noun, plural -ties.
1. the quality or fact of being spiritual.
2. incorporeal or immaterial nature.
3. predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.
For many of us, living a spiritual existence appears more and more attractive as job markets collapse, banks foreclose, pandemics increase and our bank accounts deteriorate. Living spiritually has become desirable as people try to find their life’s true purpose by asking the tough, “what’s it all about” questions. You may be one of those people. If so, read on as what follows are reviews of my top spiritual books published since 2007. These books can help us to find comfort and peace during tumultuous times, show us how to fight the demons raging within and, most important, guide us towards fulfillment and enlightenment when all seems lost.
The Tibetan Art of Serenity: How to Conquer Fear and Gain Contentment by Christopher Hansard
Hansard is of the belief that serenity is inside each of us waiting to overcome fear. He gives us detailed information as to how we can choose serenity to overcome fear in a way that is aligned with age-old Tibetan practices such as freeing oneself from worry and being overwhelmed. This book is resourceful guide for serene living in today’s world using our own spirit and our own truth.
A Blessing in Disguise: 39 Life Lesson’s from Today’s Greatest Teachers by Andrea Joy Cohen, MD
This book has something for everyone including a forward by spiritual guru Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a compilation of stories shared by some of the top spiritual luminaries of our day. The book, which has an entire section of discussion questions for each section as well as spiritual resources throughout, is resplendent with heartwarming accounts such as one couple’s Dirt Bike Ride to Enlightenment and how another’s son’s game of slamball helped them to find their own truths.
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” Edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.
The writings of Mother Teresa give an insightful and compelling discourse into her journey serving the poorest of humans. Her letters show that although Mother Teresa struggled in profound ways throughout her ministry, she continued on by relying on her tremendous faith and was hence able to minister to the poorest of the poor. This book gives encouragement when we face adversity and spiritual bankruptcy by helping us to identify our own despair and by showing us that we are not alone in our feelings. It’s comforting to be able to identify with the feelings of someone so saintly and to know that there is hope as God will bring us through the journey.
Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli
Any book that starts out “My life is a mess” is worth reading in my book. Yaconelli draws the reader in with funny anecdotes such as how he dreams he is following behind Christ and our savior turns and “looks straight into my eyes, and says, “Follow me!” My heart races, and I begin to run toward him when he interrupts with, “Oh, not you; the guy behind you. Sorry.” The book highlights real people and real situations compiled to help one see that, while we are sometimes stuck in our beliefs, God meets us where we are and carries us through the tough times.
Your Best Life Now for Moms by Joel Osteen
In this beautiful compilation complete with lovely photos of moms and their families, Osteen uses scripture to help busy mothers develop a healthy vision and image and let go of the past. Osteen understands the pressures mothers face today in a world filled with uncertainty. But he also knows how prayer and believing can make even the hardest burdens easier to manage.
The Little Book of Spirituality for Atheists by Andre Compte-Sponville and Nancy Huston
This book relies upon the great philosophies of Spinoza, Nietzche, Camus, St. Augustine and others to look at hard questions like ‘does God really exist’ and covers discussions as to religion’s role in spirituality and can there be spirituality for atheists. A great discussion book for intellectuals.
Soul to Soul by Gary Zukov
Zukov draws from vast experiences in his own life and the lives of others to explore how these ‘Soul Subjects’ help us to rely on our own spirit or soul to guide us in our lives. He shows us how our souls can be a guiding force helping us with letting go, to stop making harmful assumptions and with the decision making processes we face every day. Zukov also looks at ‘Soul Questions’ such as “how can I love” and “how can I discover my life’s purpose” and helps to guide us by showing us how to answer these questions and move toward fulfillment and meaning in our lives.
The New Codependency by Melodie Beattie
Expanding on her initial breakthrough book Codependent No More, Beattie discusses how codependency issues still affect today’s generation with the advent of technology (i.e. carrying your cell phone obsessively waiting for ‘his’ call) yet still addresses the age-old codependent experiences and issues with boundaries many people continue to face. Beattie shows us how reliance on a Higher Power and learning the ‘letting go process” can bring us to recovery from alcohol related issues that keep us from healing and growing.
Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
No spiritual book list could be complete without featuring Anne Lamott. Written in a witty, compelling manner, Lamott uses her vast experience to discuss how she has grown spiritually and found faith in unlikely places such as a drawn-out interchange with an unethical carpet vendor and a terrifying cab ride through the unfamiliar back streets of San Francisco.
Your Soul’s Compass. What is Spiritual Guidance by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D and Gordon Dveirin, Ed.D
This husband and wife team deliver a guide rich with wisdom from 27 ‘sages’, from Buddhist to shamanic, who, along with discourse from Borysenko and Dveirin, guide readers through spiritual processes such as gratitude and surrender. This book is designed to help us get back on track if we find ourselves spiritually stuck, no matter what beliefs we currently may have. It is written in a way that allows everyone’s truth to be respected while attempting to open up new views and give insight into the vast ways people’s own spirituality has changed their lives.