The following reads come highly recommended. Thoughts, comments, additions, even subtractions accompanied by gasps of disapproval — all are welcome and can be voiced in the comments below.
The Cloud of Unknowing & The Book of Privy Counseling | William Johnston (translator). Written in the 14th century by an anonymous English monk, and likely the first Western primer on meditation from the Christian perspective.
I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj | Maurice Frydman (translator). A series of conversations with the unassuming shop-keeper, cigarette-smoker, and grouchy, enlightened master.
The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi | Ramana Maharishi. A collection of dialogues with the Sage of Arunachala, who spontaneously re-discovered the ancient tradition of self-inquiry at the age of sixteen, then wore nothing but a loin-cloth for the next 54 years.
Classics of Indian Spirituality | Eknath Easwaran. Includes The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, and The Dhammapada. The translation and their accompanying commentary are beautifully and profoundly written.
The Nature of Consciousness | Rupert Spira. Heady and a bit redundant, this volume covers the gamut of non-dual understanding. Rupert’s gift of simplifying complex themes with articulate elegance comes through more readily on his YouTube channel. But if you want to read, read.
Mindfulness in Plain English | Bhante Gunaratana. A detailed introduction to meditation. A great place to start for beginners so long as it’s understood that this is not the be all end all of meditation techniques but an entry point (and a good one) from within the Vipassana tradition.
The Knowledge of the Holy | A.W. Tozer. A series of essays on the nature of God by the renowned Christian mystic.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind | Shunryu Suzuki. Thoughtful teachings and insight on meditation and non-dual understanding in the tradition of Zen Buddhism.
The Power of Now | Eckhart Tolle. Oprah’s favorite spiritual guru is well-worth reading if you can put aside the Oprah, and the fact that the second chapter shouldn’t come so quickly, or maybe at all.
Mere Christianity | C.S. Lewis. This classic and eminently readable text is a good point of entry into the discussion for the agnostic or atheist from the Christian perspective. It’s not non-duality, but it’s on our list anyhow. So there.
Wake Up Now | Stephan Bodian. An easy read for those who are frustrated on the path, or wish to understand it better.
Be As You Are | David Godman. Considered by many to be the quintessential compendium of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings, compiled by arguably the foremost expert on Indian saints and sages of the 20th century (and whose name is apropos).
Siddhartha | Herman Hesse. This fictional classic tells the story of a Buddha-like ascetic whose name is the same as the real Buddha’s and who meets the real Buddha then leaves him to become even more Buddha-like. A head-scratching plot-line, but the tale and its telling leave you transfixed by its mystical beauty.
Who Am I? | Ramana Maharishi. These could be the most significant sentences you will ever read. You’ll be done in ten minutes, but will likely need many more to realize them.
The Leap | Steve Taylor. An interesting exploration of the psychology of spiritual awakening.