Best Spiritual Memoirs

Best Nonfiction Book 5

Take a deep breath, and prepared to be awed: you’ve just entered my favorite room in my whole library.

What’s that, you say? It looks sort of–normal? But look again, won’t you? There in the corner: my old, ripped green sofa. The fireplace. The ringed coffee table by the window with the lamp that has just the right amount of light. There’s the book with creases and stains from my baby’s spitup.

No, there are no high ceilings here. No stained glass, no ancient works of art. This place is for the everyman. The plain folk.

This is where people like us are allowed to speak.

It’s a beautiful room, but its shelves aren’t yet full. The world needs more spirituality memoirs–many more. And as long as it keeps providing them, I’ll keep reading them–and updating this list.

I chose the books in the first section because they inspired me deeply, changed me for the better, and helped me find greater inner peace. The second section features all of the other spirituality memoirs I’ve come across in the spiritual-but-not-religious sector but may not have read yet. And I do mean all of them. (Like I said: we need lots more.)

By the way, a few of these memoirs come from a Christian, rather than a spiritual-but-not-religious, perspective. Sometimes you just gotta make exceptions.

Best Spiritual Memoirs is part of a larger project, a curriculum I’m writing called Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday. Like this list, it’s an ongoing, possibly unending, project. Check back here or subscribe on the right for updates.

P.S. Here are a few related links for you, too:

Best Spiritual Memoirs:

Autobiography of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
Learning to Eat Along the Way, Margaret Bendet
Sex, Drugs and Meditation: How One Woman Changed Her Life, Saved Her Job and Found a Husband, Mary-Lou Stephens
Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott
Plan B, Anne Lamott
Grace, Eventually, Anne Lamott
Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, Anne Lamott
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, Anne Lamott
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Anne Lamott
Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage,
Elizabeth Gilbert
Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle
Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle
How To Stay Married: The Adventures of a Woman Who Learnt to Travel Light in Life, Love and Relationships, Mary-Lou Stephens
Devotion: A Memoir, Dani Shapiro
The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It, Geneen Roth
Confessions of A Latter-Day Virgin, Nicole Hardy
Mennonite in A Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen
The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul: A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire, Noelle Oxenhandler
A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
Tremendous Trifles, G.K. Chesterton
The Cross and the Switchblade, David Wilkerson
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
He Came to Set the Captives Free, Rebecca Brown
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, Jill Bolte Taylor
Man’s Search for Meaning,
Victor Frankl
A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving and Waking Up,
Linda Leaming
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends, Mollie Player
The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation, Mollie Player
What I Learned from Jane, Mollie Player

Other Recommended Spiritual Memoirs:

Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, Priscilla Warner
Medicine Dance: One Woman’s Healing Journey into the World of Native American Sweatlodges, Drumming Meditations and Dance Fasts, Marsha Scarbrough
Girl in the Woods: A Memoir, Aspen Matis

Chasing Spirits: The Building of the “Ghost Adventures” Crew, Nick Groff and Jeff Belanger
Grief, Meth, Addiction, God & Zen: A 45 Year Old Man’s Journey With Death, Reality & Recovery, David Carlyle and Cynthia Sharp
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
The Ghosts and the Path: A Buddhist Monk’s Memoir, Ngawang Khechog
Meditations of a Modern Mystic, Maurine Doerken
The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating, Kiera Van Gelder
From Brooklyn to Benares and Back: A Spiritual Memoir, Dada Vedaprajinananda
On the Edge: Living with an Enlightened Master, Yoga Punya
I: A Meditation and a Memoir, Wiz Ji
Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed, Sonia Choquette
The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga: A Memoir, Andy Douglas

Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.

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After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.

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51 comments

  1. Nice list. I hope to put my own story out there some day. But lately, so much has been going on (with regards to personal evolution) that the story is still being written, but not ready to be penned yet. I particularly loved My Stroke of Insight. And I love near death experiences, like Anita Moorjani’s, Dying To Be Me, and Dr. Eben Alexander’s, Proof of Heaven.

  2. This is superb, I want to reblog, but I xsnt from my phone! Can you use my Contact Me form and link to your post? I want to reblog this tonight!! Great job

  3. Great list. Love Elizabeth Gilbert. I see many familiar books on the list, others that I need to go and hunt down 🙂 Thank you so much for the follow of my blog 🙂 Every blessing to you in your journey.

      1. Most of my spiritual readings have been along the lines of Gregg Braden, Doreen Virtue, Louis Hay, Wayne Dyer, Patrick O’Donohue and some others. Not exactly memoirs. I also have listened to a lot of healers/speakers on-line, too many to list. Just a few of my favourites are Panache Desai, Matt Kahn, Magenta Pixie, Jamye Price….

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