Regardless of whether you follow a particular spiritual path or not, reading which may widen your understanding of spirituality and the inner self can often prove helpful. It may bring reflection on your lifestyle and your present values while you are taking time out from ordinary living – or even give you a greater vision of humanity and God than you might have had before. It is for this reason that this very short list is not organised according to any particular religion or spiritual path.
Simon Cole is a counsellor, therapist and meditation teacher, he has brought all these skills into writing this very readable short book with deep understanding of his subject. He takes you on a journey to explain clearly the various levels of meditation and how it can heal the stressed and busy mind to move you into a much greater self-understanding, which leads to finding that wonderfully peaceful and joyful “clear space” within. A 'must read' for all that are interested in meditation.
The Good Retreat Guide 2014
The more we become aware of the world’s religions, the more we can see the common threads of life woven by God. Here are excerpts from the great Hindu sacred spiritual masterpiece.
A selection of talks to help you along your spiritual journey by a Buddhist monk who was born and educated in America, Japan and Thailand.
One of the most famous of all confessions of a soul. It remains a work which inspires us to realise that no matter how low we fall in life there is hope that we can rise again. The story of a sinner who became one of the world’s most loved and influencial saints.
A new and fresh look at the famous Christian Divine Office which is the book of daily prayers used by monks and nuns. Brother Mark, a monk himself, takes us on a journey through his days with prayers with thoughts and observations on God and life that have been written with love and understanding.
St. John is one of the greatest poets of Spain and Spanish literature and among the most famous Christian saints and mystics. Previous translations in English have been done from a strictly traditional Christian point of view and often in obscure and out-of-fashion language. Starr’s new translation is done from an wide-open spirituality perspective in everyday modern language. It is a wonderful way to discover the thinking and inspiration of this mystic and it makes him available to everyone.
Put aside all those ’little books’ that they sell today and try this one instead. Here is wisdom from men and women who went to the wilderness and listened to God. Short, snappy, and right to the point saying. Some will make you laugh with self-recognition and others help you to live a sacred life. You may be like thousands before you and find you love these first hermits who yearned for God above all else.
A collection about saints and holy men and women who were gay. This book will help to heal the wounds of all who have experienced rejection and exclusion from organised religions and to inspire everyone, gay or not.
Written by a respected Roman Catholic theologian, this book is directed at lesbian and gay people but is an inspiration for anyone who may read it. Hard hitting, bibically sound, and doesn’t avoid current church issues.
Reviewed by Urs Mattmann, author of Coming In – Gay and Lesbian people reclaiming the spiritual journey.
Happily in the past 45 years dozens of affirmative, liberating and inspiring Christian books have been written from different angles, debunking religious homophobia, urging the full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people. This new book, The Gay Gospels by Keith Sharpe, makes another valuable contribution.
It makes is the point that the Good News of Jesus is also Good News for LGBT people and tries to emphasis what this practically means in practical terms. One is aware that it does this from an evangelical angle and tries to reach people with rather conservative understanding of the bible.
A first part called The Defensive Testament looks at the few passages in the Bible that have been misused to harm LGBT people and gay men in particular by the church and the societies it affected. There is little new to discover as this subject has been explored so many times, but it is helpful to have all the argument s gathered together in a concise and well structured form.
With many great books on this subject already written, the main unique contribution of the book is in its second part: Here in an more original, positively provocative way the author explores biblical texts where he sees a specific gay friendly narrative and message. Besides the already familiar examples like that of David & Jonathan, the narrative examines themes and stories that have been less or not at all highlighted in the past. For example, in chapters like Jesus was no family man or The Transgendered Christ stand out.
Much has been written lately about a special relationship of Jesus with Mary Magdalena which reflects our contemporary interest in sensationalism about historic figures. In The Gay Gospels, the author makes a very enlightening point with challenging implications about the relationship of Jesus with the Beloved Disciple as much more important.
The Good Retreat Guide can highly recommend The Gay Gospels as it offers a vision of the Christian Faith which is full of hope for LGBT people.
Here is a good beginning to understand the silent and still power of the spirituality of Zen Buddhism.
