People seeking spiritual wisdom can turn to sages, singers, stars, and scholars from around the world in coming months. The Dalai Lama continues his Be Inspired series for Hampton Roads (a Weiser imprint) with Be Brave (Sept.), edited by Renuka Singh. Kathryn Sky-Peck, creative director at Red Wheel/Weiser, says this book differs from the earlier series titles (Be Kind, Be Happy, Be Angry, and Be Here), which were aimed at breaking down the concept of enlightenment into “bite-size pieces that directly relate to our everyday, simple, human emotions.” In Be Brave, the Dalai Lama is more proactive. He writes that people must be “more aware of the oneness of humanity, to acknowledge others’ rights and interests, and when we do so, meaningful dialogue—and change—can be achieved.”
Several publishers are bringing out authors steeped in Buddhist approaches. Valerie Brown, a mindfulness coach, Black Buddhist dharma teacher, and Quaker, includes meditations and personal stories of affirming life during times of pain and loss in Hope Leans Forward: Braving Your Way Toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace (Broadleaf, Nov.). In Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown (Shambhala, Sept.), dharma teacher and ecologist Deborah Eden Tull suggests we learn through mindfulness and meditations to befriend the night because “all insight, vision, creativity, and revelation arise from darkness,” according to Shambhala. Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times (Sounds True, Mar. 2023), by Zen Buddhist priest and drum medicine woman Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, “explores darkness as a cosmic landscape for transformation within unsettling times,” per the publisher.
Monkfish Publishing offers Singing and Dancing Are the Voice of the Law: A Commentary on Hakuin’s “Song of Zazen” by Bussho Lahn (Nov.). Lahn, the spiritual director and senior priest at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis, has a particular interest in marrying spirituality with both Eastern and Western psychology. The book centers on a poem by the 18th-century Zen master Hakuin, which begins, “All beings by nature are Buddha.” Lahn writes, ”The search for truth, meaning, purpose, connection, love—these are universal and timeless. The way we search and the symbols we use change, but the impulse is eternal.”
Crossing times and cultures
Watkins Publishing publisher Fiona Robertson says the Toltecs—Indigenous people who predated the Aztecs—predicted our current struggle to move from times of oppression and violence to “a new age of consciousness, empathy, and harmony.” Actor Michelle Rodriguez, whose family heritage is Dominican and Puerto Rican, and Mesoamerican spiritual teacher Sergio Magaña are coauthors of The Toltec Legacy (Apr. 2023), offering such tools and techniques as lucid dreaming and meditations to help readers find harmony in life. Rodriguez says she wants to share the skills she learned studying with Magaña in 2018 as part of her spiritual journey. She writes, “In Mayan astrology, my star sign is the Rainmaker, the person who gathers information and brings it back to the community.”
HarperOne’s The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well (Oct.) features text and photos by the married team of Native American activists Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins. They draw from many tribal cultures to show how to build harmony by balancing seven areas of life: food, movement, sleep, ceremony, sacred space, land, and community.
Insight from many directions
Another HarperOne title spotlights Omarian, B2K’s former lead singer and his path to holistic wellness. The spiritual memoir, Unbothered: The Power of Choosing Joy (Sept.), delves into Omarian’s life, as well as his practices, including breathing exercises, yoga, ancient mantras, and more.
Catherine Shainberg, author of The Kabbalah of Light: Ancient Practices to Ignite the Imagination and Illuminate the Soul (Inner Traditions, out now), takes her own spin on the term kabbalah, originally a Jewish mystic tradition, to offer 159 visualization exercises to help people find love and healing through their imagination, according to the publisher.
In what PW called a “lucid blend of memoir and self-help” in its starred review, social justice activist Simran Jeet Singh shares the Sikh tenets of love and service that shaped his life in The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life (Riverhead, out now). The book “lays out how we can learn to integrate ethical living to achieve personal happiness and a happier life,” Riverhead says.