Spiritual awakening or enlightenment is a difficult concept to define. It’s not related to religion, but to one’s ability to find and express meaning.
Enlightenment is largely a Buddhist term that defines a person’s ability to understand themselves without the help of others.
As you can imagine, this is a difficult thing to achieve without help. So, if you want to begin your own spiritual awakening, here are some of the top books to get you started.
The Best Books on Spiritual Enlightenment
1. The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle argues that we can find more happiness by focusing on the present. As the title suggests, the present can make us forget our worries because they don’t exist.
It might surprise you, but the book uses intentionally simple language and examples. This is so you can leave your analytical mind behind to better understand what he’s trying to explain.
At the most basic level, The Power of Now is a self-help book. But, it’s written to help you develop a modern understanding of spirituality to better tackle everyday life with greater happiness.
The book is an interesting introduction to a new way of approaching time and its importance but might not offer anything new for people familiar with this subject.
- Simple, easy to understand language
- Good introduction to modern spirituality
- Question and answer format lays information out clearly
- Not suitable for those with experience in spirituality
- Can be difficult to put the book’s teachings into practice
2. Siddhartha: An Indian Tale – Hermann Hesse
This is a novel rather than a non-fiction self-help book. But, it’s written in a way that makes you think about spiritual issues while working through the story.
It follows the story of Siddhartha, a young man on the journey of self-enlightenment during the time of the Gautama Buddha (the first Buddha). It’s written in a simple, almost poetic style that matches the book’s themes.
Written by Hermann Hesse, a German author, it combines Eastern spirituality with Western psychoanalysis to produce a compelling and interesting story.
If you’re not that into self-help books, you might enjoy this novel. It’s an allegorical tale, meaning you have to work out much of the meaning yourself. However, this might suit the kind of people who don’t like being told how to change their life.
But, if you prefer your spiritual enlightenment books to be clear in their message, possibly stick with a non-fiction text.
- A compelling story that has remained popular for around a century
- Interesting allegory for the journey of self-discovery
- Short and succinct style that’s almost poetic
- Not a traditional self-help book
3. Peace is Every Step – Thich Nhat Hanh
At the most basic level, Peace is Every Step is a meditation guidebook. Its message is that, through meditation and mindfulness, we can achieve greater spiritual awareness.
Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist master and peace activist, and has long written about enlightenment and awakening. This text focuses specifically on finding enlightenment in the modern world rather than relating to past environments many can’t relate to.
The beauty of this book lies in its simplicity. Rather than overloading the reader with multiple Buddhist concepts, it instead focuses on awareness of others, the power of breathing and mindfulness, and the reduction of stress.
While some might find the book simple and repetitive, this is the point: it’s meant to calm you down through non-stimulating language and stories.
- Actionable suggestions from a Buddhist master
- Relates specifically to modern living
- Clear and easy to understand
- Some of the language can feel slightly cold and vague
4. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is part autobiography, part novel. The protagonist, Dan, meets an old man he names Socrates. Socrates guides him on a spiritual journey to help him overcome a fear of death.
Within this story, Dan learns important spiritual lessons relating to the modern world. Socrates explains concepts such as meditation, spirituality, and compassion in a way that’s clear to the reader, as Dan is our focalizer.
The basic teachings of the novel are the same as many other spiritual awakening books, but told differently. While it’s not as complex as an allegorical tale, learning about spiritual concepts through a naïve protagonist is helpful for some readers.
But, others might find the format a bit forced, as the author attempts to explain spiritual concepts in a different mode. If you prefer a more fictional writing style, this can be a good way to understand spiritual ideas.
- Explains spirituality in a different way
- Easy to understand thanks to naïve protagonist
- Offers the same information as many spiritual awakening books
- Some might find the style a bit forced
- Those familiar with spirituality won’t learn anything new
5. The Untethered Soul – Michael Singer
The Untethered Soul forces readers to consider what they really are and what defines their consciousness. As enlightenment is defined as the highest level of self-awareness, it’s clear what the book is pushing you towards.
It’s divided into 5 parts that build upon our existing ideas of consciousness and how this relates to spirituality. It consistently brings the concepts back to modern life, making it easy to see how they relate.
The book is written in a clear, concise style and is free from religious language or concepts. It relies on things like mindfulness and meditation, but in a way that’s free from any kind of religious influence.
However, due to the structure, the same base concepts are repeated consistently. This can make it difficult to concentrate on the larger messages, particularly if you were already familiar with these basic ideas.
- Clear and concise book
- Explains consciousness in a spiritual way
- Highlights how its teachings relate to modern life
- Can become repetitive, particularly for those wanting advanced information
Reaching spiritual awakening or enlightenment isn’t easy, but any of these books would be a good place to start.
Importantly, though, be sure to put the suggestions into practice in your everyday life and spend time evaluating your actions and decisions.