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The following is an evolving annotated resource list of books, magazines, and CDs that have been helpful in my own journey.  This list is, of course, far from complete; I include here selections simply as they occur to me.   While your reactions will likely differ from mine, I find that hearing another’s view often helps me get a feel for a particular resource.  I hope the same is true for you.


I recently accepted that some greater organization was necessary for this page to be user~friendly.  I have divided it into somewhat arbitrary sections which, as of now, are General Resources, Meditation Resources, and Just for Fun items. I recently added a category of Recommendations from Readers, to make available suggestions from you all, so if you have resources that have been particularly helpful in your own search, please send them on. 


This list will be updated periodically. New additions will be at the top of each category, so returning folks won’t have to re~read them all.  A selection that fits in two categories may be listed in both.   


Enjoy!


Leia Marie


General Resources:

  1. An Altar in the World by Episcopal priest, professor and theologian Barbara Brown Taylor. In this delightful book, Taylor offers practices to cultivate an appreciation of the Holy in the world around us and urges us to create metaphoric altars within our own hearts. A good read, especially for Christians who’d like to enliven their experience of God. An essay that springs from the material of this book can be found here.

  2. Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach is the best book I’ve found for bringing traditional Buddhist concepts into the realm of western healing. Tara is a practicing Buddhist, meditation teacher, psychotherapist and excellent writer, all of which grounded her perspective and made for delightful and enlightening reading.

  3. Brother David Steindl~Rast is a Benedictine Monk who has a lovely website gratefulness.com that I highly recommend. I found his spiritual biography, in partnership with Commonweal, to be found on this page especially enlightening.

  4. I and Thou by Martin Buber is a stunning little book that beautifully articulates the challenge of living in a world “lit by eternity” as we continue to lose sight of that fact~~and regain it again. This is not an easy read by any means, but one well worth the effort.

  5. Rabbi Marcia Prager has written a lovely book, The Path of Blessing, Experiencing the Energy and Abundance of the Divine. This book breathes fresh life into Judaism’s teachings on the importance of daily brakhot (Hebrew for blessings). Prager is of the Jewish Renewal tradition, which has been described as the eco~feminist branch, with a strong interest in reclaiming the mystical, kabbalistic thread of Judaism. I would think this book would be especially important for those with a background in Judaism, but I loved it as well.

  6. Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium and related materials are truly inspiring. Their audacious goal is “to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on the planet.” This amazing collage of quotes, hard facts, inspiring interviews, historical details is so well done that it makes you believe this is possible~~or that you’ll do your part regardless. Highly recommended, with more information to be found on their website, awakeningthedreamer.org.

  7. In Every Grain of Sand: A Child’s Book of Prayer and Praise, by Reeve Lindbergh is a beautiful book which I believe is out of print, unfortunately, but we got one for our granddaughter used online. The illustrations are lovely and the text is a compilation of prayers and poems from various spiritual traditions. Definitely worth seeking out for the children~~you included~~in your life.

  8. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has a writing style that is simple, clear, and very sweet. His ability to apply classic Buddhist concepts to every day life, while keeping theology to a minimum, is a delight as is his concept of Engaged Buddhism. I have read Peace Is Every Step; The Miracle of Mindfulness; Being Peace; The Long Road Turns To Joy; Essential Writings; and No Death, No Fear. I recommend them all, although Peace Is Every Step is my current favorite. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is excellent, though significantly more theoretical than his others, and so, best for those folks who really want to delve more deeply. Anger is a wonderful exploration of bringing spirituality into intimate relationships and contains an excellent chapter (#2) on how to work with difficult emotions; western readers, however, might find a flavor of co~dependency in portions of the book.

  9. Carolyn Myss is a prolific writer on various spiritual topics, who also has put out numerous CDs on these issues.  Some of the ones I know are Sacred Contracts, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Anatomy of the Spirit, Three Levels of Power, and Spiritual Madness.  She has a style and certainty that doesn’t always fit for me, but I’ve gained something from each CD I’ve listened to, and I recommend them all.

  10. The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu, sets down the basic tenets of Taoism.  There are numerous translations of this ancient text; mine is by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English and seems a relatively traditional rendering.  But I’m no expert.  Do your own research and find one that fits for you.

  11. Thomas Moore has written many books on finding Spirit in the details of our lives.  The three I have read are Care of the Soul: a Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life; Soul Mates; The Re~enchantment of Everyday Life; and Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship.  I would assume, however, that any of his books would be a delight to read.  Moore has background as both a spiritual seeker and psychotherapist, and his insights have been most helpful to me as I seek to live a more soulful life.

  12. Sally Kempton wrote The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience and is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal.  I recommend her articles in the Journal without hesitation; she is articulate, psychologically and spiritually savvy, and it’s clear she has actually done the work she advocates.  I give my impressions of her book under Meditation Resources below.

  13. Yoga Journal is a steal, with a new yearly subscription only $11 last time I looked!  This magazine attempts to do the nearly impossible~~appeal to new and advanced yoga students in one publication~~but I think it does it rather well, with articles on anatomy, detailed instructions for both beginning and advanced poses, and inspiring articles on the spiritual life.  Admittedly, there are ads for ridiculously expensive clothing and retreats, and the occasional article I wouldn’t include, but as with anything else, it’s wise to take what works and leave the rest.  And there’s a lot here that works quite well.


