Spiritual Writing Revisited
Writing my blog post last week gave me the impetus to update my post on spiritual writing from March 2012. As we go into the summer season, we need the messages of spiritual writers, both contemporary and classic. As I mentioned in that post last year, the best spiritual writers help us to uncover and understand the deeper meanings of life. I have relied on a number of sources to help point me toward some of the most valuable writers in this genre, and it is rewarding to find that some of them have been updated.
Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine has published its 2013 list of the “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.” The top five: 1. The Dalai Lama 2. Thich Nhat Hanh 3. Eckhart Tolle 4. Deepak Chopra 5. Rhonda Byrne. This is apparently a tough list to get a high ranking, given the relatively low positions for such people as Karen Armstrong (64), Julia Cameron (65), Jack Kornfield (79) and Huston Smith (85).
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat chose the “50 Best Spiritual Books of 2012.” The list includes The Huston Smith Reader; Thich Nhat Hanh’s Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society; and Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, by Pema Chödrön, who is #73 on the Watkins most spiritually influential list.
For printed sources, Philip Zaleski presents The Best Spiritual Writing 2013, with an introduction by Stephen Prothero. There is the usual well-chosen collection of previously published essays and poetry. Highlights include Pico Iyer’s “Maximum India,” Marilynne Robinson’s “What We May Be,” and Patrick Henry Reardon’s “A Many Storied-Monastic,” a lengthy remembrance of Thomas Merton.
And don’t forget the companion website for the 50 Spiritual Classics book by Tom-Butler Bowdon, with fulltext commentary on books by Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chödrön and many others. Reading any of these websites or books will provide uplifting and inspirational beach reading for summer 2013.