The world needs more spirituality memoirs. Many more. And as long as it keeps providing them, I’ll keep reading them–and updating this list.
I chose the books in the first section because they inspired me deeply, changed me for the better, and helped me find greater inner peace. The second section features all of the other spirituality memoirs I’ve come across in the spiritual-but-not-religious sector but may not have read yet, or may not be particularly helpful for depression.
By the way, I very highly recommend Anne Lamott’s spiritual memoirs (all of them), A Grief Observed and Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, and The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. As they are religiously affiliated, they are beyond the scope of this list, but all of these books have impacted me deeply. (I especially loved The Practice.) Lamott’s writings discuss the role of faith in suffering, loss, motherhood and more. Lewis bravely recounts the tragedy of losing his beloved wife after only two years of marriage, and Lawrence writes about his attempt to pray without ceasing–to remain in a state of unity with God all day long.
Click on any title in the first section for my “depression effectiveness rating,” a book description and more. The titles in the second section lead to relevant book and author links.
Best Spiritual Memoirs for Overcoming Depression:
Autobiography of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert
Learning to Eat Along the Way, Margaret Bendet
Sex, Drugs and Meditation: How One Woman Changed Her Life, Saved Her Job and Found a Husband, Mary-Lou Stephens
How To Stay Married: The Adventures of a Woman Who Learnt to Travel Light in Life, Love and Relationships,
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, Jill Bolte Taylor
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert
Medicine Dance: One Woman’s Healing Journey into the World of Native American Sweatlodges, Drumming Meditations and Dance Fasts, Marsha Scarbrough
You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends, Mollie Player
The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation, Mollie Player
What I Learned from Jane, Mollie Player
Other Recommended Spiritual Memoirs:
Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, Priscilla Warner
Chasing Spirits: The Building of the “Ghost Adventures” Crew, Nick Groff and Jeff Belanger
Grief, Meth, Addiction, God & Zen: A 45 Year Old Man’s Journey With Death, Reality & Recovery, David Carlyle and Cynthia Sharp
The Ghosts and the Path: A Buddhist Monk’s Memoir, Ngawang Khechog
The Yoga Stripper: A Las Vegas Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Namaste, Laila Lucent
Meditations of a Modern Mystic, Maurine Doerken
The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating, Kiera Van Gelder
Bending God: A Memoir, Eric Robison
From Brooklyn to Benares and Back: A Spiritual Memoir, Dada Vedaprajinananda
On the Edge: Living with an Enlightened Master, Yoga Punya
I: A Meditation and a Memoir, Wiz Ji
Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed, Sonia Choquette
The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga: A Memoir, Andy Douglas
And, in case you missed it, my memoirs are on the list:
Get You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends and The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation for an uplifting price on Amazon.