Meditation Resources:

  1. Pema Chodron has many books available and I imagine all of them are delights. Three I’ve read and would recommend are When Things Fall Apart:Heart Advice for Difficult Times; Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, and the Shamabala Pocket Classic (read: tiny, cheap and perfect for a small gift) Awakening Lovingkindness. If you are new to meditation, though, please know that Choedron is a practitioner of mindfulness meditation, which is only one of several approaches.

  2. Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor will appeal to those folks out there who would like to pursue meditation without the distraction of theology (although I did find some beliefs sneaking in).

  3. The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience, written by Sally Kempton under her Indian name, Swami Durgananda, gave my meditation wings. It seems to have been updated and reissued under the name  Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience. Though I haven’t read this newer version, other than a few online snippets, I wonder if Kempton might have softened the very strong guru orientation of her first book, which some westerners would likely find unsettling. I’d still highly recommend both books, though some internal translating to a conceptual framework that works better (such as imagining intuition or God as your guru) might be needed. Sally Kempton is a gem~~as is anything she writes.

  4. The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson was one of the earliest books in mind~body medicine, sharing research on the positive effects of meditation. I read it years ago, but think it would be helpful in demystifying the meditation process for those new to it.  I hope they’ve reissued an updated version that includes additional research. However, measuring the effects of meditation on the brain is in vogue these days, so a quick search online or in your favorite bookstore will yield additional resources.


Just for Fun:

  1. Overview: This extraordinary 19 minute video shares footage of our wee and beautiful planet taken during various Apollo missions. In interviews, astronauts share the profound sense of awe they felt when seeing our “oasis in the midst of infinity.” You’ll likely never think of our Earth the same again.

  2. Gravity Glue: A fun website that details one man’s living meditation on gravity and balance via his art.

  3. Poetry can often bypass the rational mind and move straight to the heart of spirit. The ecstatic works of the following poets are highly recommend: Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Pablo Neruda. If you choose their written works rather than CDs, remember that poetry is meant to be read aloud. Oh, and here’s a beautiful site featuring the poetry of some of these authors, Peaceful Rivers.

  4. The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff is a lovely little book that shares the wisdom of the revered Taoist master Winnie the Pooh. Taoist concepts made simple and fun. A great gift.

  5. Man on Wire, a fun film about Philippe Petit’s 1974 feat of walking the space between the Twin Towers on a high wire. An animated short, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, can be found here. Talk about meditation in motion!

  6. Zoom by Istvan Banyai is a delightful book without words that demonstrates the importance of the perspectives we hold.  A fun and mind~opening gift for any age.

  7. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert is an engaging memoir of a woman’s quest for emotional healing and spiritual vitality. I loved it! And as often is the case, the movie didn’t do the book justice~~if you only saw the movie, please read the book!

  8. Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer~Bradley, is an old favorite, telling the Arthurian legend from the perspective of priestesses of the Goddess~worshiping religion of the time.  A fun exploration~~though I seem to remember it was a bit slow~going at first. It just might make you long to live on Avalon yourself!  This prolific writer also wrote numerous books of science fiction in her Darkover series; though I’m not generally a fan of science fiction, these books are the exception, with lots of great spiritual themes woven through. It’s been years, but I think Hawk Mistress was a favorite, as the woman in question would merge with the mind of her birds to see from high above. Very fun!

  9. Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, by China Galland is another engaging memoir of an American-born Buddhist going in search of expressions of the holy in female form and finding healing in the process.

  10. Anne Lamott is a born~again Christian with a delightful, irreverent leftist sensibility.  She’s written many books, and I’ve read several though can only now remember Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith.  I don’t know about you, but I need to hear from born~agains who remember Christ’s message of peace, social justice, and love.  Ahhh....


Recommendations from Readers:

  1. Still more from Dennis~~quite the reader, he be! One Spirit, Many Peoples by Stephen Buhner, “focuses on Earth Spirituality and whether or not sincere Anglos should be allowed to participate in Native American ceremonial rites.  Kind of like separation vs. unification.”  And Nature as Spiritual Practice by Steven Chase, which “weaves scriptural passages with concepts of Nature.  Kind of awareness with contemplation, or the physical and the sacred.”

  2. More from Dennis...Renewal in the Wilderness by Pastor John Lionberger and God in the Wilderness by Rabbi Jamie Korngold. Dennis writes that both are “fairly short, about 150 pages, practical, and easy to digest,” though he thinks the latter might be appreciated particularly by those with a background in Judaism. Thanks again, Dennis!

  3. Dennis suggests Spirituality and Health Magazine, and the books No Ordinary Moments by Dan Millman, New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle, Sky Above, Earth Below by John Milton, and Native Wisdom by Ed McGaa, the Eagle Man. He describes them this way: ”Most of these encompass the themes of awareness/ presence, healing with/from nature and the Divine/Great Spirit/Source in everything.” What’s not to love!


Happy reading!  And remember, check back frequently as this page is a work in progress.  And send me your own suggestions, using the email link above.


Leia Marie


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