Ever since I came back from our annual trip to Arizona at the beginning of the year, I’ve been filling up my library queue with interesting books. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve liked, and some have been a bit disappointing (I’m looking at you, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality*).
And in typical Emily fashion, all of the books I’ve chosen books have fallen into the self-help or personal development category. Some have even crossed over into the Spiritual category.
Five have stood out for one reason or another. Mostly, though, because I legit couldn’t put them down. Some I read in a day, others I devoured over the course of the week, and all have left a lasting impression on me.
Which is why I feel compelled to pull them together in a list.
If I had to choose an overarching theme for all of the books on this list, it would be around viewing the world as we know it with different eyes. Whether that’s in accessing our own divine natures, embracing all parts of ourselves — even the ones that we feel shame around, or believing in things that we cannot see or understand, each book has helped to stretch my understanding of the world a little bit more.
They have even made me question whether the things that I’ve held true for decades about how the world works are actually true. And I’ve loved every second of it!
So I thought it would be fun to share more about those books and what I loved about each one. I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite 5 and would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking to expand their view of the world.
Note: the links below are affiliate links from Amazon (shown with an *). If you decide to purchase any of the books below using one of these links, I may get a commission at no charge to you. Thank you for your support!
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
It’s been a long time since I’ve been interested enough in a book to finish it in one sitting. The Alchemist* by Paulo Coehlo was one of those books. The book takes on the hearty themes of destiny and The Law of Attraction in such a simple and poetic way, that you leave the book feeling like there is so much more at play in our lives than meets the eye. I loved this book for all of this and more, and think it’s a wonderful introduction to concepts like manifestation, Law of Attraction, and our connection with and relationship to the Universal energy that is all around us.
2. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
I honestly can’t believe it took me this long to read a book by Brene Brown, considering how much I love her and her perspective on the world. (What? I’ve listened to her TEDTalks and have read a lot of her posts online. I just haven’t read a BOOK.) I decided to remedy that in one fell swoop and checked out every single Brene Brown book they had at my library. My favorite out of the stack was The Gifts of Imperfection*. I love how she structured her research and how the definitions for terms like shame and whole-hearted living evolved from that research. This is a great book for anyone interested in dealing head-on with perfectionism, shame, and vulnerability so that they can embrace more authenticity and richness in their lives.
3. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, MD
I’m not sure how or why this book got on my radar, but I am ever so glad it did. Proof of Heaven is a memoir about a neurosurgeon’s Near-Death Experience (NDE) and how it has impacted his life. The story is a bit unique in that its author, Eben Alexander, is a neurosurgeon and scientist who believed that NDE’s were mere fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress. That is until he underwent his own profound journey to the super-physical world of angels and the divine. I really loved how Alexander was able to combine his knowledge of medicine and the brain with his otherworld experience, and how profoundly that experience shaped his understanding of the Universe.
4. Dying To Wake Up by Rajiv Parti, MD
Another doctor, another near-death experience. But this time, the story tells of a materialistic anesthesiologist who’s NDE took him into heaven, hell, and previous lives. In Dying to Wake Up*, Parti, the self-described wealthy man of science, gets a rare opportunity to explore the toxic patterns of his life and relationships in order to course-correct and go down a more meaningful path. While Alexander shared a broader view of the Source in Proof of Life, Parti tells of a more personal experience with life reviews of his current life and behaviors and how they connect to previous lives and incarnations. Again, the experience has a profound impact on Parti and alters his life and relationships for the better. As a bonus, Parti leaves us with several meditations to access our own connection to Source energy.
5. The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson
If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m kind of obsessed with reading and learning more about where we come from and what happens when we die. I’m fascinated by the idea of past lives, reincarnation, angels, and spirits. So when I stumbled upon The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson, I knew that I had to read it. Jackson’s book is equal parts memoir and guidebook, sharing how she experiences connection with the spirit world and the lessons those experiences have taught her along the way. If Proof of Heaven and Dying To Wake Up didn’t convince me that this is all real, The Light Between Us Certainly did.
What about you? What books have helped to widen your view of the world or to shatter any pre-conceived notions that you held? Any that I need to add to my reading queue next?
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