Cool Spirituality-Related Books

Sad to say, but there are few books out there that I can recommend.

  • C.S. Lewis. One particularly recommendable set are C.S. Lewis' books on Christianity. The insights he has seem particularly interesting to "the thinking man or woman," a tribute to his intelligence, intuition, and reasoning skills. The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce are great. His other books are also enlightening, minus certain small aspects that seem more dogma than rational thinking. Almost everything of his overflows with humor, light, and incredible insight. (Nope, I don't agree with everything he says, but I enjoy most of it anyway.) Unlike many other authors, I find his writing got better the older he got!

  • Stephen Covey. A great book and cassette is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. (The audio cassette version is better than the book in my opinion: more succinct.) It's not at all related to the psychic realm, but it conveys a lot of what I think is truth. For instance, it mentions the progression from dependence, to independence, to interdependence --- which is in some ways more profound than one might think. Covey also teaches a return to principles, instead of the quick-fix "technique" craze of modern society. The book, like Saint Francis, advocates "Seek first to understand, rather than be understood." Excellent!

  • Aikido Books. Other good books may be found in the martial arts' Aikido section. Look for titles by Will Reed, Dobson and Miller, Koichi Tohei, Morihei Ueshiba, and my friend C.M. Shifflett that concern aikido's philosophy (which is founded on the belief that harmony and peace are the correct paths to take). Some other martial arts also share the same philosophy, but I'm not qualified to recommend their texts.

  • Religions of the World by Huston Smith. At times almost too lenient (in my opinion), this book is a wonderfully understanding and compassionate look at some of the major religions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It sees the good in all and brings that to the reader.

  • Prayer Can Change Your Life, William Parker and Elaine St. Johns -- how to pray, how some types of prayer can be ineffective. Used to be available from Guideposts. Try Amazon.com.

  • Guideposts magazine is an overall great publication, as are books by its co-founder, Norman Vincent Peale. A fine example is The Power of Positive Thinking.

  • The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Includes "wow!" stories of taking a higher path and letting the inner spirit soar free. Benjamin Zander exudes enthusiasm for life and music.

  • One of these days I need to get Tom (Tom's of Maine) Chappell's Seven Intentions....
  • Other really helpful books: You can read these works and see if you can find a common thread among them, a common "feel," a common message.

    Speaking of a common message and a good "feel," here are some very good spiritual (sometimes inadvertently) books that just happen to also be about animals:

    A number of Near-Death Experiences cross the spectrum from Catholic to Mormon to New Age to Buddhist! Two that I found most compelling and (IMHO) evidencing good fruit are both categorizable as "Christian"; they are Embraced by the Light (Eadie) and Return from Tomorrow (Dr. Ritchie). Also, I've enjoyed Howard Storm's NDE book and Sandra Rogers' NDE book as well.

    Much spiritual information can be gleaned by carefully reading and comparing various books in all sorts of fields. It's absolutely vital to remain objective when reading these books in a research capacity, as some of them contain material that may lead one seriously astray (not that I can say which is which). Some fields to look into: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism (such as the Bhagavad-gita text, concerning Krisna's teachings), non-standard Christian gospels, Mormon texts, Muslim texts, New Age texts, Wiccan texts, and general occult texts (including books on reincarnation, past-life regression, and near death experiences). Go out on the WWW and read the hard-line religious sites. Notice how they all sound sort of similar, no matter which religion is concerned.

    As you read, you'll probably find most texts demanding that you believe a particular thing that might be markedly or very subtely different from what all the other texts say. Instead of believing any one of the texts, you might try looking at each one closely and saying, "Where does this lead me? What is the author's attitude? Does the information lead to obvious self-improvement and a subtly bigger ego? Does it lead to utter, blind dependence on someone else? Does it justify hatred of others? Or does it lead to caring and self-discipline, and real humility? What do these books have in common? What makes each different?" Remember that there are spirits out there who are "wolves in sheeps' clothing"; not even that which sounds good on the surface can necessarily be trusted. Look deeper.

    Finally, here are two last plugs for online material promoted elsewhere on this site: