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Six Books to Bring to a Desert Island

Recently a reader asked me for suggestions in the category of spiritual and new age books:

"Can you recommend a book about this kind of stuff that actually is plausible/happening. Mostly what I see is rehashed mystical whims....fictions are for some reason being passed off as fact."

Here are is some of my reply, with recommendations and links:

Off the top of my hat, I would recommend two books by Bob Frissell: Nothing in this Book is True But It's Exactly How Things Are, and Something in this book is True...

The interesting thing about Nothing is, there's a lot which does strain credulity. But there's also a strong core of chapters in that book about "sacred geometry" which is undeniably, graphically true to our left-brain brand of knowing. From that core you can believe whatever you like about the rest--and in this book it's all there laid out in plain view. Now, for a pricier but more original handling of all this material, you can go to Bob Frissell's mentor Drunvalo Melchezedek. Drunvalo has a new book out which I haven't yet read but would recommend on the basis of his videos. It's called The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life.

[Later...] There's more I wanted to say about these kind of books. It's how I used to feel about the's not the literal did-this-really-happen-or-not question that matters to me, but more the meaning for our present lives. I feel that way about Bob's Nothing In This Book is True, But it's Exactly How Things Are...the title is apt in this regard. The stuff about aliens and so on, I just kind of say, maybe so or maybe not, but what can we learn from this? For instance the problem of the "grays" (an alien race supposedly well established on earth) is that they are blocked from emotion. So to me that's just a reminder to watch out for that limitation in myself and in others.

book reviews

More on the subject of what works for me in reading these days, I'd like to share with you my current core spiritual interests, Breathing and Present time awareness. In this light I recommend most highly a little volume called Breathing: Expanding your Power & Energy, by Michael Sky.

The book establishes in a convincing way the primary importance of birth in breathing. It also provides a succinct yet visionary concept of matter and energy as experienced in the human body, especially in terms of contraction from pain experienced in the past. And it guides the reader gently to experience release of breathing in present time, during the act of reading.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle. This philosophy is familiar to any spiritual seeker, yet I really appreciate Tolle's illuminating focus on this central teaching. All the rest of philosophy and human searching can take its place on the periphery, because at the center is what we experience moment by moment. The past and future are fields of distraction and anxiety, which we can choose or fall prey to, too often forgetting to come back to where we are


These two books both hold back from the outlandish scenarios which much new age literature uses to embellish and decorate its spiritual truths: window dressing. I like the core teachings in their simple, sacred splendor, which unfold truth in the present knowing, directly.

Finally here's another choice I remember reading a few years back: The Future of the Body : Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature -- by Michael Murphy

Murphy, known as head of Esalen Institute, gives us a survey of documentation supporting the extraordinary potential of the human body-mind. Athletes, saints, healers of almost superhuman powers are presented here as evidence (such as it is with the best of scientific, historical and anecdotal reporting), that we can and do go beyond the normal limits of what is believed humanly possible.

book reviews

Back to the theme of favorites, I need to refer to the book which has replaced the I Ching as my bedside spiritual companion, my current "Bible." This is The Mayan Oracle. It comes with a pack of oracle cards, so like the I Ching, this book is divinatory. Also like the I Ching, it is beautifully written to convey a body of unquestionable core wisdom, always appropriate to the moment one brings to it.

To read an excerpt from The Mayan Oracle, click here.

To read an earlier summary of my readings in spiritual and new age books, click here.

Favorite Readings in Fiction and Literature

These recommendations are not only current, they are lifelong. The authors in this select list are those to whom I say, "I want to read everything you've written." Because I have largely achieved this aspiration, I won't bother to list all their titles here. And because these venerable masters are so well known, I won't even take more of your valuable reading time to expound on their virtues. (You will, however, find individual titles sprinkled through the rest of these book review pages, primarily the literary section. You can also search this site quickly for links.)

To the task then: I refer you to the following authors, as referenced with searches on author name at online bookstore:

Six Books to Bring to a Desert Island

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