The 12 Best Spiritual Books We Read (And Also Re-Read) In 2017!

By Sonia Rao

The end of the year brings us to a strange place where we are looking back and in the front at the same time: while reflecting upon and reviewing the past 12 months, we’re inspired to look forward to the brand-new slate that is the New Year.

And so, as we muse and we meditate to become more authentic, kind and centered in the future, reading spiritual books can help us in our journey.

Here’s a list of the books that we love and read at least once every year. Which ones of these have you read? Share with us your favourites (besides these) in the comments.

1. YOU ARE THE PLACEBO: MAKING YOUR MIND MATTER by DR. JOE DISPENZA

Can you create miracles in your body solely through your thoughts? Similarly, can you get seriously sick if you believe you’ve been cursed? Yes, it is totally possible. Get set to change your belief systems for the better as Dr. Joe Dispenza provides an instruction manual of sorts, with proofs and points, in an easy to understand way.

 2. DREAM BIG: THE UNIVERSE IS LISTENING by ILONA SELKE

The Universe is a mystery but you can now learn its secret laws and manifest your goals in 3-D reality. Author Ilona Selke (who is also the CEO of Living From Vision®) inspires and equips you to make your dreams come true and to create a better life for yourself and the planet.

3. WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A BOOK THAT CHANGES LIVES by DAN MILLMAN

Guided by Socrates and Joy, a young Berkeley gymnast is forced to come face to face with romance and magic, body-mind-spirit and also the darkness of the soul. Can the gymnast learn to live as a peaceful warrior or will he be destroyed? This book by world champion athlete Dan Millman is the story of his own spiritual journey and is a great guide for those seeking to live a meaningful life.

4. THE SEAT OF THE SOUL by GARY ZUKOV

Mention human evolution and survival of the fittest comes to mind. In this book by Gary Zukav we understand it as the movement from the pursuit of power based upon the perception of the five senses to those of the spirit. If you ever wondered about your purpose in life then read this book (and re-read it) as it stretches your imagination and encourages you to transform your thinking.

5. A MONK IN THE WORLD: CULTIVATING A SPIRITUAL LIFE by WAYNE TEASDALE
It might be easy to follow a spiritual lifestyle when one is living in the Himalayas far away from the mores and morals of mundane life. But true spirituality is when we can be our highest self in each and every aspect of daily life. Wayne Teasdale teaches us to be a ‘monk in the world’ through his insights on many topics including ‘interspirituality’.

6. PEACE IS EVERY STEP: THE PATH OF MINDFULNESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE by THICH NHAT HANH
Subtle and inspiring, the book, written in the form of snippet-like, short chapters, anchors you mindfully. Read it once and then after that read it again and again, opening up to any page, to remember that mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere. Who else can tell it better than Thich Nhat Hanh.

7. THE FIFTH AGREEMENT: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SELF-MASTERY by DON MIGUEL & DON JOSE RUIZ

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements showed us the path of needless suffering we were enduring on account of the agreements we made with ourselves and others (even subconsciously). Now, with The Fifth Agreement, Don Miguel (along with his son Don Jose Ruiz) gets us to step up a level to self-mastery by using skepticism and deep listening. If you’re looking to begin 2018 on an empowered note, this is the book to do it with.

8. THE BOOK OF AWAKENING by MARK NEPO


Why wait to get a terminal disease to awaken to the true beauty that life is? Philosopher-poet and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo, gives us this spiritual daybook, as a guide, to live each day, not just with gratitude, but also with wisdom, clarity, kindness, and a passionate enthusiasm. “A year’s supply of inspiration for you and your friends,” says Oprah.

9. MAGICAL PARENT MAGICAL CHILD: THE ART OF JOYFUL PARENTING by MICHAEL MENDIZZA AND JOSEPH CHILTON PEARCE

As a parent I always worry (and being an over-thinker, it come with the territory) if I’m doing the best I can. So, a guide that shows the path to joyful parenting is a blessing not just for the parent but also for the child. Hurry, Parents, grab this book in which Michael Mendizza and Joseph Chilton Pearce share their 7 principles for creating the ‘Optimum Learning Relationship’ with your child.

