Spiritual Masters: Modern Teachers, Guides, and Gurus
The first installment in our guide to spiritual teachers and religious thinkers, contemporary and classical.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
In her book "Simple Abundance" and the sequels that have followed, Ban Breathnach counsels us to make way for spiritual improvement by cleaning out closets, kicking our shopping habits and generally weaning ourselves from material possessions. This not only allows us to see what's important, but forces us, by choosing what to keep, to explore who we are.
Mark Oppenheimer on "The Simple Abundance Companion"
The Power of Positive Body Image
Awakening to Gratefulness
Browne believes the soul survives death, but unlike the religions that ascribe to the same view, she doesn't rely on faith and prayer alone to align herself with the divine. Knowledge and reason are her primary tools for reaching to a God she describes as both Father and Mother. Browne is one of the most prominent psychics in the country, with appearances on shows like "The Montel Williams Show" and "Unsolved Mysteries."
A Guide to Common Dream Symbols
"Everyone interested in past lives should look into Sylvia Browne's work..."
Sylvia Browne's homepage
After a Western upbringing in India and success as an endocrinologist in the United States, Chopra discovered Eastern approaches to health and human empowerment through transcendental meditation. Since the early 1990s he has developed his own philosophy of holistic health based on the integral connection between mind and body, incorporating ideas from quantum physics and exploring the power of love and creativity. His teaching and his Chopra Centre for Well Being at La Jolla, Calif. have attracted celebrities Demi Moore, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey, among others.
Interview: Spirituality in a Material World
Excerpt: Pitfalls of the Seeker
Excerpt: Coincidences: Clues From the Universe
Interview: Chopra on George Harrison's death
Discussion: What do you think of him and his books?
Chat: Chopra talks about his book "How to Know God" (August, 2000)
Review: Phil Catalfo on "How to Know God"
Excerpt: A Real and Useful God
Related: Author page
The phrase "can-do" lurks behind everything Wayne Dyer teaches. His consistent message is that we determine what happens to us by the way we approach life's challenges. This control over our lives can be achieved, Dyer believes, through visualization, positive thinking and simple meditation techniques.
Interview: Feeling Good, Feeling God
Excerpt: How to Attract Abundance
Discussion: "He has shown me how to have a more positive outlook in life"
The author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus," Gray is dedicated to promoting greater understanding between romantic partners. Gray's view, informed by his background in Eastern religions, is that relationship problems can be overcome by focusing on differences in how men and women communicate their needs and desires and by urging couples to respect those differences.
Review: Francis Lefkowitz on "Practical Miracles"
Excerpt: The Age of Miracles Is Upon Us
Discussion: Have you read "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"?
Related: Tarot and I Ching Relationships
Harvey has studied Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity and has translated poems of the Sufi poet Rumi, an eclectic approach he explains in his book "The Direct Path" and his memoir, "The Sun at Midnight." More recently, he has stressed the feminine manifestations of God. He believes human beings are entering a new spiritual age to be governed by the Divine Mother.
Review: Tracy Cochran on "The Direct Path"
Houston teaches that most people conduct our lives using only a small part of our potential. She works to develop techniques to expand our learning skills and our creativity, bringing in philosophy, physics, and enlisting practices from many cultures. A protégé of Margaret Mead and an associate of the late Joseph Campbell, Houston has advised prominent figures -- most famously Hillary Clinton.
Interview: Do Pet Owners Have a Spiritual Advantage?
Excerpt: Pet Companions & the Mystic Path
Excerpt: My Dog, the Madonna
A former Olympic gymnast who told his story in "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior," Millman believes simple physical activity can connect us to broader spiritual awareness. To Millman, every moment of our lives is worthy of our complete attention and best effort, and his books aim to help readers apply this principle to personal enlightenment as well as balancing the family checkbook.
Excerpt: Escaping a Madman With God's Help
Thomas Moore became a household name with the publication of "The Care of the Soul," which urged readers to re-train themselves to experience the spirituality of everyday moments. A former Catholic monk and a psychotherapist, Moore counsels that we create space and find spiritual outlets so the soul may emerge and play its proper part in our lives.
Resource: Columns and Articles by Thomas Moore
Essay: Where's the Dark Knight of the Soul?
