Suggested readings for Levels 3 and 4
The titles on this list are relevant to the study of Lifeflow meditation in Levels 3 and 4. They are, however, suggestions only and students are not formally required to read any of these books. Most of the books listed are in the Lifeflow Library, many have several copies.
Looking after your body
Brown, Pamela. Your back, Yoga and you: the comprehensive guide for pain and stress free health, Broga Trust, 1997. An excellent guide for working with stretches and safe Yoga poses, particularly if you have injuries or back problems.
Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: developing a personal practice, Inner Traditions, 1999. An inspirational and comprehensive guide for developing a Yoga practice.
Farhi, Donna. The Breathing Book: good health and vitality through essential breath work, Owl Books, 1996. This is an excellent book for learning about breathing patterns and how to improve the range and quality of your everyday breathing.
Molloy, Hugh and Egger, Garry. Skin fitness: safe and healthy skin care, Allen and Unwin, 2008. “This is a book about your body’s largest organ, your skin, and about modern skin problems, their causes and how to manage them.”
Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Bihar, Yoga Publications, 2006. This book is a complete manual of classical Yoga poses for beginners and the experienced student including a simple introduction to the theory of Yoga practice. It has a very useful Therapeutic index to common ailments suggesting Yoga practices which can help eg sciatica, menstrual cramps, headaches..
Tarthang Tulku. Tibetan relaxation: the illustrated guide to Kum Nye massage and movement. 2007. Kum Nye is a Tibetan form of movement meditation and massage. The exercises “Flying: and “Swimming in Space” and others which we use in courses and retreats come from this system. This book includes 200 photographs and simple instructions for more than 70 gentle exercises which can be a useful part of your meditation practice.
Weil, Andrew. Spontaneous healing, Barnes and Noble, 1995. How to work with the natural healing system of our bodies.
Bosnak, Robert. Embodiment: creative imagination in medicine, art and travel, Routledge, 2010. Bosnak introduces us to a therapeutic and creative way of working with dreams based on Jungian psychology.
Brown, Mick. The dance of 17 lives: the incredible true story of Tibet’s 17th Karmapa, Bloomsbury, 2005. An intelligent and well-written biography of the life of the 17th Karmapa, who fled Chinese, occupied Tibet for India in 2000. The book provides a good background to the conflicts and history of Tibetan Buddhism and of the Chinese repression of Buddhism in Tibet.
Chang, Garma C. C. Six Yogas of Naropa and teachings on Mahamudra, Snow Lion, 1986. An in depth guide to the Six Yogas of Naropa and how it is related to Mahamudra.
Deida, David. Blue truth: a spiritual guide to life and death and love and sex, Sounds True, 2002. A popular book exploring how to open to the richness in our lives, bodies and the present moment.
Deida, David. Dear lover: a woman’s guide to men, sex, and love’s deepest bliss, Sounds True, 2005.This book explores the feminine aspects of sexual intimacy and love.
Deida, David. The enlightened sex manual: sexual skills for the superior lover, Sounds True, 2007. This book “teaches you how to transform simple "skin friction" into the depths and embodiment of ecstasy; how to develop sexual abilities as gifts” of the heart.
Deida, David. Naked Buddhism: 39 ways to free your heart and awaken to now, Plexus, 2002. This is Deida’s best known book, encouraging the reader to open their heart to love, life and the present moment.
Govinda, Anagarika. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism., London, Rider, 1969. A classic introduction to mantra and the symbols of Tibetan Buddhism, written by one of the earliest European practitioners who spent several years in Tibet.
Landaw, Jonathan & Weber, Andy. Images of enlightenment: Tibetan art in practice, Ithaca, New York, Snow Lion, 2006. This book is a guide to the world of Tibetan images and visualisations.
Mullin, Glenn H. Tsonghkapa’s 6 Yogas of Naropa, Snow Lion, 1996. A detailed introduction to the Six Yogas of Naropa.
Namgyal Rinpoche. The Womb of Form: pith instructions in the Six Yogas of Naropa, Ottawa, Crystal Word, 1978. This book includes an introduction to Tantra and the six different Yogas which can be practised in retreat, such as Dream Yoga, Light Yoga and Dumo Heat.
