Tag Archives: Meditation

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "None of It Scares Me. I Have So Much Fun"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Me: Sometimes, we’re happy just because we’re happy. Other times, it takes a lot of work. What do you tell people who, unlike you, struggle with negativity and other emotional stuff on a daily basis?

Leta: My advice is to love what is. Just that.

Me: How? Can you give me a much clearer, more practical idea of what’s going on in your head as you are loving and appreciating throughout your day? Maybe a small example of a few moments inside your head?

Leta: Often, my head is just saying, “I love God.” I have thoughts. I’m human, after all. But my head is empty probably a lot more than most humans.

I will meet people I don’t like. I will encounter things and situations I don’t like. They may even be grotesque to my sensibilities. However, I am challenged to love the divine within all things. I am challenged to be One with all things. I am challenged to broaden my perspective so that I find the divine innocence at the heart of everything. I am challenged to love and accept everyone, even people I don’t like. If I meet someone I don’t like, I ask myself if this is a situation I can change. Am I willing to put forth the effort to like them (which would mean changing everything about myself, going into another personality and being someone I am not)? The answer is no. However, I can see the divine innocence in them. I can understand them and love them even though I may not like them. None of it scares me. I love it all. I have a relationship with myself that allows for constant self-inquiry leading to understanding and love that takes me beyond the disconnected to the connected. I have so much fun.

Leta

Best Near Death Experience Books

If you don’t love a great dear neath experience book, check your pulse; you’re probably already dead. (Miss you.) That said, books in this sub-genre are not all created equal. Some are super inspiring, while others just aren’t quite to my taste. A lot of them come from a religious perspective I don’t agree with and others are, well, a bit corny. That said, the stories themselves (sans lesson plan) can be interesting regardless.

I chose the books in the first list below because I’ve read and enjoyed them and because they offer good, practical life advice. If you want to get more immersed the subject, though, try the books in the “Other Recommended Near Death Experience Books” section. I chose them because they’re either well-known, seemingly well-researched, or just recommended on some website somewhere. (High standards, I know.)

My favorite book from this list: Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita-Moorjani. That book is definitely my friend.

I also highly encourage you to check out the TV series I Survived: Beyond and Back on Lifetime. Full episodes are available for free at mylifetime.com.

Best Near Death Experience Books 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 Near Death Experience Books:

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, Anita-Moorjani
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
Life After Life: The Bestselling Original Investigation That Revealed “Near-Death Experiences”, Raymond Moody
Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death, Chris Carter
Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die, David Kessler

Other Recommended Near Death Experience Books:

Application of Impossible Things: A Near Death Experience in Iraq, Natalie Sudman
Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind, Kenneth Ring
Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You, John Burke and Don Piper
Beyond Sight: The True Story of a Near-Death Experience, Marion Rome
Near Death in the ICU: Stories from Patients Near Death and Why We Should Listen to Them, Laurin Bellg MD
Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry
God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience, Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry
My Journey to Heaven: What I Saw and How It Changed My Life, Marvin J. Besteman and Lorilee Craker
Love The Person You’re With: Life-Changing Insights from the Most Compelling Near-Death Experiences Ever Recorded, David Sunfellow
Dying to Wake Up: A Doctor’s Voyage into the Afterlife and the Wisdom He Brought Back, Rajiv Parti and Raymond Moody
Life After Death, Powerful Evidence You Will Never Die, Stephen Hawley Martin
Real Messages From Heaven: And Other True Stories of Miracles, Divine Intervention and Supernatural Occurrences, Faye Aldridge
Near-Death Experiences, The Rest of the Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose, P. M. H. Atwater
Embraced By The Light, Betty J. Eadie
Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience, Pim van Lommel
Near-Death Experiences Examined: Medical Findings and Testimonies from Lourdes, Patrick Theillier
Awakenings from the Light: 12 Life Lessons from a Near Death Experience, Nancy Rynes
Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven: A Brief Introduction in Plain Language, J. Steve Miller and Jeffrey Long
Near Death Experiences of Doctors and Scientists: Doctors, and Scientists Describe Their Personal Near-Death Experiences, John J. Graden
Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully, Penny Sartori and Pim van Lommel
The Night I Spoke to God: A Miraculous True Story of A Near-Death Experience, Michael L. Eads
The Gifts of Near-Death Experiences: You Don’t Have to Die to Experience Your True Home, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Dennis Linn
How To Stop Negative Thoughts: What My Near-Death-Experience Taught Me About Mind Loops, Neuroscience, and Happiness, Barbara Ireland
Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife, Leslie Kean
NDE: They Went To Heaven And Back – Stories of People That Got A Second Chance, Gerard Radcliff
The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die, P.M.H. Atwater

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

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "There Is No Real Meditation"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Me: What is the essence of meditation? What is it, really?

Leta: What is real about meditation other than the practice of being present in your body, experiencing an IS-ness and connecting to a bigger-than-small-you field? There is no real meditation in my experience. Anything that promotes a feeling of bigger-than-small-you experience is a meditation. It can be folding the laundry, washing the dishes, sitting down on the toilet and so much more! There is meditation in everything. It is how you approach the experience that counts. Like a plug, we can plug in anything we do in our daily lives into the socket of “bigger-than-small-me” experience. This is the key to meditation in my experience.

Leta

Best Free Alternative Spirituality Ebooks

What could be better than a great alternative spirituality book that’s also free? Not much. Not much at all. But if you’ve ever done a Google search for “free spiritual ebook” or “free alternative spirituality ebook,” you know it’s not that easy. There are thousands and thousands of these volumes online, some from ages ago and some published just last week. Where do you start?

My advice: Start with the classics. Not just any of the classics, though; the ones that have received wide appreciation. Then take my advice (and the advice of others) on the modern stuff.

I chose these books because they inspired me deeply, changed me for the better, and helped me find greater inner peace. Let me know what else is out there that deserves to be here and I will gratefully update this list.

Best Free Alternative Spirituality Ebooks is an ongoing project. Check back here or subscribe on the right for updates.

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

And if you would like to venture further into free ebook land, see my list of Free Spirituality Ebooks Websites.

