It's a bit of a bold statement that's for sure. But here are 5 books which changed or shaped my life.
The Art Of Happiness, Dalai Lama
This was the first book of this kind that I read, probably 15 or more years ago now. The Dalai Lama writes about Eastern teachings in a way that applies to Western life. He writes in a really accessible way, with little 'spiritual' talk. I can say that the book pretty much stopped me from going in a bad direction in life, and sent me the complete opposite direction. Not just changing my life in that way, it also shaped how I approached spirituality, in particular how I speak to others about it. I think the language we use is so important, and often spirituality is talked about in mystical terms. This creates a distance between the 'spiritual' person and the listener. Whether this is deliberate or not I think varies in case to case, but ideally I believe our language should be as accessible to as many as possible when we communicate. Otherwise what's the point?
Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Bagwan Shree Rajneesh
Otherwise know as Osho. I could've put any Osho book in there, but this was the first that I read. If you are using the documentary 'Wild Wild West' to judge Osho, throw that out of the window. If you are thinking Tantra is sex, again, chuck that notion away. If you are in any way hard on yourself (so 99.9993% of us) I recommend you read this. Every page is a goldmine of things you need to hear. Tantra for me is all about acceptance and allowance. Accepting who you are and allowing what happens to you are incredibly difficult, but life changing. The beauty of Osho is that because he packs so much into each page, each time you really just take out of it what you need at that time. Revisit the book and it'll seem like a totally new experience.
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Chogyam Trungpa
If you are 'spiritual', read this. If you are intrigued or interested by spirituality, read this. It really cuts through so much of the BS of spirituality. It shows you all the tricks of the ego clinging on. Have you noticed that a lot of the 'spiritual community' are some of the most egocentric people you'll meet? That's their ego clinging on for dear life as they try to do the absolute opposite and rid themselves of ego. This book gives you insight into the tricks of the ego, including the whole 'spiritual one-upmanship' that occurs. A very good book for Western readers.
Intelligent Yoga, Peter Blackaby
This will most probably change your entire thinking around Yoga. We're lucky to have him teaching in Brighton, and going to his classes is pretty damn life changing enough. A highly intelligently written book, which approaches Yoga from a humanist perspective. My poor little anatomy driven Pilates brain has been shattered this year, and this book is the icing on the cake. READ THIS BOOK!
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
You may think this is an odd book for a 'Yogi' who should be non-materialistic. Well, I follow a Tantric path, so one of the things to accept is that we DO live in a material world. It isn't a priority of mine, but if you don't accept it you'll be fighting against it. Tantra is more about working with what is around you. Hence Osho and his Rolls Royce collection. How many of us have money blocks? This book really helped shift my views on money, and gives lots of great advice. How many of us see owning a home as an asset? You'll learn to shift your thinking of what are assets and liabilities. A great book as an antidote to all the spiritual stuff ;)
Picking 5 books is really difficult so these look out for more posts like this. I'd love to hear what books changed your life and stick them on my reading list :)