Home Spirituality The Top 10 Spirituality Books Of 2017

The Top 10 Spirituality Books Of 2017

It was some 2,800 years ago when a faction of seemingly ordinary Hindu men began defying India’s longstanding religious order by undertaking a spiritual quest that was traditional reserved for citizens of the priestly caste. In addition to permanently transforming the country’s culture by opening up the gates of spiritual practice to all, this monuments movement also brought about the globally cherished scriptures known as the Upanishads and gave rise to the literary genre of spirituality. While many of the east’s earliest sacred writings, coming from the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, remained landlocked on the Subcontinent for hundreds of more centuries, the advent of accelerated travel, improved means of communication and the invention of the printing press would eventually lead to a new age where the timeless writings of modest monks and mystical sages captivated citizens from both the east and west.

Although one may assume that the western world’s fascination with exotic eastern religions would at some point simmer, quite the contrary has actually occurred. Especially over the past 100 years, with the popularization of spiritual classics such as Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, Paul Bruton’s A Search In Secret India and Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, westerns’ interest in the Buddha, meditative practices and Sanatana Dharma has steadily grown. In fact, it’s due to this ever-expanding curiosity, in addition to the many recently discovered scientific benefits of meditation and a societal yearning for a more meaningful existence, that some of the bestselling books each year aim to transform the spiritual lives of readers.

In 2017, just like in years past, we’ve been blessed to get our hands on some truly significant and groundbreaking titles that can alter our minds and change our lives. While we released our list of The Top 10 Self-Help Books of 2017 earlier this week, which features titles from the sub-genres of Business & Leadership, Inspirational Biographies & Memoirs, Habits of Success, Psychology, Health & Wellness and Relationships, here we’ll aim to illuminate this year’s most noteworthy writings (published between October 2016-December 2017) focused on the topics of Meditation & Mindfulness, Buddhism, Hinduism, Transcendentalism and Death & Grief. As you’ll soon discover, immersing yourself in the work of today’s greatest spiritual teachers is one of the most life-affirming ways to increase your levels of happiness and stimulate personal growth. With that being said, let’s now turn our attention to Balanced Achievement’s Top 10 Spirituality Books of 2017:

10.) Mother of the Unseen World – Mark Matousek:

An image shows the cover of Mother Of The Unseen World which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.Incomparable to any of the world’s other great faiths, a mesmerizing spiritual mysticism permeates throughout the religion of Hinduism. While ancient scriptures such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are assuredly infused with a sense of divine wonder, many of the clearest examples of the theology’s transcending enchantment come in the form of the life stories of India’s most iconic sages and seers. In Mother of the Unseen World: The Mystery of Mother Meera, readers get the chance to meet one such individual as the woman many considered to be a living avatar of the Divine Mother is brought to life. Throughout the pages of this fascinating book, author Mark Matousek illuminates Mother Meera’s spiritually intoxicating presence while exploring an unseen world where the divine and human intersect. He writes:

Among many of today’s spiritual leaders, there is strong belief that an integration of the divine feminine into our worldview is urgently needed if we are to heal our planet’s woes, eradicate fundamentalist terror, and restore a unifying, feminine vision to our worldly affairs. Until we reintroduce the wisdom of embodiment as symbolized by the Divine Mother into our global conversation—a wisdom deeply rooted in the earth, while God the father looks down from the sky—our future is thought to be perilous indeed.”

9.) An Appeal to the World – The 14th Dalai Lama:

An image shows the cover of An Appeal To The World which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.In comparison to the 14th Dalai Lama, there is perhaps not a single spiritual teacher who’s advice that we, as a society, should rely on more to get us through troubling times. It’s not only because His Holiness has made an unparalleled commitment to the practice of meditation and vigorously studied Buddhist scriptures throughout his life, but also because he’s had to continually speak out against the Chinese occupation of his country, with only words of compassion and peace, as he’s spent the vast majority of his life living in exiled lands. For those of you who are struggle to contend with the precarious political climate currently gripping the western world, An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division may be just what you’re looking for. In his latest international bestseller, His Holiness offers transcending insights, on everything from President Trump and nationalism to secular ethics and the science of meditation, that show us the path towards both worldly and personal peace. He tells us of the globally unified approach we should take regardless of our religions beliefs:

Religious and nonreligious people should work together in these modern times. Religion alone will not be enough to overcome these divisions. My favorite concepts are the education of the heart and the sense of oneness of humanity. By this I mean the unity of mankind and thinking globally about the future of the world. There are no national boundaries for climate protection or the global economy. Also, no religious boundaries. Now the time has come to understand that we are the same human being on the this planet.”