Best Free Alternative Spirituality Ebooks:

The Work of Byron Katie: An Introduction, Byron Katie
Beginning Your Love Revolution, Matt Kahn
Hoist on My Own Petard: Or: How Writing 10% Happier Threw My Own Advice Right Back in My Face, Dan Harris
Autobiography of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
As a Man Thinketh, James Allen
Secret of the Ages, Robert Collier
Be Still, Emmet Fox
Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill
Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes
Feeling Is The Secret, Neville Goddard
The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale
Scientific Christian Mental Practice, Emma Curtis Hopkins
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
100 Daily Messages Volumes One through Four, Leta Hamilton and Archangel Michael
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

Self-Help Success Story: “I Tried Mantra Meditation for Depression”

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For several months, I had a mantra. A long one, one that I made up that said everything I wanted to remember each day. Since I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with many other types of meditation (I’ve pretty much always used mantras as a focal point during sitting practice rather than focusing on the breath or just clearing my mind), I figured I might as well make it a good, complete one. Each stanza is, for me, a consolidation of a great spiritual principle that upon contemplation can allow us to feel the feeling of feeling good (my definition of the state of meditation).

Here is the mantra that I used:

Angels, guides, God and all there is,  

1.
Please. Please.  
Help. Help.

2.
Notice. Notice.  
Accept. Accept.

3.
Surrender. Surrender.  
Flow. Flow.   

4.
Love. Love.
Give. Give.

5.
Body. Body.
Energy. Energy.

6.
Thank you. Thank you.
Life. Life.

I love this mantra. I love mantras in general, actually. And yet, I don’t use this one anymore. In fact, for the past year or so, I’ve used mantras only sporadically. Why is this? The reason is simple: other spiritual practices took precedent.

I just don’t have time for them all.

Here, a self-interview about using this practice for depression.

So do you recommend mantra meditation for depression, or not?

Absolutely. I have a strong feeling that I will circle back to it–maybe even to using it daily–after my Byron Katie obsession is no longer in the critical learning period.

And mantras in general? Do they help, too? Or is it best to combine them with meditation?

Mantras are just mantras. Unless they’re used in a certain way, in a meditative frame of mind, they’re just not all that effective.

I remember a time several years back when I thought I wanted to buy a particular house. So one day I said this mantra over and over for, like, a solid hour while doing yoga: “This is my house.” And I didn’t feel at peace about it at all–and I did not end up buying that house (thank God).

So what was the difference?

First, the mantra should be something that feels deeply right to you. Something that really increases your peace. And second, the mantra should be something you use as a means to an end–achieving a state of meditation–not as an end in itself.

So does that mean you shouldn’t use mantras while doing the laundry or at work?

Not at all. Sit-down meditation is awesome, but you can meditate anytime. I call this “walking meditation.”

How effective is mantra meditation for depression, really?

The thing about being depressed is that it’s really, really hard to boost yourself up out of it using the usual methods. I can remember so many times that I tried to force myself out of a bad mood using some kind of sitting or walking meditation, usually with a mantra, and just ended up more pissed off and frustrated. Maybe I’m just really bad at it (actually, I’m pretty sure this is the case). But I have a feeling I’m not the only one with this problem.

Sometimes it works really well. Other times, it’s just not enough. Personally, I’ve found that meditation is best when I’m already feeling either emotionally neutral (it then kicks me into a bit of a high) or already positive (it then kicks me into an awesome high). When I’m actually depressed, I need something … stronger.

Best Alternative Spirituality Children’s Books

I love buying books for myself. Like, a lot. But guess what? I love buying them for my kids even more.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the topic of alternative spirituality, children’s books are relatively rare. Here’s a list of those I’ve discovered so far. Please let me know of others you discover and fall in love with.

Best Alternative Spirituality Books for Children:

Sara, Book 1: Sara Learns the Secret About the Law of Attraction, Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks
Sara, Book 2: Solomon’s Fine Featherless Friend, Esther Hicks
Sara, Book 3: A Talking Owl is Worth a Thousand Words!, Esther Hicks
Sara and the Foreverness of Friends of a Feather, Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks
Om Baby, Child of the Universe, Schamet Horsfield
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents), Eline Snel
Milton’s Secret, Eckhart Tolle
Emir’s Education in the Proper Use of Magical Powers, Jane Roberts
New Thought Children Stories, Christopher Morley
Emma & Mommy Talk to God, Marianne Williamson
I Am, Wayne Dyer and Kristina Tracy
Incredible You!, Wayne Dyer and Kristina Tracy
It’s Not What You’ve Got!, Wayne Dyer and Kristina Tracy
No Excuses!, Wayne Dyer and Kristina Tracy
Unstoppable Me!, Wayne Dyer and Kristina Tracy
Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again, Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm
The Four Questions: For Henny Penny and Anybody with Stressful Thoughts, Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm
Santa’s God: A Children’s Fable About the Biggest Question Ever, Neale Donald Walsch
All the World, Liz Garton Scanlon
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss

Self-Help Success Story: “I Tried Positive Thinking for Depression”

Is positive thinking effective for increasing wellness and inner peace? I mean, really. It’s so corny. So Pollyanna. And yet, we spiritual people swear by it. Non-spiritual people, too. We give it credit for so many of our life achievements.

What gives?

I love this question. Really, really love it, partly because the answer isn’t straightforward. So the other week when I ran across an interview with Eckhart Tolle and Dr. Wayne Dyer in which it was asked, my ears perked up.

Strangely, positivity is a very polarizing subject. You have the extreme believers and the extreme haters. The believers think it’s the reason for everything good that ever happens (I’m looking at you, Rhonda Byrne). The haters view these people as not only misled, but downright ridiculous. Barbara Ehrenreich, for example, has become well known for books like Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Not the book idea I’d want to commit to for several years of my working life.

But there are a few less skeptical, more balanced approaches to the anti-positivity argument as well. And I was pleased that in the Dyer-Tolle interview, both shared interesting, balanced perspectives. They agreed that if a person really wants to achieve greater inner peace, positivity isn’t the goal, or even necessarily a great starting point. Instead, they say, work on being true to yourself, being honest–even if there’s some difficult emotions that come up.

Then Dyer mentioned Anita Moorjani, who wrote a book (Dying to Be Me) about her near death experience and what she learned from it. In it, she says that it’s not about positive thinking. It’s not about manufacturing good feelings where there are none. It’s not about mantras, and the law of attraction, and The Secret, and Norman Vincent Peale.

Positive thinking is a mere substitute for the real thing. Real enlightenment. Real joy. Real love.

It’ll only get you part of the way.

Pema Chodron would likely agree. Her (awesome) books are full of insights about the importance of honesty and authenticity–even suffering. She has a ton–really, just a ton–of amazing quotes on this topic. Here’s one, from When Things Fall Apart: “To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.”

So, okay. Maybe positive thinking isn’t all it’s touted to be. But, well–what is, right? Any idea that has entered the popular consciousness with as much force and repetition (not to mention anecdotal and even scientific evidence, a la the placebo effect) suffers from oversimplification syndrome. Maybe positivity isn’t the cure-all, or even one of the truly great spiritual practices out there. That doesn’t mean I’m giving it up anytime soon.

