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Reflective Reads for Autumn

Hello friends,

Naomi here! I’d like to share with you some reflective reads that have inspired me recently…

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci

This is a beautiful little book with a simple but profound concept. Written by a respected expert in Transpersonal Psychology (a branch of psychology that emphasises positive influences and addresses, as a whole, the spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, physical and creative aspects of a person's being), the book is divided into eighteen chapters, each devoted to a facet of kindness, such as empathy, generosity and forgiveness. Kindness, the author argues, should be our guiding compass and will not only lead to the happiness of those around us but will ultimately develop our own self-compassion and help us to thrive. This may not be a ground-breaking book, but I found a gem of wisdom and a powerful one-liner in every section. It was a comfort to read a chapter before bed each night, to end the day reconnecting with an attribute that should always, inarguably, be a core value for all of us - because wouldn't it make life just that little bit easier if we all decided to be a little bit kinder?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

Coehlo is an exceptional storyteller but the message he delivers in this poetic novella is what's most memorable. It's no wonder it's sold over 65 million copies and has been heralded as a modern classic - so often it's these humble books that make the most impact. The Alchemist is an allegorical story of a Spanish shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of treasure and riches. Making his way through northern Africa, however, he experiences a number of fateful encounters and omens that finally lead him to a life-affirming conclusion. I read it in one sitting and on finishing, I had that flutter in my chest that you get when you receive good news, like a renewed sense of hope. It is a book about gratitude, personal values, self-discovery and, (one of our favourite words here at COR), courage which, as the boy in the book is told, "is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World". We agree, wholeheartedly.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

This was one of those books that I'd heard a lot of people mention as a seminal work but had never got round to reading. So when I did eventually pick it up, I had high hopes. And I wasn't disappointed; in fact, I'd go as far as to say I found it life-changing. Eckhart Tolle suffered with severe anxiety and episodes of suicidal depression, until he experienced a personal epiphany at the age of 29. The thought, “I cannot live with myself any longer”, had been a constant in his mind until he realised "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” Suddenly he understood that only the "I" was real, and that this was the true, observing self; the rest was fiction. What followed was a path to self-discovery and the pursuit of pure consciousness, a journey which he shares with us in The Power of Now. It's a tough book to follow; you need a highlighter in hand and the patience to re-read paragraphs, but the lessons you will learn will stay with you forever. I often catch myself indirectly quoting lines from the book and I will always be grateful to Tolle for teaching me that "Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be".

Lots of love, N x