There seems to be an influx of folks during these funky times coming this way and asking some introductory questions.

If you're the academic type, here's a list of books I've read on my journey that I've felt warranted sharing.

Link to list that I keep updated:


The list itself

Ram Dass – “Be Here Now” – – Possibly the most important book in the list – was the biggest impact in my life. Fuses Western and Eastern religions/ideas. Kinda whacky to read, but definitely #1 Ram Dass – “Journey Of Awakening” – – Another Ram Dass book – once I got more into Transcendental Meditation and wanted to learn other ways/types of meditation, this helped out. Clifford Pickover – “Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves…” – – Somewhat random, frantic book – explores lots of ideas – planted a lot of seeds in my head that I followed up on in most of the books below Daniel Pinchbeck – “Breaking Open the Head” – – First book I read to explore impact of psychedelics on our brains Jeremy Narby – “Cosmic Serpent” – – Got into this book from the above, explores Ayahuasca deeper and relevancy of serpent symbolism in our society and DNA Robert Forte – “Entheogens and the Future of Religion” – – Collection of essays and speeches from scientists, religious leaders, etc., about the use of psychedelics (referred to as Entheogens) as the catalyst for religion/spirituality Clark Strand – “Waking up to the Dark” – – Explores human’s addiction to artificial light, also gets into femininity of religion as balance to masculine ideas in our society Lee Bolman – “Leading with Soul” – – Discusses using spirituality to foster a better, more supportive and creative workplace – pivotal in my honesty/openness approach when chatting about life with coworkers Eben Alexander – “Proof of Heaven” – – A neurophysicist discusses his near death experience and his transformation from non-believer to believer (title is a little click-baity, but very insightful book. His descriptions of his experience align very similarly to deep meditations I’ve had) Indries Shah – “Thinkers of the East” – – A collection of parables and stories from Islamic scholars. Got turned onto Islamic writings after my trip through Pakistan, this book is great for structure around our whole spiritual “journey” Whitley Strieber – “The Key: A True Encounter” – – A man’s recollection of a conversation with a spiritual creature visiting him in a hotel room. Sort of out there, easy to dismiss, but the topics are pretty solid Mary Scott – “Kundalini in the Physical World” – – Very dense, very difficult scientific book exploring Hinduism and metaphysics (wouldn’t recommend this for light reading, definitely something you’d want to save for later in your “journey”) Hermann Hesse – “Siddartha” – – Short novel about a spiritual journey, coming of age type book. Beautifully written, very enjoyable. Reza Aslan – “Zealot” – – Talks about the historical Jesus – helped me reconnect with Christianity in a way I didn’t have before Reza Aslan – “No god but God” – – Same as above, but in terms of Mohammad and Islam. I’m starting to try to integrate the “truths” of our religions to try and form my own understanding Thich Nhat Hanh – “Silence” – – Hanh’s a Vietnamese Buddhist monk – in this book he writes a lot about finding the beauty in silence, turning off the voice in our heads and lives, and living in peace. Paulo Coelho – “The Alchemist” – – Sort of a modern day exploration of “the path” similar to “Siddhartha.” Very easy and a joy to read, good concepts of what it means to be on a “path” Carlos Castaneda – "The Teachings of Don Juan" – The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge – Started exploring more into shamanism and indigenous spiritual work; this book was a great intro and written in an entertaining and accessible way. Jean-Yves Leloup – “The Gospel of Mary” – – The book that finally opened my eyes to the potentiality of the teachings of Christ. This book, combined with the one below, have been truly transformative in my belief system and accepting humanity and the power of love beyond what I’ve found so far in my journey. Jean-Yves Leloup – “The Gospel of Philip” – – Really begins to dissect and dive into the metaphysical teachings of Christ, exploring the concept of marriage, human union and sexuality, and the power contained within. This book, combined with the one above, have radically changed my perception of The Church as dissimilar and antithetical to what Christ actually taught. Ram Dass – “Be Love Now” – – A follow-up to “Be Here Now” – gets more into the esoteric side of things, his relationship with his Guru, enlightenment, enlightened beings, etc. Riane Eisler – “The Chalice and the Blade” – – An anthropoligical book analyzing the dominative vs cooperative models in the history and pre-history of society and how our roots have been co-opted and rewritten by the dominative model to entrap society into accepting a false truth of violence and dominance as “the way it is” The Bhagavad Gita – – This is the only translation I’ve read, but I appreciated the context and information given in the forewords and the chapter introductions. The Bhagavad Gita has been instrumental in helping define the undefinable – what is this “God” that I’ve experienced – how can one tackle the impossible task of attributing the unattributable? Easy to read, beautifully written. Bikkuhu Bodhi – “In the Buddha’s Words” – – One of the biggest difficulties in studying Buddhism is the vastness of the canon. This book is an edited anthology of the Pali Canon (the main body of text of Theravada Buddhism), assembled in an easily digestible format. It’s compiled in an almost “chronological” format – beginning with introductory concepts of Buddhism to the states of Enlightenment and path to Nirvana. It’s very dense but well articulated, and has been a critical piece in the foundation of my spiritual journey. Robert Pirsig – “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” – – I feel lighter after having read it – the journey through the novel and concepts it touches upon, the stories and parables – illuminated for me so much that I have been long, seeking, and searching for – spiritually, emotionally, intellectually. I feel like something has changed within me after reading it. Henry David Thoreau – “Walden” – – My first introduction to Thoreau and the Transcendentalism school of thought. Amazingly vast book about nature, philosophy, man, religion, economics – really everything under the sun. Sort of dry and long at times, but very rewarding in the end. Easily earns a spot as one of my favorite books of all time. The Upanishads – – This particular translation was done by the same author who translated the Bhagavad Gita I read. The Upanishads is a plethora of spiritual and metaphysical stories touching on creation, love, existence, consciousness, and how to access all the realms of each. This particular edition is beautifully written with great contextual notes and introductions. Definitely a foundational text for mystical endeavours. David A. Cooper – “God is a Verb” – – A fantastic, easily approachable intro to topics in Kabbalah. I’ve tried learning about it before but the volume of information out there is just so big and hard to penetrate into. This book did a good job breaking down what Kabbalah is, how it came to be, different structures of belief within it, and illustrates different practical applications of meditations and daily operations. James Fadiman & Robert Frager – “Essential Sufism” – – A great collection and exploration of Sufi topics and parables. Looks at different aspects of Sufism with introductions and primary texts from historical and modern Sufis submitted by /u/seagoonie [link] [comments]

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