The best enlightenment books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about enlightenment and why they recommend each book.

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The End of Faith

By Sam Harris,

Book cover of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

I dithered ferociously about including this title, because Harris’s tone can be off-putting and because he uses sexist language — just like the scriptures do! He should know better. Even so, I loved this book for its science-based arguments that skewer organized religion, and for his articulation of vague questions that had been tumbling in my mind without coming into focus enough to ask them. A few big takeaways for me: The “sacred” texts embraced by major world religions can, and are, used to defend almost any atrocity toward other humans. Harris also makes what should be an obvious point about the oft-touted benefits of religion: Universal love, good works, community, teaching values, etc. can be achieved without dogma or belief in a Supreme Deity. Finally, Harris allows for and honors the “mystical,” connecting human experiences that cannot (yet) be explained by science.


Who am I?

Like many people who consciously decided to leave the constrictive religion to which they were randomly born (and raised), I see retrospectively that the decision was an essential act of self-preservation and self-actualization. I abandoned the transactional relationship with a Judging God, including its barter of mindless obedience in exchange for a heavenly eternity after death. In doing so, I discovered my true soul. Through “godless” practices and continual seeking, I have discovered a profound, meaningful spirituality. The books on this list are among so many that have expanded my thinking and helped me become, I hope, a better human along the way. It is my pleasure to recommend them to you.


I wrote...

Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job

By Maren Showkeir, Jamie Showkeir,

Book cover of Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job

What is my book about?

The physical practice of yoga is familiar to most people—a cat-cow stretch, a downward-facing dog, the majestic Warrior Pose. Yet too many people don’t realize that the physical practice is only a fraction of the secret code that unleashes the transformational powers of yoga. If you dig deeper, you’ll discover that yoga’s simple, yet rich philosophy contains profound insights for confronting the complexities of life.

This ancient wisdom, contained in the “Eight Limbs of Yoga,” offers those in the modern world ways to stay centered, compassionate, calm, and content, even in chaotic circumstances. In this book, the authors filter yoga philosophy through the lens of work to illustrate how to stay positive, productive, creative, and energized no matter what you do or where you work.

The Book of Awakening

By Mark Nepo,

Book cover of The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

I received The Book of Awakening in 2015 after my husband, Jamie, died of ALS. It collected dust on my bookshelf for far too long. Once I finally cracked it, I made up for lost time by returning time and again to this beautiful, inspiring collection of deeply personal essays — one for each day of the year. Among other things, Nepo is a poet, a teacher, and a cancer survivor. He brings his considerable literary skill to telling moving, high-impact stories about what really matters in life, along with sprinklings of wisdom from a variety of ancient traditions. God isn’t referenced as the Big White Guy in the Sky who’s pulling the strings, but rather as a beautiful, ineffable presence that connects the divine light in each individual. 


Who am I?

Like many people who consciously decided to leave the constrictive religion to which they were randomly born (and raised), I see retrospectively that the decision was an essential act of self-preservation and self-actualization. I abandoned the transactional relationship with a Judging God, including its barter of mindless obedience in exchange for a heavenly eternity after death. In doing so, I discovered my true soul. Through “godless” practices and continual seeking, I have discovered a profound, meaningful spirituality. The books on this list are among so many that have expanded my thinking and helped me become, I hope, a better human along the way. It is my pleasure to recommend them to you.


I wrote...

Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job

By Maren Showkeir, Jamie Showkeir,

Book cover of Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job

What is my book about?

The physical practice of yoga is familiar to most people—a cat-cow stretch, a downward-facing dog, the majestic Warrior Pose. Yet too many people don’t realize that the physical practice is only a fraction of the secret code that unleashes the transformational powers of yoga. If you dig deeper, you’ll discover that yoga’s simple, yet rich philosophy contains profound insights for confronting the complexities of life.

This ancient wisdom, contained in the “Eight Limbs of Yoga,” offers those in the modern world ways to stay centered, compassionate, calm, and content, even in chaotic circumstances. In this book, the authors filter yoga philosophy through the lens of work to illustrate how to stay positive, productive, creative, and energized no matter what you do or where you work.