Briefly, here’s my take: As many of you know, I’ve experienced chronic dysthemia (low-level depression) for most of my life. Spirituality and prayer have always been a source of help for me, as have many other practices. But the very first true breakthrough I ever experienced regarding my depression resulted from reading a book on changing one’s thoughts. It was called Telling Yourself the Truth: Find Your Way Out of Depression, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Other Common Problems by Applying the Principles of Misbelief Therapy, and I still recommend it to this day (though there are other, similar books on the subject I prefer now). The basic message: your negative thoughts are responsible for your negative feelings. To change the feeling, change the thought. Oh, and by the way, those negative thoughts aren’t true, anyway–not nearly as true as the more objective–and yes, more positive–alternative perspectives.

The message was simple, and in some ways quite obvious, and yet, as a Christian who had always relied on prayer alone for healing, it was radical to me. When I began “taking my thoughts captive,” as the Bible teaches, I was finally able to cap off some of the depression.

These days, I use positive thinking as a tool every day of my life, both in a knee-jerk sort of way and as a dedicated journaling practice. Don’t get me wrong–I’d love to be more like Eckhart Tolle, who is able to “just be.” And Moorjani, who tells us that rather than try to drum up better-feeling thoughts, we should simply live a life that celebrates who we really, authentically are–whatever that may be.

I’m working on it.

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "Meditation Gives Me a Feeling of Vastness"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages

Me: People describe the feeling of meditation in different ways. For some, it’s just relaxation. For me, it’s slightly increased peace–a bit of space between myself and my neurotic mind. What does meditation feel like to you?

Leta: When I meditate, I see myself as the vast universe. I feel a hugeness from the inside out that can only be described as vast empty space. When I see a photo of the universe, of galaxies and the lights emerging from them, the colors they display, I feel that is the best description, visually speaking, of what I feel inwardly as I meditate.

I feel the whole universe is the space of my inner self.

This feeling is cherished and it is why I return to meditation again and again. Even when I have moments without meditation (without that feeling of vastness from the inside out), I remember it and return to it. Whether I am in the kitchen, car or store, I return to the vastness I feel when I am in meditation. Maybe that explains why I maintain the notion that meditation is more than just sitting with eyes closed and legs crossed. It is any time the feeling of vastness comes over me.

Me: Are you able to feel this anytime, even when you’re not alone?

Leta: It is harder to accomplish in the company of others. When I am with others, I am pulled back into the world and the illusion of separation. I am pulled into the physicality present in our form-sense orientation. I am reminded of my humanness when I am with others. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. However, I desire the balance of isolation as well to accompany it. I desire my own time without having to speak to another soul as much as I desire human interaction, love, friendship, and all the things intertwined with human-experiencing.

So I only have this to say: meditate. Breathe. Give back to society in whatever way you can. Volunteer. Think about others in everything you do. Lose yourself happily, because you are seeking nothing. Nothing means no-thing. Give yourself permission not to have goals–to have the goal of loving what is every moment.

That is the most awesome goal of all.

Vision boards, the law of attraction, bringing into your reality what you visualize/hold in your mind, etc., are part of the game of living on earth and they have their place, but I am more interested in being the galaxy and all the galaxies. I am more interested in returning to that place of great big BIG-ness that I feel when I meditate.

It must be a rush of endorphins or whatever brain chemicals rush through my skull that cause me to be so drawn to that meditative state. It is pure bliss and it comes whenever I am focused, steady and silent in my Self. It comes whenever I tell it to, but that is after years of practice.

Love.

Leta

Self-Help Success Story: “What’s Happening to Me Is What’s Happening In My Own Mind–Nothing Else”

In the world of alternative spirituality, it’s become a bit of a cliche: Everything we see, everything we experience, is merely ourselves, reflected back at us. We are here to discover who we really are, say our Buddhist teachers (like the great Pema Chodron) and our channels (like Esther Hicks, Jane Roberts and many others). This is supposed to make us feel better when things go wrong, I suppose; it’s not really happening, right?

But that isn’t the only reason we appreciate this teaching. We also like it because it gives us a sense of control. In his awesome pop psychology bestseller, What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, David DiSalvo tells us about the human mind’s neurotic need for certainty and understanding–even in the face of very few facts.

Knowing what’s really going on at all times–with ourselves and everyone around us–is a major driving force of our actions and thoughts, he writes. There is a distinct physical and chemical pleasure response from coming up with a reason or explanation–no matter how accurate that explanation may be.

Enter all kinds of false conclusions. We even assign meaning to pure coincidence, making causal inferences from scant information.

And in Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Professor of Behavioral Economics Dan Ariely agrees.

So in a sense, believing the world is a projection of our own minds is a pretty attractive scenario. If I can change my mind, I can change my life, we conclude. Who doesn’t want that kind of power?

However, there’s a flip side to this perceived super power, a quandary to consider: What about when something goes wrong? Who do we blame when someone is truly mean, truly heinous, truly inconsiderate, truly . . . well, wrong?

Hmmmm . . . . That’s a hard one, isn’t it?

Clearly, your partner was not being nice when he told you he’d rather spend a night out with the guys than with you. Obviously, your mother should never suggest you go on a diet, and your sister is unfair to expect you to babysit her kids every week.

I mean, let’s face it: It’s one thing to believe in theory that everything that happens is a just projection of ourselves. It’s another thing entirely to act like we believe it, to truly believe that we’re the only ones responsible for our reality.

Some spiritual-but-not-religious folks have a code word for what happens when things go wrong. They call it “co-creation.” They think that even enlightened people experience bad stuff on occasion (in other words, even Esther Hicks gets sick). This is because, well, we’re not really the only ones out here on this plane of reality. And some, but not all, of the out-there stuff affects us.

We’re all in this thing together.

Another explanation, which I like even better, comes from a lesser-known but equally awesome teacher named Matt Kahn. (Get a free long excerpt of his book, Whatever Arises, Love That, here.) Kahn says that when bad stuff happens, it’s not because you didn’t create or visualize right; it’s because there’s some serious work going on inside you. The idea is similar to the Buddhist idea of working out one’s karma. (See Kahn’s video, “The Karmic Return,” for more.)

For quite a while, I accepted these explanations, and in fact I still do–partly. I do believe (for now, anyway) that there really are other people out there, and that those other people are actually doing things. If reality is a projection, I think it’s a collective one.

However, there’s another layer to this idea that I only recently truly discovered. And the teacher that led me to it was Byron Katie.

Here is Katie’s take on the topic in a nutshell. She says that it’s not that so-called “bad” stuff never happens to enlightened or “advanced” people. (She probably gets her disproportionate share of hate mail, for example, due to her nobody-is-a-victim philosophy.) But when you know that a comment just isn’t true, that comment doesn’t feel truly mean to you anymore. Instead, it just feels like pain. It feels like an angry child is speaking to you, someone who doesn’t understand you–someone who’s hurt and afraid.

