All too many of us can relate to the anxiety that comes from someone asking, “What are you reading?” For many of us, the honest answer, “I can’t remember the last time I opened a book,” doesn’t feel great to admit.
After many run-ins with this uncomfortable situation, I realized I had no good excuse for it. Even if we read at a snail’s pace, we ought to take advantage of our literacy and the (virtual) stacks of timeless knowledge available at the click of a finger.
On top of this realization, I fell into a rut at work, which translated into a general “bleh-ness” toward life. I decided to act on an urge to learn something new. Maybe if I was lucky, I thought, I’d come closer to finding purpose in life.
I wasn’t aware that, simply by picking up a book and reading the words in front of me, self-awakening was possible.
Like magic, the author behind the texts became a good friend, a teacher, or in the best cases, a familiar voice from within myself.
I’ve had the pleasure of being truly transformed by these five amazing books. Hopefully they will enter your hands, travel through your mind and touch the deepest parts of your heart.
All of them are easy to understand, completely practical and translatable to our every day routine. To boot, all five are beautifully written and riveting true stories bound to change the reader’s life forever.
1. “Many Lives Many Masters” by Dr. Brian L Weiss
If you need a mind-blowing (and quick) reminder that life has purpose, get your hands on this New York Times bestseller. The story involves a successful, well-established psychiatrist who takes a “normal” young woman, Catherine, through the typical counseling process. When the patient’s symptoms persist, Dr. Weiss uses hypnosis and Catherine begins on a journey through her past lives. During the “in-between states” she relays poetic messages, directed at Dr. Weiss from “The Masters,” that she does not recall when she wakes. I read the entire book in one sitting.
Warning: Unless you are willing to think critically while simultaneously letting go of your conditioned attitudes toward spirituality, you will get nothing more out of this book than a good story.
2. “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss
A motivational, how-to-crush-it-at-life read. This book will give you a glimpse into the future of work and how our concept of delayed life is outdated. Instead of saving everything for the end, we can live a life full of mini-retirements, with financial security and freedom of mobility. Ferriss exposes the fact that you can achieve whatever you manage to dream of. I took a full journal of notes while reading Ferriss. He instantly revolutionized the way I tackle my “lifestyle design.”
3. “Mindful Work” by David Gelles
David Gelles does an excellent job exploring how meditation is changing global business and, therefore, the world at large. He dives into how all kinds of famous, influential people are coming out of the closet about meditating. From a non-biased, comprehensive perspective, Gelles covers the recent groundbreaking neuroscience research around mediation. I highly recommend for anyone remotely interested in business, work, meditation, happiness, journalism, life… You get the gist.
4. “The Journey Home” by Radhanath Swami
I praise this riveting story about a once nondescript American teenager turned hippie-hitchhiker in the 60s. Since he was very young, Radhanath Swami (born as Richard Slavin) felt a powerful spiritual calling, which manifested itself in incredible ways. Naturally, he made an overland trip (and almost died a few times) across Europe, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran to India. He eventually became a venerable Swami, activist, leader of various humanitarian projects, and a guide for seekers around the world. When I had the honor to meet him in India, I was taken back by his rare humility, and genuine aura of love and light. He will make your heart yearn for truth.
5. “Before I Am: The Direct Recognition of the Truth” by Mooji
Mooji’s teachings go beyond the typical search for inner peace through control of the mind and emotions. He urges you to connect with your innermost self, which is distinct from your current perception of who you are as the person. He offers less theory and more practical guidance on how to make what he considers the most important realization of your life.
“While you have time, discover the timeless,” Mooji repeated during his Satsang (spiritual discourse) in Rishikesh. After attending Mooji’s first talk, I left immediately to the bookstore, where the owner told me that “Before I Am” would be the best of Mooji’s books to start with. In just a few pages, you’ll develop an urgency to understand yourself and the meaning of life at a deeper level. Within hours, “Before I Am” could change everything for you.
Next time someone asks you what you’re reading, I hope you can offer some of these titles in order to save face and help spread the knowledge.
While they cover a broad range of topics, these books all have the same underlying power to elevate us. Reading the books above helped me out of a rut in order to explore the truth regarding how I wanted to live my life, and way I had been conditioned to do so.
Unlocking a bit of spiritual curiosity, inspiring a screw-the-status-quo mentality, and encouraging your intention to meditate may just be the spark we need to change our lives for the better. For those of us feeling loopy, and perhaps a bit disillusioned, with the typical “American Dream,” this list is a breath of fresh air.
To benefit from the wisdom of others via reading is not a chore, it’s a service to ourselves.
Author: Shoshanna Delventhal
Apprentice Editor: Sarrah Chaouk; Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s own