Every journey, every path, and every experience is different. But it is the desire to understand the world and ourselves that makes the distance from where we are to where we want to be worth traveling. To be "spiritual" isn't a title exclusively meant for the gurus or enlightened masters, instead is a way of being that we all already possess. Being spiritual means being exactly where you are no matter where on your path that may be. In order to truly experience that fundamental aspect of ourself, the only direction that we can go is inward. Knowing and understanding your inner world comes with a sense of empowerment and peace that we all entitled to. Below is a list of 20+ Spiritual resources, books, and generally interesting finds that have helped at some point along my path and hopefully can help you too. Because as Ram Dass puts it, we are all just walking each other home.
Be Here Now is first on this list because it is a spiritual classic and a personal favorite. This book has a unique presentation of insight which is both visually and spiritually appealing. It is a beautiful combination of illustration and wisdom that constantly reminds me not just to be in the present moment, but of the uniqueness and joy, that exists within in it. I like this book because like anything in life, it is open to flow and not just linear. With that being said, it is one of those books that you can flip to any page and find the very thing you are looking for whether it be art, insight, or both.
With any journey, whether inward or outward, there is one important thing to remember and that is to embrace the unknown. Krishnamurti does an excellent job of reminding us that the freedom we seek is within and it comes by creating our own path. The journey inward is not an easy one, but hopefully this book can help you see the barriers that have been stopping you from fully trusting and embracing where the journey within is trying to lead you. I really like this book because Krishnamurti is constantly reminding me that while I am in unknown territories within myself, I already have all the answers I need. But the real challenge we must overcome is deciding to walk our own path rather than follow some else's.
Of course Eckarte Tolle must be on this list. I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to embrace the core aspects of the spiritual path, which is living in the present moment. Keeping the mind in the now is an on going and difficult task, which takes practice and commitment. Tolle does a great job of not just introducing the barriers that keep the mind running, but also pulls you along the path of how to enter the now by making you question the views of you this world and yourself. One of the hardest things about progressing spiritually is looking at your self and your life as you actually are. This book will help you shift the way you see the world and yourself. Once you are willing and ready to accept that in order to truly live, the only place you can be is present.
This is great book for those ready to deconstruct part of the identity known as the ego. This book helps in self realization by slowly dissipating the layers of the ego that keep up disconnected. Only by letting go of everything that is not truly us, can we being embracing the person that we were all along. Shedding the ego can be a painful process because it means detaching from the people, places, and thoughts that you so strongly identify with. In this book, Singer offers a guide to begin the process of un-identifying with the ego and limiting beliefs and to the move towards the actual self instead. As Michael Singer puts it, we are not the voice of the mind but the one that hears it. This book has helped me take a step back to see my thoughts and more specifically my emotions something that is not my own, but more as a symptom of the deeper truth the lives within me.
The beauty about this day and age is that we have everything we want at our finger tips, including eternal wisdom. I'm almost positive you've come across a quote by Lao Tsu nonchalantly posted on Instagram, but did you ever wonder where that ancient wisdom came from and whose picture they ripped off? As far as classics go, this one takes the cake on this list. Written around 4th century B.C. (maybe sooner), this book offers insight on topics such as balance, compassion, and life in general that are still applicable to this day. Its one of those books that you keep on coming back to and keep getting what you need from it every time.
If you like your insight in the form of storytelling, then this is the book for you. As the story in the book unfolds, so do nine profound insights that are the key to a spiritual existence here on Earth. This book reminds me of The Alchemist, simply because of the way that the information is presented. The search for something outside of us is just an indicator of the need to actually point that attention inwards. The more we seek, the more we realize that everything we are looking for is within us. This book does an excellent job of illustrating that search and the barriers that come along with it.
If you haven't seen this film, I would recommend doing so. It is one the the first movies that I saw that made compelling agruments in the world of spirituality. It does so by offering facts, interviews and insights, not just from a philosophical level but also from the field of quantum physics. This is a great introduction into the science behind consciousness and the ongoing desire to understand the world and ourselves through whatever means makes the most sense to you.
