Spirituality or Religion?
Spiritual books are some of my absolute favorite to read and write about! So I wanted to share my favorite five books for a spiritual journey!
Keep in mind that spirituality and religion are very different. Christina Puchalski, MD, says that spirituality is the “aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”
Many people find connectedness to their world by meditating, through giving to charity, writing, art, or by learning about themselves. Personally, I love learning as much as I can about the history of spirituality and religions, psychology, emotions, and science. Through my own spiritual journey, I find that I desire peace, both for myself and for others.
As a frequent consumer of spiritualistic literature, I also find it important to read books that allow to discover how you feel, not tell you how to feel. One side effect of these discoveries may provide “relief from so much unhappiness” (The Power of Meditation)
Are you ready to start your spiritual journey? Let’s start reading, shall we?!
Books for Your Spiritual Journey
One of my cousins recommended this book to me. Salzberg, the author, talks in the future tense: this is what you will find/discover/receive with meditation. She takes great care to make sure that the reader is willing to put in the work to get there. It begins with a brief introduction to meditation, what it is and why to try it, but quickly evolves into much more.
She focuses on the few things you will need for meditation and expands upon them–namely concentration and breath.. When your meditation derails, Salzberg has a suggestion for it. Her FAQ sections are very comprehensive and covers just about any issue you might run into when you try to meditate.
For those looking for an unobtrusive book into the spiritual world, begin within yourself, through meditation.
I had read Tolle’s Power of Now a long time ago and followed it with A New Earth.
A New Earth presents the possibility that, for the first time in our planet’s history, we can lead billions of people to their spiritual journeys. He implores us to look at the current state of humanity, but also look at our potential for change. The potential is there for an overwhelming shift in consciousness to help us make a more peaceful, loving world.
As a writer, Tolle presents his concepts in a simple and easy manner. In the book, he helps lead you, the reader, to your own shift in consciousness. Unlike some self-improvement books, Tolle does not offer tasks for the reader to complete, but instead talks in terms of each person exploring their own inner and outer worlds to discover their own life’s purpose.
From the very start, Thich Nhat Hanh presents us with a premise: Happiness and Peace Are Possible. It seems like a grand presumption!
Through his words, he presents us with the opportunity to be the maker of our own destinies (though I’m sure he would not call it that) and mold happiness and peace out of the garbage of our past and our negative emotions.
As a Buddhist, he speaks in terms of Buddhism, but have no fear–he presents these in the most nonthreatening, gentle way possible. As in the last book, the reader is guided through meditation, though Hanh calls it “mindfulness of breath” instead.
Hanh offers explanations, stories, and analogies to help the reader open up their world to their own experiences and “suffering,” as he calls it. This is not an introductory book! You must read this book with an open mind!
Although this could be classified as a religious book, it primarily focuses on the spiritual components of Buddhist and Christian teachings, and the similarities in them.
However, keep in mind that this book is not Christian or Buddhist although Hanh is Buddhist himself. When Hanh speaks of Christianity, it is not about the methodology, the rituals, the dogma, or any of the practices of Christianity the religion. Hanh quotes Jesus Christ and his disciples directly, and even uses the lesser known Gnostic Gospels from which to draw information. Historically, this book is very interesting.
If you are a Christian, you might be a little wary of this book–don’t! Hanh’s goal is to discuss the similarities of the two religions, not to make you convert to Buddhism or to make you question your beliefs. He is very sensitive and factual, and with the turn of each page, I was pleasantly surprised. Inspirational and refreshing!
By far the best book on this list for your spiritual journey! Again, this book is quite a bit more in-depth and should probably not be your first step into the world of spirituality. As someone who regularly reads spiritual books, I was surprised to find some different concepts in this one.
This book combines psychology (without all the terms and jargon) and Buddhism into a masterpiece of self-exploration. This self-exploration ends with the dissolution of the self and an embrace of all things gentle and loving towards others. Singer even admits that it may be painful to look so deeply into your psyche and soul–but that the relief, happiness and joy you experience when you get to the other side is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.
A fantastic look into achieving Nirvana and Enlightenment.
So what do you think? You don’t have to be a hippie or buddhist to appreciate these books, and I highly recommend Christians to read “Living Buddha, Living Christ” because of the similarities between the religions and their leaders!
I hope you find some spiritual development from these books and find yourself a little more connected to your fellow humans!
What are your favorite books for a spiritual journey?
5 Books for Your Spiritual Journey