I love books. In fact, I think I’m addicted to books. Or at least a little obsessed…
I love the sensorial experience of real books. Do you know what I mean? The weight of the book in your hand, the texture and colours of the cover, the search for images hidden inside that light up the story, the scent of the paper, the sound of pages turning. Each book is a little mindful journey of discovery.
Of course it’s not the physical experience of the book that’s addictive, it’s what’s inside. Books are a journey to another time, another land, another idea, or another state of mind.
And it’s the act of reading. If I could choose one thing to do all day, I would read. I have been reading nearly all my life.
And I have been visiting bookstores and searching for books since I was a child.
I love wandering through a bookstore, with no particular goal, just exploring, randomly choosing books from a shelf or a table, always searching with a sense of openness. Exploring bookstores is an excellent way to find new ideas, new perspectives, new stories. There’s always something to discover. By now I have a very expansive and eclectic book collection. A lot of them explore ways and practices to live life to its fullest potential.
Here are 5 book-treasures from my collection about inspiring journeys. Each book came to me in a different way, from a different place. They are tales from around the world, tales of journeys and encounters with ancient cultures and traditions. And each one brings unique insights and nuggets of wisdom for your own personal journey of transformation.
Yoga Wisdom - Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat
This is a wonderful, award-winning book that is quite different from any other yoga book I’ve read. Stephanie’s brave tale of her life journey is a source of inspiration for all of us. From CEO of her own communications company to Yoga Road Trip Girl, it’s a captivating story of personal transformation, an evocative illustration of the healing power of yoga and of the value of living an authentic life. It is filled with yoga wisdom and practical tips from Stephanie. It’s also a unique collection of stories from the many yoga teachers she has met on her yoga road trips across North America. Each teacher shares how the practice has guided their journey towards living their best life possible. Stephanie in her own words: “I became a warrior when I embraced the understanding that I had to crash so I could transform my life. Yoga Wisdom takes you on the road of life with people who are full of self-love and radiating balance, so you can create that for yourself. Once you meet these life instructors, you can manifest everything you need to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.” Reading this book I felt like I was reading a literary mala made up of so many pearls of wisdom to contemplate and insights to meditate with, all strung together, anchored and hand-knotted between each one by Stephanie’s own advice and journey notes. It was such a strong feeling I wondered if it was intentional and I actually counted the teachers to see if there were 108 teachers…there are even more.
You can find more of Stephanie’s Yoga Wisdom and follow her continuing travels on Instagram @stephanieyogini.
Mystics, Magicians and Medicine People - Tales of a Wanderer
These are the true stories from Doug Boyd’s encounters with people from ancient cultures around the world, shared to inspire us to open our perspectives and to contemplate what we can do to live a life of purpose, self-awareness and of connection to our inner selves and to all of nature. They are the stories and the teachings of sages and healers such as a mystical Korean shaman, a gentle Japanese martial arts expert, an Indian swami, a Hopi medicine man, and others sharing their unique cultural perspective, their wisdom and insights. How does he meet so many extraordinary people in one life? It doesn’t seem like he’s actively seeking them out, many are random meetings. Perhaps it’s his choice of places to wander to, both near and far, and it’s certainly the sense of curiosity he takes with him and the openness to receive and to interpret the wisdom. He tells us: “Practical mysticism is an appropriate balance between intuitive insight and practical effort. We need to get up and get out, to experience and explore our earthly abode, and in the process, discover that we are all mystics, magicians, and medicine people.”
Find it at the Himalayan Institute, (a fantastic retreat centre by the way) and discover the other gems they publish.
Dipa Ma - The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master
This is the extraordinary story and of the life and teachings of Dipa Ma Barua, a rare female Buddhist master, who devoted herself entirely to the pursuit of meditation while still taking care of her home and family, and who achieved a level of enlightenment through her practice. She is known as the "saint of householders". It’s an archetypal tale of a spiritual journey, and mirrors the Buddha’s own transformation. Dipa Ma’s story begins in 1911 and takes us from her native Bengal to Burma and back to India where she taught meditation and mindfulness from her tiny family apartment in Calcutta. People came from all over to seek her out, to gain support and learnings for their spiritual journey. Her insights and teachings have had a profound impact on the practice of meditation and mindfulness in the west through her students which included American mindfulness pioneers Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. In this book, her stories and teachings are told through the encounters of her students and family during her lifetime.
It reveals the true essence of mindful living and offers Dipa Ma’s essential teachings in ten lessons to live by.
Mutant Message Down Under
I was captivated from the very first page of this fictional story based on the author’s actual experience in the Australian Outback. She thinks she is being invited to receive an award from a group of Aborigines and it turns out that she sees all of her possessions burned (clothes, shoes, papers, money, camera…), experiences a strange initiation ceremony, and ends up following the group on a “walkabout”, leaving her life behind for a 4 month walking journey across Australia. The story is about the secrets and wisdom she gleaned from this journey with the “Real People” as she discovers and experiences first hand their connection to their land, how they live in harmony with nature. She witnesses their way of living based on the ancient wisdom of their 50,000 year old culture. And it’s also an odyssey of self-discovery and personal transformation with messages that are universal.
The Wander Society
One of the most curious books I’ve ever found…an intriguing and inspiring little book, purportedly about a secret society of Wanderers. It’s not a book specifically about mindfulness, but when I read it I felt that every idea it offers about wandering was an opportunity to build our awareness and to be fully immersed in the world around us as we explore it. Essentially, it’s about slowing down, taking time to notice. It’s about letting go, learning to wander and wonder with a sense of openness and a touch of randomness. Wandering is an activity that is available to us all, every single day. Like a new journey of discovery each time we wander. The book includes thoughts on the nature of wandering, practical tips on how to go about it, insights into the “Wander Society”, inspirational quotes from fellow wanderers, poems, assignments, research and field work. It’s an invitation and a practical guide to explore the world around you, and also to explore your own inner world and imagination.
This is one you’d want to get in hardcover, I think, instead of ebook. It's like holding a little work of art in your hand.
Do you have any inspiring books you'd like to share? Please add them in the comments.
Comments will be approved before showing up.