10. WILD by CHERYL STRAYED


The author, Cheryl Strayed, in order to come to terms with her mother’s untimely death, goes hiking (untrained and not-so-fit) over more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a story that speaks to everyone who ever lost someone precious and has still to come to terms with it. Dani Shapiro, in the New York Times, called the book "spectacular... at once a breathtaking adventure tale and a profound meditation on the nature of grief and survival, ... both a literary and human triumph.”

11. BOOK OF HAIKUS by JACK KEROUAC

No telegram today
        ––Only more
Leaves fell


Call them haiku or call them micro-poems. These nuggets are guaranteed to warm your heart and soul. In the tradition of Basho, Issa, Shiki and others, Beat novelist-poet Jack Kerouac invites us into another dimension of words which furthers inspires us to go deep within ourselves and perhaps pen down a few of our own. Best read loudly on a long car ride.

12. THE FORTY RULES OF LOVE by ELIF SHAFAK

Imagine living a life that seems so fulfilling to others but an emptiness of the heart still haunts you. Such is Ella Rubinstein’s life which is completely overturned when she reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and his forty rules of life and love. Her journey to meet the mysterious author of this work takes her on an exploration of faith and heartbreak and of becoming whole again.


(Sonia Rao is the Editor-in-Chief at Thriive Art & Soul).

IS MARRIAGE THE END OF LOVE?


How does marriage transform the love energy between two people? By Ritu Garg

“Is a love-marriage between two people the beginning of love or the beginning of the end of love?” This question came to my mind when one of my close friends met me after a year of her marriage to her sweetheart of 11 years. She looked happy and strong but as I dug more, I encountered her tender and ready-to-melt heart. I held her hand tight as tears streamed down her cheeks. I hugged her and tried to lighten the mood. “What’s the matter, Cheesecake,” I said as I wiped away her tears.
“The positive energy that we both shared seems to be waning. I feel that we don’t love each other, any more and—” I interrupted, trying to moderate what she said. “The way you used to love each other earlier, right?” I added.
How does marriage transform the love energy between two people? Let us try to put things in perspective. ‘Love’ is not a linear emotion. 

Love is dynamic and takes different forms in a marriage.
  • A marriage tempers the transcendental character of love with a bit of transactional matters.  
  • Matters of heart change into matters of hearth.
  • And thus living together changes the way of loving.
  • Love before marriage is manifested in longing and after marriage into belonging to each other and towards a life created together like common house, children, social status and a set of responsibilities as a unit.

Well, it sounds alright, doesn’t it? In fact, change is a way of life. After all, are we the same as we were when we began our journey of adulthood? Desmond Morris, in his book Intimate Behavior, says that relationships repeatedly go through three stages: ‘Hold me tight,’ ‘Put me down’ and ‘Leave me alone.’

Our experiences, our environment and our education keep influencing our aura and energy. Our relationship with our parents and our siblings keeps changing but we accept it for there is no exit option from these relationships.

So why do we get impatient with marriage?

Any time you feel something is amiss with your marriage, do these things to bring clarity into the relationship: 
  1. Give a chance to dialogue; take a break to talk to each other.
  2. Let go of your ego.
  3. Admit your love for your partner.
  4. Express your weakness for each other. Leave politics out of your relationship.
  5. Surrender is not subordination


(Ritu Garg lives by the words, for the words and of the words. And her before-the-sun’s-up tea).

When Spirituality Is Fun: Thriive Art & Soul's Outing At Lil Flea

Who can resist a chance to bring their inner child out to play? Who wants to know more about themselves emotionally and spiritually? The answer is No-one and Everyone respectively.

And when both these things are offered together for FREE you get the kind of crowd that thronged Thriive Art & Soul’s Paint Your Soul event at Mumbai’s happiest flea market, Lil Flea.

On a sultry afternoon (15th of December), all roads seemed to lead to Bandra Kurla Complex. Colourful flyers fluttered on the lampposts in the centre of the road, pointing the way to Mumbai’s most eclectic festival, Lil Flea.

