What Spiritual Leaders Read Before Bed
The most enlightening among us choose their titles for peace, wisdom and fresh perspective after a long day.
"I recommend the books and poems of Maya Angelou
, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
, A Brave and Startling Truth
, When Great Trees Fall
, His Day Is Done
and others. They stand me tall, fill me with joy and grief and remind me to live and grow stronger, to love and become charitable. Maya Angelou was a fountain of love, a mountain of love, a force of love undiminished and undiminishable."
— Gary Zukav
, author of the The Seat of the Soul
"The spiritual classic I Am That
by Nisargadatta Maharaj, which teaches us how to think about the timelessness of the self. I also enjoy the prelude to Yoga Nidra, which brings me peace—and sleep—every night."
— Deepak Chopra
, author of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being
"I keep with me three of the Buddha's teachings called the 'pillow sutras
' because they are so important they should live under your pillow. They are the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, the Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness and the Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone. Together, they include everything that is necessary to be truly happy in the present moment. The day I discovered the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, I felt as if I'd found a huge treasure. I was sure I was the happiest person on earth."
— Thich Nhat Hanh
"One of my all-time favorite books, which I have by my bedside is the The Abundance Book
, by John Randolph Price. This little gem is an incredible 40-day meditation to help you remember that you will be provided for on your spiritual journey. It can be so hard to trust that all your needs will be met as you begin, or continue along, your spiritual path. This book is a constant reminder that we all will be provided for. It's small, powerful and a total game changer."
— Mastin Kipp
, author of Daily Love: Growing into Grace
, by Hermann Hesse, is a book I've read once every decade, since first discovering it as a freshman in college. Through this simple and bare story, I was awakened to the journey of a simple but holy seeker, led again and again to the holiness carried within everyone. Often, when the weather of circumstance gets too harsh, I open this small book to any page, to remind myself of what is possible and even probable, when we can open our hearts and return to what matters."
— Mark Nepo
, author of The Endless Practice
"The book I've turned to again and again is called Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees
. It's basically 30 years of interviews with the legendary artist Robert Irwin. Why this book? Because Irwin doesn't really have a grand plan; he follows his curiosity where it takes him, making things and trying things and learning as he goes—all the while becoming one of the most influential artists of our time. The title, for me, is about how we can easily spend a massive amount of our energies analyzing, trying to figure things out, standing at a distance dissecting our experiences and, in the process, missing out on simply being present in the moment."
— Rob Bell
, author of Love Wins
"The book I often go back to is Letters to a Young Poet
, by Rainer Maria Rilke. Here is a quote that always helps, 'So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?'"
— Marianne Williamson
, author of A Year of Miracles
"Most nights I read A Course in Miracles
before bed. For the past decade, I've been a student of the Course—a self-taught curriculum that can be followed at your own pace. I'll read two or three pages a night, and I allow the principles to sink in while I sleep." — Gabrielle Bernstein
, author of Miracles Now