A few years back my husband decided to set some goals for himself, one of which included reading more books. As a self-proclaimed “avid reader” myself, he got my full support. It wasn’t until I noticed how many books he was speeding through that I realised I hadn’t been entirely truthful about my own reading habits; or lack thereof. Despite loving getting immersed in a good story, I hadn’t read anything for quite some time. The books I *had* read had been few and far between, and while we’re being honest, I hadn’t actually finished most of those.
Absolutely unable to live with myself - dramatic but true - I went back to finish the books I’d started. Aside from an acute lack of attention span there was no real reason why I’d stopped in the first place. I‘d been thoroughly enjoying them and had taken a lot from them. I’d just allowed myself to become distracted. I made a note to get back on the wagon.
I decided to source some books I knew I’d enjoy. As a child and as a young adult I’d always enjoyed fiction, and pretty much anything related to the supernatural world. I loved getting sucked into the storylines. But I was at a new point in my life where I wanted to read not just for pleasure, but hopefully to learn something too.
Over the last decade my main focus has been on mental, and emotional health. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to unlearn certain habits and see the world with a different pair of eyes. I wondered if there were any books that could cater to those interests. Turns out, there are tons!
I really look forward to finding more books that have gripped me as much as the ones on this list have. I’ve truly had my mind cracked open and it’s left me completely, and utterly thirsty for more. Reading had previously been about escapism for me, but somehow - despite the nature of these books, I’ve never felt more secure, or more grounded after turning the last page of each. I hope you can get the same enjoyment from them.
In no particular order;
1. How To Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan
The first book I read regarding the science of psychedelics, and one that certainly helped to validate my own experiences. Michael Pollan is a field journalist renowned for his open-mind when venturing into a new area of research. His accounts are non-biased, factual, and always enlightening. Filled with personal anecdotes, scientific evidence and diagrams, How To Change Your Mind is the perfect start for any psychedelic explorer.
2. The Power Of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Neccessarily repetitive. Eckhart Tolle speaks largely in metaphors and similes to convey deeply spiritual messages in ways that are easily digestible. He uses varying examples that reflect daily, modern life to drive his points home and encourage the reader to reflect on their own ego. The Power Of Now is about learning to harness the power of present awareness, so that you can know how to bring peace to your life.
3. Entangled Life - Merlin Sheldrake
An absolutely magical book, and a Sunday Times bestseller for a reason. Education made exciting; we (the reader) are provided with thought-provoking questions without ever being left empty-handed. Entangled Life ignites wonder and allows insight into the worlds beneath our feet. We learn of the importance of the mycelial network, zombie fungi, and how certain mushrooms can help heal our bodies.
4. The Art Of Happiness - Howard. C Cutler & The 14th Dalai Lama
A beautiful mix of science and spirituality. In his conversation with the Dalai Lama, Cutler probes His Holiness with a series of questions that essentially help the reader to differentiate between peace, and happiness. This book is especially interesting as it seems to convey the conflict both authors are happy to experience in order to find balance. With equal interest in the other's field, The Art Of Happiness makes for an exciting, and culturally diverse read.
5. Ways To Go Beyond and Why They Work - Rupert Sheldrake
Phenomenal from start to finish. Rupert Sheldrake - author, biologist and parapsychology researcher - dives into the descriptions of seven practices that can be used as a portal to present awareness, covering topics from sports, to fasting, prayer, and more. By stimulating emotions, hormone levels, happiness and compassion, Sheldrake explains how these practices have measurable effects on our physiology, and how they can help us to live more fulfilling, and peaceful lives. Whether you're materialistically or spiritually inclined, Ways To Go Beyond and Why They Work will surely spark curiosity.
These 5 books have comforted me, and I'll admit to being a fan of dog-eared pages and note-making around any parts that hold special interest. In some instances I've gone back more than once to re-read and familiarise myself with some of the important messages that can be taken, treating them not too disimilarly to Bible verses. I've read some fantastic books, but these are the ones that have truly brought me feelings of joy and wonder about the world.
Since compiling this list I've acquired several more books of a similar framework, and I hope to use them to learn more about the natural world and the lesser-celebrated sciences that Rupert Sheldrake seems to hold the throne on.
I'd be curious to know which of these books you've already consumed, or which of the 5 have now been added to your wishlist. Join us on Patreon and get involved in a discussion, whether it be on a comment thread or a direct message, I'd love to hear your thoughts.