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.

The books I picked & why

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I Am That

By Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,

Book cover of I Am That

Why 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.   

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

By Eckhart Tolle,

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

Why 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. 

The Gift

By Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky,

Book cover of The Gift

Why 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!

Being Aware of Being Aware

By Rupert Spira,

Book cover of Being Aware of Being Aware

Why 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. 

The Prophet

By Kahlil Gibran,

Book cover of The Prophet

Why 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. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in meditation, funk, and Sufism?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about meditation, funk, and Sufism.

Meditation Explore 85 books about meditation
Funk Explore 14 books about funk
Sufism Explore 19 books about Sufism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Memories of a Sufi Sage: Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, and Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God if you like this list.