The best spiritual books to find out who you really are

Who am I?

I’ve spent my professional life as a psychologist delving into the inner workings of the “self.” After working with thousands of clients over the past twenty-five years, I’ve come to understand the liabilities and limitations of the mind’s constructed sense of personhood. These books, including the one I wrote, attempt to address the ages-old question of “who am I?” from a different perspective than that of conventional conceptual identity. They transmit something to us about the core consciousness of our make-up that we may know intuitively but do not encounter often in western discourse. If you’re a truth seeker, curious about your essential nature, then I’m sure you’ll find them compelling. 


I wrote...

The No-Self Help Book: Forty Reasons to Get Over Your Self and Find Peace of Mind

By Kate Gustin,

Book cover of The No-Self Help Book: Forty Reasons to Get Over Your Self and Find Peace of Mind

What is my book about?

There is a global identity theft occurring that has robbed people of their recognition of their true selves. The mastermind culprit has promoted the idea that we are each a separate self, with an inner commentary that often spews forth a distressing flow of worry, blame, regret, and guilt. This book offers an antidote to this epidemic of stolen identity, isolation, and self-deprecation: no-self (a concept known in Buddhist philosophy as anatta or anatman).

The No-Self Help Book turns the idea of self-improvement on its head, arguing that the key to well-being lies not in the relentless pursuit of bettering one’s self but in the recognition of the self as a false identity born in the mind, a narrative of personhood pieced together from disparate neural activations.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of I Am That

Kate Gustin Why did I love this book?

I love this book!  I’ve returned to it many times over the years. It’s my rock. It contains a series of questions and responses of students in dialogue with the well-known Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. His teachings are direct, down-to-earth, and very timely, in that they address matters of continued importance to all of us: the nature of reality, suffering, mind, body, agency, fear, happiness, peace…and pretty much every truth you can think of!  It’s 550 pages of unadulterated wisdom.   

By Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Am That as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back cover This collection of the timeless teachings of one of the greatest sages of India, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, is a testament to the uniqueness of the seer's life and work and is regarded by many as a modern spiritual classic. I Am That (first published in 1973) continues to draw new audiences and to enlighten seekers anxious for self-realization. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was a teacher who did not propound any ideology or religion, but gently unwrapped the mystery of the self. His message was simple, direct, and sublime. I Am That preserves his dialogs with the followers who came…


Book cover of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Kate Gustin Why did I love this book?

I find that this book offers a quiet, yet captivating transmission that gently guides me to the deepest understandings about mind and consciousness. Reading it feels literally transformative like experiencing the ripples a shiny pebble continues to make in a pond long after it is thrown. By the end of the book, standard notions of pebble and pond, ego and time, self and other are completely overhauled. I read it the way I usually read through a good piece of fiction – without being able to put it down. Utterly riveting. 

By Eckhart Tolle,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Power of Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**CHOSEN BY OPRAH AS ONE OF HER 'BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH'**

The international bestselling spiritual book, now with a new look for its 20th anniversary. Eckhart Tolle demonstrates how to live a healthier, happier, mindful life by living in the present moment.

************

'I keep Eckhart's book at my bedside. I think it's essential spiritual teaching. It's one of the most valuable books I've ever read.' Oprah Winfrey

To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart…


Book cover of The Gift

Kate Gustin Why did I love this book?

The poems of Hafiz delight me. I go to this book when I tire of heady prose descriptions of spiritual teachings. His skillful and playful use of metaphor makes the wisdom teachings about our true nature immediately accessible. I feel as though this book invites me into a dance with the author and with life’s mysteries and dares me to let go of my analytic mind. What a relief!

By Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chosen by author Elizabeth Gilbert as one of her ten favorite books, Daniel Ladinsky’s extraordinary renderings of 250 unforgettable lyrical poems by Hafiz, one of the greatest Sufi poets of all time

More than any other Persian poet—even Rumi—Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the “Invisible Tongue.” Indeed, Daniel Ladinsky has said that his work with Hafiz is an attempt to do the impossible: to render Light into words—to make the Luminous Resonance of God tangible to our finite senses.…


Book cover of Being Aware of Being Aware

Kate Gustin Why did I love this book?

When I crave a razor-sharp account of my “self” as an emanation of living consciousness, I go to Rupert Spira. This tiny book is deceptive in that it contains vast universal truths condensed into short, meditation-like chapters. The writer in me loves how each word is absolutely precise. I’m impressed with Spira’s impeccable languaging of something as elusive and unfathomable as primordial awareness. My mind gets a good workout from this book, while it simultaneously relaxes into its teachings. 

By Rupert Spira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being Aware of Being Aware as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everybody is aware, all seven billion of us. We are aware of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. All people share the experience of being aware, but relatively few people are aware that they are aware. Most people's lives consist of a flow of thoughts, images, ideas, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, and so on. Very few people ask, "What is it that knows this flow of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions? With what am I aware of my experience?"

The knowing of our being-or rather, awareness's knowing of its own being in us-is our primary experience, our most fundamental and intimate experience.…


Book cover of The Prophet

Kate Gustin Why did I love this book?

This parable takes my breath away. The lyrical verse is gorgeous. While the content differs from the non-duality focus of the four books I’ve listed above, it is no less deep. I love how this book instructs us poetically to live as our best selves - to love and work, and feed and govern and parent from our hearts, from our wholeness. Opening this book feels like a balm, like hearing a lullaby, like warming in a ray of sunshine, and being reminded that I, too, am that light. 

By Kahlil Gibran,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Prophet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in the 1920s, this book attempts to provide the reader with a guide to living. Gibran lets his protagonist, called simply the prophet, deliver homilies on a variety of topics central to daily life: love marriage and children, work and play, possessions, beauty, truth, joy and sorrow and death.


You might also like...

A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,

Book cover of A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

What is my book about?

Reduce stress, ease anxiety, and increase inner peace—one day at a time—with a year of easy-to-follow mindfulness meditation techniques. Certified mindfulness teacher, bestselling author, ultramarathoner, wife, and dog-mom Nita Sweeney shares mindfulness meditation practices to help anyone break free from worry and self-judgment.

Mindfulness meditation trains you to live in the present moment—the now. Feel calmer. Think more clearly. Respond more effectively and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Even in tiny doses, mindfulness is scientifically proven to enhance physical and mental health, boost creativity, and improve cognition function.

A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mindfulness, meditation, and Sufism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mindfulness, meditation, and Sufism.

Mindfulness Explore 97 books about mindfulness
Meditation Explore 242 books about meditation
Sufism Explore 35 books about Sufism