New ideas transform minds into different forms, broader in scope than they once were.
There are important aspects of our world that need attending to, but our motivation to create necessary change will only happen when we reach beyond the boundaries of our mind, and even our own skin: to embrace new ideas, explore other cultures, consider the experiences of others as if they were our own. Given the current state of our world, we can see that the prevalent public discourse hasn’t done a very good job at effecting positive change.
But some of the greatest agents of progressive change in the history of our world have said they experienced personal transformation of both heart and mind by considering the ideas of exemplary, even revolutionary thinkers, that have been laid out in books. In the interest of a better world, we can assume that their experience is a template pointing to our own potential to remake the world according to life affirming ideas we choose to internalize, to make our own.
Change your own heart, and a different world will be the result. Below is a modest collection of essential books on subjects that are important for a world in transition.
Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness
Through Seeing with Naked Awareness ; an Introduction to the Nature of One’s Own Mind from The Profound Teaching of Self-liberation in the Primodial State of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities ; a Terma Text of Guru Padmasambhabva Expounding the View of Dzogchen ; Rediscovered by Rigdzin Karma Lingpa ; Foreword by Namkhai Norbu ; Commentary by John Myrdhin Reynolds.
The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human
The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human is a 2010 nonfiction book by V. S. Ramachandran that explores, from a neurological viewpoint, the uniqueness of human nature. Ramachandran explores various aspects of visual perception and cognition to argue that humans are unique among species.
Canticles of the Earth: Celebrating the Presence of God in Nature
A collection of nature writing based on the Divine Hours that inspires meditation and devotion. Humankind has always sought the divine in creation. Because God is present in the natural world, everyone, regardless of geography, economics, or faith tradition, can experience the richness of the divine in nature. With a focus on finding God in the natural world, F.Lynne Bachleda has assembled 160 nature-based meditative readings that span genres, religions, and centuries, from ancient to modern poetry and prose.
Know Yourself: An Explanation of the Oneness of Being
When the knowledge comes upon you, you know that it is through God that you know God, not through yourself.
How to Practice Self Inquiry
Condenses Ramana Maharshi’s conversations. Good for encouraging self reflection and recognizing the oneness of all things.
Self-Knowledge is a translation by Swami Nikhilananda of the sacred text, Atmabodha, composed by the 8th century philosopher and mystic of India, Sankara. Self-Knowledge sets forth the principles of Non-dualistic Vedanta: the divinity of the soul, the unity of existence, the oneness of the Godhead, and the harmony of religions.
Ground, Path and Fruition
Rinpoche explains both complex and practical aspects of the Buddha’s teachings. In his own entertaining and informative style he covers such diverse topics as Refuge, the Chenrezig practice, Meditation, the History of Buddhism, its philosophical schools and Mahamudra.
InterSpiritual Meditation: A Seven-Step Process Drawn from the World’s Spiritual Traditions
This book offers a seven-part meditation process that can be practiced alone, in the company of people from one tradition, or especially, with people from many different traditions. It is designed to help you develop a foundation for health, inner peace, wisdom and compassion; and its purpose is to foster these sacred qualities in group practice, bringing about a shared experience of the sacred which may bring a little more harmony into our divided world, and in our own personal lives.
Fresh Rain: An Introduction to the Sufi Way
Fresh Rain: An Introduction to the Sufi Way gives a complete overview of the lineage, structure, and style of the Sufi Way. It also includes a clear description of the function and meaning of initiation in the Sufi Way today.
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge is a 1998 book by biologist E. O. Wilson. In this book, Wilson discusses methods that have been used to unite the sciences and might in the future unite them with the humanities.
Mother of the Universe: Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment
Those who love poetry will appreciate the wildly metaphysical, allegorical, and yet intensely honest and personal songs of the eighteenth-century poet and saint Ramprasad. These songs vividly present the mystery of the Feminine Divine, an intimate experience of the Mother, and a vast play of energy sustained by the Goddess Kali.