8.) No Time Like The Present – Jack Kornfield:

An image shows the cover of No Time Like The Present which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.The long-awaited release of celebrated Buddhist meditation teacher and spiritual author Jack Kornfield’s next landmark title finally came in 2017 with No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are. Although it’s been over 2 years since his last major work, Kornfield’s latest masterpiece shows us how we can free ourselves from hardships and create happiness regardless of where we are. By focusing on a particular type of freedom in each chapter of book, such as freedom from fear, freedom to be yourself and freedom to love, the man who must be considered one of the west’s most influential spiritual minds has given the world a gift that each and everyone of us can call upon at sometime. Better yet still, by recounting relevant stories from his past in his trademark writing style and offering transformative meditation practices on each freedom topic, Kornfield’s book can infuse us with hope and help us courageously press on to more joyful times. He writes:

Eternity is here, always alive in the present moment. Mindfulness invites us to return to now, the present moment, instead of being buried in thoughts of a past that no longer exists or fantasizing about a future that is yet to come. In the present moment, we learn to see clearly and kindly. With the power of mindfulness, we can become fully present to the unbearable beauty and the inevitable tragedy that comprise our human life. We can honorably embrace and tend the life we’ve been given.”

7.) Beyond The Self – Matthieu Ricard & Wolf Singer:

An image shows the cover of Beyond The Self which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.Ever since an American social entrepreneur by the name of Adam Engle took the historic steps to found the Mind and Life Institute and arrange an annual summit between globally recognized neuroscientists and celebrated spiritual teachers, such as the His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama, some 30 years ago, the relationship between these two vastly different groups of people has continued to flourish. With the ever expanding dialogue, and the help of sophisticated fMRI brain imaging equipment, scientific researchers have recently been able to show how longterm meditators enjoy immensely important psychical, social-emotional and cognitive benefits. In Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience, readers get the chance to listen in on a conversation between the iconic Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, a trained molecular biologist, and his close friend Wolf Singer, who just happens to be distinguished neuroscientist. Throughout the pages of this thought-provoking book, topics such as consciousness, meditation and neuroplasticity are discussed by these two great minds. Richard tells us in the book:

The mind that nature gave us does have the potential for immense goodness, but it also creates a lot of unnecessary suffering for ourselves and others. If we take an honest look at ourselves, then we must acknowledge that we are a mixture of light and shadow, of good qualities and defects. Is this the best we can be? Is that an optimal way of being? These questions are worth asking, particularly if we consider that some kind of change is both desirable and possible.”

6.) The Wisdom Of Sundays – Oprah Winfrey:

An image shows the cover of The Wisdom Of Sundays which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.It was only eight months after beloved cultural iconic Oprah Winfrey founded her own television network in 2011, when the ‘Queen of All Media’ launched what has become one of the station’s most celebrated shows. During the hour long episodes of Super Soul Sunday, Winfrey interviews some of the world’s greatest minds, with backgrounds in the fields of spirituality, psychology and personal development, all with the goal of nourishing viewers minds, bodies and souls. In The Wisdom Of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, Oprah outlines ten enriching steps of her own spiritual journey with a collection of intimate essays while also recounting some of the most meaningful conversations she’s had interviewing the likes of Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh and Wayne Dyer. She writes:

What I know for sure is the most valuable gift you can give yourself is the time to nurture the unique spirit that is you. Your life, just like mine, is unfolding according to your own truth. No one has been through what you have been through, not in the way that you’ve experienced it. And yet, all the pain is the same. Our sadness and sorrows, joy and trumps bind us in the common thread of humanity. The sooner we realize the connection, the more elevated life becomes.”

5.) The Nature Fix – Florence Williams:

An image shows the cover of The Nature Fix which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.Throughout the many centuries of recorded history, there hasn’t been a single time period when the generation’s greatest thinkers didn’t joyfully speak about the life-affirming affects of nature. Of course the likes of John Muir and Henry David Thoreau instantly come to mind as leaders of the transcendentalism movement of the mid-1880s, but other prominent individuals from distant lands with diverse backgrounds came to realize much of the same. Just to name a few, Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Rabindranath Tagore and Anne Frank all understood the spiritual powers nature possesses. In The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, highly accomplished outdoor journalist Florence Williams used the thinking of these immortalized figures as inspiration for discovering the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Throughout the pages of her uplifting book, Williams make clear that spending time in nature can do wonders for our health. She writes:

The idea of solvitur ambulando (in walking it will be solved) has been around since St. Augustine, but well before that Aristotle thought and taught while walking the open-air parapets of the Lyceum. It has long been believed that walking in restorative settings could lead not only to physical vigor but to mental clarity and even bursts of genius, inspiration (with its etymology in breathing) and overall sanity.”