Since April 2014, Lil Flea has been providing a trendy platform to upcoming startups, artists, designers and chefs.

On that afternoon, Lil Flea’s bohemian vibe was totally in tune with Thriive’s. Inside a huge pink and white shamiana, easels were set up with canvases. Open tubs of red, blue, green, yellow, white and black spread out on the wooden table beckoned to the inner child inside every would-be-artist.

And they surely didn’t hold back. Grabbing a brush and a palette of choice colours, eager-beaver spiritual enthusiasts set about painting to the strains of Erik Berglund’s harp music (Erik is Thriive’s beloved Astral Ambassador). https://youtu.be/3KZTxpPOJ9I

Handing out instructions and motivation was Artist-in-Charge & Empowerment Coach Tui Sigman.  She is one of the Wellness Service Providers (expert in healing modalities such as Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Aura cleansing, Yoga, Pranayam, and many others) registered with Thriive and enthusiastically facilitated the event for them.

Tui instructed the participants to paint for 15 minutes.  Later she would send them their emotional and spiritual analysis based on their painting. Hardly any one could resist such an offer? The long queue of people waiting their turn was testimony to it.

Enthusiasm was high as everyone’s inner child gave uninhibited expression to their artistic leanings. It was an invigorating sight. Amateur or professional didn’t matter – they poured out their soul on the canvas with equal abandon.

In fact, when Tui gave an impromptu analysis to one of the participants, an elderly lady, she was almost in tears on hearing it.

A couple was super-excited after their session, never having picked up a paint-brush in their life. A few of them were professionally trained artists but this experience opened them up to their inner creativity as never before.

The session ended (with participants having to be turned back because the workshop time was over). They were asked to come back the next day for the Dance Therapy Workshop by Thriive Art & Soul. But that’s another story for another day.

WHEN A DOG MET A SOUL by Cashmere Lashkari


When your heart is open to love, soul contracts are easily completed and fulfilled.

This morning I wasn’t feeling too bright and was reluctant to go for a walk. Not that I’m usually raring to go for any form of exercise. My muffin top was motivation enough to drag myself out regardless. My sports shoes pounded the pavement rather lethargically, while I barely lifted my eyes from the ground. Wrapped up in my misery, I looked down to see a puppy at my feet.

A fluffy, yellow ball of Golden Retriever goodness. With a hop and jump he went over my left foot. He reared up on two feet and scratched at my leg. He jumped with joy as though meeting me was the highlight of his day. I couldn’t help but bend over and pet him, looking for his owner as I did so. I found a man standing a few feet away looking at the two of us with an amused smile.

Each frisky motion of playing with my shoe, each lick to my fingers, each wag of his tail, lifted the mantle of gloom I had donned. I felt light and cheerful after that transfusion of loving positive energy. A whistle from his owner and he ran away, having lifted my mood. Teaching me that a soul contract had just been completed between my loving four-legged friend and me.

I followed his bouncing body down the track with more enthusiasm for the rest of my walk. I looked around and saw the blue sky. The gentle yellow of the rising sun. The sway of the branches of the trees. The flowers fluttering in the breeze. I took a deep breath and allowed the cool air into my lungs. As I exhaled I stepped up my game and decided to jog the last hundred meters back home.

I was bursting with energy and raring to start my day. All because I opened my heart to the love around me. Soul contracts may stem from the most unusual karmic connections. Not always just between human beings. Do watch out for opportunities to fulfil your own, for the satisfaction of completing a soul contract gives an amazing boost to both involved.

(A Reiki Master Teacher and holistic healer, Cashmere enjoys green tea, meditation, crystals, books and exploring the Mind-Body connection).

3 Techniques to give a sure-fire boost to your meditation by Sonia Rao


Brahmarshi Patriji and Dr. Newton Kondaveti, beloved Pillars of Thriive, tell us how we can amp up our meditation practice so we are three times more productive, creative and relaxed.