You Are The Eyes Of The World
Just as the images on television are nothing more than light, so are our experiences merely the dance of awareness. Often we form attachments to or feel enslaved by these experiences. But they are only reflections. As easily as television pictures vanish when the channel is changed, the power of our experiences fades if we penetrate to the heart of reality—the light of the natural mind within everyone.
The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
“Some people want to know why I wished to be called Francis. For me, Francis of Assisi is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.”
— Pope Francis, March 16, 2013.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition
This is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than they ever dreamed.
The Coming Interspiritual Age
This book details the vision of interspirituality within a comprehensive and powerful synthesis of world religions and spirituality, the discoveries of modern science, and the developmental and evolutionary view of history. It is the first book to review and predict the ongoing history of world religions and spirituality in the context of developmental history, the evolutionary consciousness movement, and current scientific understandings of anthropology, human cognitive development, brain/mind and scientific consciousness studies.
Spiritual Dimensions of Psychology
Hazrat Inayat Khan, founder of the Sufi Order International, came to the West as a representative of the highest musical traditions of his native India, and brought with him a message of love, harmony and beauty that was both the quintessence of Sufi teaching and a revolutionary approach to the harmonizing of Western and Eastern spirituality. In Spiritual Dimensions of Psychology Inayat Khan explores the purification and training of the psyche, its use as a tool in spiritual growth, and the inner teachings of the mystics on meditation, contemplation, intuition, visionary dreams, inspiration, revelation.
Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis
Dr. Nurbakhsh presents here a wealth of stories and poems about Jesus, many of which are translated into English for the first time from the original Arabic and Persian Sufi sources in this second edition. They represent the profound reverence that Sufis for centuries have felt for Jesus, regarding him as a symbol of love and the perfect master. The enthusiastic attitude towards Jesus extended to Christianity in general, major symbols of which are frequently used by poets such as Hafiz and Rumi, and this book explains for the first time the inner meanings of these Christian symbols as they appear in Sufi mystical writings. By explaining the importance of Jesus in the Sufi tradition, this book at the same time highlights the centrality of love and compassion for Sufis.
Christ the Eternal Tao
Not until now has the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu been presented alongside the otherworldly revelation of Jesus Christ in a way that encompasses the full significance of both. Christ the Eternal Tao presents the Tao Teh Ching as a foreshadowing of what would be revealed by Christ, and Lao Tzu himself as a Far-Eastern prophet of Christ the incarnate God. Through heretofore unpublished translations and teachings of Gi ming Shien, perhaps the greatest Chinese philosopher to have ever come to the West, this book uncovers the esoteric core of the Tao Teh Ching. Then, through the transmission of mystics of the ancient Christian East, Lao Tzu’s teaching is brought into a new dimension, exploding with new meanings. Christ, in turn, is seen in a unique light, His pure image shining in the clarity of Lao Tzu’s intuitive vision.
The Kabir Book: Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir
Kabir’s poems give off a marvelous radiant intensity. . . . Bly’s versions . . . have exactly the luminous depth that permits and invites many rereadings, many studyings-even then they remain as fresh as ever.
Moment of Christ: The Path of Meditation
“The central message of the New Testament is that there is really only one prayer and that this prayer is the prayer of Christ. It is a prayer that continues in our heart day and night. John Main describes this prayer as the stream of love that flows constantly between Jesus and his Father. This stream of love is the Holy SpiritIt is John Main’s conviction that is it the most important task for any fully human life that we should become as open as possible to this stream of love. In order for us to do this we must learn a way that is a way of silence – of stillness – and this by a discipline that is most demanding.John Main talks about the many aspects of silent prayer: the way of the mantra, leaving distraction behind, fullness of life in love and silence. A striking feature of the book is its emphasis on simplicity, on transcending self-consciousness and moving beyond “techniques” of prayer.