This is a list and brief description of books that have helped me form my everchanging philosophy of life (or at least the words I use to describe it). If it's on this list, I recommend it.
BOOKS OF THE YEAR (books I have recently read and added to the list):
Troost, J. Maarten. The Sex Lives of Cannibals. Lonely Planet, 2003.
Hilarious story of Troost foray into Kirabati, a South Pacific Atoll and a year long stay amongst the locals. He captures well the bizarre cultural contrasts in the World and it rings true for me with my travels in S. E. Asia.
George, Don. The Kindness of Strangers. Lonely Planet, 2003.
Travellers tales of acts of kindess and hospitality.
Lightner Jr., Sam. All Elevations Unknown. Broadway Books 2006.
A fascinating book about evolving world culture and politics that describes both a 1999 climb of a remote mountain in Borneo and the 1945 WW II Allied and Japanese occupation of Borneo.
Martel, Yann. The Life of Pi. Harvest Books. 2003.
I read this in Kathmandu after my Everest Base Camp trek in 2005. I couldn't put it down for several days. It is an amazing tale of a boy castaway at sea with a tiger, orangutan, and hyena. Slow to start, but hard to put down. One of those books, that I didn't want to end. A favorite moment is when Pi's parents and he run into the Christian Priest, Hindu swami, and Muslim mentors who all think Pi has adapted only their faith.
Pearl, Eric S. The Reconnection. Hay House. 2003.
This is about my favorite book on energywork... the tale of a straightlaced chiropractor who finds himself goaded into the grips of beach-mystic, psychic who introduces him to "the reconnection"... an energy that reconnects the "missing" DNA strands for our total 64 strands (somewhere we've lost 43 strands). The energy works much like Reiki, intuitively, for highest good. Pearl finds his chiropractic patients responding to this new energy without a word from him... and much of the book is a lighthearted look at his coming to terms with incorporating the mystical into his straightlaced chiropracter's life. He has an excellent, empowered, and lighthearted belief system about energy work which can apply to other modalities. Plus, you get the reconnection energy simply by reading the book.
Black Elk Speaks.
Tells Black Elks story and much about the religion spurred by Wovoka... the Ghost Dance. A key part for me was how Black Elk rode into the heart of a battle believing himself protected and the arrows and bullets missed him... and then later he becomes injured when he is not so strong in his faith.
The Wandering Taoist.
The tale of a Taoist monk who undergoes years of training in meditation, acupuncture, martial arts, etc. At one point, he learns how to meditate on, and balance his own chakras. Years later, he is with his Master and his Master tells him how chakras don't really exist... they were just a tool to help empower himself... the more powerful way is to simply change state!
Braden, Gregg. The Isaiah Effect.
Chopra, Deepak. The Way of the Wizard.
Bailey, Claire Marie. Diary of a Tantric Priestess.
Dowman, Keith. The Divine Madman: The Sublime Life of Drukpa Kunley.
Mackenzie, Vicki. Cave in the Snow.
Odier, Daniel. Tantric Quest : An Encounter with Absolute Love . Inner Traditions. 1997.
Osho. Tantra: The Supreme Understanding.
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist.
Coelho, Paulo. The Valkyries.
MacDonald, Sarah. Holy Cow.
Melchizedek, Drunvalo. The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life: Vol 2.
Bach, Richard. One.
Bach, Richard. Illusions.
Ralston, Aaron. Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Grifith, Susan. Work Your Way Around the World.
Miller, Henry. The Paintings of Henry Miller. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA. 1982. The subtitle is "Paint As You Like and Die Happy." That pretty well describes Henry's approach to painting. He chronicles his painting life with several essays which describe his love affair with painting. I was surprised to find he supported himself by painting as he struggled with his writing career. Interesting enough, he viewed painting as pure fun and refused to corrupt it for money, while he viewed his writing as work! This is an interesting book for artists to affirm their unique gifts and the joy of painting as opposed to serving a market.
Eden, Donna. Energy Medicine.
A compendeum of techniques Eden has found useful in her healing process. A simple description of the body as a energyfield and the meridian system. Many useful techniques you can use at home to heal yourself.
Gerber, Richard. Vibrational Medicine.
If you want scientific evidence and description of how and why many alternative healing modalities work, this is the book for you! A dense and challenging read.
Braden, Gregg. Awakening to Zero Point.
I finally finished this book after starting it a year ago. Timing is everything! I guess I wasn't ready for it then. Fascinating, compelling scientific evidence and narration describing the shift of the ages in terms of shifting earth energies and how this relates to the ancients, from Christ to the Pharoahs. Ties together sacred geometry, crop circles, biochemistry, geophysics to explain our evolution towards pure consciousness and Christ's message that life is the expression of our intent. The book can be difficult to read at times because it gets into physics, but the messages and interpretations are valuable and clear. I hear the video is excellent. See greggbraden.com....
Carlson, Richard and Benjamin Shield. Healers on Healing. 1989. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Los Angeles.