Immensely popular and easy to read modern translation of the bible. Likle most people you probably use many expressions every day which springs from the bible. Here is a chance to find out the story behind those words – and to be inspired by the ‘greatest book ever written.’
The teacher of the importance of bio-diversity in nature and our need to recognize its importance. This book may seem strange on a list of spirituality readings, but read it and you will regain consciousness of the wonder of our earth and the marvel of life.
Here we share in the initiation of a group of young monks as they are introduced to the practice of prayer. We learn about the prayer process. A dazzling insight into little known and traditionally hidden ways to God.
John Drane explains in an easy to understand way these most famous of all sacred texts. People, places, and the meaning of events bring a deeper and clearer understanding of the message of God.
A short but charming study of the story of Jonah and the whale. While being theologically sound, is both amusing and inspiring in our struggle to recognize our human failings and the voice of God in our lives.
This is a good translation into English of the sacred book of Islam which all serious pilgrims on the spiritual path should read and study for inspiration and guidance on their journey.
The thoughts of a profound mystic which are as meanful for our lives today as when they were first written centuries ago.
If we are to understand the importance and place of Islam in our lives and to be helped spiritually, then it is important to read about the life of the last prophet of God.
One of the very best translations of the history of God in the lives of men and women. These words are meant for everyone. The holy scriptures that changed the world.
Christian monk and a writer who reached the hearts of many men and women, Merton is always seeking God and inspires us to do the same through this book and his many others.
Another monk writing here for us in a time of the world which finds everything we know and understand changing. A book which helps all who wish to accept the challenge of living to the full their Christian vocation… and for all perhaps who want and need structure and comprehension in the way they live out a sacred life.
If you have ever been drawn to live alone in solitude for spiritual reason, then Eve Baker’s book will be a good introduction to the solitary life as a part of your spiritual journey.
The happiest of spiritual guidance books! Written centuries ago by a modest monk in plain language, this little book explains how to live in the presence of God every minute of the day – not just when you pray but when you cook and scrub and go to your office and drive the car. This humble but holy man really got it right.
Here are just a few of the profound aspects of a spirituality that could not be killed or forgotten and that lives today in our modern lives, answering many of our quests for a more spiritual life and one which is connected to the life of all things.
In this excellent work of early Christian history, Peter Brown, Emeritus Professor of History at Princeton University, has written a classic study of the triumph and diversity of the early church from 200-1000 AD. He shows us how Christianity and the Church played a leading role in forming the culture, society, and politics of Europe. It is an unmatched study and should be included in every Christians essential reading list to develop a fuller understanding of the role their religion had in forming the world in which they presently live.
The most beauty of Sufi mystics and one of the world’s great poets. No mind that seeks God should be without knowledge of this remarkable and gifted holy man.
Jewish Hasidism produced many rabbis whose deeds and stories still can impact on our souls and inspire our lives. Elie Wiesel, Editor is one of the great tellers of tales in our time and here he brings us the delight and adventure of the Hasidic spiritual masters.
We all read about the exploits of celebrities in terms of their public life and professional work but we rarely know much about them as private people. Backbeat Books has come up with a brilliant idea to publish a series of easy-to-read, small format books on ther personal spirituality of some of these celebraities - who for better or worse do shape our lives in one way or another. They are publishing three of these books about the spirituality of Carlos Santana, Bono and Richard Gere. We read the one on Richard Gere and found it informative and helpful. The editor, Nicholas Nigro, takes us through the beliefs and practices of Gere with insight and shows us how this celebrity balances a fast-paced professional life with a private life through Buddhist principles and practices. One clear message of such a book is that if the busy world famous can find time for spiritual seeking and practices, then we have no excuse in not making time for our own spiritual practices and values.
A very old spirituality book but one which remains ever popular for its direct manner and appeal to the way most people feel. Perhaps an old-fashioned kind of language but still very helpful in the spiritual life.
The classic book about shaumanism and the way of the spirit world by a man who not only studied the subject but who made his own journey through this invisible realty.
An excellent book about Buddhism which explains this religion in ways easy to understand for Western men and women.
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Founded in 1989 Wisdom Books is an independent book distribution and mail order company focusing on Buddhism and its related subjects of meditation, Tibet and the rapidly developing dialogue between east - west philosophies and cultures.