In my opinion, a good spiritual podcast is hard to come by but the Sivana Podcast definitely makes the cut. I really like this podcast because it bridges the gap between everyday life and the spiritual concepts/ practices that help us dive deeper. Most of us that are dipping our feet into the philosophy and way of the eastern spirituality may have a hard time knowing which line of thought or practice is the right one for them or even where to start. This podcast offers a wide information on a wide range of topics from the laws of karma to mindfulness with medicine. Whatever topic you curious about, I'm sure you will have no trouble finding on this podcast. Ashton brings on a wide range of intelligent and informative guests which offers a wide perspective into the world of eastern spiritually. Grappling with philosophical concepts can be a bit complex, but Aston does an excellent job of sticking to the bigger picture while making the concepts relateable to his listeners. (Note: As of June 1, 2017 the podcast is hosted by Brett Larkin, still equally as awesome.)
Of all the "How to" books out there, this is one of my favorites because it is the beginners guide to meditation and mindfulness. We all know that we must change ourselves first in order to change the world, but how exactly do we go about doing that? The answer is to first go within. This book offers a simplistic yet direct approach of navigating the world within ourselves. Tan guides you to places within yourself that you maybe never thought about going such as where/how the mind wonders off to and underlying cause of emotions that you often fail to notice or recognize. Because of his background in engineering, Tan uses facts and research in the field of mindfulness to guide you through the workings of your inner world. I recommend this book to anyone who not only wants to go down the path of mindfulness, but who also needs the facts and evidence to back it up (because of an ever wandering analytical mind).
Of all the books on this list, this one has to be one of my favorites. Letting go of thoughts, emotions, anything, is something that I constantly struggle with but this book has helped me to understand what exactly I am holding onto and why. We are constantly being told to "let it go" yet we are left figuering out the letting process on our own. Hawkins does a great job of dissecting the the very things (thoughts, emotions, ect.) that are blocking us from experiencing that freedom. He not only breaks how to let go, but also offers insight and facts to the many emotional, physical, and mental benefits of letting go and living life in a state of surrender. This is another book backed with facts and research to give anyone looking to let go a more concrete and applicable approach. This book also inspired me to analysis my own letting go process and really self reflect on why I can't seem to let but but also some one the things that I have been holding onto. To listen to my own personal letting go struggle and process, click here for Episode 26 "Letting go of What?
This is a great book that helps move the focus of your life from fear to faith. Having lived with phases of anxiety pretty much my whole life, I can definitely relate to the need to shift my thinking from a fear based one to one that allows more freedom and acceptance into my life. I really like how Bernstein walks you through her own process of over coming fear with examples from both her past and present. She helps readers to identify the fears that we all have and then move from being controlled by those fears to learning how to trust our own inner guide. Moving from fear to love is essential on the path towards inner peace. This is a great book if you are willing to head in that direction and are ready to let go of the parts of you that you know are holding you back.
The awakening process can be a bitch. From healing emotional wounds to navigating existential crises, having a spiritual awakening is no joke. I thought that I was going crazy until I heard the awakening process described from the viewpoint of this youtube channel. If you are looking for some down to earth spiritual talk, then Victor is your guy. He not only helps you to understand the process, but gives practical advice on the topics you didn't know you could get help with.
On the path of personal discovery comes the question of identity and who we really are beneath all of the layers we have built. Watts helps shed some light on ourselves by uncovering the aspects of the ego and the ways that we falsely identify with it. We all hear the saying, “We are One”, but this book will help you to understand why. Watts does a great job of explaining Eastern thought from a western perspective and outlines the ways in which the modern understanding of the self creates separation and thus suffering. Diving deeper into the who we are is necessary, but often times is challenging because it means facing some truth about ourselves that we have been trying desperately to avoid. If you are ready to dive deeper down the rabbit hole of personal discovery, then this book is for you. Or if you have heard his lectures but still haven't read his books, this would be a great introduction to his work.
Upon my own path of self discovery, it only made sense that I would cross paths with the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator once again. If you don't know your personality type or haven't spent much time understanding this aspect of your personality, I'd recommend getting aquatinted with it and listening to this Podcast. Personality Hacker does a great job of not just explaining how personality types are applicable to all realms of life, but they do a great job of explaining the world though the eyes of the 16 personality types. Understanding the self means understanding all parts of it, including your personality. No matter where you are on your journey inwards, this Podcast is every helpful in both understanding the self and how you relate to the world. It is an informative podcast and a great tool no matter where on your personal growth journey you may be.