4.) The Bright Hour – Nina Riggs:

An image shows the cover of The Bright Hour which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.Nina Riggs was a seemingly typical 37-years-old wife and mother of two when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although the young writer and poet, who’s great-great-great grandfather was none other than Ralph Waldo Emerson, had initially hoped for a full recovery, her doctors would give her the devastating news, within a year of her diagnosis, that her cancer was terminal. In The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, which is widely considered to be one of 2017’s best books regardless of genre, Riggs intimately tells her story of facing the disease that would eventually take her life as she struggles to answer questions such as ‘What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?’ and ‘How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?’. By immersing yourself in this deeply moving memoir that shares many similarities with Balanced Achievement’s 2016 Self-Help Book of the Year When Breath Becomes Air, you’ll be given the life-affirming opportunity to really examine your while learning the importance of allowing things to be as they are. Riggs writes:

I am reminded of an image…that living with a terminal disease is like walking on a tightrope over an insanely scary abyss. But that living without disease is also like walking on a tightrope over an insanely scary abyss, only with some fog or cloud cover obscuring the depths a bit more — sometimes the wind blowing it off a little, sometimes a nice dense cover.”

3.) Braving The Wilderness – Brene Brown:

An image shows the cover of Braving The Wilderness which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.With four New Your Times Bestsellers and one of the world’s five most watched TED Talks, with over 30 million views, Dr. Brene Brown is unquestionably one of the spiritual industry’s leading voices, especially when it comes to the transcending qualities of courage, vulnerability and empathy. In her most recent work Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, Brown tackles another vastly important spiritual topic by examining what it means to truly belong to the communities and organizations we associate ourselves with. Within this #1 New York Times Bestseller, the iconic author tells us that to feel authentically accepted by others, we must come to realize the spiritual crisis of disconnection pervading throughout society, stop looking outside of ourselves for validation and start searching within our hearts. By illuminating the unexplored wilderness we must travel to self and societal belonging in her hallmark writing style, Brown once again has given us an unequalled opportunity to affirm ourselves and enrich our lives. She writes:

Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”

2.) The Collected Letters of Alan Watts – Alan Watts:

An image shows the cover of The Collected Letters Of Alan Watts which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.While there have been a plethora of immortalized figures who’ve helped to bring eastern spiritual practices to the western world, there haven’t been many individuals who’ve played a more influential role than Alan Watts. After he began studying Zen Buddhism and practicing meditation in his early twenties, the beloved spiritual teacher and author of best selling books such as The Way of Zen was able to peak westerns’ spiritual interests by proposing that Buddhism should be consider a form of psychotherapy rather than a religion. Although he passed away at the age of 58 in 1973, we’ve been given an unexpected opportunity to peer inside Watts’ mind like never before in The Collected Letters of Alan Watts. Throughout the pages of this timeless keepsake, readers get an usual glimpse of Watts’ beliefs and worldviews, on a wide variety of topics, in the wisdom filled letters he sent to the likes of Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, Gary Snyder and Joseph Campbell. In one letter to his partner Jano, he writes:

The trouble with the American mentality is its readiness to believe that big solutions are possible. But solution is a static concept – allied to the Christian heaven. Note, too, that when we try to absorb Buddhist and Taoist ideas we project this same static quality and think, for example that satori [seeing into one’s nature] is a definitive state at which one arrives, whereas – on the contrary – satori is the realization of the ‘state’ of no fixed state, or, as it is sometimes called, of ‘nonattainment’. The secret is that there is nothing to get, nowhere to arrive, and indeed, no secret!”

1.) Why Buddhism Is True – Robert Wright:

An image shows the cover of Why Buddhism Is True which made Balanced Achievement’s list of the top 10 spirituality books of 2017.Throughout this article we’ve made numerous references to the scientific study of spiritual practices because of the many psychical, mental and emotional benefits practitioners attain. It’s due to the life-affirming affects meditation can have on our lives that making the commit to undertake a regular practice is the greatest of gifts we can give to ourselves. For those of you who are still looking for the motivational insights needed to get started, perhaps there is no better way than immersing yourself in the latest work of award-winning scientific journalist Robert Wright. In Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, the author of other noteworthy titles such as The Moral Animal and The Evolution of God makes a timely endorsement for the practice of meditation by exploring the science and philosophy of the Buddha’s teachings. By becoming the first author to seamlessly fuse together evolutionary psychology, neuroscience and Buddhism with the goal of showing us why the ancient religion holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness, Robert Wright has given us Balanced Achievement’s 2017 Spirituality Book of The Year. He writes:

Buddhist thought and modern psychology converge on this point: in human life as it’s ordinarily lived, there is no one self, no conscious CEO, that runs the show; rather, there seem to be a series of selves that take turns running the show—and, in a sense, seizing control of the show. If the way they seize control of the show is through feelings, it stands to reason that one way to change the show is to change the role feelings play in everyday life. I’m not aware of a better way to do that than mindfulness meditation.”

1 comment

The Top 10 Self-Help Books Of 2017 | Balanced Achievement December 15, 2017 - 11:21 pm

[…] Articles The Top 10 Spirituality Books Of 2017 The Top 10 Self-Help Books Of 2017 The Weekly 5: Transformational Personal Development Podcasts […]


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Popup

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Close Popup
Update Required Flash plugin