I just started reading this compilation of essays about healing by healers such as Bernie Siegel, Loiuse Hay, Serge King, Hugh Prather, and Shakti Gawain, and more. I am finding it very helpful and re-affirming--helping me remember the gifts and tools of unconditional love. Here's a quote from Deepak Chopra that is incredibly scary and hopeful at the same time:
Every physician in practice has seen people who died, apparently not from a disease but from a diagnosis. I once treated a man in his fifties who had lived comfortably for five years with a coin-sized lesion in his lung that was growing very slowly. After reexamining his old chest X rays, I told him that the lesion was consistent with a diagnosis of lung cancer. he was distraught to hear this. Despite having had no overt symptoms in the past, he began to cough up blood within a month, and within three months he was dead.
Hay, Louise. Life!. Hay House Publishing. 1995.
I highly recommend this book. A quick read, and a GREAT philosophy to live by. My most powerful and enjoyable days are those I start out with an affirmation of who and how I want to be. I'd probably suggest first reading Hay's You Can Heal Your Life.
Hendricks, Gay. Conscious Breathing.
Proper beathing is one of the most important keys to good health. Breath moves energy. Improper breating results in stress and illness as we hold onto stresses rather than releasing them. Includes breathing exercises. Simple, quick, enjoyable reading. Also on tape.
Myss, Carolyn. The Anatomy of Spirit.
A classic. Describes the chakra system's relationship to spiritual growth in both eastern and western religions.
Myss, Carolyn. Why People Don't Heal: And How they Can.
Excellent, fairly easy reading describing the five myths that keep us from healing and how to get around them. Great words to get you over "victimization" paradigms.
Redfield, James. The Celestine Prophecy.
A wonderful easy book to read with very useful information on how to trust the present moment, face your fears, and find transformation and healing according to your life plan. Synchronicity is everything! The story is a fictional account of the discovery of ancient truths to live by. Follow your intuition and read this book!
John Diamond. Your Body Doesn't Lie.
A classic, quick, easy enjoyable description of kinesiology (muscle testing).
Skezas, Amy with Athabascar. The Flow Alignment and Connection Handbook. Available from www.roselight.com-see links. An excellent reference both for the work that Amy and practitioners in the FAC modality do. And also excellent backgroung material for what to expect and to prepare for any enerywork session (such as Reiki). Discusses setting intentions for sessions and types of results that you might expect. Includes real-life examples.
Petter, Frank. Reiki Fire.
A nice, small, complete book on Reiki. Excellent for beginners. If I only had one book on Reiki, this or Stein's book would be it.
Rand, William Lee. Reiki: The Healing Touch.
I haven't seen the updated version yet. But this is an excellent beginner's book. Simple, informative. I use much of what I learned in this book in my daily practice.
Diane Stein. Essential Reiki.
Comprehensive and thorough. This is one of the controversial books that first published the symbols. Provides a nice overview of differences between lineages. An excellent treatise for the serious Reiki student and master.
King, Serge. The Urban Shaman.
I love this book and highly recommend anyone interested in shamanism and self-healing read it. The Hawaiian way of the adventurer-shaman suits me much better than warrior- shamanism. King presents his experience as an adventurous and loving shaman clearly. Includes many tools to add to our bag of healing tricks. He provides simple techniques for dream interpretation and shapeshifting reality. Contains enough information for anyone to truly empower themselves in this lifetime.
Mehl-Madrona, Lewis. Coyote Medicine. 1997. Scribner, NY.
An interesting informative story of Mehl-Madrona's life journey as one trained in western medicine, yet trying to integrate shamanic wisdom from his Native American heritage. Very interesting perceptions of western medicine. For instance, many, perhaps most people heal in spite of not heeding their Dr's advice and prescriptions. Tweny percent of those with a serious illness recover regardless of treatment modality, the most important factor being their belief that they will be healed. You will enjoy the perspective of this MD as he describes successes and failures of western medicine as well as amazing healings in the sweat lodge.
Mutant Message Down Under.
A captivating and easy read about a westerner's experience on a walkabout with an aboriginal tribe. Give's a great alternative perspective to the Western paradigm. It may make you appreciate mosquitoes!
Ponce de Leon Paiva, Anton. The Wisdom of the Ancient One: An Inca Initiation. 1995. Bluestar Communications. Woodside, CA. 94062.
Wow, a fantastic story of one man's intiation to ancient Inca spiritual traditions. For me a simple, high resonance, guide to spiritual life and shamanism. Read it, Ok, just read it! (It's at the SF Main Library).
Ruiz, don Miguel. The Four Agreements.
A great philosiphy 1) be impeccable with your word, 2) don't take anything personally, 3) don't make assumptions, and 4) always do your best. Quick, easy, though abrupt, reading.
Ruiz, don Miguel. The Mastery of Love.
A combination of Toltec shamanism and wisdom and self-help for creating loving relationships and partnerships.