Recently, I started using Byron Katie’s method of questioning my negative beliefs, and it has really changed things for me. I didn’t realize how negative I was until I started writing down the automatic thoughts in my mind. From the first time I did The Work (Byron Katie’s name for her process, which is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy), I was able to step back significantly from my experiences and realize that what happens to me isn’t really what’s happening to me. What’s happening to me is what’s happening in my own mind.

Needless to say, this was an incredibly freeing revelation.

I would really, really love for you to go down the Byron Katie rabbit hole with me. For a very short video introduction to her view on this topic, watch “Byron Katie explains a post: ‘Your partner’s flaws are your own, because you’re projecting them” on YouTube

Best Alternative Spirituality Blogs

I love a heartfelt, person-to-person alternative spirituality blog. And of course, I love to hear different perspectives on spirituality–not just articles, but real opinions. These bloggers deliver on all these points. Hope you like them, too.

Best Alternative Spirituality Blogs:

Notes for Creators, written by Evan Griffith

He’s not just spiritual. He’s creative. And his whole mission in life is to inspire you to be more creative, too–to make your dreams into goals, and goals into achievements. (Oh, and he’s a really good writer.)

Relax Like a Boss by Julian Goldie

This is a collection of mindfulness and spirituality blogs by Julian Goldie. You will get sucked in . . .

Good Vibe Blog, written by Jeannette Maw

She’s a pro. What more can I say? If you’re a law of attraction type, follow away. You won’t be disappointed.

Deliberate Receiving, written by Melody Fletcher

Snarky. Sarcastic. Super fun. Spiritual. All the stuff we want from a blogger. Her posts are long and very well thought-out. And she’s got a huge following, and a book.

Byron Katie Blog, written (recorded?) by Byron Katie

Normally, I don’t do online videos. I like the quiet too much. But I’ve gotten addicted to Byron Katie’s amazing, life-altering perspective. She is my new guru, for sure.

True Divine Nature, written by Matt Kahn and Julie Dittmar

What a duo these two are. And their message is really exceptional. Their blog could use a little more TLC, but I like keeping their work in my thoughts and learning about what they’re up to. And if you haven’t yet seen a Matt Kahn YouTube video, well, you may not yet truly be living. His videos are his real blog.

Mom On A Spiritual Journey, written by Sarah Lawrence Hinson

Motherhood and spirituality, all jumbled up together? This woman is speaking my language. Here are some article titles that give you an idea of what to expect from this straightforward blog: “The cold hard ugly truth about spirituality,” “6 good reasons to have an Akashic records reading,” and “Set up your computer browser for spiritual practice.” Sold! (How do I do that?)

Thoughts. Stories. Life., written by Sarah Centrella

I’ve been following Centrella for some years now, and she’s come a long way, baby. Her book, Hustle Believe Receive, is awesome, and I enjoy her vulnerability on topics from motherhood to midlife.

Happiness Beyond Thought, written by Gary Weber

Spirituality, science, philosophy–always a great combination. This is a blog for people who like to keep up on the latest research in spiritual practice, particularly Buddhist practices and meditation.

Spiritual Living Blog, written by Amanda Linette Meder

A psychic with a blog. What a world, my friends. Meder gets it right, though, and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Lora Nedkov’s Blog, written by Lora Nedkov

Nedkov is a spiritual counselor, and her posts seek to inspire you to treat yourself with more kindness, love and grace. She uses A Course in Miracles as her basic text.

All Considering, written by Katinka Hesselink

Hesselink asks tough questions, then answers them from her unique perspective. She doesn’t put on airs, though–this is a real person just telling it like she sees it.

Erin Pavlina, written by Erin Pavlina

Pavlina is a channel who writes about reincarnation, divination, omens and the like, bringing some common sense to her uncommon ability. Here’s a sample of her direct writing style:

“Let’s say you’re some bloke named Oliver Queen and you die, are you still Oliver Queen on the other side, like forever? Or do you become someone else? Something else?

People ask me variations of this question a lot …”

Other Top Alternative Spirituality Blogs:

Maybe these aren’t so much blogs as just websites with a bunch of good content. Either way, they merit attention, for obvious reasons. (Namely, that they have a huge following and promote authors who have changed the world.)

EckhartTolle.com, written by Eckhart Tolle and team

Kryon.com, written by Lee Carroll and team

Abraham-Hicks.com, written by Esther Hicks and team

Marianne’s Blog, written by Marianne Williamson

Osho.com, written by various contributors

Bashar: The Official Site of Bashar Channeled by Darryl Anka, written by Darryl Anka and team

Best Channeled Books


What could be better than reading direct revelations from the other side? Not much, as it turns out. Channeled books give us something we get nowhere else: crazy-sounding rants from spiritual beings who for various reasons haven’t quite perfected their English grammar.

Oh, and some unique, life-changing firsthand insights, too.

For these reasons, Best Channeled Books is a book category that’s close to my heart, as it may be to yours. 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 channeled books I’ve come across but may not have read yet. Let me know what I’ve missed and I will update this list and likely promptly devour.

Best Channeled Books 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 Channeled Books:

Conversations with God, Parts One through Three, Neale Donald Walsch
The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
The Magical Approach: Seth Speaks About the Art of Creative Living, Jane Roberts and Seth
Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Jane Roberts and Seth
Whatever Arises, Love That, Matt Kahn
A New Dispensation: Plain Talk for Confusing Times, Kryon Book Ten, Lee Carroll and Kryon
100 Daily Messages Volumes One through Four, Leta Hamilton and Archangel Michael

Other Recommended Channeled Books:

Neale Donald Walsch:

Friendship with God, Neale Donald Walsch
Communion with God,
Neale Donald Walsch
The New Revelations, Neale Donald Walsch
Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge, Neale Donald Walsch
Home with God, Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch Books That Aren’t Channeled:

Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 1, Nancy Ways
Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 2,
Anne-Marie Barbier
Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 3,
Alissa Goefron
The Conversations with God Companion: The Essential Tool for Individual and Group Study, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God for Teens, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God for Teens Guidebook, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations With God for Parents: Sharing the Messages with Children, Neale Donald Walsch
Meditations from Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch
Meditations from Conversations With God: Book 1, Neale Donald Walsch
Meditations from Conversations With God, Book 2: A Personal Journal, Neale Donald Walsch
Questions and Answers on Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch
The Wedding Vows from Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch and Nancy Fleming-Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch on Relationships, Neale Donald Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch on Holistic Living, Neale Donald Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch on Abundance and Right Livelihood, Neale Donald Walsch
Applications for Living from Conversations With God (compilation of three books; Relationships, Holistic Living, and Abundance and Right Livelihood), Neale Donald Walsch
Bringers of the Light, Neale Donald Walsch
Recreating Your Self, Neale Donald Walsch
Moments of Grace: When God Touches Our Lives Unexpectedly, Neale Donald Walsch
Part of the Change: Your Role As A Spiritual Helper, Neale Donald Walsch
Happier Than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience, Neale Donald Walsch
When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace, Neale Donald Walsch
The Little Book of Life: A User’s Manual, Neale Donald Walsch
The Mother of Invention: The Legacy of Barbara Marx Hubbard and the Future of YOU, Neale Donald Walsch
When God Steps In, Miracles Happen, Neale Donald Walsch
The Storm Before the Calm, Neale Donald Walsch
What God Wants: A Compelling Answer to Humanity’s Biggest Question, Neale Donald Walsch
The Only Thing That Matters, Neale Donald Walsch
What God Said, Neale Donald Walsch
God’s Message To The World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God: The Making of the Movie, Monty Jones with Neale Donald Walsch
Re-Minder Cards: Conversations With God, Book 1, Neale Donald Walsch

Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham:

Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing,
Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
The Teachings of Abraham: The Master Course CD Program, 11-CD set, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
Getting Into The Vortex: Guided Meditations CD and User Guide, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
A New Beginning I: Handbook for Joyous Survival, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
A New Beginning II: A Personal Handbook to Enhance Your Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham

Jane Roberts and Seth:

The Nature of Personal Reality, Jane Roberts and Seth
The Seth Material, Jane Roberts
The “Unknown” Reality, Volume One, Jane Roberts and Seth
The “Unknown” Reality, Volume Two, Jane Roberts and Seth
The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression, Jane Roberts and Seth
Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Volume One, Jane Roberts and Seth
Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Volume Two, Jane Roberts and Seth
A Seth Reader, Jane Roberts
The Early Sessions (Sessions 1 through 510 of the Seth Material), Jane Roberts
The Personal Sessions, Jane Roberts
The Early Class Sessions, Jane Roberts
Seth, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness, Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts Books That Aren’t Channeled:

How To Develop Your ESP Power/ The Coming of Seth, Jane Roberts
Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, Jane Roberts
Dialogues of the Soul and Mortal Self in Time, Jane Roberts
Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book, Jane Roberts
The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Jane Roberts
The Oversoul Seven Trilogy, Jane Roberts
The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto, Jane Roberts
If We Live Again, Or, Public Magic and Private Love, Jane Roberts

Lee Carroll and Kryon:

The End Times: New Information for Personal Peace, Kryon Book One, Lee Carroll and Kryon
Don’t Think Like a Human: Channelled Answers to Basic Questions, Kryon Book Two,
Lee Carroll and Kryon
Alchemy of the Human Spirit: A Guide to Human Transition into the New Age, Kryon Book Three, Lee Carroll and Kryon
The Parables of Kryon, Kryon Book Four, Lee Carroll and Kryon
The Journey Home, Kryon Book Five, Lee Carroll and Kryon
Partnering with God: Practical Information for the New Millennium, Kryon Book Six, Lee Carroll and Kryon
Letters from Home: Loving Messages from the Family, Kryon Book Seven, Lee Carroll and Kryon
Passing The Marker: Understanding the New Millennium Energy, Kryon Book Eight, Lee Carroll and Kryon
The New Beginning: 2002 and Beyond, Kryon Book Nine, Lee Carroll and Kryon
Lifting the Veil: The New Energy Apolcalypse, Kryon Book Eleven, Lee Carroll and Kryon
The Twelve Layers of DNA: An Esoteric Study of the Mastery Within, Kryon Book Twelve, Lee Carroll and Kryon
The Recalibration of Humanity: 2013 and Beyond, Kryon Book Thirteen, Lee Carroll and Kryon

Lee Carroll Books That Aren’t Channeled:

The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived, Lee Carroll
Indigo Celebration: More Messages, Stories, and Insights from the Indigo Children,
Lee Carroll
The Indigo Children Ten Years Later: What’s Happening with the Indigo Teenagers!, Lee Carroll and Jan Tober

Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias:

The Creator Series, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Live Your Divinity, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Journey of the Angels, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Masters in the New Energy, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Act of Consciousness, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Crimson Circle Library (video, audio and text), Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
The Tobias Materials: The Creator Series – New Tools for Our New Spiritual Journey, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Masters in the New Energy, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
A Letter to Awakening Humans, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Call to Awaken (Audio CD), Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Opening into Consciousness – A Guided Experience (Audio CD), Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
The Twelve Signs of Your Awakening Divinity, Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
Journey of the Angels: The Tobias Materials, Geoffrey Hoppe, Tobias and Linda Benyo

Other Recommended Channeled Books and Channels:

A Course in Miracles, Helen Shucman
The Great Human Potential: Walking in One’s Own Light, Wendy Kennedy
Darryl Anka and Bashar
A Vision, W.B. Yeats
The Great Shift: Co-Creating a New World for 2012 and Beyond, Martine Vallee
The Secret of Effortless Doing: Be . . . And It Will Be, Ronny and Zach Sivan
Oahspe Bible, John Ballou Newbrough
The Cosmic Tradition, Max Theon and Alma Theon
Book of the Law, Aleister Crowley
Toward the Light, Johanne Agerskov
Arten and Pursah Channelings, Gary Renard
The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, Levi H. Dowling
The Urantia Book
George Van Tassel
Gina Lake
Eileen Caddy
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
JZ Knight
Rueckert
John Edward
Sylvia Browne
James Van Praagh
Lisa Williams
John Holland
Sally Morgan
Vladimir Megre

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

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "Loving God Gives Me Joy"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages

Mollie: Other than saying “I love you, God” repeatedly, is there something you do to stay in touch with the Divine during the day? What do you do when you’re at loose ends?

Leta: When I am at loose ends, I usually muscle test. Muscle testing has been a huge tool in my life and I use it every day. (For more on this, read David Hawkins’ Power Versus Force.) This technique is so useful in my life I don’t know how to emphasize it strongly enough.

Loose ends means time to check in. I think of many things … and check in as I go along. Sometimes the guidance is to just sit, breathe, be patient, wait. Sometimes the guidance is to move to a different room. Sometimes it is to write. Sometimes to watch TV. There is no rule to it.

Listening, centering and checking in are my go-to pauses when I don’t know where to go next, what to do next. I wait until the thing comes. Often, it is a small micro-movement. It can be as simple as turning my body in a different direction.

