booklist type

that have had a great influence on me, in no particular order of importance. I have included here only books that I have returned to again and again, many of which are now dog-eared and full of underlines.830250_open_book The list is by no means comprehensive: I have left off the more esoteric titles and confined my selections to those that would have appeal to anyone on a committed spiritual path. Many of the authors listed have a wealth of other books that might also be of interest to you. The books in the first section, which I call “outsider wisdom,” are powerful context and correctives for the blind spots and excesses of religious traditions, so I find it most enlightening to read everything that follows with the truths expressed by these wise ones in mind.

Please note that you will not find many books under “indigenous” because like Buddhist and Hindu tantra, that wisdom is best received directly, person to person, as they are oral traditions with much emphasis on direct experience. John Boatman’s book is special to me because unlike most popular books on Native American spirituality, it is based on conversations with tribal elders who teach only orally — these from the Western Great Lakes, including the tribe of my grandmother.


—Think on These Things
—Freedom From the Known
—J. Krishnamurti: A biography (by Pupul Jayakar)
—Social Responsibility

Simone Weil
—Waiting for God
—Gravity and Grace


Shunryu Suzuki
—Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Thich Nhat Hanh
—On Peace
—Peace is Every Step
—Teachings On Love
—Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

Pema Chodron
—The Wisdom of No Escape
—When Things Fall Apart
—Start Where You Are
—No Time to Lose
—The Places that Scare You

Lama Thubten Yeshe
—Wisdom Energy

Katheleen McDonald
—How to Meditate

Ani Tenzen Palmo
—A Cave in the Snow (biography by Vicki Mackenzie)
—Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism

Dalai Lama
—The Art of Happiness

Chogyam Trungpa
—Cutting through Spiritual Materialism
—The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
—Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
—Training the Mind and Cultivating Lovingkindness
—The Sanity we are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology

Namkai Norbu
—Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State
—Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
—As It Is, Volume 1 and 2

Lama Tsultrim Alione
—Women of Wisdom

Jack Kornfield
—A Path with Heart


Lama Thubten Yeshe
—Introduction to Tantra
—The Bliss of Inner Fire

Chogyam Trungpa
—The Lion’s Roar: An Introduction to Tantra

Daniel Odier
—Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening
—Yoga Spandakarika: The Sacred Texts at the Origins of Tantra

Kamalakar Mishra
—Kasmir Saivism: The Central Philosophy of Tantrism


Jack Kornfield
—After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

John Welwood
—Ordinary Magic
—Toward a Psychology of Awakening

AH Almaas
—The Pearl Beyond Price
—The Inner Journey Home
—Runaway Realization

Richard Rohr
–Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life


John Boatman
—My Elders Taught Me: Aspects of Western Great Lakes American Indian philosophy

Barbara Tedlock PhD
—Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine

Kent Nerburn
—Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an American Indian Elder

David Abrams
—The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world


Parvathy Baul
—Song of the Great Soul: An Introduction to the Baul Path

Swami Vivekananda
—Bhakti Yoga

Irina Tweedie
–Daughter of Fire


David Kinsley
—Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
—Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul

China Galland
—Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna


William Dairymple
—Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Joanna Macy
—Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy
—World as Lover, World as Self: A Guide to Living Fully in Turbulent Times

Evelyn Underhill
—Practical Mysticism: A little book for normal people

Annie Dillard
—Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
—Teaching a Stone to Talk
—For the Time Being

Clark Strand
—Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

Andrew Harvey
—The Direct Path
—A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides

Huston Smith
—The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions


William Johnston, editor/translator
—The Cloud of Unknowing (by an anonymous 14th century mystic)

Joel Goldsmith
—The Contemplative Life: Personal Growth and Extended Awareness

Cyprian Consiglio
—Prayer in the Cave of the Heart: The Universal Call to Contemplation

Martin Laird
—Into the Silent Land

Thomas Merton
—No Man is an Island

Anne Lamott
—Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers


Saint Therese of Lisieux
—Autobiography of a Soul
–The Love that Keeps us Sane: Little Way of Saint Therese of Lisieux (by Mark Foley)

Saint Teresa of Avila
—Interior Castle (translated by Mirabai Starr)
—Teresa of Avila: The book of my life (translated by Mirabai Starr)

Saint John of the Cross
—Dark Night of the Soul (translated by Mirabai Starr)

Saint Francis of Assisi
—Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (by Paul Sabatier)
—Saint Francis of Assisi (by GK Chesterton)
—The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi (Brother Ugolino and Saint Francis)
—Hope against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety (Richard Rohr)

—The Gospels (best to read a variety of translations)
—The Gnostic Gospels (Marvin Meyer translation)
—Resurrecting Jesus (Adyashanti)
—Jesus’s Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount (by Richard Rohr)
—Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ (by Andrew Harvey)
—The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (by Dalai Lama)
—Living Buddha, Living Christ (Thich Nhat Hanh)


—The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems by Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky, translator)
—The Gift (Daniel Ladinsky, translator)

—The Essential Rumi (Coleman Barks, translator)

—Naked Song (Coleman Barks, translator)

—Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (Robert Bly and Jane Hirshfield, translators)

Mystics from East and West
—Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (Daniel Ladinsky, translator)


Aryeh Kaplan, translator
—Outpouring of the Soul: Rabbi Nachman’s path in meditation


Richard Wilhelm, translator

—The I Ching or Book of Changes

Carol Anthony
–A Guide to the I Ching
—Love, An Inner Connection: Based on principles drawn from the I Ching

Stephen Mitchell, translator
—Tao Te Ching


—The Sivananada Companion to Yoga


Angeles Arrien
—The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols

—Tarot in the Spirit of Zen: The Game of Life

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