The warmth and leisure of the summer months catalyzes many of us to make space for nurturing oft-neglected parts of ourselves. As this relaxing, absorbing mode of summer descends upon us, we may loosen up our need to be productive, and be in a more receptive mode. We allow ourselves to soak up wisdom from the world around us.
In the spirit of gleaning from this abundance surrounding us, this month’s column is dedicated to some of my personal favorites in the world of books and audiotapes. Whether on vacation with more time to read, taking a car trip where audiotapes help pass the time, or even busier than usual, I hope you will partake and find that one of these will “change your life.” In keeping with my role as a healing arts practitioner, these titles relate to emotional and spiritual growth, as well as planetary evolvement. My reviews are brief as there are so many to fit in!
I begin with a book that has become a bestseller, The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz. This deceptively simple-looking tract powerfully explores personal spiritual/emotional growth and how it relates to illusions and distorted power on our planet. A fine audiotaped reading of it by Peter Coyote is also available.
Another much lesser known tape, but one that I cannot recommend highly enough, Radical Self-Acceptance, is by Tara Brach, a therapist and Buddhist teacher. The power of her insights in regards to the wounds that we all carry, and how to work with them from both the deepest and the highest levels, is truly profound. I was so glad to have discovered this tape in my local metaphysical bookstore.
Another potent book is also lesser-known: The Journey, by Brandon Bays. Brandon explains her process in healing a physical condition, and in doing so she reaches into the deepest levels of Truth. This a deeply awe-inspiring story of the many dissolutions she undergoes in so many areas of her life. Her integrity and heart-centered lovingness blazon through!
The Divine Child, a tape set by Marion Woodman and Robert Bly, explores the union of the Archetypal Inner Feminine and Inner Masculine. I believe this is what we are all trying to get back in balance to “set the planet right,” and the work we do in the world must be matched by our inner work in these areas. I was astounded by how their use of a classic fairy tale illuminated my own modern inner process perfectly. Marion Woodman’s other books and tapes are also quite rich to explore the Archetypal Feminine process, as it applies to both men and women.
If you like channeled material, I recommend the pristine Emmanuel’s Book by Pat Rodegast and Judith Stanton. This bestseller from 1985 has stood the test of time, even giving me comfort and illumination after the events of 9/11. Another superb channeled book is I Come as Brother, by Bartholomew.
Hugh Prather’s A Book of Games is a positively luminous distillation of principles from The Course in Miracles. It, too, has stood the test of time over the past 20 years. And Zen teacher Cheri Huber’s book There is Nothing Wrong With You is another comforting, dog- eared book in my home.
Enlightened teachers from all ages and traditions have written words to live by. I love some of the modern American teachers for the fact that their teachings are tailored to our current issues as Westerners. I also love that their own enlightenment processes happen in the most unlikely ways and places, not necessarily while meditating alone on secluded mountain ridges! A fine example of this is Satyam Nadeen, who became enlightened when he was in prison. His delightful books include both his first book From Onions to Pearls, and his second, From Seekers to Finders. And Byron Katie, a woman who had her awakening in a mental hospital setting, has been an amazing teacher for many. Although her new book, Loving What Is, has only just come out, I am sure it will be well worth the read.
David Richo’s small book, How to Be an Adult, is a real treasure, one of the most edifying books I have seen on the interface between psychological and spiritual work. It amazes me that so few people are familiar with it. I consider it to be a classic.
One of the more illuminating books that I’ve read is Barbara Hand Clow’s The Liquid Light of Sex. An astrological and psycho-spiritual look at kundalini and chakra energies, it is particularly relevant for what many people are undergoing as our planet evolves.
Books by Chris Griscom, Maya Tiwari, Joan Borysenkno, Herman Hesse and Brooke Medicine Eagle have all opened important doors in my own healing process. Children’s books and poetry are, in my mind, especially ripe avenues for opening the heart, which I consider to be the cornerstone of all true healing. While space doesn’t permit more detail on these, if either of those “calls” to you, go to the poetry or children’s section of a bookstore or library and let your intuition guide you to the right choices.
I hope some of these titles will benefit and inspire you. All or part of future columns will be dedicated from time to time to ongoing resources in literature, music, and other arts which I have found to be supportive of spiritual and emotional growth. Our world is too fertile with creative inspirations to wrap it up in one column!
Originally published as The Wider View © 2001-2002. All rights reserved. Please contact Elizabeth for permission to use any material contained herein.