We all need a little inspiration from time-to-time, but where do you find it when you need it? There are countless books out there that not only offer entertainment, alternative perspectives, and enchanting life adventures to peruse, but there are many that are joyfully inspirational as well.
Here is a list of 10 classic spiritual books that have proven to enlighten, uplift and expand the perspective of millions, in no particular order:
by Nisargadatta Maharaj and Translated by Maurice Frydman
This is a collection of the timeless teachings of a self-realized guru, India’s beloved Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It’s packed with mind blowing insights into the nature of human consciousness, the path to enlightenment, and the mysteries of life. Each lesson is simple and direct in its delivery, but sublime and profound in its meaning. It’s the kind of book you can open randomly and find a new thought to ponder, or peruse specifically to gain an understanding of a difficult issue. It’s a personal favorite of mine and has gained a permanent place on my bedside table. This would make a great gift for anyone seeking to understand the meaning of life and the reality of being.
by Benjamin Hoff
The Tao of Pooh was first published in 1983, which was around the time I first read it. I tell you this because, at 13, I was able to not only understand and appreciate the wisdom presented here, but I was also highly entertained by it. Hoff, a Taoist, took the basic principles of Taoism and related it to the beloved Winnie the Pooh character. The result is a wonderful explanation of Taoism presented in the same playful, heart-warming vein as the Winnie the Pooh series. The brevity of this book makes it a quick read, yet its lessons stand the test of time. It would make a great gift for anyone.
by Eckhart Tolle
Tolle is an enlightened person, a brilliant scholar, and one of the most potent spiritual teachers of our time. He also happens to be one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorites, which means that this book is already well known and read. For this reason, I almost left it off of this list – but it offers such a potent message that the list would have seemed incomplete without it. In it, Tolle shows us the way to experience ourselves by being present in the moment, and that it is only through the experience of the present moment that we are able to fully grasp our eternal identity. It’s the sort of book that has the energy to deliver you to an experience just through reading it. This is one that you don’t want to miss. It would make a great gift for anyone who seeks a deeper meaning to life.
by Don Miguel Ruiz
Ruiz is a surgeon, healer, and a nagual, or mystical shaman, in the Mexican Toltec lineage. This book, touted as a guide to personal freedom, is a revelation of ancient, Toltec wisdom kept hidden for centuries. But don’t let the mysticism and magic scare you away. This clearly written book presents a code of personal integrity to adhere to that, according to Ruiz, will alleviate the source for all human suffering – our limiting beliefs. I have personally been working with the 4 agreements since this book was first published in 1997, and it has helped me tremendously in my personal life and quest for my own self-awareness. This one makes a great gift for anyone at the age of reading comprehension.
by Paulo Coelho
There is something magical about the way Coelho writes. This tale, about a man’s search for meaning, would be a bore if told by anyone else. But Coelho has a way with words that pulls you into the insights he presents as if you are realizing them for yourself. I love this book as a reminder that life is a spiritual adventure. When a book is able to shift your perspective the way this does, especially a work of fiction, it becomes an instant classic, as this one has rightly achieved. Recommended for adults, young and old.
by Richard Bach
First published in 1977, this book has been around for a long time, but it’s such a friendly little tome that I believe it deserves a resurrection. Written with brevity and levity, it’s a fictional tale that is both entertaining and insightful. Told with humor, it’s the story of a man who finds the Messiah living in Indiana. The Messiah gives the man a book of knowledge that includes such gems as, “The original sin is to limit the Is. Don’t.”, and “You teach best what you most need to learn.” It progresses as a light story with deep, philosophical insights. Because it is short on words and fun to read, it makes a great gift for all ages, especially those new to spirituality.
by Pema Chodron
Tibetan Buddhist nun and best-selling author Pema Chodron tackles a topic familiar to all of us in this excellent book about fear. Fear affects us all, yet as far as book topics are concerned, there are very few written on the subject, and none that can touch the profundity of Chodron’s. She offers tools and lessons to help us learn to cope with anxiety and uncomfortable emotions, while gently leading us into the realization of the source of all of our suffering – the negative mind. The calming effects of Chodron’s wisdom make this one a must read for anyone experiencing life’s many difficulties.
by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D.
The Dalai Lama is the world renown, spiritual leader of Buddhist Tibet. To look at him is to notice the constant sparkle in his eyes and his calm and playful demeanor. It makes you think he has a secret – a joyful, humorous secret. Well, he does – only his secret is not so much secretive as it is simple. You see, he is happy. Through stories, conversations and meditation practices, this book shows us how to be happy, too, by teaching us to navigate life’s turmoil and foster a deep, inner peace through a practice of meditation, self-reflection and balance. It’s a lengthier book, one that is best read slowly, so it may be best suited for a more mature reader.
by Christopher S. Kilham
Touted as the secret to youth and longevity, The Five Tibetans is a simple program consisting of five, yogic exercises meant to be practiced on a daily basis. According to the book, the exercises originated with a group of Tibetan lamas from a monastery in the Himalayas. While it’s debatable that the 5 exercises presented in this tiny, 84 page book, will bestow the practitioner with eternal youth as the lamas claimed, it has proven to be a reliable and simple routine that strengthens the body, relaxes the mind, and increases personal energy. The exercises are friendly for just about any one, regardless of physical fitness. I often throw it in my bag when I travel to use it in lieu of my normal exercise routine. This would make a great book for anyone interested in yoga or health.
by Michael A. Singer
Singer is well known for his Oprah-endorsed book, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, which arguably deserves a place on this list as well. However, I prefer this new offering because it is a story, rather than a text book of teachings, so it’s easy and fun to read. It’s the incredible story of Singer’s life, fueled by his discipline of meditation, self-awareness and the art of letting go. Even though he has lived a life far beyond extraordinary, his tale is a relatable page turner. It’s unusual to find a person who is a spiritual teacher and also happens to be a billionaire. His story demonstrates that it is possible to be both spiritually minded and practically grounded in this world. This one makes a great gift for graduates, or anyone seeking a change to the focus of their life path.
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