One of our favourite pastimes as children was burning a hole in a piece of paper by focussing a magnifying glass on it. When we grew up we learnt the science behind it. The sun’s rays gathered together at one point had such a high intensity that the light turned into heat energy, capable of igniting a fire. Meditation is somewhat like this.

Letting go of all extraneous thoughts, the mind is brought to focus on one point. Being in the moment, we draw our entire attention to our breathing, thereby generating energy. This intense energy is capable of increasing our observation powers, productivity as well as creativity.
It can reduce our stress levels and turn dis-ease into ease.

Now, imagine a higher, advanced 3X version of meditation. No, it is not wishful thinking. It is completely possible.

Doing these three things  can give you thrice the benefits of regular meditation:

Meditate inside a pyramid:

Due to its shape and angles (51°51'51") a pyramid gets aligned perfectly to the Earth's magnetic field. Brahmarshi Patriji, the founder of Pyramid Meditation, says this type of meditation is the best way to experience a high energy environment in no time. Because of its structure the pyramid becomes the greatest receiver and transmitter of cosmic energy. In case you cannot visit a meditation pyramid (E.g. Pyramid Valley International) you can build a pyramidal frame of iron or wood at home and meditate inside it.

Meditate on  Full / New Moon:
It’s a pretty well-known fact that the moon greatly affects all living beings. Dr. Newton says that emotions can run high especially during the full moon (any wonder that the word lunatic is derived from lunar?). For those wanting to amp up their meditation, he advises meditating on a full/new moon because it channels the extra energy appropriately and gives the doer thrice the benefit of meditation than done on any other day.

3) Meditate in a sacred spot:

Sacred spots are high-energy points on Earth. These powerful vortexes, scattered around the globe, are of three types: Electric, Magnetic and Electromagnetic. Meditating at these spots is an intense experience as these places are a strong conduit of universal energy and capable of opening our own energy chakras. Book a spiritual journey to any or all of these spots (Stonehenge, Uluru, Lake Titicaca, to name a few) to experience the power of  triple-energy meditation boost.

Join us for Thriive New Moon Meditation on Sunday, 17th December 2017 from 11:00am – 12:00pm at New Age Sage, Andheri. More details here.


(Sonia Rao is the Editor-in-Chief at Thriive).

The Vitamin called 'Words' by Jasmuheen

Thriive Global Ambassador Jasmuheen has a passion for reading and shares with us the three reasons why it’s an incredible source of mental and spiritual nourishment.

Thriive Global Ambassador Jasmuheen devours books like we would devour cupcakes. She reads about five to six books a week because, she says, she has transcended physical hunger and does not need to spend a lot of time cooking food and cleaning up. If you thought she did nothing else but read the whole day (there go your lame excuses for not reading!), she is the Founder of the Embassy of Peace, the lifetime President of GFSS and has written 38 books which have been widely translated.

In a short chat, Jasmuheen reveals the reasons why reading needs to be a part of anyone’s spiritual practice:

1) Reading is time-saving
Jasmuheen has devoted 50 years of her life to understanding how energy flows in the body and the power of Chi to take away all our hunger.  She’s written about it in her book Pranic Nourishment, Living on Light.  Through reading it one can, within a week or a few days, understand what has taken her decades to learn. Reading books on a subject makes it possible for us to learn more about it through others’ experiences. Yet another benefit is that when we read about others going through the same things as us, it inspires us to remain on track with our own practice.

2) Reading inculcates empathy
Historical fiction greatly interests Jasmuheen. She says that reading about times past could activate within us a remembrance of those times we might have possibly lived in previous incarnations. Perhaps we have walked with Jesus Christ or been a disciple of the Buddha. Imagining ourselves in the role of the protagonist generates within us a feeling of empathy. This makes us more understanding and helps build better relationships with the people in our life.

3) Reading helps us in manifesting the realities we desire
Stories reveal to us the existence of many possibilities. With these realities in front of us, we can choose one that most resonates with us. When we fine tune it to align with our true nature, even the Universe has to give in and say, “YUP! You got it!”

So, what are you reading lately?