructs how to put oneself into a “creative coma.”
She explains as a lay person interested in good clear, focused writing. Presented as she so adroitly does, Dorotha Brandee’s creative coma is exactly the same as meditation! Yet Brandee uses facts and an easy-to-understand diagram in order to explain how the human brain can be “trained” to believe whatever it holds in its thoughts … and her method works, instantaneously! When I discovered this little book decades ago, I became a devotee of it. It changed my life once again. I tell everyone who wants to write to read it. When I did, I truly believed I really had the capacity to be a creative genius. And … to date I’ve published four books with that free-flowing confidence, with others waiting in the wings that are already written.
The Power of NOW and The New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle
Both these books I count together, equally, for their importance to their contribution to spiritual insights about modern human life. The Power of NOW is about an individual reaching for the state of acceptance of what is by realizing that awareness, or Presence is how we all experience consciousness … meaning: accepting what is is enough. The New Earth is taking this awareness, this Presence, to the next step. This is a call (the same as my book Hybrid Vigor) for people to commit themselves to being as awake and aware as they possibly can, each and every moment, and dedicate their life’s energies to helping others to awaken to higher consciousness by continuously raising up their vibration from fear to love. The world needs all the help it can get. The New Earth embraces our challenged world as if we are all kin. Tolle’s call to action, as mine is, is to be aware, awake, each present moment—and do what is needed to aid humanity’s evolution to the next stage. Our toxic world needs healing! The spiritualization of all humankind is the theme of both The New Earth and my own Hybrid Vigor.
Years ago, I was blessed to do person-to-person spiritual work with Eckhart at a week-long conference sponsored by Sounds True. I am one of his “seeds of awakened consciousness” that spreads Presence (heightened consciousness) however I can. ET (as I like to call him, with a chuckle) speaks to the human mind and heart in language that myriads can comprehend. I believe he is truly the modern-day spiritual leader the masses from all cultures, all countries, can relate to. He does not claim to be a guru, how refreshing! I’ve seen how this little man, all hunched in his seat as if he’s folded up physically, expands and enlightens all hungry minds around him … by explaining in simple yet profoundly easy-to-understand English (his third language) the ins and outs of life’s many challenges.
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Again, not an obvious choice but one of the most spiritual reads of my life; and yes, an Academy Award winner for Best Picture, to boot!
A fictional story that demonstrates a lust for Spirit like no other, with a fierce tiger as an unseemly, metaphorical teacher. The young (he’s 14) seeker, Pi is surrounded by an ocean of choices as the ever-changing, never-constant background. The fact that this book gives the reader a choice of endings makes it the perfect spiritual guide (much more than the film is). A lot of my spiritual friends read it when it won the Booker Prize in 2002. I was so taken with its life lessons that I immediately wrote the author. Mr. Martel then called me to offer his support in my own writing endeavors! He and I became email correspondents and I was blessed when he said Yes to giving my first nonfiction book, In the ‘I’, a marvelous endorsement. We have since visited in person and have mutual respect for each other’s life and work. The Life of Pi’s author’s advice to me: “Don’t just leave dust behind, teZa! Keep writing. The world needs all the spiritual books it can get. You just have to wait for society to catch up to you.” Thanks, Yann.
The Power of Myth
by Joseph Campbell
The Power of Myth is a worldwide comparative study of how different cultures’ stories of gods and goddess’ struggles and characteristics, hero and heroine’s journeys have been with us, and accurately reflect our own spiritual journeys since the beginning of time.