Excerpt: Your Night Journeys
Interview: Meet Taoist-Buddhist Jesus
Excerpt: Exploring Depression
Interview: Life and Death in 'The Hours'
Essay: Giving Death a Place
A proponent of alternative medicine and Eastern ideas about mind-body energy centers called chakras, Myss has been called an "intuitive healer." She teaches that our "biography is our biology"—i.e., that our psychic histories express themselves in our bodily health and that resolving past emotional burdens can heal disease.
Discussion: "I found great health benefits just from getting a better understanding of energy medicine and the chakras"
Redfield's novel "The Celestine Prophecy," about a spiritual journey to Peru, has dominated bestseller lists since it appeared in 1993. Fascinated with the wisdom of ancient civilizations and with coincidence, Redfield is convinced that humans are about to enter a historic era of enlightenment.
Interview: "Evolution Is a Spiritual Process"
Excerpt: Basic Principles of Transformative Practice
Excerpt: Opening to Higher Energy
Discussion: The Celestine Prophecy: "This book opened my eyes"
Don Miguel Ruiz
"It was common for me to witness miracles," says don Miguel Ruiz of his childhood in rural Mexico. He was raised by his mother and grandfather, who were both healers in the tradition of their ancestors, the Toltecs--an indigenous Mexican people who predated the Aztecs. This spiritual heritage is the inspiration for his books, including the best seller, "The Four Agreements."
Interview: "My Life Is an Ongoing Prayer"
Excerpt: The Liar That Lives in Your Head
For more than 25 years, surgeon Bernie Siegel has been a pioneer in mind-body healing. In his best-selling "Love, Medicine & Miracles" and "Peace, Love & Healing," he wrote of his unorthodox approach to dealing with cancer patients—encouraging them to express their feelings, participate in medical decisions, and use healing methods such as meditation and guided imagery. He is also the founder of ECaP (Exceptional Cancer Patients).
Tool: A Five Day Spiritual Workout
Interview: How to Be a Survivor
Excerpt: Bernie Siegel's Soul Prescriptions
Transformed at the age of 29 by a powerful spiritual experience that, he says, dissolved his identity, Tolle urges readers in several books, including his signature "The Power of Now," to follow his path away from doing into pure being, using meditation and wisdom of the major faith traditions.
Excerpt: Don't Take Your Thoughts Too Seriously
Excerpt: Moving Deeply Into the Now
Discussion: "The Power of Now"
Dialogue Group: Tolle & the Power of Now
Related: More about Eckhart's story
Neale Donald Walsch
A former radio personality and advertising executive experiencing a mid-life crisis, Walsch wrote an angry letter to God, and to his surprise, heard back. His bestselling book "Conversations With God" and its sequels grew out of this internal dialogue, through which Walsch learned that all experience, negative or positive, is part of the gift of life. He shares this message through philanthropic organizations and his retreat center in Oregon.
Interview: Do We Need a "New God"?
Interview: The End of the World As We Know It?
Excerpt: An Invitation From God
Discussion: About "Conversations With God"
Website: Conversations With God on the web
A Harvard-trained physician, Weil believes in the body's intrinsic healing ability. Combining alternative medicine, diet, breathing and other mind-body techniques with Western medical practice, he focuses on maintaining health, not curing disease.
Interview: Don't Fear Aging
Excerpt: Eight Ways to Age Gracefully
Website: Self-Healing website
Deeply affected by the Course in Miracles, which was the subject of her very successful "A Return to Love," Williamson's core teaching concerns the power of love to conquer fears and transform our lives. Her own expression of this message has taken many different forms, ranging from peace activism to becoming pastor of a New Thought church in Detroit. Her latest book, "Everyday Grace," takes up the importance of prayer and faith to achieving a life of power.
Interview: Jesus Was Self-Actualized
Excerpt: The News as "Humanity's Prayer List"
Excerpt: Create Your Own "Enchanted Love"
Discussion: A Course in Miracles
Chat: "The spiritual path is the path back to love"
Related: A Course in Miracles
Originally a physicist whose popular 1979 book "Dance of the Wu Li Masters" lucidly explained quantum physics, Zukav turned to metaphysical matters with "The Seat of the Soul" and "Soul Stories." He believes the human race is transforming, breaking the bonds of the senses to achieve "authentic power," based in Eastern ideas about harmony, cooperation and reverence for life.