10 Underrated Books Everyone MUST Read

My underrated favorites highly recommended for 2019.

Here’s my list of books that people aren’t talking about enough, have just a few-thousand ratings or even less on Goodreads, but you should definitely add to your shelves (and also read, don’t just keep them sitting there!).

1. Unthink by Chris Paley

(Goodreads average: 3.55, but it deserves at least 4/5 stars)

Genre? Psychology. Without the boring, scientific details, this short, quick book covers dozens of interesting studies on the human mind (and how it’s being heavily manipulated). Easy to read, keeps you hooked on every page, and will leave you thinking for a long time.

2. An Atheist’s History of Belief by Matthew Kneale

(Goodreads average: 3.82, Me: atleast a 4/5)

I’ll go so far as saying it’s (almost) as fascinating and resourceful as Yuval Noah’s Sapiens. But don’t take my word on it – read it for yourself.

This is an essential book to believers and non-believers alike, as this uncovers questions like, where did the idea of God really originate from? How did idol-worship begin? Why are there strange practices like sacrifices, martyrdom and witchcraft? The conception of polygamy and abstinence, and a LOT more.

Value for money, and a well utilization of 240 pages! No fluke. And you might be surprised by what you discover about your own religion. Brace yourselves, there are some bold revelations!

3. Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman

(Goodreads average: 4.4, Me: 5/5!)

What is hypnosis? Can we be hypnotized without consent? Is it possible that we are often hypnotized even without knowing it? Can hypnosis actually be beneficial? And how can we do it (if at all)?

This is one of the finest books written on the subject, and will surprise you with a ton of information. Mind-blowing!

Disclaimer – the book is rarely published anymore and will be an expensive buy. But most certainly worth it, I assure you!

4. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue

(Goodreads average: 4.31, I’d say 5/5)

Celtic wisdom. Philosophy. Mystical.

If these words intrigue you, pick this book without a second thought. In a world where you get a hundred new quotes per hour on Instagram, the thoughts and ideas in this book still remain widely untouched and uncirculated.

5. Invisible Acts of Power by Caroline Myss

(Goodreads average: 4.06, Me: definitely a 5/5)

“Faith in humanity restored!”
That was my reaction atleast after every 2 pages.

Its a feel-good yet emotion-stirring read. Thought-provoking, yet gentle. An ideal book if you’re finding yourself questioning the ‘purpose in life’, or wondering if there’s any hope left for humanity.

This is written as a series of stories with a deep message and a lot of happy endings (happy new beginnings, rather).

6. Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

(Goodreads average: 4.49, Me: 5/5 undoubtedly!)

Written by an Enlightened Buddhist Monk himself, this book is such an easy way to understand the Buddhist Way.

Even if not with the intention to become a Monk, or a Buddhist, read this extraordinary piece of work to gain invaluable knowledge about Buddhism, Meditation practices, spiritual discourses, and even a bit of historic recounting (disputes between the monks, rivalries, the Buddha’s passing into Nirvana etc).

7. No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal

(Goodreads average: 4.45, Me: 5/5)

If you see the word ‘UNPUTDOWNABLE’ describing for a book about world history, you know this is a book really, well-written. Narrated with three, poles-apart perspectives – one from a Mujaheddin leader, second from a Taliban member and third from a local citizen of Afghanistan, this book is a personal and immersive experience of what happened to the country, and why it is suffering. Even if you know nothing about Afghanistan (as I didn’t when I read this), this is the only book you’ll need to read.

8. The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim

(Goodreads average: 4.09, Me: 5/5 brilliant!)

Haven’t we all wondered how such families are impacted? And what happens to the kids – do they follow their father’s footsteps? This is a (very) quick but brave memoir about the story of a Terrorist’s son. Written by a TED talk speaker, this one is sure to leave a mark on your heart.

9. Return to Life by Jim B Tucker

(Goodreads average: 3.7, Me: 5/5 phenomenal!)

If you want to be challenged into reading something outside your comfort zone, try this. It will question (almost) everything you’ve believed in about life. The major theme is around cases where children’s memories of past lives could be PROVEN, and there are other compelling evidences such as famous people being reborn, animals being reborn as humans (WTF?), psychic powers, near death experiences, and more.

As eerie as this book sounds, it was a breeze to get through and really shook me to the core. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

10. The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

(Goodreads average: 4.27, Me: 5/5, favorite book ever!)

If there is one book you need to understand how the mind works against us, how to meditate, the concepts of detachment, ego, surrendering, and a vast sea of other spiritual concepts, pick this and you will not have to look further.

