I was born into this lifetime as a seeker. I have always had an inner knowing there was something beyond this earthly life. I have always been a voracious reader, as well. Even at the young age of four, I would memorize words from my books on tape because I didn’t know how to read. I became enchanted with the magical world of Cinderella and Snow White. It’s no wonder books became my doorways into spiritual life.
While many books have opened my awareness, some have taken me more in-depth than others. These five books handed a key to my soul. They unlocked secrets and uncovered mysteries that were contained within my own Being. My hope is that they will do the same for you.
Many Lives, Many Masters was not given to me. I did not find it in a bookstore or on the internet. It was a gift to my boyfriend, who I was living with at the time. It was given to him by a professional insurance salesman. My boyfriend had interviewed for an insurance job with this man. As the man politely declined my boyfriend for the job, he also gave him Many Lives, Many Masters to soften the blow of rejection. When my boyfriend came home that day, he somberly tossed the book onto a shelf of our entertainment system, where it sat for several weeks collecting dust.
One day, out of boredom, I picked it up, wiped off the dust, and began reading it. I was only twenty-one years old. Many Lives, Many Masters was a book I had to set down after reading each chapter. My mind was blown by what I was reading. Dr. Weiss told us a story of a patient of his, Catherine, who suffered from debilitating anxiety. After failing several of his treatment plans, he decided to try hypnosis. It was during these sessions where she uncovered past lives. During these sessions, Dr. Weiss experienced conversations with Beings who he named “The Masters.”
Many Lives, Many Masters introduced me to the concept of reincarnation. It opened up my eyes to the possibility that the life I was currently living was not the only one. That I may have had many more, maybe even hundreds. It created an opening for me into the spiritual world and the mysteries of life.
This book is what I call a gateway book. Being on a spiritual path for over twenty years now, I can clearly see how Many Lives, Many Masters led me to the gate all those years ago. I never questioned what I was reading. Something in my soul told me every word of his was true. The book caused a stir deep within myself, leading me to make significant changes in my life. It also caused such an awakening that I was drawn to investigate more esoteric teachings and happenings.
In 2010 I went through a very painful breakup with a man I loved deeply. For the first time, at the age of 32, I was forced to look at my own faults. It was the very beginning of a path of personal growth.
At that time, A New Earth had been sitting on my shelf for two years. I purchased it because Oprah professed it would help change my life. In 2008, it certainly did not. I could barely get through the first chapter. I could not grasp what Tolle was talking about. As soon as I read a few pages, I would forget what I had just read, and I would go back and re-read them again. This went on for days and days. I was just reading words on a page, unable to crack his code. A code Oprah somehow solved. With disappointment, I gave up and shelved it.
After my breakup, as I was going through counseling, Tolle’s book surprisingly stood out. An inner voice told me it was time to pull it off the shelf and try again. This time I was given the combination. I could not put this book down! Every page I read gave me a sense of Aha! Suddenly, I knew there was something separate from my mind. With every chapter I read, I could clearly see my own ego.
A New Earth brings the reader into a deeper awareness of themselves. However, what I have discovered is, Tolle is directly speaking FROM this space of awareness. The entire book is written from his Higher Self, or Buddha-nature, or inner awareness. Once I realized there was something beyond my mind, an opening occurred. I was able to read Tolle’s messages directly from my Higher Self. This created another big shift in my life. It caused me to experience what it felt like to live life from a different state, the same state Tolle himself lives from. Even though it was temporary, back then, I still caught a taste of it, the complete inner peace, the stillness of the mind. My seeking intensified after this cryptic experience.
It’s by no miracle or coincidence I was introduced to Julie Hoyle. I began working with her in 2014, four years after I experienced the profound state of being described by Eckhart Tolle. I caught a glimpse of this state, and I wanted to find it again.
After several personal sessions with Julie Hoyle, I downloaded her book, An Awakened Life. I have lost count on how many times I have read it. It’s a book of her own personal experience of awakening. The incredible shifts she experienced and her recounts of the mystical life she has led, all while living a seemingly ordinary life, are described in this book.
An Awakened Life is filled with both simple and intricate teachings, depending on how deep the reader wants to look. The first few times I read it, I would walk away feeling inspired, even spellbound. Yet, as my spiritual journey took me deeper into personal growth and self-inquiry, I would read a chapter from this book and realize I could apply her teaching to my own life. When I felt stuck with a problem life presented, I would turn to Julie Hoyle’s book for guidance. I was never disappointed. Each chapter offered revelations and guidance.
Like Tolle’s book, An Awakened Life: A Journey of Transformation, is also written from the space of the Higher Self, from her Buddha-nature. What makes this book different is that it is a story of her life, a personal account of living from the state of her Higher Self. It contains layers upon layers of energy that shifts the reader each time it is read. It is a book I always recommend to spiritual seekers.
The Bond With the Beloved is a book I highly recommend for anyone who wishes to take their seeking to a deeper level. What exactly is seeking all about? Even though I was on a spiritual path for many, many years, I still didn’t quite understand what exactly it was I was seeking. I had become an artist at chasing every spiritual technique and healing modality known to man, yet I couldn’t pinpoint what I was looking for.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is described as a Sufi mystic. He has written numerous books, and his style is very poetic. He describes seeking as coming Home, finding, and being immersed in the Higher Self. He discusses the pain of separation in The Bond With the Beloved. This description of separation is what I have felt my entire life. I could never put it into words, and never describe it to anyone, as I knew nobody in my personal circle of life could relate.
Working with Julie Hoyle, and reading many Sufi books, helped me understand the depth I had reached on my seeking path. After reading The Bond With the Beloved, I walked away with a better understanding of what my longing to return to Home was about. After carrying these feelings around since I was a child, I no longer felt alone. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee wrote explicitly about how I had felt for so many years.
In the summer of this year, 2020, this book completely and whole-heartedly changed my life. Shadow work was the missing piece to my seeking, my spiritual path. As a spiritual seeker and a lover of books, I found nobody talks about shadow work. Among the many current famous spiritual teachers, I have not once heard their account of their own shadow work. They don’t discuss the darkness within, the human side.
I have found most spiritual seekers want to embrace the Light and run from the Dark, because looking within at the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves, is the most painful process of a spiritual path. It certainly was for me.
A few months into the arduous process of shadow work, I purchased Meeting the Shadow, Finding Yourself. It intensified my inner work and helped bring everything to the surface of what I needed to see. My deeply repressed patterns leaked out all over the place. However, I was in a space where I could see them, and I chose not to run from them. I had been running long enough. Without the help of this book, it would have taken me years and years to get to the bottom of myself.
Meeting the Shadow, Finding Yourself is a simple yet eloquent read. Julie Hoyle describes what shadow work is and tells of her own experiences in her shadow work journey. At the end of each chapter, she offers questions to the reader to help dig deeper into their lives and patterns. Just like her first book, An Awakened Life, this book is one the reader can return to over and over for new insights and answers.
In 2010 I experienced an awakening where my Higher Self took the forefront. My mind allowed me to function in my daily life, yet it did not direct my life. This experience lasted for several weeks. However, I could not maintain it because I had inner work to do. I had to go deeper into my human conditioning, sifting through the layers of my ego that had accumulated over the span of my life. I had to get to the bottom of my patterns through shadow work.
All five of these books supported me on my path to Self-Realization. I hope they will do the same for you.