Looking For Inspiring Reads? We Have 12 Suggestions For You.
There are books so powerful that they have the potential of giving you different lenses to view the world, yourself and the overall marvelous unraveling of life. We have been lucky that for these past years we have come across with exactly some of those kinds of books. From environmental protection, economics to the unfoldment of higher consciousness, the following books have in some way raised our awareness, touched us and inspired us to help build a better world.
1. Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman
This is a story based on Dan Millman, a California athlete who feels unsatisfied with his life. The reader quickly relates to the main character who raises existential questions about his future, the world and the meaning of life. Following the meeting of a spiritual master, he sees his beliefs completely turned upside down and gradually learns how to face his fears and illusions; he’s taught how to transform his intentions into actions, his challenges into strengths and his experiences into wisdom. The book offers new and innovative perspectives on the world and life, and shares simple — but powerful — solutions to understand how the tricky mind works.
2. Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World by Helena Norberg-Hodge
During our one month stay in Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas, we had the pleasure of cooperating with the NGO founded by the author. This book is a gripping portrait of the rapidly evolving socio economic life of Ladakh; the account moves from Helena’s first visit in idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, showing the profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western beliefs and technologies, and pressure for economic growth. These changes brought generational conflict, unemployment, inflation, environmental damage, and threats to the traditional way of life. This examination of how modernization changes the way people live and think challenges us to redefine our concepts of “development” and “progress.” In addition to this analysis, the author shares many examples of inspiring solutions some communities have developed to live more sustainably.
3. From Naked Ape to Superspecies: Humanity and the Global Eco-Crisis by David Suzuki
David Suzuki, renowned scientist, explores how humans have evolved beyond their needs, trampling other species and believing that they can make the Earth work the way they want it to. The book examines the contempt for microscopic species that are the engine of our planet and the indiscriminate use of technological inventions such as herbicides or genetically modified crops. But this book does not issue a gloomy scenario, the author shares the stories of activists who resist the inexorable spread of economic globalization. The book also offers strategies to prosper while reconnecting with nature.
4. Sadhana: The Realization of Life by Rabindranath Tagore
This book is a collection of spiritual discourses given by poet Tagore to the boys in his school, in India. It consists of eight essays, in which he beautifully and poetically answers some of the most profound questions of life: Why did God create this world? Why does evil exist? Do love and beauty have a purpose? Tagore masterfully brings the spiritual truths behind these profound questions to light, with lucid explanations from some of the oldest and most sacred spiritual texts as well as the eternal teachings of Lord Jesus and Buddha.
5. Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
This book by one of our favorite activists, Charles Eisenstein, traces the history of money and trade, from ancient economies based on gift to modern capitalism. It reveals how our monetary system based on debt has contributed to the development of a society based on endless growth, alienation and permanent competition. Charles Eisenstein shares in his book solutions to rethink our relationship with money and move towards a more connected, ecological and responsible world.
Being one of the most influential books on our path of self-inquiry and self-exploration, we couldn’t help but include this in our list. The Bhagavad Gita is a message of spiritual wisdom written in the third or fourth millennium BC. The story is centered around a conversation between Arjuna, a supernaturally gifted warrior about to go into battle, and Krishna, his charioteer. In the course of giving Arjuna all manner of spiritual and material advice, Krishna explains karma, the self, the Supreme Self, the purpose of yoga, the difference between our self and our material body, how our environment affects our consciousness, and how to attain the perfection of life.
During our volunteering time with Tibetans in exile in Mcleod Ganj, India, we learned first hand about the genocide they have been facing since the 1950’s. With this book that we borrowed at the library owned by the NGO we worked with, we also learned about the ecocide that is ensuing in the Land of Snows due to a greedy and ruthless Chinese government. “Meltdown in Tibet” exposes how powerless Tibetans are to stop the reckless destruction of their sacred land, but also shows how they are not the only victims of this campaign: the nations downstream from Tibet are also at risk of destruction. In this book Michael Buckley turns the spotlight on the darkest side of China’s emergence as a global superpower.
8. Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
This book is a call to end excessive consumption. Schumacher, who for several years lived in Myanmar, was inspired by Buddhist economics, fair trade and the localization movement . He speaks against capitalism and the influence of multinationals on the economy. Named one of the “100 Most Influential Books Since World War II” by the Times Literary Supplement, “Small Is Beautiful” presents logical arguments for building economies centered on the needs of communities, not capital.
Compiled around 400 BC by sage Patanjali, the Yoga Sutras or “Threads of Union”, outline the art and science of Yoga and meditation. It describes a process of systematically encountering, examining, and transcending the false identity created by the mind and the way for discovering our true being.The threads of wisdom contained in the book offer guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life.
10. The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle
Drawing on almost three years of experience of living without money, Irishman Mark Boyle not only demystifies money and the system that binds us to it, he also explains how liberating, easy and enjoyable it is to live with less of it. In this book, Mark takes us on an exploration that goes deeper into the thinking that pushed him to make the decision to go moneyless, and the philosophy he developed along the way. Bursting with radical new perspectives on some of the vital, yet often unquestioned, pillars of economic theory and what it really means to be “sustainable”. In addition, he offers inspiring speeches on economy and ecology and shares many creative and practical solutions to live better with less.
11. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation by William Hart
This book compiles the key principles of Vipassana philosophy, a technique that we learned on our first 10 day silent meditation course (read about our experience here!). Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, provides a simple way of introspection and self- exploration to understand the nature of mind; it shows us how certain techniques can be used every day to calm one’s thoughts and get a different perspective to deal with problems, regenerate and lead peaceful and productive lives.
12. Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
A sequel to Way of the Peaceful Warrior. In spite of all he has learned, Dan Millman confronts personal failure and growing frustrations. Disillusioned with his life, Dan decides to travel to find inspiration and rediscover the deeper meaning of life he had found when he was younger. He meets a shaman woman in Hawaii who teaches him in the heart of the forest how to integrate levels of higher consciousness. Dan encounters inner tests, challenges and revelations that powerfully transform him from within and eventually lead him to a unique state of serenity and happiness.
We hope that some of these books will also find their way into your plane of consciousness and will in one way or another contribute to your pool of knowledge and personal growth.
What are some of the books that have touched and inspired you? Share them with us! Feel free to leave a comment below with your top picks.
Thomas & Ruth
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