Reading Spirituality in 2020 (We Likely Need It)
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
"Spirituality is a brave search for the truth about existence, fearlessly peering into the mysterious nature of life." - Elizabeth Lesser
A second reading goal for me this year was to incorporate twelve books on what I call spirituality. For me, that's primarily focused on Eastern philosophy as I've found myself more interested in ideas of Buddhism and Taoism for example. As Lesser's quote above says, we are always searching for truth, and I find there is always room to connect with a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world.
Let's start with a classic. Alan Watts' The Way of Zen may be the most comprehensive history of Zen/Taoism/Buddhism I've come across. The first half of the book follows the lineages from India and China into what we have today. The second half delves into what Zen meant at the time (keeping in mind the book was written in the '50s). An excellent book for anyone wishing to dive into the roots and history.
Tim Burkett's Zen in the Age of Anxiety came earlier in the year as we all faced the unknown. It's a guidebook meant to help apply the principles of Zen to our chaotic lives. It's a modern look at many topics we can find challenging; money, love, and fear of failure to name a few. It's a simple book that anyone can pick up without needing an extensive background on the topic. Good for the casual reader wanting to find exercises to help deal with their own stress and anxiety.
Mingyur Rinpoche's In Love With the World (which I haven't formally reviewed) was excellent. Deep in the traditions of Buddhism, this book walks us through Mingyur's decision to leave the comforts of his monastery on a three-year journey with nothing. It is a deeply personal and fascinating look inside the mind of an expert meditator and all of the challenges he deals with. I recommend this book for anyone who has read about Buddhism and wants a glimpse at what even the most trained deal with. Stay tuned in January for a more detailed review.
Do you consider incorporating books on spirituality into your reading? I tend to think of them more as philosophical reads and enjoy mixing up the reading.