I think that is why I am called to do yoga once a week. It is full of micro-movements. That is such a big thing for me. I was just thinking about that today … the micro-movements of my yoga class. It totally makes sense now.

I have a fun time on Netflix. I watch these shows that I love and just learn, learn, learn about people. The kids are directed by me about a fifth of the time and the rest is left to peers, Dad, TV and all the rest of the world (church, extended family, school, etc.).

It feels like a balance to me. If that helps, then I am glad. I never know if I am helping or not.

I just do my best to love God. That is pretty much the meaning of everything to me. To love God creates joy in my heart. I love God so much. I can’t express enough how much the love of God plays into my being-ness from moment to moment. It is the reason I live. I feel like a religious fanatic … but that really is how I function from day to day. Life is getting through the days learning how to love God more. God is not a concept or an idea, but a living energy that flows through me with every breath.

I love God!!! I don’t know how else to put it.

Thank you for letting me share. Peace out!

Leta

Spiritual enlightenment. It isn’t just for gurus anymore.

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Lately I’ve been noticing that the term “spiritual enlightenment” has lost some of its exclusivity. People–friends of mine, and a few authors I’ve read–define it in a multitude of ways: peace. Calm. Positivity. Joy: smiling joy, constant joy, childlike, carefree joy.

Right now, I like this definition: happiness.

Isn’t that the best definition of spiritual enlightenment there is? It’s not knowing God; as I am part of God, I already know her. It’s not something you do; doing is not ultimately important in this life. It’s not having the ability to meditate for hours on end, though clarity of thought is a very wonderful thing.

It’s just happiness.

Happiness is the truth of life, and happiness is enlightenment.

And when you put it that way, suddenly enlightenment feels much more attainable; I know I can get it because, after all, I’ve gotten it before—a little.

Even recently I’ve gotten it. As I have tried to discipline myself to think positively on a continual basis, especially regarding my body, I have felt the happiness that I desire to feel all the time to some (heretofore small) degree.

Now, I just want it more.

How can we remember to be spiritual? You know, on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis?

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Still reading Conversations With God, Part Three, and still loving it. Today read a passage in which the God character discusses people who’ve had near-death experiences. He says that even though these experiences are incredibly powerful and life-changing (like the spiritual awakenings that many of the rest of us have had, only much more extreme), after a time the person usually forgets what they’ve learned.

“Is there a way to keep remembering?” Walsch’s character asks God.

God replies that there is. He says that we must remember that the world we see around us is really an illusion, and that instead of acting based on what we see and experience here and now we must act according to what we know is really true, in the world beyond this temporary physical place. Because in the world of the spirit, everything is perfect, everything is beautiful, everything is right, and there is no sin, and no pain, and no fear and no struggle, nor will there ever be.

And that is of course my true goal in life, my challenge—the challenge not just of losing weight, but of achieving enlightenment, and of finally being truly, deeply happy. Not just fulfilled—not just pretty happy.

But really, really, truly, smiling, singing, spreading-it-around, happy.

I have never experienced this feeling on a continual basis, but I have gotten glimpses of it—recently quite a few, actually. I’ve known what it’s like to be able to hold on to my understanding that it is all much bigger than this visible world, with its longing, its pain, its perceived desire—even one as huge and consuming as the desire to be thin—and that it is all truly well with my soul, and with the world, and it always would really be.

So I am not there yet.

But I am getting closer.

Best of the Best: My Favorite Alternative Spirituality Books of All

Okay, so these aren’t the expected choices. They’re not all classics or best sellers, or even the most substantial, information-heavy works. But I stand by my selections in this list. They’re the alternative spirituality books I liked the most. The most inspiring, the most fun to read–and the ones that helped me the most, too.

So there.

Best of the Best: My Favorite Alternative Spirituality Books of All is an ongoing project. Check back here or subscribe on the right for updates.

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

Best of the Best: My Favorite Alternative Spirituality Books of All:

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
I Need Your Love – Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them, Byron Katie and Michael Katz
Who Would You Be Without Your Story?: Dialogues with Byron Katie, Byron Katie
Conversations with God, Parts One through Three, Neale Donald Walsch
Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza and Bob Berman
100 Daily Messages Volumes One through Four, Leta Hamilton and Archangel Michael
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks and Abraham
Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, Candace Pert
Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani
Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
The Search For Grace: A Documented Case of Murder and Reincarnation, Bruce Goldberg
Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More, Joe Vitale
Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, Brian Weiss
Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, Dan Harris
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh
Whatever Arises, Love That, Matt Kahn
Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable–and Couldn’t, Steve Volk
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel
The Shack, William Young
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

Best Scientific Spiritual Books

Every day, science is merging with spirituality in new and fascinating ways. The fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, positive psychology and many more are offering us some of the most coffee shop conversation-worthy stories out there.

When you’re in the mood to expand your scientific knowledge (to impress a date, maybe?); to learn more about various super practical, scientifically researched spiritual practices; or simply to become a smarter, more well-rounded person, flip through one or more of these awesome works. There’s so much nerdy fun in their pages. And remember: the more heavy stuff you read, the lighter the next heavy stuff gets. Kinda funny how that works, but it does.

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 many of the other scientific spiritual books that come with a halfway decent recommendation of some kind, either from a friend or online.

If you come across another book that deserves to be here, do let me know.

Best Scientific Spiritual Books 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 Scientific Spiritual Books:

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza and Bob Berman
The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, Tor Nørretranders
Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Robert Waggoner
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel
Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life, Stephen LaBerge
Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable–and Couldn’t, Steve Volk
How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings From a Leading Neuroscientist,
Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Joe Dispenza
Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d, Candace Pert
Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, Candace Pert

Other Recommended Scientific Spiritual Books:

You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, Joe Dispenza
Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind,
Joe Dispenza
The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth, Bruce Lipton
The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles, Bruce Lipton
The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology, Bruce Lipton
Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here, Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman
The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience, Andrew Newberg
Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, Andrew B. Newberg
Why We Believe What We Believe: Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth, Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy, Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience, Andrew B. Newberg and Eugene G.d’Aquili
The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness Beyond the Brain, Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake
Return to the Brain of Eden: Restoring the Connection between Neurochemistry and Consciousness, Tony Wright and Graham Gynn
The Quantum Doctor: A Quantum Physicist Explains the Healing Power of Integrative Medicine, Amit Goswami
Secrets of Your Cells: Discovering Your Body’s Inner Intelligence, Sondra Barret
The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet, Rupert Sheldrake and Matthew Fox
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin M.D.
One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters, Larry Dossey
The Turning Point: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes, Gregg Braden
The God Code: The Secret of our Past, the Promise of our Future, Gregg Braden
The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits, Gregg Braden
The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief, Gregg Braden
How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, David R. Hamilton

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

Best Meditation Books

Best Nonfiction Book

Generally speaking, reading about meditation is much less helpful than just practicing meditation. Maybe that’s why I haven’t read as many books on this spirituality subcategory as I would like to have done.

