Spiritual Tools - References

"We are riding on the shoulders of giants."

The goal of this site is to hint at Spiritual Tools proven over time and across cultures. References listed here are not necessarily the source of these tools. Rather, they confirm the principles that power the tools and point to a larger list of tools and views to assist the spiritual seeker. This is a very small sample of works that point the way.




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The Bible is a major reference for Spiritual Tools, especially prayer, praise and meditation. I welcome any who wish to contribute passages and verse recommendations
  1. Bhagavad Gita ("The Song of God")
    Note:The Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Mahabharata, comprising of 700 verses. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Sri Krishna, who is regarded by the Hindus as the supreme manifestation of the Lord Himself. (see Wikipedia)
  2. Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition
    Attributed to Lao Tzu (circa 400 B.C.) Translation and Commentary by Jonathan Star (2001)
    Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin
    Note: This is one of the great spiritual classics of all times. It is hard to classify the work. A religion has formed around the work but Lao Tzu professes no dogma and no metaphysical position. The word Tao (pronounced “dow”) is not definable. The opening stanzas of his ancient poem suggests, “The Tao that can be Tao'ed is not the eternal Tao. The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name.” It is a concept that is grasped in awareness rather than intellect. There are many translations. This one includes the original Chinese characters and the multiple possible meanings of each character. Many translations are possible and many have tried their hand at capturing that which cannot be named. Wayne Dyer took a year to study the work by living one verse per week. His translation is entitled Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.


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  1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
    by Eckhart Tolle (1997)
    Note: The author has made the entire book, as far as I can tell, available to read on the Internet.
    Available free to view at http://books.google.com/
  2. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life´s Purpose
    by Eckhart Tolle (2005)
    Note: Oprah and Eckhart did a webcast every Monday for 10 weeks in the spring of 2008. The first Monday, the Skype servers failed to handle the half-million participants across the world. The next week, 1.2 million either participated live in the webcast or downloaded the audio or video. You can hear the full ten week set at the Oprah website.
    Click here to download one or more of the classes.
  3. Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
    by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994)
    Note: This is both a philosophy of living and a practical guide to meditation. It is well written and thoughtful. Each section is a discussion of a topic followed by step by step suggestions on how to position the body and mind to promote a meditative realization of the topic pointed to by the discussion.
    Available free to view at http://books.google.com/


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  1. Varieties of Religous Experience
    by William James (2005)
    The book is concerned with the nature of religion and the neglect of science, in James' view, in the academic study of religion. Soon after its publication, the book found its way into the canon of psychology and philosophy, and has remained in print for over a century. James would go on to develop his philosophy of pragmatism. ( Wikipedia)
  2. The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life
    by Dr. Emmet Fox
    Example from the book: "The forgiveness of sins is the central problem of life. Sin is a sense of separation from God, and is the major tragedy of human experience. It is, of course, rooted in selfishness. It is essentially an attempt to gain some supposed good to which we are not entitled in justice. It is a sense of isolated, self-regarding, personal existence, whereas the Truth of Being is that all is One. Our true selves are at one with God, undivided from Him, expressing His ideas, witnessing to His nature--the dynamic Thinking of that Mind. Because we are all one with the great Whole of which we are spiritually a part, it follows that we are one with all men. Just because in Him we live and move and have our being, we are, in the absolute sense, all essentially one."
    being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence

    (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691)
    Example from the book: "That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times. That we are as strictly obliged to adhere to GOD by action in the time of action, as by prayer in its season.

