100 books like Mysticism

By Evelyn Underhill,

Here are 100 books that Mysticism fans have personally recommended if you like Mysticism. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

Elaine Pagels Author Of Why Religion? A Personal Story

From my list on why religion and spirituality are still around.

Why am I passionate about this?

“And what do you do?” someone asked at a crowded reception at the NY Academy of Science. “Write—comparative religion.” Startled, he backed away, asking suspiciously, “Why religion? Are you religious?” Yes, incorrigibly—although I grew up among people who regarded religion as obsolete as an outgrown bicycle stashed in a back closet. While many of us leave institutions behind, identifying as “spiritual, not religious,” I’ve done both—had faith, lost it; then began exploring recent discoveries from Israel and Egypt—Dead Sea Scrolls, Christian “secret gospels,” Buddhist practices, asking, Why is religion still around in the twenty-first centuryWhat I love is how such stories, art, music, and rituals engage our imagination and illuminate our experience.

Elaine's book list on why religion and spirituality are still around

Elaine Pagels Why did Elaine love this book?

This book is full of stories, using case studies that include the lives of Walt Whitman, Saint Augustine, and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy—that I found fascinating. Here psychologist William James challenges what he—and I—were both taught: namely, that religions are primarily childish fantasies (the view of Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, in The Future of an Illusion). But after James, as a young man, experienced a terrifying depression, he describes his surprise at what felt to him like a spiritual breakthrough that enabled him to recover. James skips questions about dogma and belief, instead identifies a range of different “varieties of religious experience” that, far more than “belief,” can give rise to spiritual insight. 

By William James,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Varieties of Religious Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the backbone of the world's religious life. His discussions of conversion, repentance, mysticism and saintliness, and his observations on actual, personal religious experiences - all support this thesis. In his introduction, Martin E. Marty discusses how James's pluralistic view of religion led to his remarkable tolerance of extreme forms of religious behaviour, his challenging, highly original theories, and his welcome lack of pretension…


Book cover of Autobiography of a Yogi

Jonathan Ellerby Author Of The Seven Gateways of Spiritual Experience: Awakening to a Deeper Knowledge of Love, Life Balance, and God

From my list on spiritually-focused books to awaken your heart, mind, and soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books! I wrote my first book as a science project at age 11. As a writer, books are my passion. Specifically, I have been interested in the nature of consciousness and healing since I was 12 years old. I started reading everything I could get my hands on at that time and continued voraciously until I completed my Ph.D. around the age of 30. Many themes in transformation and spirituality I read almost exhaustively – Indigenous studies, cross-cultural healing, the nature of mind, and the nature of the soul. I have always needed to keep books around me just to feel at home.

Jonathan's book list on spiritually-focused books to awaken your heart, mind, and soul

Jonathan Ellerby Why did Jonathan love this book?

This book opened my mind to the possibility of spiritual superpowers and the wealth of wisdom that lives in the ancient spiritual traditions of the world.

A little on the dense side, this amazing book blew my mind as I felt like I was transported in time to study at the feet of great masters. I was amazed by stories of miracles and incredible gifts of consciousness that had otherwise seemed only the stuff of movies and fiction.

The images were so compelling to me that I could not stop reading it. It felt like a course in deep metaphysics. And it was all a way of sharing the life story of a master teacher I truly admire and want to know everything about.

I have to say, on top of all this, it felt familiar, easy, and like a beautiful world to immerse in.

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Autobiography of a Yogi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Profoundly inspiring, it is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous and filled with extraordinary personages.

Self-Realization Fellowship's editions, and none others, include extensive material added by the author after the first edition was published, including a final chapter on the closing years of his life.

Selected as "One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century", Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more…


Book cover of Rumi: Poems

Sophy Burnham Author Of The Treasure of Montségur: A Novel of the Cathars

From my list on spiritual experiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

What a question. I’ve been asking it all my life. Publicly, I am known for writing and workshops about the spiritual search, intuition, the still, small voice of God, angels, and miraculous time-warped synchronicities that seem directed to our benefit. I have written about my own mystical illuminations in A Book of Angels, The Ecstatic Journey, The Path of Prayer, in novels, plays, stories, and poetry. My work is translated into some 25 languages (most recently Chinese). But underneath I’m an ordinary flawed, failed human being, stumbling, searching for meaning, struggling toward God, and trying to be of some small service before I go back home.

Sophy's book list on spiritual experiences

Sophy Burnham Why did Sophy love this book?

I am not suggesting any particular book of the poems of this famous Persian poet and Sufi mystic. There are dozens of translations. Read any. His ecstatic poetry, as well as reflective musings all, lead to deepening love, the center and meaning of a spiritual experience.

By Jalal Al-Din Rumi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The poetry of the medieval Persian sage Rumi combines lyrical beauty with spiritual profundity, a sense of rapture, and acute awareness of human suffering in ways that speak directly to contemporary audiences.

