Happiness Books

1. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle

This is one of my favorite books.  I was first introduced to it a few years ago, and I find myself going back to it frequently.  It teaches me something new each time.  A few years ago, Oprah held a  “class” on this book in which she and Tolle discussed one chapter at a time,  and viewers asked questions.  I read each chapter of the book, and listened to the corresponding “class” discussion afterwards.  It was a great way to understand the material.  The audio and video for the “class” are available to download (free) at:  http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Download-the-A-New-Earth-Web-Classes.

The first chapter is a little bit dense and theoretical, so if it doesn’t make much sense, don’t be discouraged.  I’m still not sure I get it all. :)  The real gems start to flow in Chapter 2.

I also have the audio-book (Tolle reads the book, no discussion).  I find myself listening to parts of it when I don’t have time to read, but want to remind myself of something particular he talks about.  Tolle doesn’t have the liveliest reading manner (he’s just so peaceful), so you might want to listen in short bursts if you decide to get the audio-book. :)

2. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle

This book opened my eyes to what it means to “be present” or “in the moment;”  and why it was important.  Tolle explains this idea from many different points of view, so by the end, you really get it.  I also have this book in audio-book format, and listen to it every so often.

3. Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What!, by Martha Beck

This book gave me courage to live the life I was meant to live, and still does.  When I heard her quote Joseph Campbell as saying, “you must give up the life you had planned, in order to live the life that is waiting for you,” I felt like I was hit by lightning.  And I cried hard because I knew that it was what I had to do, but I didn’t want to!  It contains many other gems that I find myself thinking about when I am scared:  like Beck’s analogy about a caterpillar having to melt into unrecognizable goop that is neither caterpillar nor butterfly in order to transform; her story about Gus’s nose, and what it kept trying to do; and about beginning at the end.

This is a great book to get in audio-book format because it’s funny; and when Beck reads her own words, they really come to life.  I have it in this format.

4. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, by Byron Katie

The four questions Katie asks us to ask ourselves are simple, yet powerful.  They are meant to gently help us question our thoughts so we can get to what is really true for us.  Katie explains her system, and follows up with a series of examples of people questioning thoughts they believe that cause them to suffer, and finding answers that give them peace.  In that way, the book is illustrative of her “system.”

I started reading the book when I was already in a better place, so it didn’t change my life.  But it may have had I read it earlier.  I admit that I never got through all the examples in the book.  And I’m not always sure how to apply her fourth question.  But, even the first three are powerful enough to help me find peace whenever I turn to them.

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