Yeah. That must be the reason.

In any case. We all need at least a few on our spirituality bookshelf; after all, meditation is a requirement for life these days. Or at least a requirement for “being spiritual.”

And hey–there is good reason for that. First, meditation actually is as awesome as they say it is. Second, and more important: mediation isn’t just one thing. For me and many other alternative spirituality types, meditation is, well, pretty much whatever we say it is. You could walk a dog and call it a dog walking meditation; I do.

Anyway.

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

So many books on this topic–just so, so many. In future, I’ll add to this list extensively. For now, for the sake of space, I’m including just the stuff I’ve read, plus other stuff by these same authors.

Best Meditation Books:

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle
Practicing the Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
Meditation Without Gurus, Clark Strand
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron
The Wisdom of No Escape And the Path of Loving-Kindness, Pema Chodron
Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, Dan Harris
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Meditation: How to Reduce Stress, Get Healthy, and Find Your Happiness in Just 15 Minutes a Day, Rachel Rofe

Other Recommended Meditation Books:

Pema Chodron:

Always Maintain a Joyful Mind And Other Lojong Teachings on Awakening Compassion and Fearlessness, Pema Chodron
Awakening Loving-Kindness, Pema Chodron
Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings, Pema Chodron
Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom From Anger and Other Destructive Emotions, Pema Chodron
Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume, Pema Chodron
Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change, Pema Chodron
No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva, Pema Chodron
Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living, Pema Chodron
Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits and Fears, Pema Chodron
The Places That Scare You: A Guide To Fearlessness, Pema Chodron
The Pocket Pema Chodron, Pema Chodron
This Moment is the Perfect Teacher: 10 Buddhist Teachings on Cultivating Inner Strength and Compassion, Pema Chodron
Tonglen: The Path of Transformation, Pema Chodron
Awakening Compassion: Meditation Practice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron
Awakening Love: Teachings and Practices to Cultivate a Limitless Heart, Pema Chodron
Bodhisattva Mind: Teachings to Cultivate Courage and Awareness in the Midst of Suffering, Pema Chodron
Coming Closer to Ourselves: Making Everything the Path of Awakening, Pema Chodron
Fully Alive: A Retreat with Pema Chödrön on Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change, Pema Chodron
From Fear to Fearlessness: Teachings on the Four Great Catalysts of Awakening, Pema Chodron
Getting Unstuck: Breaking Your Habitual Patterns and Encountering Naked Reality, Pema Chodron
Giving Our Best: A Retreat With Pema Chödrön on Practicing the Way of the Bodhisattva, Pema Chodron
Good Medicine: How to Turn Pain Into Compassion With Tonglen Meditation, Pema Chodron
How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind, Pema Chodron
In Conversation: On the Meaning of Suffering and the Mystery of Joy, Pema Chodron
Karma: Finding Freedom in This Moment, Pema Chodron
Natural Awareness: Guided Meditations and Teachings for Welcoming All Experience, Pema Chodron
No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva, Pema Chodron
Noble Heart: A Self-Guided Retreat on Befriending Your Obstacles, Pema Chodron
Practicing Peace in Times of War, Pema Chodron
Pure Meditation: The Tibetan Buddhist Practice Of Inner Peace, Pema Chodron
Smile at Fear: A Retreat with Pema Chödrön on Discovering Your Radiant Self-Confidence, Pema Chodron
The Pema Chödrön Collection, Pema Chodron
The Three Commitments: Walking the Path of Liberation, Pema Chodron
The Truth of Our Existence: Four Teachings from the Buddha to Illuminate Your Life, Pema Chodron
True Happiness, Pema Chodron
Unconditional Confidence For Meeting Any Experience With Trust and Courage, Pema Chodron
Walking the Walk: Putting the Teachings Into Practice When it Matters Most, Pema Chodron
When Pain is the Doorway: Awakening in the Most Difficult Circumstances, Pema Chodron

Jon Kabat-Zinn:

The Power of Meditation and Prayer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sogyal Rinpoche, Larry Dossey, and Michael Toms
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Myla Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Arriving at Your Own Door, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh
Letting Everything Become Your Teacher: 100 Lessons in Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mind’s Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson

Sharon Salzberg:

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Sharon Salzberg
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program, Sharon Salzberg
Heart as Wide as the World, Sharon Salzberg
Voices of Insight, Sharon Salzberg
Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Sharon Salzberg
The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion, Sharon Salzberg
The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Companion, Sharon Salzberg
Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, Sharon Salzberg
Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier, Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman

Joseph Goldstein:

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield
The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation, Joseph Goldstein
Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, Joseph Goldstein
The Path of Insight Meditation, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield
Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate, Joseph Goldstein, with Sharon Salzberg
One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Joseph Goldstein
A Heart Full of Peace, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire, Thich Nhat Hanh
Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Sun My Heart, Thich Nhat Hanh
Our Appointment with Life: Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone, Thich Nhat Hanh
Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion, Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra, Thich Nhat Hanh
‘Hermitage Among the Clouds’, Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice, Thich Nhat Hanh
Cultivating The Mind Of Love, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Heart Of Understanding, Thich Nhat Hanh
Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, Thich Nhat Hanh
Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals, 1962-1966, Thich Nhat Hanh
Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Raft Is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness, Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan
The Path of Emancipation: Talks from a 21-Day Mindfulness Retreat, Thich Nhat Hanh
A Pebble in Your Pocket, Thich Nhat Hanh
Essential Writings, Thich Nhat Hanh
Anger, Thich Nhat Hanh
Be Free Where You Are, Thich Nhat Hanh
No Death, No Fear, Thich Nhat Hanh
Touching the Earth: Intimate Conversations with the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh
Teachings on Love, Thich Nhat Hanh
Understanding Our Mind, Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Power, Thich Nhat Hanh
Under the Banyan Tree, Thich Nhat Hanh
Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, Thich Nhat Hanh
Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child, Thich Nhat Hanh
You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Novice: A Story of True Love, Thich Nhat Hanh
Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Pocket, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Communicating, Thich Nhat Hanh
Blooming of a Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh
No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Thich Nhat Hanh
Is Nothing Something?, Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindful Movements, Thich Nhat Hanh

Clark Strand:

Waking up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, Clark Strand
Waking the Buddha: How the Most Dynamic and Empowering Buddhist Movement in History Is Changing Our Concept of Religion, Clark Strand
How to Believe in God: Whether You Believe in Religion or Not, Clark Strand
The Wooden Bowl: Simple Meditations for Everyday Life, Clark Strand
Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey, Clark Strand

Other Authors:

Oneness With All Life, Eckhart Tolle
Guardians of Being, Eckhart Tolle
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, David Lynch
Zen Meditation in Plain English, John Daishin Buksbazen
Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening, Stephen Batchelor
The Zen Way, Myokyo-ni
How to Be a Yogi, Swami Abhedananda
The Way of Zen, Alan Watts
Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships, Osho
Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World, Surya Das

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

And here are a few more related links for you:

I really don’t know how to be humble.