Preece, Rob. The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra, Snow Lion, 2006. “This book masterfully clarifies the nature of tantric practice. In order to make the processes of Tantra psychologically intelligible for a contemporary reader, Rob Preece makes judicious use of the work of modern psychotherapy, forging a compelling link between a Western tradition that hearkens back to the alchemical traditions of our own past and the comparably alchemical strategies of Tibetan Buddhist tantric practices.”
Ryan, Christopher and Jetha, Calcida. Sex at dawn: the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality, Scribe, 2011. Ryan and Jetha weave together evidence from anthropology, archaeology, biology, “anatomy and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is”.
Shaw, Miranda. Passionate enlightenment: women in Tantric Buddhism, Princeton University Press, 1995. Miranda Shaw presents extensive and new evidence of the prominent role women played in Tantric Buddhism and “their creative role in shaping its distinctive vision of gender relations and sacred sexuality”.
Trungpa, Chogyam. The Lion’s roar: an introduction to Tantra. Boston, Shambhala, 1992. Describes the path of Tantra “using earthy analogies that establish the ancient teachings in the midst of ordinary life”. Written for a Western audience.
Yeshe, Lama Thubten. The bliss of Inner Fire: heart practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa, Boston, Wisdom, 1998. An excellent and practical introduction to Tantra and Inner Fire meditation.
Mindfulness and Insight Meditation
Batchelor, Stephen. Buddhism without beliefs: a contemporary guide to awakening, New York, Riverhead Books, 1997. This book reminds us that the Buddha was not a mystic but an ordinary man and a teacher who presents us with “something to do” a “personal course of action” through which we can change our lives.
Chalmers, David J., The character of consciousness. Oxford University Press, 2010. This book is a sequel to the authors “The conscious mind” asking how does the subjective nature of consciousness fits into an objective world?
Chalmers, David J. The conscious mind: in search of a fundamental theory, Oxford University Press, 1996. A Professor of Philosophy takes a fresh look at the nature of consciousness “offering provocative insights into the relationship between mind and brain” and exploring the fundamental nature of consciousness itself.
Goldstein, Joseph and Kornfield, Jack. Seeking the heart of wisdom: the path of insight meditation, Shambhala, 1987. This book covers the central teachings and practices for Insight meditation.
Goldstein, Joseph. Insight meditation: the practice of freedom, Shambhala, 1994. This book covers a wide range of topics and common questions raised by attendees at retreats.
Goldstein, Joseph. The experience of insight: a simple and direct guide to Buddhist meditation, Shambhala, 1987. A guide to the practice of Insight meditation.
Hart, William. The art of living: Vipassana meditation, Harper, 1987. Looks at classical Vipassana or Insight meditation as taught by S. N. Goenka.
Hofstadter, Douglas A. Godel, Escher, Bach, Basic Books, 1999. The author addresses the question of how a self can arise from a collection of things without a self such as cells and molecules by looking closely at the creations of a mathematician, a composer and an artist.
Hofstadter, Douglas A. I am a strange loop, Basic Books, 2007. “Can thought arise out of matter?” “Is our ‘I’ merely a convenient fiction? These are some of the questions discussed in this intriguing book.
Kongtrul, Dzigar. It’s up to you: the practice of self-reflection on the Buddhist path. Boston, Shambhala, 2005. “Self-reflection is a practice, a path, and an attitude. It means taking an interest in the things about ourselves which we usually try to push away.”
Kongtrul, Dzigar. Light comes through: Buddhist teachings on awakening to our natural intelligence. Boston, Shambhala, 2008. The author shows how in order to see the mind accurately, we can use the “particular aspect of mind he calls natural intelligence. Natural intelligence enables us to discriminate between what helps or hinders us.”
Mahamudra: eliminating the darkness of Ignorance by the Ninth Karmapa, Wang-Ch’ug Dor-je. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1978. This book outlines in simple language all the practices in the Tibetan tradition covering the Foundation work, calm and concentration and penetrative insight. Long used at Lifeflow by students under the guidance of a teacher in retreat situations.