This is a beautiful, meaningful and short book that merges psychology and spirituality. I know I’ve brought this one up before, in my list of spiritual favorites, but I think it’s worth mentioning again!

Happy Reading! 🙂

Why Everything Happens, And How to Make Life Workout YOUR Way

Fate, karma, luck, the law of attraction… We’ve all heard a lot of theories, which many people live by. And these seem to work for them, in forming the philosophies of their lives. But not for me.

I could never completely resonate with the idea that we come with a predetermined destiny. Clearly, we make choices in life on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes the consequences can be significantly different, such as deciding whether or not to show up at a job interview, moving to a different city or county, or marrying someone at a whim, on a drunk night in Vegas!

Karma too, seems insufficient to summarize life on its own, because a lot of crooked people get through life much better than the honest ones. And how are we to really believe if they are ever ‘sent to hell’ in the afterlife? Not to forget, it isn’t fair, because they’ve already made a lot of lives miserable while we’re all here – what’s the point of waiting for death, to get justice?

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Neither was I ready to believe that we “attract” all the joys and struggles into our life. There are dozens of things we worry about, sometimes constantly for several days on end, but not all of them happen to us. Thankfully, most of them don’t.

Yes, optimism keeps us going, but even the most optimistic person can’t claim that there is never a thing wrong with life. Infact, if you’re forcing yourself to feel good, it’s just being paranoid with the belief of ‘creating your own unhappy reality’. I’m pretty sure that’s not the point of life, and you’ll be coming across as an annoying, delusional psycho to the rest of the world.

So – could I find something that made sense to me? Moment of truth – YES!

I stumbled upon Caroline Myss on YouTube one day, whose spiritual ideas made it easier to recognize, why do things happen, the way they do. Shortly after that, many spiritual books that I began to read also strengthened my understanding. Here’s an outline of the ideas I came across, blended with my interpretation.

The ‘Before-Life’

So, before we take birth, there is a certain incubation period. Imagine that in this period, you huddle together with your companions for a meeting. These are the people you share your life with today – from a person you talked to for a brief moment in the lift, a beggar on the street, your parents, your ex, to your life partner, and everyone else in between. The purpose of this spiritual round-table conference, is to decide the lessons you will learn in the life to come. These are spiritual contracts, being written for you as you pursue the next ride to Earth.

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Everyone’s Role in Your Life

Ofcourse, you cannot do this alone. To learn the act of forgiveness, someone must take the responsibility to deeply hurt you, thus providing you the choice to forgive them or to stay resentful. To know how to be independent and strong, someone must ensure they abandon you at your worst hour, giving you the opportunity to stand up for yourself, or to fall down and succumb to your circumstances.

Rest be assured, anyone you meet has signed-up to help you enhance your skills or get rid of behavior that limits you from being your absolute best. YOU have signed-up too, to deal with them. Even if someone in this lifetime has treated you horribly wrong, knowing that everything is an elaborate play (in the words of Shakespeare), you can allow yourself to grow instead of focusing on the pain and heartbreak that would be caused from trying to rationalize someone’s behavior.

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The process of building yourself in this way, is called Ascension. As the name itself suggests – ascending or rising above the current state. The more you move up the ladder, the more you are able to see the bigger picture of life. You become detached, but much more loving towards everyone, because you begin to see, we’ve all decided to do this together – to build each other up, even if it means to ironically break each other down sometimes.

Why is everyone’s “story” different?

The interesting part is, the way in which you learn things will be unique, designed to suit your soul’s personality and requirements, as you progress.

You may become the parent to a differently-abled child, so that you can learn to take care and love someone unconditionally even if they may never be able to pay you back, and you might have to keep taking care of them for several years, before you truly understand this. On the contrary, someone else might learn the lesson of unconditional love by having to deal with difficult siblings or a stubborn partner that makes a lot of bad choices.

That’s why someone might have a financially booming career without putting in much effort but suffers from acute illnesses and dies early, while the other person barely makes it through the days with a loaf of bread and water, yet manages to stay alive decades longer.

unique

Not every experience is for you to have within one lifetime – there are somethings you have already mastered in the past, and there are others that will come to you when it is your time.

Have you ever felt like your parents or someone much elder than you is acting irrational, and that you’re the one parenting them? Yeah, souls have different maturity levels, don’t be fooled by the human relationship or age you’re in! Really, your soul has taken many lifespans, to acquire a holistic and all-encompassing flavor of humanity.