Trained in Sufism—a mystic tradition within Islam—Rumi founded the Sufi order known to us as the Whirling Dervishes, who use dance and music as part of their spiritual devotion. Many of Rumi’s poems speak of a yearning for ecstatic union with the divine Beloved. But his images bring the sacred and the earthy together in startling ways, describing divine love in vividly human terms.

This volume draws on…


Book cover of In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying

Eyal Shifroni Author Of The Extended Chair for Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair

From my list on essential to the study of yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been fascinated by yoga and the wonderful stories about yogis. When I was in the fourth grade, studying the subject of 'India', I taught myself to stand on my head and fold my legs in the lotus position. I love practicing yoga – every morning, I thank the Gurus and teachers from whom I learned! I've taught yoga for almost 40 years now and strongly believe that the practice and teaching of yoga, done with devotion and love can transform one's life for the good. I wrote 7 books about yoga (the last, Yoga in Nature is forthcoming) I regularly write articles on yoga and have translated two of B.K.S. Iyengar's books into Hebrew.

Eyal's book list on essential to the study of yoga

Eyal Shifroni Why did Eyal love this book?

This is an extraordinary journey book of a yogi who was identified at a very young age as a Tulku - reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingyur Rinpoche was taken at a very young age to a monastery to receive a Buddhist education. Since his childhood, he was fascinated by the wandering yogis of his tradition (like Naropa and Milarepa). At the age of 34, when he was a respected authority of Tibetan Buddhism and a renowned master who was teaching around the world, he decided to become a wandering yogi and embark on a solitary journey. He soon encountered many difficulties, including life-threatening situations which he describes with an amazing sincerity. His story shows how even a master encounters mental and emotional upheavals like all of us but then is able to apply his skill in meditation to restore his peace and equanimity.

By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Helen Tworkov,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked In Love with the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rare, intimate account of a world-renowned Buddhist monk’s near-death experience and the life-changing wisdom he gained from it

“One of the most inspiring books I have ever read.”—Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall Apart

“This book has the potential to change the reader’s life forever.”—George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

At thirty-six years old, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche was a rising star within his generation of Tibetan masters and the respected abbot of three monasteries. Then one night, telling no one, he slipped out of his monastery in India with the intention of spending the next four…


Book cover of Atlas of Being: From Briefcase to Backpack, One Former Lawyer's Exploration of the Human Way

Parvati Markus Author Of Love Everyone: The Transcendent Wisdom of Neem Karoli Baba Told Through the Stories of the Westerners Whose Lives He Transformed

From my list on by Westerners on Eastern mysticism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've devoured books ever since learning to read. Now I am an author and a professional substantive book editor, particularly for spiritual memoirs. I am indeed fortunate to be able to combine my love of books with my love of the mystic realms, spiritual transformation, and beloved gurus. The first book I ever helped to edit was the first part ("Journey") of Be Here Now. Then I lived in India for a year, spending much of it with Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass's (and my) guru, absorbing his unconditional love. That state of real love, and the pathway leading to it, are the focus of the books I have recommended.

Parvati's book list on by Westerners on Eastern mysticism

Parvati Markus Why did Parvati love this book?

When I met Danielle Sunberg on Zoom during the pandemic, I was impressed with her ability to listen to her inner voice, to use it as the GPS for navigating her life.

Without relying on the language of the mystics, she describes her transformation from a corporate lawyer in Anne Taylor suits to a backpacking truth seeker as she travels the world in search of her real self. This deceptively simple book can carry the reader into their own insights on the nature of self, life, and spirit through the guidance and questions at the end of each chapter.

It's easily relatable to Westerners who have no interest in Eastern spirituality but are looking for a grounded awareness and higher consciousness. And it's a fun travelogue!

By Danielle Sunberg,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of One Minute Wisdom

Joan Budilovsky Author Of Sages of Young Ages

From my list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve taught yoga and meditation for decades to children from ages 3 to 93. My Doctorate is in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to experience personal development and child development has a very special place in my heart. I learn so much from them! It is particularly fun to watch children discover and explore life. Everything old is new again! Sages of Young Ages can open our eyes if we simply open our ears to each child’s unique spoken truths.

Joan's book list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children

Joan Budilovsky Why did Joan love this book?

I love the simplicity of the stories with the catchy one-word titles. Short and sweet. They need not be read in any specific order. Each story stands on its own and each has a depth of meaning so that every time I read it I see something new in the story. This book was a model for me in my writing of Sages of Young Ages.

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Minute Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through profound spiritual insights and his unique approach to the inner life, internationally acclaimed author Anthony de Mello points the way toward new levels of contemplation, happiness, love, wisdom, and enlightenment.

