What books turn you on spiritually? I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours—your list. Heck, I’ll even expose myself first.
But before I do, I’ve got to thank Ron Gardner. He emailed me last month, saying:
I'm a long-time serious student of the Perennial Philosophy, and I want to commend you on "Return to the One." I derived both intellectual enjoyment and spiritual inspiration from reading it, and I plan on placing the book on the Recommended Spiritual Reading List that I'm in the process of putting together.
Well, that intrigued me. Both the praise of my book and Ron’s reading list. I asked him to send it to me when he was finished with it. Of course, a recommended reading list could never be finished by an avid reader, not until the final title was pried from his or her dead hands.
There’s always one more book.
So here’s Ron’s Recommended Spiritual Reading List as it stood in October.
I came up with my own list by asking myself a simple question: what books do I frequently turn to for inspiration? Not for information. Or intellectual stimulation. Or entertainment.
Rather, for uplift when I feel down. For getting centered again when I’m off kilter. For that burst of “Oh, yeah! Right on!” when I hear in someone else’s words what I should be speaking to myself, but am too lazy or irresolute to attend to my own inner voice.
Here’s my list. Bowing to tradition, I came up with ten books. That’s how many fingers are about to type out the titles. Seems fitting. They’re in the order I thought of them.
[Next day update: Must have grown another finger overnight. Had to add a D.T. Suzuki book to the end of the list.]
The Supreme Doctrine, by Hubert Benoit
Open Mind, Open Heart, by Thomas Keating
The Cloud of Unknowing, by Anonymous
Meister Eckhart: Selected Writings, trans. by Oliver Davies
Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, by Erich Fromm, D.T. Suzuki, Richard DeMartino
Talks With Ramana Maharshi, by Ramana
The Wisdom of Insecurity, by Alan Watts
The Book of Chuang Tzu, trans. by Martin Palmer
Taoist Meditation, by Thomas Cleary
The Tao of Zen, by Ray Grigg
The Zen Koan as a Means of Attaining Enlightenment, by D.T. Suzuki
If anyone wants to share his or her own favorite spiritual books, comment away. I’m always eager to help keep Amazon afloat. And I know others would be interested in your recommendations also.