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Reading the wonderful Matt Kahn’s book, Whatever Arises, Love That. (Great title, eh?) So, the main message is to send love to whatever comes up in your experience, which is what Eckhart Tolle, my friend Leta Hamilton, and many others agree is one of the most useful spiritual practices you can do.

And man, I super suck at it.

I don’t love a lot of things. A whole lot of things. My ego is just always–right–there. I can’t let go of my opinion long enough to love what is, even though I know that doing so is the core definition of humility.

I really don’t know how to be humble. But I’m working on it.

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "If I Don’t Love It, I Love That I Don’t Love It"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Me: Sometimes it’s hard for me to love his thing we call God, or to even know whether I should. I mean, maybe just loving people is enough. Yes? No? How do you love God, when there’s no face to God?

Leta: I love God as a force at the heart of life. I feel it as a breathtakingly spiritual power at the center of all things, beyond faces, physicality or form. It is not human. It is like Chi of Taoism. It is everywhere, in everything (including me) and part of all expressions of existence. It is like electricity. It is. It has a quality to it that is all-powerful and God-like in a conventional sense of that word. However, it is beyond anthropomorphism. It cannot be labeled as anything “human” in any way, shape or form. It has Presence in my life without form. It is real like my hand is real, but in a way that defies logic or rational explanations. It is the ineffable.

I am constantly connected to this force and love it with every bit of my being. It brings everything good and wonderful into my life and it is everything–even things that others call “bad,” “unlucky,” “tragedy,” “dis-ease” and so on. These are great gifts from my perspective. They are things that come as ways to grow into myself and ever more close to that God-force I have been talking about. It is love for love’s sake. I have no agenda in it. My name for it is God because that makes the most sense.

Me: Do you have a go-to image or set of images that mean “God” to you?

Leta: No. It is life force. It has no feeling to it that can be described. It has a quality to it that is called “bliss” by the masters and gurus of our planet, but even that cannot adequately describe it. It is subjective and experiential. I would say that I am feeling the same thing that others have described as bliss or enlightenment, but I choose to call it nothing and just experience it. To love your life is enough. I won’t call myself blissed-out or in an enlightened state. I am loving life with my breaths. That is enough.

Me: I love God, too–but I really love LIFE. To me, the definition of God is LIFE. Is that what you mean?

Leta: I mean life and more than life. I mean what makes life possible at all. I mean the divine miracle that life is thrust upon the canvas of All That Is. I mean the interconnectedness of all life across all the cosmos. I mean the thing that exists before life is even a thought and the thing that will be there when all life is singing the swan song of existence. I mean the totality of all dimensions, realms of experience and planes of existence–including the multidimensions of the angelic realms and non-physical planes of existence on this planet (elemental beings). I mean the totality of ALL THAT IS. I cannot explain it any other way. God is a way to describe all of that and MORE. It is close as my breath and beyond anything my brain can comprehend. It is real to me. I cannot say it any other way.

Me: You love all that you see, all the time?

Leta: Yes. Pretty much. And if I don’t love it, I love that I don’t love it. Then I go into myself and contemplate until understanding comes. It takes years sometimes. All the while, I have fun!

Leta

Alternative Spirituality Interview: "I Realized That Suffering Is My Friend"

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Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Me: You once told me that “God is in the poopy diapers.” We were talking about motherhood and such, and you said it casually, but it stuck with me. What exactly did you mean by that?

Leta: David R. Hawkins (Power vs. Force) talks about the perfection of the rusty old garbage can. It is old and rusty, but it is perfect as that. So I think about my life like that. When I have to walk to dog as I did this morning and I think to myself, “I don’t want to be walking this dog,” I am perfectly perfect in that sweet desire not to be doing what I am doing. It is like the rusty garbage can–rusty AND perfect.

When I ask myself, “What do I want?” these answers come up: I want to be with God. I want to expand. I want to find ways to go deeper inside myself and discover new epiphanies along the way.

So what does God do? Gives me opportunities for that. When I see this, I see how the walking of the dog is an answer to that prayer. I see how my kids are the Universe bringing me what I wanted in the form of spiritual supply. I see how the poopy diapers and 4 a.m. wake-up time for the dog to go out are exactly what I had asked for.

Perfect, perfect, perfect IS the rusty garbage can, the dog that I don’t really want, the work in the evening to get homework done when I all I want to do is retreat away from kids for a while and so much more I call “imperfect.”

I have these feelings like, “ugh,” at walking the dog. I think about them, acknowledge them and then see how they are opportunities for me to expand through insights and epiphanies. I realized this morning how win-win it is to walk the dog even though I wanted to be anywhere else! I also checked out a Tich Nach Han CD from the library & he was talking about walking meditations and I focused on that this morning too.

When I had this epiphany it came mostly because I was desperate for a pee. I realized that when I had to pee, I had to focus entirely on getting myself to a place where I could go pee. All that was in my mind was, “Make it back to the car, get the dog in the car and get into Value Village where there is a bathroom.” I was focused in that suffering. I had no other room in my mind for any other thoughts. Then I thought about how liberating suffering can be. It focuses the mind. It creates the conditions where nothing else is flooding us other than that one, focused, thought. I was grateful. I wasn’t busy in my mind. I was truly meditating. It was a meditation of suffering and it was very focusing. Then, I realized that once I peed, I’d have all this space in my mind to be bogged down with all kinds of other thoughts like, “What are we going to have for dinner?” I thought about the moment of freedom from my suffering, but that would also allow a new kind of suffering to come in–the suffering of the busy, chattering, monkey mind.

I realized that suffering was my friend also. It was just as much a part of my liberation as my moments of peace in the heart. When I have expansive perspective, I see that suffering and peace are the same. They are both focus and awareness, one in the direction of “I don’t want this” and one in the direction of “I do want this.” But the coin is the same: eternal being-ness.

With that, I have to go collect my son from preschool, then get home to the dog, then go grocery shopping, then go home again and …. It’s up in the air, but it will be okay however it works out. Hope I don’t find poop in the house when I get back, but I might and it’s going to be a perfect thing no matter what.

Leta