In more than two hundred parables and lessons about living life fully yet simply, de Mello gives examples filled with wisdom that cannot be conveyed in regular direct discourse. Rooted in the spirit of the Gospel and spanning the mystical traditions of East and West, this invigorating volume -- like all the author's previous books -- is intended to enliven our faith and free us from whatever imprisons our…


Book cover of Emmanuel's Book: A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos

Joe Stillman Author Of The Man Who Came and Went

From my list on to inspire your personal mystical quest.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in New York, while struggling to be a screenwriter, I was spiritually questing. My friends and I read “books that change lives”. New age books, self-help, mystical, spiritual. We meditated with crystals. We dabbled in tofu. And our lives did change. Some moved to Santa Fe. Some took up Reiki. I found my way to LA to write for TV and film. Throughout my time there, I was working on my own story to tell, like the ones I had loved in New York. That story eventually morphed into The Man Who Came and Went. For me and my friends at least, these books really did change lives.

Joe's book list on to inspire your personal mystical quest

Joe Stillman Why did Joe love this book?

I saved the best for last. In the mid-’80s, I was in a meditation group, and though we were centered around the teachings of Edgar Cayce, we read every new age and self-help book that came along. Far and away our favorite, with the most inspiring viewpoint, was Emmanuel’s Book. It was written a bit like poetry and I think there’s a reason for that. Emmanuel had a way of bypassing the human mind and speaking to us on a level deeper. As he liked to say: “Your life is none of your mind’s business.” Emmanuel has a way of putting you in contact with a knowing place within. As to whether or not you stay there, well that’s your personal mystical problem. 

By Pat Rodegast, Judith Stanton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emmanuel's Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the revealing underground classic, a work  that stands beside the "Seth" books as a  delightful and invaluable guide to our inner  spirit and our outer world. Emmanuel speaks to us  through Pat Rodegast and shares his wisdom and  insights on all aspects of life. Beautifully written and  illustrated, Emmanuel's Book I  is to be treasured, enjoyed and passed on to a  friend. Emmanuel says: "The gifts I wish to  give you are my deepest love, the safety of truth,  the wisdom of the universe and the reality of God .  . . . The issue of whether there…


Book cover of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation

Lynn Alsup Author Of Tinderbox: One Family's Story of Adoption, Neurodiversity, and Fierce Love

From my list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young social worker, I left the world I knew and moved into violent urban centers and traveled the developing world. The suffering and beauty entranced me. Questions reverberated in me: What does it mean to be part of the vast human community? How can I live most fully? When I adopted children, violence and difference confronted me not “out there” but at home. I wrestled, shocked by my own judgment and narrowness—until I accepted in my bones the myriad ways to live a remarkable life. Curiosity became my superpower. Tinderbox, my unflinching memoir, invites readers into my family’s brutal and beautiful transformation through embracing neurodiversity. 

Lynn's book list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world

Lynn Alsup Why did Lynn love this book?

Starr infuses her language with lyricism and in-your-face honesty. She opened a window for me into the counterculture of the 1970s as a bright young daughter of nomadic parents, landing in Taos among intellectuals and spiritual seekers.

Death crashes into the story in the opening pages with her child’s death and pervades it throughout. It offered me courage to write my own parenting story: fear, mistakes, devastation included. Starr doesn’t hold taboos, facing death, drugs, abuse, and despair as she unveils her story of unfolding adolescence to motherhood.

I felt like I’d kicked off my shoes and tucked my legs under myself to listen to a new friend’s life story, gaining a wise, quirky, compassionate companion.

By Mirabai Starr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Caravan of No Despair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the day her first book came out-a new translation of Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross-Mirabai Starr's daughter, Jenny, was killed in a car accident. "My spiritual life began the day my daughter died," writes Mirabai. Even with decades of spiritual practice and a deep immersion in the greatest mystical texts, she found herself utterly unprepared for "my most powerful catalyst for transformation, my fiercest and most compassionate teacher."

With Caravan of No Despair, Mirabai shares an irreverent, uplifting, and intimate memoir of her extraordinary life journey. Through the many twists and turns of…


Book cover of The Song of the Bird

Joan Budilovsky Author Of Sages of Young Ages

From my list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve taught yoga and meditation for decades to children from ages 3 to 93. My Doctorate is in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to experience personal development and child development has a very special place in my heart. I learn so much from them! It is particularly fun to watch children discover and explore life. Everything old is new again! Sages of Young Ages can open our eyes if we simply open our ears to each child’s unique spoken truths.

Joan's book list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children

Joan Budilovsky Why did Joan love this book?

Short interesting titles to profound short stories. Each story offers a lesson to clearer soulful understandings. Humor, insights, simplicity – all the things I treasure and hope to be as a writer. Anthony deMello has influenced my world with new ways of looking at old things. I find this in children too – their new eyes looking at old things reminds me of how important fresh perspectives are to enjoying and appreciating life.

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Song of the Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Every one of these stories is about YOU." --Anthony de Mello

Everyone loves stories; and in this book the bestselling author of Sadhana: A Way to God shares 124 stories and parables from a variety of traditions both ancient and modern. Each story resonates with life lessons that can teach us inescapable truths about ourselves and our world.

De Mello's international acclaim rests on his unique approach to contemplation and ability to heighten self-awareness and self-discovery. His is a holistic approach, and in the words of one reviewer: "his mysticism cuts across all times and peoples and is truly a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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