Teachings

While there are many books on the world’s wisdom teachings—religious, scientific, literary, artistic, etc., there are far fewer that speak directly to those walking a Spiritually Independent path. Here are some we find helpful. Click on the book’s cover and learn more about the book at amazon.com/. A portion of the Amazon proceeds is donated to support this work. Please share your insights from these book along with other reading suggestions on our blog page.

The World’s Religions

by Huston Smith“Because this second position [religions are all basically alike] is powered by the hope that there may someday be a single world religion, it is well to remind ourselves again of the human element in the religious equation. There are people who want to have their own followers… This suggests that if we were to find ourselves with a single religion tomorrow, it is likely that there would be two the day after.”

 

 

The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness
by Rami M. Shapiro“…study broadly in the world’s religions and adapt what you need from wherever it is found. It is not enough to be versed in only one religion.  You are heir to the entire spectrum of human spirituality.  While one of them may resonate more strongly within you than another, you can learn from them all and adapt practices from each to enrich your own capacity for lovingkindness.” (Introduction)

 

 

The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions
by Wayne Teasedale
“…fortunately, everyone is a mystic.” “In this new age of interspirituality, all forms of spirituality are accessible to us, allowing creative crossover and borrowing among members of the world’s religions.” (page 12) “…we require a spirituality that promotes the unity of the human family, not one that further divides us or maintains old antagonisms. At the same time, this interspiritual approach must not submerge our differences; it must see traditions in relationship to each other, and provide options. The truth itself is big enough to include our diversity of views.” (page 12)

 

 

Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another
by Stephanie Dowrick
“Beyond all else, a seeking of the sacred reveals our essential interdependence. It may be ‘about’ a relationship with God. It is undoubtedly about the ways we relate to one another. The most cursory understanding of the sacred shows me that I can’t live or ‘save’ myself at your expense. I can’t and won’t grow spiritually, morally or theically while defiling or dehumanizing you or putting your life in danger… Concern, connectedness, dignity, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, gratitude and an inclusive intelligence: this is what the world needs. This is what we need.”

 

 

Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth
by Theodore Richards
“The shortest distance between two people is a story. … Humans make their world through the stories they tell… A myth allows us to use our imagination to complete the story that observation began. … We seem determined to rape the mother who birthed us [Earth], to profane the womb whence we have come.  These problesm cannot be solved in a fragmented way–‘environmentalism’ that ignores social justice, for example; or, conversely, wealth redistribution that fails to recognize that the economy is a subset of ecology–because fragmentation is part of their root cause.”

 

 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
by Eckhart Tolle
“Our species now faces a stark choice: Evolve further our comprehensive and integral sense of interconnectedness, and our mutually shared sense of the inherent value of all humanity and planet Earth which hosts us, or die.”

 

 

 

Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent: Sacred Teachings Annotated & Explained
by Rami Shapiro
“what I believe seems to arise in the heart/minds of gurus, rabbis, roshis, pastors, imams, priests, poets, scientists, swamis, and brilliant people of no rank and title over and over again throughout human history. Because it does, I trust it. Because I trust it, I seek to find it in myself and for myself. This search seems beneficial to me, making me kinder and more just, which makes my search of benefit to others beyond myself.”

 

 

The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
by Andrew Harvey
TheHope“…the message at the core of all the world’s spiritual revelations–that lasting happiness springs only from true love of the Divine, the world, and others, a true love that expresses itself tirelessly in wise and compassionate action.  As the Buddhist mystic Shantideva made clear: ‘All the joy the world contains / Has come through wishing happiness for others’…”

 

 

 Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation
by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox
OccupySpirituality“Elders are not so much recognized for the titles, resumes, or fame, but rather their ability to relate to the younger generation from their lived experience. … the training the priests, ministers, and clergy get.  The training they get is not about spirituality, frankly. It’s rarely about bringing the mystic or the spiritual warrior alive–it’s not. It’s much more about church rules and religion and a theological system that they’re trying to shove down people’s throats.  It’s a system that again young people have outgrown, if you will.”

 

 

BookOneRiverOne River, Many Wells   by Matthew Fox
“Today with so many “enemies” confronting us internally and externally—greed and envy, violence and self–pity, fear and sloth, is it any wonder that the return of the spiritual warrior is called for?”

 

 

BookTheDirectPathThe Direct Path by Andrew Harvey
“The Direct Path is the Path to God without dogma or priests or gurus, the Path of DIRECT self-empowerment and self-awakening. Whether you know it yet or not, you have been on it since the day you were born.”

 

 

BookHeartYogaHeart Yoga,  by Andrew Harvey
“Heart Yoga is the marriage of the yoga of the illumined body with the mysticism of the awakened heart… [offereing] at these chaotic and difficult times the union of grounded passion and peaceful joy in the core of the body and heart that everyone needs to keep strong, creative, and inspirited by love.”

 

BookFirstandLastFreedomFirst and Last Freedom, by J. Krishnamurti
“There is an art of listening. To be able really to listen, one should abandon or put aside all prejudices, pre-formulations and daily activities… We are screened with prejudices…therefore we listen really to our own noise, to our own sound, not to what is being said… to listen so that we understand instantaneously. That is going to be one of difficulties.”

 

BookLovingWhatIsLoving What Is, by Byron Katie
The Work is simply four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. As Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.” Contrary to popular belief, trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead, once we have done The Work, the thought lets go of us. At that point, we can truly love what is, just as it is.”

BookTheWorkofThisMomentThe Work of This Moment, by Toni Packer
“So we are asking, can there be talking and listening that are not solely governed by memory and habit? Can there be fresh speaking and fresh listening right now, undisturbed by what is known?”

 

 

BookTheBookThe Book, by Alan Watts
“This book explores an unrecognized but mighty taboo—our tacit conspiracy to ignore who or what we really are. Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination… This hallucination underlies the misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man’s natural environment and, consequently, its eventual destruction.”

BookAReligionofOnesOwnA Religion of One’s Own:  A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World
by Thomas Moore
“The disappearance of religious feeling goes hand in hand with a loss of soul, because at its best, religion speaks to the soul and feeds it. Traditional religion may well need an overhaul from top to bottom, but personal religion is a requirement. It is the indispensable foundation of an intelligent, openhearted approach to life.”

The books listed above are contemporary works directed (more or less) to the Spiritually Independent. In addition to these modern resources there are dozens and dozens of sacred texts from the world’s religions that you might find helpful. The Sacred Texts Archive is a wonderful resource for these, and we encourage you explore what it has to offer:

Texts

Sacred Texts Archive [visit website]

As spiritually independent seekers we don’t limit our quest for wisdom to religion and spirituality; the arts and sciences are no less important to us. As of this posting, however, we have not come across a website in either field that provides a “one stop resource” for those of us wishing to explore the worlds of science, art, music, philosophy, etc. If you know of sites that do this, or sites that would be of value to those of us wishing to tap the wisdom of these fields, please tell us about them on our blog.