Books that inspire to live each day to the fullest and still keep me zen, books that become part of me, books that stimulate my mind – that is what I’m looking for in this occupied period of my life with little ones.
I turn to books mostly to learn about clues and beauties of life. I prefer to read non-fiction and memoirs for now, being a movie amateur fills my need for stories and rest (that’s why I didn’t include Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride or Stephen King or Joe Hill, though I love what they write.)
This year I read some of the most amazing books. I almost always get paperbacks as Christmas gifts, for myself I now try to buy eco-friendly ebooks. Here is my top 5 books for 2014, in no particular order. One book is not in the picture above because it’s, ahem, in a black hole in my house – I’ll start with it.
1. Momma Zen
Written by a mother and a Zen priest, I love that it is both for the new to Zen as well as older students of the path. Everyone can take her gems in every step of motherhood, and go further on the way.
Short stories relate how to deal with parenting in a spiritual way. It was an easy reading in between daily chores, and I could think about a story all day before continuing to the next one. I highly recommend it.
One paragraph that stayed with me is when the author states that she lives a life a service right now, even if she can’t be all day in a monastery, where she is needed – with her family.
2. The Continuum Concept, In Search of Happiness Lost
This one is so good I want to read it every year (this was my second time) until all his wisdom sinks in for life.
Part anthropology reading in form of a memoir at the beginning, part childcare reading for its utmost importance on how to treat humans since birth, it is also a positive psychology reading as to how to access our happiness, our “rightness”, that is our birth right.
I’m not the only one who says it, in fact John Holt the leader of the unschooling movement said it first I think and I support it, this book could save humanity. If you have to read only a few books in your life, may this book be one of them.
My copy has notes and best quotes underlined at almost every page. Here’s an example at random:
” A great part of our tragedy is that we have lost the sense of our “rights” as members of the human species. Not only do we accept boredom with resignation, but innumerable other infringements upon what is left of our continuum after the ravages of infancy and childhood. We say, for example. “It is cruel to kelp so large an animal in an apartment in town,” but we are speaking of dogs, never of people, who are even larger and more sensitive to their surroundings. We permit ourselves to be bombarded with noise from machinery, traffic, and other people’s radios, and expect to be treated rudely by strangers. We are learning to expect to be despised by our children and to be irritated by our parents. We accept living with gnawing insecurities not about our own ability at work and socially, but very often about our marriages. We take it for granted that life is hard and feel lucky to have whatever happiness we get. We do not look upon happiness as a birthright, nor do we expect it to be more than peace or contentment. Real joy, the state in which the Yequana spend much of their lives, is exceedingly rare among us. “
3. The Essential Gandhi
I read a few biographies of Gandhi’s life. This man is so grand I wanted to know a bit more about his writings too. This book combines both, and this is my favorite one about him so far.
I savor precious tips on how we can go about our ideals in a less than idealistic world:
” [Prayer] has saved my life… I had my share of the bitterest public and private experiences. They threw me into temporary despair. If I was able to get rid of that despair it was because of prayer. It has not been a part of my life as truth had been. It came out of sheer necessity as I found myself in a plight where I could not possibly be happy without it.”
4. Peace is Every Step
Short and sweet book by another one of my role models. How can we not love the peaceful teacher Thich Nhat Hanh?
Explaining how to meditate and be at peace in our normal daily routine, this book is a must read too.
” Take the hand of your child and invite her to go out and sit with you on the grass. The two of you may want to contemplate the green grass, the little flowers that grow amount the grasses, and the sky. Breathing and smiling together – that is peace education. If we know how to appreciate these beautiful things, we will not have to search for anything else. Peace is available in every moment, in every breath, in every step. “
5. The Man Who Quit Money
” The sage makes bum-hood the ultimate art. “
Be ready for a paradigm change. I’ve been looking for a long time to investigate further on the moneyless lifestyle. This one… this one is awesome. It relates the story of a man who gave up everything to access abundance, all that is. I love that it challenges my culture and shows me a way to give money less importance. This book instituted my starting anew on a blog that costs me no money, and for now generates no income because I don’t really need it, as a platform to help out the most I can.
Please enter these worlds. You’re likely to be changed for good.
This top 5 of my favorite books in 2014 represents my genuine interest and contains no affiliate links. If you loved it, please subscribe to the blog to receive all updates, and let us know your favorite alternative or zen book this year!