A Search in Secret India

By Paul Brunton,

Book cover of A Search in Secret India

In my teens, I came across this book during a summer vacation visiting my dear grandparents. It felt like Paul Brunton had the same yearning as I did for uncovering hidden but profound truths. Such truths are buried but alive. Luckily, they can be rediscovered through the experiences of remarkable mystics who have dedicated their life to realization. 

I was spellbound reading Paul’s adventures from nearly a century back. And the account of how his quest finally led him to a great sage who taught primarily through silence and transmission is fantastic!


Who am I?

I am a transformational teacher and author based in San Diego, California. I am a being just like you, the very same in essence. Born with an unstoppable yearning for Truth. Through an unwavering quest for the ultimate, I came to a profound realization. Of our infinite nature. You can too! Books played an important part in this quest, especially in the beginning. We are blessed with great teachers speaking to us across time and across dimensions through their words as they transmit their blessings for our enlightenment.


I wrote...

Just Be: Transform Your Life and Live as Infinity

By Suresh Ramaswamy,

Book cover of Just Be: Transform Your Life and Live as Infinity

What is my book about?

In Just Be, I distill the profound revelations about consciousness and transformation that I came to cognize through intuition and meditation. I felt inspired to share these insights because they can quickly alleviate your suffering and bring you to Truth. 

I offer a framework to understand life and the transformational journey. I share powerful techniques to lift your consciousness. And most importantly, included in this award-winning book is a powerful vibrational component to uplift you and help shift your consciousness.

Collision with the Infinite

By Suzanne Segal,

Book cover of Collision with the Infinite: A Life Beyond the Personal Self

In this book, Suzanne has done a remarkable job of giving us a feel for the transcendent self. An everyday event thrust her into the non-self, which she found confusing and disorienting. However, as she eventually settles into the state and unpacks it for us, we find a clear and refreshing description that is beautiful. Highly readable if you can get your hands on a copy.


Who am I?

I am a transformational teacher and author based in San Diego, California. I am a being just like you, the very same in essence. Born with an unstoppable yearning for Truth. Through an unwavering quest for the ultimate, I came to a profound realization. Of our infinite nature. You can too! Books played an important part in this quest, especially in the beginning. We are blessed with great teachers speaking to us across time and across dimensions through their words as they transmit their blessings for our enlightenment.


I wrote...

Just Be: Transform Your Life and Live as Infinity

By Suresh Ramaswamy,

Book cover of Just Be: Transform Your Life and Live as Infinity

What is my book about?

In Just Be, I distill the profound revelations about consciousness and transformation that I came to cognize through intuition and meditation. I felt inspired to share these insights because they can quickly alleviate your suffering and bring you to Truth. 

I offer a framework to understand life and the transformational journey. I share powerful techniques to lift your consciousness. And most importantly, included in this award-winning book is a powerful vibrational component to uplift you and help shift your consciousness.

In Search of the Miraculous

By P.D. Ouspensky,

Book cover of In Search of the Miraculous

Peter Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous is an inspiring record of the author’s spiritual quest. Published in 1949, just after the author’s death, it recounts the time he spent with the great spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff. In Search of the Miraculous presents Gurdjieff’s system—“The Fourth Way”—as a kind of golden thread that runs through all spiritual teachings. For some, his ideas seem too scientific to lead to enlightenment. But Ouspensky suggests that all paths lead to the same destination: consciousness, presence, God. If you feel the need to shake off the ancient traditions, In Search of the Miraculous may be the perfect map for your spiritual quest.


Who am I?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.


I wrote...

A Poet of the Invisible World

By Michael Golding,

Book cover of A Poet of the Invisible World

What is my book about?

A Poet of the Invisible World is the story of Nouri, a boy born in thirteenth century Persia with four ears instead of two.  Orphaned as an infant, he’s taken into a Sufi order, where he meets an assortment of dervishes and embarks on a path towards spiritual awakening. As he journeys to the lavish court of a Spanish sultan, the barren farm of a mountain shepherd, a bustling city on the north coast of Africa, and an ascetic monastery high in the mountains, he faces a series of trials that shatter his inner obstacles—and leads him on toward transcendence.

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