Rahula, Walpoli. What the Buddha taught, Grove Press, 1974. A classic book providing an introduction to the Buddha’s teachings...clear, concise, easy to read and supported by extracts from the original texts.
Tsele Natsok Rangdrol. Lamp of Mahamudra, Shambhala, 1989. This book can be seen as a companion to Mahamudra: eliminating the darkness of Ignorance.
Williams, Graham. Insight and Love, Lifeflow Publications, 2008. A companion to “Life in Balance”, outlining how Lifeflow Insight meditation can be used in everyday life.
Calm and Concentration
Harrison, Eric, The foundations of mindfulness, Perth Meditation Centre, 2015. A new introduction to the Buddha’s ancient text, showing how mindfulness can be used in everyday life in the modern world.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Coming to our senses: healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness, Hyperion, 2005. This book encourages us to open to the rich world of the senses around us and through us.
Levine, Stephen. Who dies? : an investigation of conscious living and conscious dying, Knoph, 1989. Levine offers a compassionate and calm look at the reality of death. Meditation is a way of learning to consciously let go and die to ourselves allowing us to open more fully to life. The book includes many excellent meditations for opening to our bodies and letting go so we can open the heart and move beyond our limited views of ourselves and others.
Mahamudra: eliminating the darkness of Ignorance by the Ninth Karmapa, Wang-Ch’ug Dor-je, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1978. This book outlines in simple language all the practices in the Tibetan tradition covering the Foundation work, Calm and concentration and Penetrative Insight. Long used at Lifeflow by students under the guidance of a teacher in retreat situations.
Tarthang Tulku. Gesture of Balance: a guide for self-healing and meditation., Dharma Publishing, 1977. This is a classic book on meditation, relaxation and balance.
Thich Nhat Hanh. The blooming of the lotus: guided meditation exercises for healing and transformation, Beacon Press, 1993. Contains 34 easy guided meditations combining the breath and verbal meditations.
Thich Nhat Hanh. Old path, white clouds : walking in the steps of the Buddha, Full Circle, 1991. “This book traces the Buddha’s life slowly and gently over the course of 80 years.”
Thich Nhat Hanh. Peace is every step: the path to mindfulness in everyday life, Rider,1995. This book is devoted to the practice of living mindfully, slowing down and enjoying each breath. Provides exercises for conscious breathing and opening up to the world around us.
Williams, Graham. Life in balance: the Lifeflow guide to meditation. Adelaide, Lifeflow, 2008.
Beck, Charlotte Joko. Everyday Zen: love and work. San Francisco, Harper, 1989. A practical book about meditation and life.
Beck, Charlotte Joko. Nothing special: living Zen. Harper, 1993. Beck writes in a down to earth manner about meditation and life.
Burkeman, Oliver. The antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking, Faber and Faber, 2012. Exploring a range of different strategies for finding happiness Burkeman concludes that it’s not so much what happens to us but how we respond to it that determines our state of well being. Embracing insecurity and uncertainty can lead to a meaningful life.
Dalai Lama. The art of happiness: a handbook for living, Hodder, 2000. Meditation and psychology meet in this book showing how happiness can be cultivated through the mind and how the brain can change or create new pathways through meditation.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full catastrophe living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation, Little Brown Group, 2001. This book has become a classic showing how Mindfulness can help us to work with pain and illness.
Kornfield, Jack. After the ecstasy, the laundry, Bantam 2001. Talks about integrating the insights of retreat into daily life.
Levine, Steven. A gradual awakening, Doubleday, 1989. “A simply written book by a man who shares his own personal experiences and insights into how meditation can work in your life.”
Mackay, Hugh. The good life., Sydney, Macmillan, 2013. In this book Mackay explores the question of “what makes life worth living?” Mackay suggests it is the quality of our relationships, and our willingness to connect with others in a useful way.
Pema Chodron. The wisdom of no escape and the path to loving-kindness, Shambhala, 1991. Chodron encourages us to accept all the different parts of our lives as a starting point for meditation.
