Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Essential Reading

If you were able to choose only 5 books to read for the rest of your life, what would they be? (all scriptures excluded) I've read a number of books on a variety of subjects, but there are 5 of them to which I continually return. These books are my "essentials" because literally every time I read them, I find a freshness in their words. What follows is my ultimate "Top 5" list. The books listed here continue to speak to me even after multiple, multiple readings and I cannot tell you how instrumental they have been on my journey. They are (in no particular order):

  • The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley - A virtual anthology of Western and Eastern mysticism that helps us to see God within and in the world while also encouraging the challenging act of "dying to self" so that God might live in us (or through us).
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle - I've read this book probably more than any other. Every page reminds me to climb out of my worrisome and troubled mind into the peace, joy, and bliss of the present moment.
  • Be Here Now by Ram Dass - This is the book that started it all for me and continues to burst open the glorious world of Spirit. It is a magical ride through the realms of consciousness and of God.
  • Sabbath : Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller - I avoided this book for a long time because I thought it was a shallow self-help book about how to overcome stress. It is anything but that. Although it is very easy reading, it provides the much-needed antidote to modern man's strain, stress, and toil. If you've ever felt burned out, depressed, or pushed to your limits, this book can help you slow down, appreciate more, simplify and appreciate the beauty of the ordinary.
  • The Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living by Diane Osbon - This book is a summation of all of Joseph Campbell's work. It is exactly what the sub-title says it is: reflections on the art of living. Each "chapter" is only 1-4 pages long and covers so much ground that it will blow your mind. Quite literally.
And what about you? What is your ultimate "Top 5" list?

(Remember that The Bible and other scriptures are off limits... of course those books are meaningful... what I'm referring to here is anything other than "official" sacred writings. ALSO - your books don't have to be spiritual in nature ... just anything that means something to you or that you can read and re-read over and again.)


isaiah said...

1. Rainer Maria Rilke "Letters To A Young Poet, Love and Other Difficulties"

2. Joseph Campbell "The Power of Myth"

3. Coleman Barks "The Essential Rumi"

4. Ram Dass "Be Here Now"

5. Emmett Fox- "The Sermon on The Mount"

5.1 "Paramahansa Yogananda "Autobiography of A Yogi"

Meredith said...

Only five??? Ok, so I just won't repeat Trev and Tommy's lists, here are some additional favorites:

1.The Light Inside the Dark, John Tarrant

2.One River, Many Wells, Matthew Fox

3.The Mystic Heart, Wayne Teasdale

4.The Enlightened Mind, and The Enlightened Heart, Stephen Mitchell

5.Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chogyam Trungpa

6.The Tao of Inner Peace, Diane Dreher

7.The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

...ooops that was seven, or eight?

I love to read....especially my favorite poets, Rilke, Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir.

Derek said...
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Derek said...

1. Dhalgren
2.Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings
by Jorge Luis Borges
3.THE COMPLETE SAGAS OF ICELANDERS from Leifur Eiriksson Publishing ( which may count as all 5 for it is a 5 volume set. if that is the case I have no problem with it being all 5)
4.The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
5.The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master
by Takuan Soho

"James" said...

1. "Power vs. Force" - Dr. David R. Hawkins

2. "Eye of the I" - Dr. Hawkins

3. "I" - Dr. Hawkins

4. "Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs" - Steven Hagen

5."The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" - Sogyal Rinpoche

isaiah said...

I almost included "Eye of The I" myself. A most remarkable book. When I first read it I was in awe. I recommend this as well as the 2 which followed by Dr. Hawkins.

Jon said...

Wow, Trev, you're mean. Just five??? For the rest of my life???

OK, here goes:

* Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
* The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (narrowly beat out The Coming of the Cosmic Christ by Matt Fox, but I think it will be better company for the rest of my life!)
* Saint Francis by Nikos Kazantzakis
* The Essential Rumi trans. by Barks
* Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.

I mostly chose fiction; since this is for the rest of my life, I can't risk boring.

gratefulbear said...

I like the idea of including anthologies, like "One River, Many Wells" by Matthew Fox, and "The Essential Rumi." Both of those would be on my list. I wish there was a one-volume "Collected Works of Marcus Borg"! Failing that, Borg's book "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" would be my 3rd choice.

4. "In Search of the Hidden Treasure: A Conference of Sufis," by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

5. "The Jesus Sutras," by Martin Palmer

And stretching the rules a bit, I would find a way to smuggle in my two favorite novels:

6. "Fahrenheit 451," by Ray Bradbury

7. "Lake Wobegon Days," by Garrison Keillor