Marc Allen, the publisher of New World Library, has written a recent post about the fact that eight of the company’s authors have been included in Mind Body Spirit magazine’s 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. The list itself is pretty fascinating, with the Dalai Lama at #1 and New World Library authors Eckhart Tolle at #2 and Deepak Chopra at #4.  No matter what your system of belief, or unbelief may be, the best spiritually-oriented writers serve a wonderful purpose by helping readers to understand and interpret the deepest meanings in life.

Lists like the one in Mind Body Spirit help guide us to high-quality writers, but there are other valuable resources. Every year I look forward to The Best Spiritual Writing series, edited by Philip Zaleski and now published by Penguin. The 2012 edition collects articles and poems that have appeared recently in magazines and journals, including “A Chapel is Where You Can Hear Something Beating Below Your Heart,” by one of my favorite writers, Pico Iyer. He has contributed often to the series, including writing the introduction to the 2010 book. And each year Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat choose the Best Spiritual Books of the Year, categorized by topic, from the more than 300 reviewed each year on the Spirituality & Practice site. Another terrific resource is the 2005 book 50 Spiritual Classics, part of the 50 Classics series by Tom Butler-Bowdon. Tom’s website generously includes free full text of many of the chapters, including one on Tolle’s 1999 breakthrough book, The Power of Now. Unsurprisingly, there is considerable crossover between this list and the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. Who are your favorite spiritual writers? Do they appear on these lists?