“Mediate every day for 20 minutes”
“Venus is in retrograde”
“what’s your star sign?”
“have you seen my new crystal collection?”,
“be more present”
It is near impossible to scroll through Instagram or Youtube without seeing or hearing one of these phrases. Eastern spiritual practices have become a new trend in Western culture during recent years. Despite our commoditization of spirituality (note: T-shirts with words like, ‘Spiritual Gangster’ written on them), there are many benefits to adopting non-Western spiritual traditions. But how? There is a lot of contradicting information out there, it can be extremely overwhelming.
At its core, spirituality is all about improving the self and being more in tuned with the universe. Meditation alone has been scientifically proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase your focus, and even boosts your immunity, lowering your overall risk of disease. There is a reason Eastern spiritual traditions have existed for thousands of years, it’s because they work. Though now that it’s become trendy, trying to find helpful, easy to understand resources is difficult. So I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favourite spiritual/self-help books that are great for beginners.
I strongly believe that every person should read this book at least once in their lifetime, if not more. Ruiz outlines four agreements (or promises) that everyone should make with themselves. In short, they are four philosophies that if applied, will allow you to live a better more happy life. This book can easily be read within a day, and will completely change the way you view your own behavior. If you’re going to read any book on this list, it should be this one.
For those who have a hundred questions about anything related to the spiritual world, this book is for you. It does not go into any philosophies or explains any spiritual or religious texts, but it does provide an amazing breakdown of many different practices and products that people use in the spiritual world. What are crystals? How do you sage your house and why? This book has all the answers. (I know the cover is pink and is marketed towards women, but it’s a great jumping off point for anyone who is confused by spiritual practices. Think of it as a spiritual textbook, but more fun.)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of this book. You may have seen Eckhart Tolle in Oprah’s 10-part series or many other popular talk shows, but this man is a spiritual and philosophical legend. Anything written by him is worth the read. “The Power of Now” is all about how to live in the moment and how to let go and stop worrying about the past and the future.
This book is a little heavier, and difficult to read at times though I still belive it is important for anyone who is on a spiritual journey. The book is meant to teach non-Hindu people how to become a yogi as Ram Dass himself is not Hindu. The book is broken down into 3 sections: an autobiography, a collection of spiritual and religious principles, and spiritual practices to implement into your everyday life. If you’re open to the challenge I would definitely give it a read.
The last book is a personal favourite of mine as it helped me understand what my purpose is in life. The chapters are extremely short, which makes it an easy read. Campbell describes her own spiritual journey and her path to figuring out what she wants to do with her life. She also provides you with practical tools to help you figure out what ‘lights you up’ meaning, identifying the passions you have and going after them. If you’re someone who focuses too much on other people’s happiness and neglects what you truly want, give this book a chance.
This list could be much longer, though I wanted to keep it simple because I know how overwhelming the self-help and spiritual world can be. This is my personal list and what I tend to recommend to my friends when they come to me for suggestions. I tried to keep a healthy variety and have it not be too academic. However, if you are going to dive deeper into spirituality I think it’s important to take a deeper look at different religious practices and truly understand the history and culture behind these Eastern traditions that are being adopted as ‘new age practices.’
If you have any other reading recommendations leave a comment below this article and let me know. I would love to add some new books to my 2018 reading list. Or if you’ve read any of these let me know what you think!
Featured Image via WeHeartIt