Whilst you will find your own truth by looking within, it can also be very useful to explore the ideas and understandings of spiritual Seekers who have gone before you.
Men and women have been asking the big questions about life since the dawn of consciousness, and exploring the various answers that they came up with as a result of their sincere questioning. Looking at writings which were inspired by the intuitions and reasoning of our predecessors can help us to clarify and bring into focus our own thoughts on spiritual matters.
There are two broad categories of spiritual writings, which can be referred to as ancient and modern. Examples of ancient spiritual texts include the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Dhammapada and the Tao Te Ching. Examples of more modern works include The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes, A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield or The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ – John 1:1
The kind of writings that you choose to read is, once again, something that should be guided by your intuition. My belief is that all spiritual traditions eventually lead to the same place, or at least strive to do so, which means no one text is vastly superior to all others. That being the case, you are far more likely to find a text that suits your current needs by following your intuition than you are by wading through any set reading list just for the sake of doing so.
If you have no existing ideas about which spiritual writings you would like to explore, consider visiting the Religion & Spirituality section of Amazon and browsing through the titles until you find one which resonates with you.
Spiritual Reading Guidelines
To help you get the most out of spiritual reading as part of your daily spiritual practice, here are a few recommendations which you may find useful:
For your spiritual reading practice, I recommend that you select and work with no more than one ancient and/or one modern book at a time. Your aim in spiritual reading is not to acquire as many titles as possible, but to give each title thoughtful consideration, so be selective and assume that you will work with your selections for several weeks rather than several days.
Although you can read spiritual writings from cover to cover at breakneck speed, much as you might read a novel, that is not the best way to give the material the attention it deserves. Instead, read slowly, taking a section per day and thinking carefully about what you read as you go along. This will ensure that you don’t rush through the writings and overlook something useful or possibly even life-changing.
Adopt a Balanced Perspective
Approaching any spiritual text as if it were an infallible account of actual historical events or ‘the one and only’ way to view the world is rarely something that is useful to a Seeker. A much better approach, in my opinion, is to adopt a balanced perspective, and to remember that every book you read – be it a particular book of the Bible, a New Thought classic or the latest ‘law of attraction’ title – is simply one author’s way of viewing the world based on his or her own experience and beliefs. Coming from that perspective, you are perfectly free to take what makes sense to you and set the rest aside.
Listen to Your Intuition
As you read, listen to your inner voice, and pay attention to anything that seems to speak to you personally. It is this habit of listening to your own spiritual nature which makes spiritual reading an altogether different experience than simply reading for pleasure or entertainment.
When you do come across something which speaks to you, make a note of it somewhere. Many people find it useful to have a dedicated reading notes journal (which is separate from their main spiritual journal) so that they can make notes about each book they work with in chronological order and review them at a later date without having to remember exactly when their intuition spoke. If you choose to take this approach then I highly recommend Moleskine notebooks, which are a pleasure to use and sturdy enough to last a lifetime.
Apply What You Learn
My final piece of advice for your spiritual reading practice is to apply what you learn. You may not come across something that jumps out at you every day, but when you do, you should think about how you can apply that intuitive truth or insight to your own life, starting immediately. It is applying what you learn that facilitates spiritual growth, because as you begin following the guidance of your intuition – as revealed, in this case, through the writings that you are spending time with – you will demonstrate to yourself that such guidance can be both incredibly helpful and dependably reliable.
With those guidelines in mind, consider selecting your first spiritual reading title today so that you can start listening more effectively to your inner voice in the days and weeks ahead.