“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” ― Francis Bacon
The practice of mindfulness and meditation made me desperate…
Desperate to discover more about this inner world of peace, love and joy I was tapping into.
I spent years reading through every book on meditation and spirituality that I could get my hands on.
I was on a mission to find answers to my innermost questions.
So, dear friends, here’s a list of my absolutely favourites.
Do let me know of your thoughts, and any others you’ve loved in the comments section below.
This book has sold millions of copies, I think mainly after appearing on the Oprah Show. Eckhart made a major breakthrough in his life when he realised he was not his thoughts, saving him from suicide. He’s gone on to be one of the most popular spiritual teachers in modern times.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a very popular Buddhist teacher, probably second only to the Dalai Lama. He was also nominated for the Noble Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. This is a lovely book to introduce you to his writings and teaching. Ideal for those keen to deepen their mindfulness.
This book will grow your gratitude no end. It’s a book written by Jean-Dominique Bauby as he lies in bed, almost completely paralysed. He wrote the whole book by someone going through the alphabet and he winked each time they got to the correct letter. Amazing achievement and a deeply moving piece of work.
A short, popular book sharing the story of a seagull that just isn’t satisfied with life as it is and discovered a deep, far more satisfying way of living by refusing to follow those around him, and instead following his intuition and overcoming his fear. The book is a lovely metaphor for each of our journeys from a life in the ordinary, physical world, and life to something more that just the everyday grind. A journey from doing more to being more.
I must be honest. I’m not normally a fan of Deepak’s books. But I read this many years ago, and remember loving it. There’s lots of great tips in here, drawn from the ancient Indian texts, and modernised so it’s more accessible to the general public.
Here’s a summary of the book from a Wikipedia article:
- The Law of Pure Potentiality: Take time to be silent, to just BE. Meditate for 30 minutes twice a day. Silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. Practice non-judgment.
- The Law of Giving: Today, bring whoever you encounter a gift: a compliment or flower. Gratefully receive gifts. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.
- The Law of Karma: Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.
- The Law of Least Effort: Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.
- The Law of Intention and Desire: Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment. Make a list of desires. Trust that when things don’t seem to go your way, there is a reason.
- The Law of Detachment: Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions—allow solutions to spontaneously emerge. Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.
- The Law of Dharma: Seek your higher Self. Discover your unique talents. Ask yourself how you are best suited to serve humanity. Using your unique talents and serving others brings unlimited bliss and abundance.
In my early quest to deepen my appreciation for life, I came across the work of Krishnamurti. For a couple of years, I was totally hooked, and read through lots of his books! In recent years, I haven’t read so much, as I found it almost too intense, but I do still enjoy reading his quotes from time to time.
This book is so well written, I’d say it’s almost divine! The book is in public domain in most countries, and you can download it here. Here’s a juicy extract:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I’m a big fan of Ajahn Brahm, especially in the last few years. This book on meditation has become a classic text on Buddhist Meditation and studies by many monks as well as lay people. If you want to know what happens as your meditation deepens, I’d recommend this guide.
Ramana Maharshi is considered one of the greatest mystics in India in the last few hundred years. This is the best distillation of his teaching from what I’ve read. If you’re keen to reflect on the nature of who you are, this is a great place to go.
This is another hugely popular book. It’s based on the true story of Victor and how he both survived a concentration camp and ended up developing a new form of therapy based on his observations of who survived. His famous quote is:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
A brilliant quotation for any mindfulness student too!
Niargadatta is considered a great sage in India. He was a simple cigarette seller when, through meditation practice and reflection, found himself getting enlightened! People travelled from all over the world to ask him questions. This book is a wonderful collection of questions and answers.
If you enjoyed this list, do share with your friends and family - thank you!