What five books would you reccomend that others read to best know who you are, and where coming from, and what aspirations?
Be Here Now — Ram Dass and the Lama Foundation: I’ve said many times before that this book saved my mind. It was there when my dad died, it was there when my first marriage was falling apart, it was there when I did my last hit of acid. The second half of the book, Cookbook for a Sacred Life, is a beautiful guide to getting your head together, and the recommended reading list (Sacred Loaves) is by itself worth the price of the book.
The Seven Storey Mountain — Thomas Merton: When I was waffling on whether or not to have faith in anything, I picked up this book. For some reason, I was reading Catholic auto/biographies – John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Augustine, Aquinas, and so on. Somewhere I found a reference to this book, and subsequently read it. It is a beautiful story of having no faith, discovering the part it plays in life, and finding it, regardless of your religious persuation. And it certainly doesn’t put the monastic life in a bad light, either.
Total Freedom — Jiddu Krishnamurti: Ah, Krishnamurti. The ultimate non-guru, non-teacher, non-methodologist. Any work by K. is likely to sever your tenuous hold on reality like a razor, and leave your illusions dangling. My thirst for reality, for Truth with a capital T, really initiated with reading Krishnamurti.
Tropic of Capricorn — Henry Miller: Henry Miller re-introduced me to the joy of living, through his writing, and ultimately, to the joy of writing. At the time in my life when I encountered HM, I was shiftless, drifting and directionless – and perhaps not coincidentally, also 28, the age at which HM really started writing. Witnessing his savoring of the marrow of life, the details of common, ordinary events that he expanded into joyous paeans to existence, I too began a revitalization that continues to this day.
The Tower Treasure — Franklin W. Dixon: The first in the Hardy Boys series, and the first book I ever read on my own, at age 5. By the time I was 7 or 8, I had read all 58 of the original series. There is nothing like mystery, adventure, doing the right thing and the cameraderie of brothers to sustain the ambitions of a young boy. I suppose that sums up my life now…