BOOKS, FILMS, AND MORE . . .
While daily meditation forms the bedrock of my on-going spiritual practice, there are plenty of other ‘sources’ that have contributed to my gradual awakening over the years. Below is a small - very small - sampling of some of these 'Transmitters Of Truth;' work that I've returned to over and over again for continued guidance, wisdom, and insight. Perhaps they'll inspire you too . . .
Be Here Now, by Ram Dass - As one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, Ram Dass has made his mark on the world giving teachings and promoting loving service, harmonious business practices, and conscious care for the dying. His spirit has been a guiding light for generations, carrying millions along on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. In this landmark first book, Ram Dass describes his amazing transformation upon his acceptance of the principles of Yoga and gives a modern restatement of the importance of the spiritual side of humanity's nature.
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, by Wayne Dyer - Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a God-realized being named Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated 81 verses - known as the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way - which are regarded by many as the ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence. In this book, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer reviewed hundreds of translations of the Tao Te Ching and wrote 81 distinct essays - over the course of one year - on how to apply the ancient wisdom of Lao-tzu to today’s modern world.
The Dhammapada: Annotated & Explained, translated by Max Muller and Jack Maguire - Originally composed in the ancient language of Pali, this timeless text - believed to have been spoken by the Buddha himself over 2,500 years ago - concisely and inspirationally portrays the route a person travels as he or she advances toward enlightenment. With poetic sequence and rhythm, the Dhammapada describes the fundamental role of mental conditioning in making us who we are. It paints contrasting portraits of three levels of our human existence - the fool, the wise one and the enlightened one - and addresses specific aspects of experience, conduct and belief that characterize our transformation from one of these modes of being to another.
The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot - Michael Talbot’s classic treatise on the latest frontiers of physics reveals a revolutionary theory of reality, explaining the paranormal abilities of the mind, the unsolved riddles of brain and body, and the true nature of the universe.
I Am That, by Nisargadatta Maharaj - This modern spiritual classic contains the timeless teachings of one of the greatest sages of India, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. First published in 1973, I Am That continues to draw new audiences and to enlighten seekers anxious for self-realization. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was a teacher who did not propound any ideology or religion, but gently unwrapped the mystery of the eternal Self. His message was simple, direct, and sublime. I Am That preserves his dialogs with the followers who came from around the world seeking guidance in destroying false identities. The Nisargadatta's sole concern was with the human suffering and the ending of suffering. It was his mission to guide the individual to an understanding of his true nature and the timelessness of being.
The Journey Home, by Radhanath Swami - Within this extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism, and love. Readers follow Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self-awareness and also a penetrating glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine. Through near-death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrim’s path, Radhanath Swami eventually reaches the inner sanctum of India’s mystic culture and finds the love he has been seeking. It is a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous, and heartwarming.
The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A Commentary For Modern Readers, by Sri Swami Satchidananda - The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna - the great warrior - is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna - the Cosmic Lord - comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Krishna is the inner Spirit, the God within, who is there to console him. Today we see humanity divided against itself, threatened with constant war, environmental degradation, economic instability, and widespread social unrest. No political means are adequate enough to deal with these incredibly complex problems, and so many are driven to despair. It is then that the timeless message of the Bhagavad Gita comes to teach us that it is only when we rise above human schemes and calculations and awaken to the presence of the indwelling Spirit within that we can ever hope to rise above our challenges.
A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle - In his follow-up to The Power Of Now, best selling author Eckhart Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.
Reflections On The Art Of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, by Joseph Campbell - In this wonderful collection of stories, lectures, and excerpts collected at the Esalen Institute for one month in 1983, celebrated author and scholar Joseph Campbell shares his intimate and inspiring reflections on the art of living.
A Separate Reality, by Carlos Castaneda - In 1961 a young anthropologist (Castaneda) subjected himself to an extraordinary apprenticeship in Mexico on a quest to bring back a fascinating glimpse of a Yaqui Indian's world of "non-ordinary reality" and the difficult and dangerous road we must travel to become "a man of knowledge."
Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse - In this classic novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life - the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.
Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell - In 81 brief chapters, Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao - the basic principle of the universe.
Think On These Things, by Jiddu Krishnamurti - The material contained in this volume was originally presented in the form of talks to students, teachers and parents in India, but its keen penetration and lucid simplicity will be deeply meaningful to thoughtful people everywhere, of all ages, and in every walk of life. Krishnamurti examines with characteristic objectivity and insight the expressions of what we are pleased to call our culture, our education, religion, politics and tradition; and he throws much light on such basic emotions as ambition, greed and envy, the desire for security and the lust for power – all of which he shows to be deteriorating factors in human society.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Humanity finds a mysterious artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on an incredible quest to uncover its origin and purpose.