All that’s great – but where’s the proof?

I hear you! And the good news is that these theories have been scientifically backed by decades worth of great research conducted on voluntarily regressed patients, under the care of renowned hypnotherapist, Dr. Michael Newton. The concept of before-life and afterlife are very fascinating and extensive subjects on their own, and what better a book to read, then Journey of Souls?

Likewise, Dr Brian Weiss has done extensive work in exploring our soul contracts, the effects of our choices, life lessons, and so-on, through books such as Many Lives, Many Masters and Only Love is Real.

How knowing all this can help you transform your current reality

Analyze for your present situation – is there someone who’s difficult to deal with? Are you stuck in a circumstance and have no clue how to bring change in spite of all the praying and venting?

You must go deep down, and try to find the root cause. What haven’t you learned yet? What must you understand, so that you can stop running around in circles, and move forward to newer experiences?

When you become conscious that you are a soul in a human body here only for the soul’s growth, it becomes really easy to move yourself out of drama, and into a more deliberate way of living.

What if you don’t want to learn?

It is often said that if you keep resisting a lesson, it will resurface over and over again, every time with a higher intensity, higher urgency. If you manage to let the lesson pass you by altogether, you’re going to have to take it up in the next lifetime. This is one way to look at innocent children who take birth and die soon after, from grave illnesses. Perhaps they had to grasp how to be taken care of when they are absolutely helpless and crippled, because they held too much pride in the past life to take favors. So let’s put it this way, the only way out of it, is going to be through it.

through-this

But don’t let that frighten you! When you allow yourself to look at everything and everyone as a catalyst for your soul’s growth, you begin to enjoy things. You become good at this, because it gets easier to identify what’s missing/lacking from your palette and improve it. You become powerful within, enough to be able to say – “okay, I am going to acquire this new badge of honor. You consciously experience whatever life brings, catch hold of the lesson, and brush off the dust from the adventure to say, “this is good enough. Now let’s explore something new”. That is where your role ends.

One Last Step

Now comes the role of the Universe – it’s going to test you. Once you believe that you’ve truly integrated a value into your life, the Universe is going to put forward new scenarios where you must display your recently acquired skill. If you haven’t learned correctly, you may respond like an older version of yourself would have. If you are able to respond differently, you have made progress.

So, if you pass the test, the lesson is complete. Even if something reoccurs, it won’t have power over you, and you will feel the freedom and transformation taking place. If you don’t succeed, try again and see where you fell short. This isn’t mockery from the Universe, it doesn’t “hate” you – it’s simply showing you that there’s more work to do in this certain chapter.

Does the suffering ever stop?

If you did your homework well for the test, then the best thing is going to happen to you – you’re going to laugh and say to the person who’s been treating you badly all this while – “hey, you don’t bother me anymore. I’m done with your BS”. And within no time, you’re going to notice them change their behavior towards you. Precisely what happens when young kids face their bullies – the bullies lose their power, and find a new target. This is very fast-paced, it doesn’t have to take weeks or months to happen for you. I have seen a lot of this happen rapidly in personal, unpleasant encounters too.

contract

Another point worth noting, is that you have an equally important role to play in other’s lives. A more serious example is, you might have signed up the contract to enter into a relation where there is domestic violence inflicted on you, so that you can inspire others in the same situation around you when you finally take a stand for yourself and put your partner behind bars. It makes sacrifices like Nirbhaya’s no longer go in vain – she revolutionized women’s safety for the people of India. I salute you, warrior soul. 🙂

It is your side of the contract to bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others, just like they do for you.

In Conclusion

Buddha spent a really long time, through meditation to find the end to suffering. The thing is, in this time and era, with the rise of inhumanity and atrocities, we don’t have enough time left to leave everything behind and explore our inner truth in isolation. If we want to flip life around for humanity, it needs to happen fast, and now!

Look around you – people are growing spiritual in their own, chaotic lives. They’re meditating indoors, balancing their chakras, learning healing techniques, and discussing souls a lot more freely.

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The point is – you can end your suffering, and the way is to be conscious of life itself. For minds that are curious about the ‘why’, clarity on these questions can become humbling, and becomes a great alternative to end suffering. All the best!

 

My sincere gratitude to the following key writers of some phenomenal spiritual works, which have been catalysts in the transformation of my life:

Caroline Myss

Brian Weiss

Michael Newton

Neale Donald Walsch

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Image Courtesy : Pixabay