On the mindful spiritual path, sometimes it's difficult to know where to begin, but you can always begin right where you are. Here are a few resources to get you thinking & practicing—they include books & podcasts, full of essays, prayers, sermons (what?!) & interviews that many thousands have found inspiring, encouraging—maybe even enlightening. Feel free to drop a line through the Contact page & let us know what's been helpful or interesting, & what questions you're sitting with...
Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg
A clear, straightforward introduction to listening and speaking without aggression by learning to empathize with ourselves and others, identifying feelings and the needs that underlie them.
Turning the Mind into an Ally, by Sakyong Mipham
A wonderful and simple introduction to the concept, the purpose, and the most basic instructions of silent (mindfulness/awareness) meditation. (The Sakyong has been removed from leadership and teaching due to abusive behavior, but this text remains my favorite book on meditation. Buy it used, and you won't support him/his organization...)
What is the Bible?, by Rob Bell
An exceptional (surprisingly page-turning) introduction to how to think about, read, & interpret ancient Hebrew & Christian Scriptures in modern times.
When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chödrön
Compelling and comforting concepts & practices from a pre-eminent American Buddhist teacher. Pema offers a clear vision of the ways we can learn from & find freedom from suffering.
Venite, a Book of Daily Prayer, by Robert Benson
A fresh & inclusive condensed version of the Book of Common Prayer, designed for daily home use by everyday Christians. Includes beautiful translations of all the Psalms, & key teachings from the Gospels.
The World's Wisdom, by Philip Novak
A thorough & inclusive collection of excerpts from sacred texts of all the world's religions, from recorded matter from the oral traditions of shamanic cultures to the best-known passages of Hebrew & Christian scriptures, with almost no commentary. The result is a fresh glimpse into both familiar & unfamiliar readings, & the chance to make up your own mind about the content.
The Seeker's Guide, by Elizabeth Lesser
A spiritual memoir interspersed with teachings from various traditions & exercises for the reader to help navigate four "landscapes" of the spiritual journey: mind, heart, body, & soul. Thoughtful, honest & deep, Lesser attempts an "American spirituality" that makes plenty of space for individuality & multiculturalism.
A weekly podcast by ecumenical Christian thinker and pastor-at-large, Rob Bell, who intersperses surprisingly fresh, engaging, inclusive, non-judgy) sermons with interviews of thinkers and influencers of various faith traditions and none.
Tara Brach is an American Buddhist meditation teacher. She offers beautiful, simple guided meditations on many topics, which are free on this site.
Father Richard Rohr, an ecumenical, interfaith teacher from the Franciscan tradition in conversation with two of his young students, discussing themes & ideas from each of the twelve chapters of his new book.
On Being with Krista Tippett:
A podcast of an NPR interview broacast, where Tippett discusses various humanist and spiritual themes with one to three speakers. Her guests are sometimes world-famous, sometimes lesser-known, & range from artists to activists to scientists. Unedited interviews also available; I prefer the polish of the edited versions.
A weekly podcast on an aspect of meditation practice, from the
Shambhala (secular Buddhist) center in NYC. A brief talk by a teacher, followed by Q & A from the audience. (Also due to the Sakyong's abusive behavior, the NYC Shambhala centre closed its doors & the podcast put on hold. However, terrific talks from the past are still online & worth a listen!)
Brous argues it is time to reclaim & revitalize religion----they all include the raw material, she says, of compassion, kindness & forgiveness.
This 2-minute animated video from Happify clarifies the basic instruction
& benefits of seated meditation.
A beautiful, uplifting talk in which Muslim imam Feisal Abdul Rauf draws on Sufi poet Rumi, & the teachings of Muhammad & Jesus to show how the ego stands in the way of compassion.
Mindfulness teacher Susan Kaiser Greenland uses these charming illustrations of birds by Lindsay duPont to depict various themes & ideas common to all forms of mindfulness practice & meditation, like joy and awareness.
In another animated short from Happify, Sharon Salzberg suggests compassion arises from paying attention to one another.
A simple way to check in with your thoughts & feelings during the day. After a brief assessment, the app suggests various guided meditations. I like everything about this app, including the voices of the teachers & the content. Aimed at young people, it has a gentle, supportive tone, & will track your progress and the moods you log in as well.
I love the images on this app, the nature sounds, and especially the breathing exercises, which offer a visual aid & instruction to help you breathe more deeply & slowly. The guided meditations feel less organic to me. It's important to find meditation leaders whose voices you find soothing.
This is the app I use daily to time my meditations. It is super simple, and I love the "Tibetan Bowl 2" gong sound.