Pema Chodron. Start where you are, Shambhala, 1994. This book encourages us to stay with the difficult situations in our lives as part of our meditation practice.
Tarthang Tulku. Skilful means,Dharma Publishing, 1978. An excellent book on integrating meditation into our daily lives at work and at home.
Trungpa, Chogyam. The essential Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala, 1999. Includes excerpts from Trungpa’s classic works. Trungpa was the first Tibetan master to teach in English. His teachings are inspirational, lively and at times radical and have not lost their impact over time.
Trungpa, Chogyam. Meditation in action, Shambhala, 1986. This book is a classic exploring meditation in life and how the “ability to see clearly into situations” can lead to skilful action.
Wilbur, Ken. Integral spirituality: a startling new role for religion and spirituality in the modern and postmodern world. Boston, Shambhala, 2007. Wilbur shows “how spirituality today combines the enlightenment of the East which excels at cultivating higher states of consciousness, with the enlightenment of the West which offers developmental and psychodynamic psychology.”
Neuroscience and other related subjects
Austin, James H. Zen and the brain: toward an understanding of meditation and consciousness. Massachusetts, MIT Press, 1998. “Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves ... brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences.”
Bosnak, Robert. Embodiment: creative imagination in medicine, art and travel. London, Routledge, 2007. This book discusses various approaches to dreams, body and imagination combined with Jungian, neurobiological, relational, and cultural analysis.
Davidson, Richard and Sharon Begley. The Emotional life of your brain, Plume Books, 2012. This book, written by a neuroscientist, “offers a new model for our emotions: their origins, their power, and how we can change them if we wish.” The authors provide much evidence of how meditation can change our minds and emotional patterns.
Dehaene, Stanislas. Consciousness and the brain: deciphering how the brain codes our thoughts, Penguin, 2014. A professor of Cognitive Science, Stanilas Dehaene writes that “consciousness is like the spokesperson in a large institution...with a staff of a hundred billion neurons issuing briefs that tell us what we need to know moment by moment.”
Doidge, Norman. The Brain that changes itself, Penguin, 2007. An inspirational introduction to the changeable (plastic) nature of the mind, told through unorthodox neuro-scientific research and case studies of reversal of serious “uncurable” neuro-physiological conditions.
Doidge, Norman. The brain’s way of healing: remarkable discoveries and recoveries from the frontiers of neuroplasticity, Scribe, 2015. Doidge provides further case studies and examples of how the brain can heal itself when given the right conditions.
Jacobs, Gregg. The ancestral mind: reclaim the power, Viking, 2003. An exploration of how our minds work from a physiological perspective.
Johnson, Robert. Inner work: using dreams and active imagination for personal growth, HarperCollins, 1986. An excellent book for working with your dreams and complements meditation practice.
Jourdain, Robert. Music, the brain and ecstasy, Harper, 1997. Jourdain examines how and why music speaks to us in a way that words cannot “interweaving discoveries from science, psychology, music theory” and more.
Kahneman, Daniel, Thinking, fast and slow, Farrer, Straus and Giroux, 2013. A brilliant synopsis of the two approaches we use when solving problems: system 1 is fast and automatic and system 2, slow and deliberate. The book shows how, unknowingly, biases can distort our judgements and conscious thinking.
Ledoux, Joseph. The emotional brain: the mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York, Phoenix, 1998.
Lehrer, Jonah. Proust was a neuroscientist. London, Canongate, 2007. A wonderful book Lehrer takes a group of artists — “a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists — and shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering.” Totally inspiring and surprising and shows why good literature, art and music can resonate with the deeper levels of our being.
Plato. The Symposium. Translated by Christopher Gill. London, Penguin, 1999. A classic philosophical text written by Plato circa 385-380 BC devoted to the nature of love and is where the idea of Platonic love originated. The different types or aspects of love are discussed such as eros, the love of wisdom and the desire to be “whole”.