    That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that GOD would give him somewhat to suffer, when he should grow stronger."
  4. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
    by Richard J. Foster
    Positive Review: "Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the Spirit, Foster shows how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God."
    Negative Review: "Written over twenty-five hears ago, and proclaimed by Christianity Today as one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, the influence of Celebration of Discipline is all but incalculable. It's author, Richard Foster, is a Quaker, so his spiritual life is grounded in the subjective “inner light” presupposition of the Friends. He is highly steeped in the Roman Catholic mystics, drawing from dozens of them for his theology. More than that, Eugene Peterson informs us that Foster has “‘found’ the spiritual disciplines [in the mystics] that the modern world stored away and forgot” (p. 206). Foster’s views are also formed by Quaker mystics and even secular thinking, most surprisingly Carl Jung, self-confessed demon-possessed psychologist. Without question, these extra-biblical sources are behind Foster’s understanding of the Christian life. That is not to say that he does not refer to Scripture and occasionally interpret it correctly. However, it is astounding to see how often he mutilates the Word of God."


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  1. The Secret
    by Rhonda Byrne (2006)
    Note: I attract that which I imagine or on which I place my focus. "As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap".
  2. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 A.D.)
    Translated by George Long (1871)
    A Stoic philosoper and Emperor of Rome, Aurelius sought to discover and live by our nature. His philosophy is remarkably close to that of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching.


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  1. The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
    by M. Scott Peck, M.D. (1978)
    In short, the book is a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being, based largely on his experiences as a psychiatrist and a person. The elements of discipline that make for such health include the ability to delay gratification, accepting responsibility for oneself and one's actions, a dedication to truth and balancing.
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    by Stephen R. Covey (1989)
    This work outlines in detail a structured approach to a principle centered life. Though not a spiritual work per se, Habits outlines a process I believe with the capacity to align career and spirituality. The 7 Habits are:
    1. Be Proactive
    2. Begin with the End in Mind
    3. Put First Things First
    4. Think Win/Win
    5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
    6. Synergize
    7. Sharpen the Saw

    Amazon.com Review: Before you can adopt the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish what Covey calls a "paradigm shift"--a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your "proactive muscles" (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn't a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you'll want to study this book, not skim it.


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  1. Pay It Forward
    by Catherine Ryan Hyde (2000)
    A school boy was given an assignment to explain how he would change the world through direct action. He decides to write and enact his plan - doing a good deed for three people who must in turn each do good deeds for three other people.
  2. The Prophet
    by Kahlil Gibran (1923)
    Almustafa who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses many issues of life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.


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  1. The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited
    by psychiatrist George E. Vaillan (1995)
    Describes two multi-decade studies of the lives of 600 American males, non-alcoholics at the outset, focusing on their life-long drinking behaviours. By following the men from youth to old age it was possible to chart their drinking patterns and what factors may have contributed to alcoholism. Another study followed 100 severe alcoholics from a clinic eight years after their detoxification. The National Review hailed the first edition (1983) as "a genuine revolution in the field of alcoholism research" and said that "Vaillant has combined clinical experience with an unprecedented amount of empirical data to produce what may ultimately come to be viewed as the single most important contribution to the literature of alcoholism since the first edition of AA's Big Book."


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  1. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question
    by John G. Miller
    There are inappropriate questions but almost always there is a better question behind the original. Inappropriate questions generally start with "Who" or "Why" or "When" and attempt to afix or divert blame. They start ou negative. The question behind the question (QBQ) starts with "How" or "What" followed by "I" and focuses on some action. "If we ask a better question, we get a better answer" (p17). This little book is only 115 sparsely typed pages but its content is rich and far reaching. It is full of examples of how this little trick can change your life-quality.

  2. The Slight Edge: Secret to a $uccessful Life
    by Jeff Olson
    A man of twenty-four invests $2,000 at 12% interest componded for six years and never adds another penny. A man of thirty begins investing $2,000 at 12% compounded and continues for twenty-three years. In the end both men should have over a million dollars in the bank. What works for money works for life-quality decisions. Little decisions compound over time - for good or for ill. It is easy to do the little right thing but, here is the kicker, it is just as easy or easier not to. Either way my little decisions compound over time. Deposit the money or swipe the credit card. Watch a sit-com or meditate. Play video games or read to the elderly at a nursing home. The Slight Edge is working whether we mant it to or not.