Yesterday somebody asked me to recommend a book to deepen his spirituality. I used to have a long list but I've whittled it down considerably.
The very first "spirituality/personal development" book I ever got my hands on was a book called "Think on These Things" by Krishnamurti. I didn't understand a word of it. Every couple of years I'd crack it open and try again, but I never understood what the guy was talking about. The only thing I understood was the title. Maybe that's all I was supposed to understand.
When I was 15 I found a little paperback, "Illusions, Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach. This one I understood, and was mesmerized. I read it again when I was 17, again at 19, again at 21. I kept going back imbibing the words and the concepts within the words. Each time I read it, the pearl gave up more of its gleam.
As far back as I can remember I've been driven by a hunger for esoteric knowledge. By my late 20's I began inhaling classics like As a Man Thinketh, Black Elk Speaks, & A Course in Miracles. By my 30's I imbibed everything by Dwyer, Deepak, Eckhart Tolle, and so on. When that wasn't enough, I went for Sacred Geometry, The Ancient Flower of Life, and Ken Wilbur. That wasn't enough so in my 40's I cracked open the Kabbalah, the Tao, The Bhagavad Gita, the Bhakti Sutras, the Yoga Sutra & the Upanishads. When that wasn't enough, I read the Gnostic Gospels, the Sufi scriptures, and mystical poetry.
You wanna know something? I could have stopped with that little paperback when I was 15. 40 more years of esoteric literature didn't fill me with light. It filled me with knowledge that felt good but if that light doesn't seep into the bones, the basement remains dark & dank. The foul odor from that foundation can ruin everything no matter how pretty the furniture upstairs.
By the time I was 50 I couldn't see the correlation between all the things I'd read, all the knowledge I had, and the outcomes of my life.
A head full of wisdom binds our wings.
Impossible to fly weighed down by an ego bloated with knowledge, conclusions & pride.
So when my friends asking for recommendations, I tell them NO book. Forget books. There is no book that can deepen your spirituality. Reading words from masters is good food for the mind, no doubt. But expanding one's spiritual life requires dropping the clinging to knowledge. It requires abandoning the notion that there's some magic sentence out there that can lead you to freedom. It begs disciplined, dedicated action in the way of non-action. Spiritual vitality demands relentless practice. Every single day.
Practice being nothing.
The best book is silence.
Read it with your breath
the way a blind person's
fingers caress braile.