I can be classified as a certified book addict. Even though I Marie Kondo’d my apartment (or tried) I couldn’t part from my beloved paper friends who have guided me through life, kept me company during tough times, and allowed my mind to expand in uncountable ways. Reading books, fiction and non-fiction, increases empathy, opens the capacity for forgiveness, and heightens emotional intelligence. Health is not only what you put in your mouth but what you feed your soul. Here are our top 5 books that will nourish you and open your eyes to a different view of life:
1. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris
Sam Harris approaches spirituality and meditation in a no-thrills, hard science, and rational way. He taps into neuroscience to present the facts on the benefits of meditation and leading a spiritual life and argues that spirituality and religion can be mutually exclusive. He marries ancient wisdom and modern science together in an inspiring, unique way. As an unreligious person - this book really resonated with me
2. Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
Gunaratana really breaks down mindfulness and meditation in a way that makes it so accessible and easy to digest. He simply leads us through the myths, realities, science, and benefits of meditation with complete clarity and walks us through how to cultivate loving kindness (a necessity in today’s world.)
3. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan W. Watts
Watts was one of the early popularizers of Zen Buddhism in the West and here he underlines the importance of finding security in a society with an ever-quickening pace. He argues how this pace of society fueled by technology and such detaches us further from our authentic experiences and traps our mind into a circle of planning for the future, which never ends. He writes in such a relatable way and makes some of our familiar worrying thoughts seem strange and shows us how to challenge our habitual ways of thinking to live life more meaningfully.
4. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
Anna Lamott is such a delight to read. She’s sassy, witty, and writes in a way that makes you feel you’re having a conversation with your best friend. Here she dives into the three essential prayers - Help - asking for assistance from the universe, Thanks - cultivating gratitude and appreciating what we have now, and Wow - feeling awe and tapping into our inner to child to view the world around us with excitement. In her honest and frank way, she shows how these three prayers can help us get through the day and lead life more enjoyably and authentically.
5. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh has an extraordinary bibliography of spiritual books as he lived a life of principle - a Buddhist monk exiled from his home, Vietnam, for being active in the peace movement - he lived in France for years spreading his knowledge, kindness, and advice for living a more mindful life. This book is a perfect accompaniment to every day life - he shows how in the rush of our modern world, it’s easy to lose peace in each moment. He explains through personal stories, meditations, and life ponderings how we can transform antagonizing situations into something positive. Dirty dishes, traffic jams, plane delays, are “friends” that guide us back to the path of “mindfulness” and he stresses the process of being truly alive in each moment. All we have to do is breathe and smile to start.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. Let me know your favorite soul-feeding books in the comments!