Baraka (1992) - A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.
Being There (1979) - A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.
Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) - This is a dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from before his conversion experience through his audience with the pope, including his friendship with St. Clare.
Dead Man (1995) - On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.
Deep Water (2006) - Compelling documentary about the disastrous 1968 round-the-world yacht race and the price one man paid for getting in over his head.
Easy Rider (1969) - Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.
Fantasia (1940) - A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.
Forrest Gump (1994) - While not outwardly intelligent - at least in a conventional sense - Forrest Gump knows instinctively what it takes to live a 'good' life . . . but is anyone paying attention?
Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai (1999) - An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.
Groundhog Day (1993) - A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Harold And Maude (1971) - Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.
Jeremiah Johnson (1972) - A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.
Joseph Campbell And The Power Of Myth (1988) - Mythologist Joseph Campbell presents his ideas about comparative mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society.
Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance (1982) - A collection of beautifully photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the fragile relationship between them.
La Dolce Vita (1960) - A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome.
The Matrix (1999) - A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its 'alien' controllers.
Microcosmos: People Of The Grass (1996) - A captivating documentary on insect life as it unfolds over a single day amidst a lush meadow in the French countryside.
My Dinner With Andre (1981) - Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing world views.
The Red Turtle (2017) - A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island and encounters a mysterious red turtle, a seemingly 'magical' being that changes his life.
Samsara (2011) - Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimeter film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
The Seventh Seal (1957) - A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.
The Shift (2009) - In this compelling film, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer explores the spiritual journey from ambition to meaning.
Silence (2016) - In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.
Spirited Away (2001) - During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits . . . a challenging realm where humans are transformed into beasts.
Synecdoche, New York (2008) - A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.
The Tree Of Life (2011) - The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.
Waking Life (2001) - A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.
Walkabout (1971) - Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe.
The Way (2010) - A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.
When We Were Kings (1996) - A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.
Wild Strawberries (1957) - After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.
Wings Of Desire (1987) - An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
Youth Without Youth (2007) - A love story wrapped in a mystery. Set in World War II Europe, a professor is changed by a cataclysmic event and explores the mysteries of life.
Music & sound
Alan Watts Podcast - Alan Watts was one of the most popular philosophers of the 20th century. In addition to his 28 books, he delivered hundreds of public talks and seminars, the bulk of which have been preserved for future generations. This podcast is a series of lectures delivered by Alan Watts, spanning several facets of religion and spirituality. An incredibly engaging speaker, this podcast is a great way to expand your knowledge about life.
Buddha At The Gas Pump, hosted by Rick Archer - Rick was trained as a Transcendental Meditation teacher by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1970, and served in that capacity for 25 years. Rick taught TM to hundreds of people, lecturing all over the world, helping to train teachers, and serving in other capacities. In 2009 he created Buddha at the Gas Pump, having since interviewed hundreds of “spiritually awakening” people from a variety of backgrounds and traditions. A really great show!
On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett - This award-winning show takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists, theologians, artists, and teachers - some you know and others you'll love to meet. Each week presents a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.
Ram Dass Here And Now, hosted by Raghu Markus - Each week Raghu Markus of the Love Serve Remember Foundation shares timeless wisdom from excerpted Ram Dass lectures that he has given since the early 1970s. Ram Dass' talks are awesome; truly some of the best you'll find dealing with spiritual matters.
Sounds True: Insights At The Edge, hosted by Tami Simon - Join Tami Simon, founder and publisher of Sounds True, as she interviews spiritual teachers, visionary writers, and living luminaries about their newest work and current challenges - at the growing edge of their inner inquiry and outer contribution to the world.
Spirit Matters: Conversations On Contemporary Spirituality, hosted by Philip Goldberg and Dennis Raimondi - The spiritual landscape has never been more diverse, more eclectic, more individualized, or more internally focused. Spirit matters, and in our open-source world, matters of the spirit are complex and endlessly fascinating. The Spirit Matters podcast aims to help listeners make sense of it all. Philip and Dennis interviews experts with a wide range of perspectives: East and West; religious and secular; metaphysical and scientific; philosophical and experiential. Some of their guests are well known; others should be well known. They are teachers, scholars, and spiritual leaders, all with wisdom to enrich our understanding and advice to enhance our spiritual growth.
Tara Brach - Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist (mindfulness) meditation, emotional healing, and spiritual awakening. As the senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington D.C., she has authored several books: Radical Acceptance (2003) and True Refuge (2013). Each week she shares her unique brand of compassionate wisdom teachings and practices.