Ben-Shahar, Tal. Happier: secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfilment, McGraw Hill, 2007. This book is based on the author’s popular Harvard University course. Ben-Shahar believes that happiness doesn’t occur merely by chance but can be learnt and cultivated through self-awareness. He includes interesting exercises and meditations.
Bloom, Allan. Love and friendship, Simon and Schuster, 1993. This book consists of a series of essays on the meaning of love and friendship in an attempt to “recover the power, the danger and the beauty of eros” which Bloom believes has been lost in modern society with its emphasis on sex and the devaluation of friendship.
Burkeman, Oliver. The antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking, Faber and Faber, 2012. Burkeman argues that “trying too hard to be happy is [only] making us miserable.” He encourages us to embrace the things in our life that we are trying to avoid: uncertainty, insecurity and failure. This book is uplifting as it turns our usual ideas of happiness upside down.
Csikszantmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: the psychology of optimal experience, Harperperennial, 1990. In this book the author/psychologist reveals “that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow” which equates closely to what we call the absorptions.
Fromm, Eric. The art of loving, Harper, 2006. Fromm argues that the “active character of ... love involves care, responsibility, respect and knowledge”, rejecting popular Western ideas of “falling in love” or being “helpless in the face of love.” He believes that in order to love another person we need to start with caring for ourselves, respecting ourselves, taking responsibility for ourselves and developing self-knowledge.
Goleman, Daniel. Destructive emotions and how we can overcome them: a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Bloomsbury, 2003. Goleman gives an account of a week-long discussion which took place in 2000 between a panel of distinguished scientists, philosophers and the Dalai Lama about the origins of human behaviour. He discusses how the human mind is shaped and how we can train ourselves to work with powerful emotions.
Goleman, Daniel. Emotional intelligence, Bantam, 1995. In this groundbreaking work Goleman argues that “our view of human intelligence is far too narrow”, ignoring crucial abilities such as empathy, self-awareness and self-discipline. He shows us how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened, bringing immediate benefits to our health, relationships and working life.
Johnson, Robert. We: understanding the psychology of romantic love, Harper Collins, 1983. Johnson writes that “romantic love is the single greatest energy system in the Western psyche...and has supplanted religion as the arena where men and women seek meaning, transcendence, wholeness and ecstasy”. Johnson traces this obsession back to its medieval roots in the story of Tristan and Iseult which he re-interprets through the lens of Jungian psychology.
LeDoux, Joseph. The emotional brain: the mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New york, Pheonix, 1998. The author who is a leading authority in the field of neural science, explores the brain mechanisms underlying our emotions and how they evolved to help us survive.
Lilienfeld, Scott O. at al. 50 great myths of popular psychology: shattering widespread misconceptions about human behaviour.” “This book debunks a host of all-too-common beliefs from the pseudoscientific fringe”, presenting evidence against all sorts of myths “which seem like they ought to be true.”
MacKay, Hugh. The good life: what makes life worth living? Pan Macmillan, 2013. Hugh argues that the good life cannot be measured by security, wealth and status but by dropping self-centredness and developing “a willingness to connect with those around us in a meaningful and useful way”. He shows us the things which lead to pain and confusion such as our desire for perfection and false expectations about how our lives should unfold.
Mind, body medicine: how to use the mind for better health, edited by Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin, Choice, 1995. This book explores the relationship between the mind and the body including how our thoughts and emotions may affect our immune system and how meditation, relaxation and other practices can help to heal our bodies.
Selligman, Martin. Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being, Atria, 2011. Selligman shifts the emphasis from happiness to well-being as a goal worth striving for in life. He emphasises the role of positive emotions, engagement, a sense of accomplishment and the cultivation of good relationships as the basis for a sense of well-being.
Western Philosophy and Psychology
Foucault, Michel. Power and knowledge/selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977., ed. by Colin Gordon, Vintage Books, 1980. This book is a good introduction to Foucault and his ideas about the nature of power in Western society and how it reaches into every area of our lives from including our bodies, attitudes and behaviour.
