7 Perception Shifting Books

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Information has an amazing ability to transform our choices and illuminate our own knowingness.  At the same time, information can keep us suspended in this middle space of never being enough.  We see a headline promoting something, and we think, I want that because I don’t feel like I have it in my life.  We place our hope in learning about something to get away from something we don’t like about ourselves.  It’s easy to implement practices or methods to escape.  Escape from what makes us uncomfortable, what makes us feel insecure, ashamed, fearful, sad, or angry.  If we are not careful, we spend our days acquiring information to rid ourselves of things that have the potential to be our most prominent teachers.  Meanwhile, those same things we perceive as obstacles keep showing up in different places with different faces trying to get our attention.

Below is a list of books that shared information that illuminated something inside of me.  Illuminating to me in this context means when I read them there was something that felt as if I already knew what these authors were sharing.  It was if, they uncovered the knowledge that was inside all along.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay was a very impactful book that shifted my perception.  Although, I hesitate to include in the overall list below.  After reading this book in my 20s, my integration of the information was to disregard anything I felt was negative or blame myself for anything that was going on in my life because my thoughts were off somehow.  If I could just be right and think right then everything would finally be right.  As I am now in my 40s, my experiences have cultivated an understanding of utilizing her insight as a tool, not a method.  It has become more of a body of support material rather than a way of being.  Telling myself, I was fine when I didn’t feel okay created a 10+ year pattern of running away from myself for some pot of gold that existed at the end of some rainbow I couldn’t find.  When the pot of gold I was looking for all along was inside of me.  This book really did impact my life, but I list it here with my experience as a side note to consider if you choose to read it and find it has the same initial effect.

10 years ago I heard all of this hoop-la about Oprah and Eckhart Tolle and this live stream they were doing around his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.  In 2007 I decided to read it, and I just didn’t get it.  I kept starting and restarting the book, and I could never finish it.  In 2010 I read The Power of Now, and it monumentally shifted the way I interacted with myself.  I then read A New Earth, and I couldn’t even believe it was the same book I picked up in 2007.  I took in every word, and it blossomed the words I read In The Power of Now.  Sometimes information comes into our life when we haven’t had the experiences to understand the context and this was the case with A Whole New World.  The same thing happened with Untethered Soul.  When I read that book the first time I felt angry – and I mean a lot of angry was going on, and I did not like that feeling. Hence I did not like the book.  But, after reading The Surrender Experiment a year later, The Untethered Soul moved me in a much different way.

The books are listed below in the order I read them.  I’ve done this intentionally because the number of experiences that I had during this list spans 20 years and that also had a huge impact on how I took the information.  20 years encompasses such different experiences with the world because of the time we’ve been here and the ideas and experiences we’ve encountered.  Sometimes books come to us when we are ready to embrace new ideas.  Other times they are offered from a friend who believes the information will serve us.  But, this is not always the case.

I don’t subscribe to one path being the truth.  There are many paths in life, and no one is the authority to determine what is right for another.  I offer these books to you because of the impact they made in how I looked at myself and what that meant for my place in the world.  If you happen to read them and they feel good, follow those feel-good feelings, and maybe someday you will also share your list with someone.  If they don’t illuminate anything for you I’m confident another road will appear.

(photo by Ashim D’Silva)