A General Theory of Love — two neurologists write a book that is both poetic and factual, addressing how we become attached – from -psychological and neurological perspectives. Highly recommended.

The Artist’s Way — Julia Cameron’s book, still going strong after 25 years, leads you on a 12 week path toward greater creativity and self-knowledge.

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life — musings and meditations on what makes life meaningful, based on the author’s 6 month retreat. She asks herself profound questions about her life, and as we share her journey, we are invited to ask the same questions about our own lives. Highly recommended.

How to be a Help instead of a Nuisance — somewhat comical title belies the very practical and effective skills described. To start being a help to others, we need to truly be present and mindfully listen. This book has the best description of mindfulness I have seen yet.

The Four Agreements — draws on shamanistic tradition from Central America to outline effective principles for living one’s life.

A Path With Heart — Jack Kornfield. A good introduction to Buddhist practice by a North American master.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying — The first 4 chapters are another clear introduction to meditation and Buddhist practice.

It’s a meaningful life – it just takes practice — Bo Lozoff.  26 practices to promote well-being, connection, and meaning in life.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People — well known book by Stephen Covey on ways to be more effective at living as well as relationships and work.

Fragrant Palm Leaves — Thich Nhat Hahn’s journals from 1962 to 1966 reveal something of the mind, insights, dreams, and practice of this famed teacher in his 30s.

Soul Survivor – Paul Hawker’s spiritual quest through 40 days retreat on a New Zealand mountain.  A well written and authentic description of his spritual experiences and learning, especially how he learns to listen to and trust The Source as opposed to his fearful or habitual thoughts.  No particular religious background or affiliation is required to learn from this book, though it does have Christian imagery at times.

The Church of 80% Spirituality – David Roche. There are some wonderful truths in this compassionate, realistic and at times funny  book by a man with a facial disfigurement who “stopped pretending I was normal and began to accept myself the way I was”.  He points out, among other things, that it takes time – decades sometimes – to figure out what happened “back then”. That we don’t get the meaning of events right away. He tells spiritual perfectionists that 80% sincerity is as good as it gets, so we get to be human and blunder along 20% of the time, adjusting beliefs and practices to conform to the reality of being human.

Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindburgh. Reflections on life, love, marriage, children, giving and receiving, solitude and growth… and more… that came to her in a vacation with her sister. Published in 1955, it has some dated references to issues of the times, but the essence is still warm and true, and her writing is eloquent.  This book may appeal especially to women, particularly those who find too little time for themselves and puzzle over how much of themselves they can give.