Grayling, A. C., The God argument: the case against religion and for Humanism, London, Bloomsbury, 2013. Grayling examines all the arguments for and against religion offering humanism as a powerful alternative world-view based on intellectual integrity, and a desire to do good without interfering with other peoples’ right to their own beliefs and freedom of expression.
The following are a selection of Jung’s works which are relevant to the teaching at Lifeflow. There are also many other titles by Jung in the Library as well as books about Jung’s life and psychological theories.
Jung, Carl Gustav, Dreams, Princeton University Press, 1974. This book is a collection of essays about the central role of dreams in Jung’s model of understanding the human mind.
Jung, Carl Gustav, Four archetypes, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959. In this work Jung describes the four archetypes which he believes to be fundamental to the psychological makeup of all human beings.
Jung, Carl Gustav, The integration of the personality, Farrar Rinehart, 1939. This book is ‘classic’ Jung, looking at the integration of the shadow or the hidden aspects of our personality which if unacknowledged can block our growth.
Jung, Carl Gustav, Memories, dreams, reflections, Vintage Books, 1985. If you only read one book by Jung this should be it, covering all of his major ideas through the experiences of his own life.
Jung, Carl Gustav, On the nature of the psyche, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973. "This volume contains two long and important essays which reveal the main dynamic models Jung has used and developed over a period that began when he broke away from psychoanalysis and formulated his own concepts as distinct from those of Freud."
Jung, Carl Gustav, Psychological types, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971.This book looks at the 8 different functions of the psyche, often discussed in Lifeflow classes and retreats.
The books listed below are a selection from the original texts by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell which are held in the Lifeflow Library.
Russell, Bertrand. Authority and the individual, Unwin, 1977. In this book Russell tackles the age old questions about the balance between authority and individual freedom.
Russell, Bertrand. Conquest of happiness, Unwin, 1982. In this work Russell sets out to explore a rationalist approach to achieving a happy life.
Russell, Bertrand. A free man’s worship, Unwin, 1976, c 1917. In this work Russell “maintains that a new and deeper faith can be constructed, not faith in a theological sense but faith in the power of reason; his faith in man's capacity to create his own world through his own effort.”
Russell, Bertrand. Marriage and morals, Unwin, 1976, c1929. In this book Russell questions some of the conventional ideas about the institution of marriage, arguing that the family as a protection for children is the only sensible reason for marriage.
Russell, Bertrand. Wisdom of the West, Crescent books, 1959. A survey of Western thought from the ancient Greeks to 20th Century existentialism.
Hesse, Hermann. The Glass bead game, Penguin, 1979. This novel won Hesse the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through the character and life of Joseph Knecht, Hesse shows the tensions between devotion to the esoteric inner world of the mind and the outer world of society which can become “the shadow”.
Hesse, Hermann. Narziss and Goldmund, Penguin, 1978. “First published in 1930, Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of two diametrically opposite men: one, an ascetic monk firm in his religious commitment, and the other, a romantic youth hungry for worldly experience.”
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, Pan, 1973. “An allegorical novel that follows the spiritual journey of an Indian man called Siddhartha during the time of Buddha (6th century B.C.). Beginning with the main character's departure from his Brahmin home the search for enlightenment takes Siddhartha through a series of changes and realizations.”
Macdonald, Sarah. Holy cow: an Indian adventure, Broadway Books, 2004. “Australian radio correspondent Macdonald's rollicking memoir recounts the two years she spent in India when her boyfriend, Jonathan, a TV news correspondent, was assigned to New Delhi”, sampling the rich smorgasbord of spiritual experiences India has to offer.”
Mullin, Chris. The Year of the fire monkey, Arrow, 1992. “This fast-paced thriller blends sly humor and cynicism with a race against time. In the late '50s, a sleeper agent named Ari, once a lama-in-training, is positioned in Tibet by the CIA with the hope that he will one day have the opportunity to assassinate Chairman Mao.” When US policy towards China changes long forgotten Ari must be found.
Many of the books listed can be found in the Recommended Titles section of the Library. Additional copies of some titles can be found on the open shelves. Use the card catalogue, search by author and you will find the call number. The books are arranged on the shelves in Dewey Decimal order.