Some, Malidoma Patrice. The Healing Wisdom of Africa. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, NY, 1998.
Alot of information, insight, and description of the underlying belief system of Some's tribe. Excellent, though a bit slow, and cumbersome reading. I recommend it if you like Of Water and Spirit. You will marvel at the Dagara paradigm and faith in Spirit. I particularly like the image of the women's pottery making in which three-quarters of the two day ritual is spent communing with Spirit to find the inspiration and guidance of how to make the pottery; and all the pottery is made in the remaining hours! Talk about being in touch with The Present and trusting Spirit!! The description of their view of accepting and healing what we would call madness is inspiring too.
Some, Malidoma Patrice. Of Water and Spirit.
An excellent, enjoyable autobiographical story about Some's path as an African shaman and visionary bridging the tribal and western world. The tribal reality and magic will blow your mind!
Joy, Jim (editor). John Muir, the man, the poet, the legacy [videorecording]. Panorama International Productions ; produced by Ziggy Stone ; Publisher : Beverly Hills, CA : Panorama International, c1981. The production starts off a bit cheesy. But John Muir's story draws you in. Metaphysically, his life is amazing. In spite of a harsh abusive father who prohibited reading beyond the Bible and demanded extreme labor, John creatively drew, wrote, and invented, sneaking into the cellar at night to read by candelight. He left home as a young adult, following dreams of machinery in a factory in a midwest city. One night while repairing a belt in a factory, a filing flew into his eye. Within two days he lost the vision in both eyes! He was devastated for all his life he'd been fascinated with nature and had hoped to explore it. Miraculously, his vision returned and he forsook his interest in mechanics and inventions for the natural world. He walked to Florida and never stopped walking. He found his way to California and explored the Sierras. Several times he defied death. Once he was caught in an avalanche. But believing himself one with nature, he simply rode it spread eagle rejoicing in life! Another time, caught in a blizzard on a moutaintop, he danced a jig and kept himself from freezing to death. Obviously, someone who believed in death and feared nature would have not survived. His love for life and nature is captivating and inspiring.
Savage, Barbara. Miles From Nowhere. The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA, 1983.
An engaging, easily read, mind-blowing description of her and her husband's journey aroung the world by bicycle in the late 1970's. The trials and tribulations of their trip and of other cultures are incredible. From a metaphysical perspective, it's interesting that she keeps expecting to die during the often perilous journey around the world, and sadly she eventually manifests death 3 years after the journey in a bicyling accident.
Lindsey, Joe. Up Shit Creek: A Collection of Horrifyingly True Wilderness Toilet Misadventures. Ten Speed Press. 1997 I was in Maui, in Border's one day in 2005, and I laughed so hard my head hurt as I read this book end to end, not being able to put it down.... a half hour of the most fun ever I've had in a bookstore! The book is a compilation of "horrifying" tales of calamaties with "shit boxes" used to collect people's excrement on wilderness expeditions.
Grayson, David. Adventures in Friendship. Grosset & Dunlap. 1910. (This book has been reprinted recently and can be found online, though I suggest supporting your local bookseller. I found it at the SF library.)
I first ran across David Grayson's books when travelling by horse and buggy through New York state in 1992. I found it among the dusty bookshelves of a farm family I stayed with. David Grayson is the pen name of Ray Stannard Baker, who was a political figure in the early 1900s. His writings as David Grayson are light and easy reading, yet wonnderfully insightful and somewhat spiritual. For an old horse farmer like me, the backdrop of horse and buggy days is fascinating. One of my favorite tales is his account of feeling left out when he runs into a Mason at the local farm machinery dealer. The dealer explains that he ought to join the Masons so he would have a friend and benefactor whenever he needed amongst the other society members. As David leaves the dealer, he feels a bit lonely and ponders why it is one would have to join such a society. He then realizes that indeed he is a part of a loving society...The Universal Brotherhood of Man (excuse the dated patriarchical language). And as he drives home he reaches out to those in need along the way. Throughout his assorted tales, Grayson shares some good ways to love and enjoy life.
Grayson, David. Adventures in Understanding. 1925.
Continued tales with David Grayson find him in the city this time with equally compelling ways of living and seeing the world.
Hawken, Paul. The Magic of Findhorn. 1976. Bantam. NY.
An engaging account of Paul's visit to the Findhorn Community in Scotland and the history of the community there. Tales of their experiences communicating with the devas and spirits (like Pan) of the nature kingdom. Anyone interested in connecting with natural earth energies will find this informative and exciting.
Roberts, Monty. The Man Who Listens to Horses [audiorecording]. Random House, 1997. I wish I had heard this or read it years ago when I worked with horses. Monty describes how he broke the cycle of abuse in his family, both with regards to children and horses through consciously choosing to stop the cycle. He learned to ask horses and children to be willing partners in life rather than telling and forcing them out of fear. Much of his story is based on training horses by working in the horses' language of communication. But Monty's life story is woven within the text and is quite a fascinating story or perserverance to be oneself.