Is there anything better than reading a book that deeply flavours your life, if only for a while?
I can almost connect the dots of my journey – by the books, films or stories which informed me at different times. They’ve boosted me out of slumps, expanded my awareness, and (perhaps most importantly) reminded me of how much I don’t yet know; how much there is to be seen, learned, felt and experienced in this world. Whether you’re seeking guidance, inspiration, or a beautifully crafted story… there’s no denying that a good read can become a powerful portal of self-reflection. I’ve chosen a few below that I believe to be transformative experiences in themselves.
1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
One of the earliest reads in my own quest for self-understanding, Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ is a modern classic that has resonated with millions around the world. It reflects largely on the concept of living in the present, highlighting the importance of stilling the incessant chatter of the mind. Through his own experiences, Tolle’s writing provides practical guidance on ways to access a place of profound peace.
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Even if you’ve watched the film (brilliantly starring Reece Witherspoon), I highly encourage you to read this book. In fact, they’re both great. Do both. Cheryl Strayed’s memoir moves back and forth between her personal history, and a cathartic solo hike (along the Pacific Crest Trail). She grapples with the loss a parent, break up of a marriage, and discovering who she is beyond her family history. It’s powerful, raw, and very inspiring.
3. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
Deemed as one of the “100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century, we take a more traditional and Eastern turn here. Published in 1946, this book provides a glimpse into the life and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, yogi and spiritual teacher of India. It offers profound insights, far beyond language. It’s inspired Elvis, George Harrison and Steve Jobs – so if it does call to you, go for it.
4. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
One of my favourite books ever, this timeless novel explores a journey of self-discovery in a profoundly simple way. The story follows Siddhartha, a young man who embarks on a quest for spiritual truth and meaning. Along the way, he encounters various spiritual teachers and experiences, ultimately coming to understand the interconnectedness of life itself. A beautiful and gentle read (written by a Nobel prize winner of literature), I cannot recommend this one enough.
5. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
We dedicated a whole article to the loveliness that is Brené Brown, and ‘Daring Greatly’ reflects no different. Brown’s work in general delves into vulnerability and courage as essential components of self-discovery. Here, she explores how embracing vulnerability can lead to personal transformation and wholehearted living. An easy, gentle an incredibly uplifting read.
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).