As you begin to dive into the Enneagram, you may find that it is not just a tool for personal discovery but also spiritual development. In this interview, Palmer describes how understanding your phycological structure through the Enneagram can be used to understand the barriers that keep you from experiencing spiritual liberation. Self-observation and self awareness are essential to understanding the who we are and consciousness as a whole. I recommend watching this interview if you are curious about psychology, spirituality, or personal development.
Practical/ Daily Use
To live simply is best, but how does one really do so? I've gone through phases of embracing minimalism to getting rid of 98% percent of my belongings in order to help simplify my life. While that is great for clearing space and bringing ease, it doesn't solve the core of the issue at hand: the clutter that still was living in my mind. Living simply needs to first be a mental state before it can be reflected in the outside world. In this books, the decluttering process is broken down into four different categories: thoughts, life obligations, relationships and surroundings. This book has helped me on my path of sticking to the necessities because it helps to show you all the clutter you hold onto in your life, thoughts and people included. It breaks down some of the aspects of your life that need decluttering, some of which you may have never even considered. Moving from more to less feels freeing and lighter which is why its a process that I am happy to embrace. I also recommend getting the Audible edition of this book if you are really trying to simply time and space.
This is a great book if you on the journey of spiritual development and actually want to do something about it. Whether you are an active meditator or use affirmations daily, no matter your form of spiritual practice this book will fit perfectly into your journey of personal exploration. In her book, Bernstein lays out a 40 day guide of different practices and self - reflexive exercises. I enjoyed this book because it offered me a perspective of myself that I wasn't aware and I felt the change in myself because I knew that I was creating it on my own. If you want to put in some work and commitment to changing the way you see and experience yourself, then this is a great start. Her book is rooted in the teachings of A Course in Miracles. If you are interested in the course but want to start smaller (or not looking for a 365 day commitment right now), then this book is a great alternative.
We all know that mediation is good for us, but how exactly do we get on that train? Calming the mind can feel like a never ending battle, so why even bother? There are numerous studies and research to back up the benefits of incorporating meditation into your daily life, but the question I'm more concerned with is how does one start. I first got into meditation as a way to help me relax and calm down at night in order to sleep. I found that guided meditations are the best way to start because it offers some help thought the process of navigating through craziness that is the mind.
If you haven't heard of binaural beats, I would definitely give them a try. I first discovered what they were in an attempt to help cure my sleeplessness, but found that they can also be used for a wide range of things. The binaural beats are produced by playing two slightly different frequencies, one into each ear. This creates what is called a frequency following response in the brain which helps to induce different brain states. Sound has an effect on the brain and listening to binaural beats helps specify which effect you want to induce, anything from relaxation to focus, even chakra healing. This youtube channel is great because it offers a great selection of binaural beats, and for specific purposes too.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) , also referred to as tapping, is a method of self-healing. EFT works by releasing blockages in our energetic body which are a source of physical and emotional pains. This is done by tapping on specific meridian points in the body, similar to those targeted in acupuncture and acupressure. EFT is great because it can be done on yourself and by yourself simply by using a technique described in the video. I personally use tapping as a way to help relive anxiety or those moments when I don't feel like I have an once of self-love left in my body. I recommend tapping to those who are also on the path of self healing and want to further their practice of emotional and physical healing. This video is a great introduction and many more can be found simply by searching youtube.
Along my own journey of trying to heal myself internally and physically, I was bound to come across essential oils and I'm so happy that I did. Essential oils are highly concentrated and have a wide range of depending on how you use them. Starting out can be a bit overwhelming because it seems like there is an essential oil for everything but which recommend reading Dr Axe's guide for beginners as a good starting base. Depending on what you are looking for, essential oils can do anything from helping to relive stress to stimulating hair growth. There are a lot of oils and uses out there, but I recommend going with the one that stands out to you, because it is calling you for a reason.