There are people who read the bible every single morning to get into the spirit of the day. While I've read the bible and didn't find any connection to it for myself, I've still loved the idea of getting up in the morning and dedicating yourself to some kind of scripture to sculpt the right mindset for a day. Morning contemplation has something very meditative in my opinion, but the question was which book would work for me?
With more spiritual books on the market than ever, it is fairly simple to get a compiled list of books to peruse, but finding the right one that works for you is another issue. It took me a while to get the books I like, for I first needed to find out what I wanted my contemplation to be. Should it be short stories that make me think? Philosophical concepts? Do I want to dabble into another religion?
In the end, it wasn't just one book for me - and I must admit I still don't read every single morning. However, the five books you find below are books I love re-reading during the morning, peruse and browse, and which always help me get into a calmer mindset while still provoking thought. Maybe something's there for you too.
Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell
Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell was given to me by my dad when I told him about my search for a morning contemplation book. It's a very compact book with about 100 pages. Every page has one lecture from the Tao in it, in total 81 snippets of wisdom. The short texts are almost poetic and definitely provoke thinking. As the texts are so short, it's the perfect book if the morning dedication cannot take up so much time (because the kids are already up, for example). While I loved the brevity and simplicity of the book, it's quite difficult to do something with it if you don't know exactly whether you want to take your thoughts further through journaling or meditation. Also, for true atheists, it might be a tad too religious in some of its messages, but definitely a good starting point.
A Poem for Every Day of the Year, edited by Allie Esiri
This beautifully designed book was actually a Christmas gift from my older sister, and I've had it longer than the Tao Te Ching, even. However, I've only recently started using it as a book for daily contemplation.
The book, as the title suggests, holds a poem from known poets throughout history for every single day. Every poem is assigned to a date, which makes the daily contemplation a little more focused than the Tao book. Some poems are funny, some sad, some long, some short. There is also a short introduction to the poem's author, as well as background story what inspired the poem (my personal favourite is 27th January).
Especially people who love poetry and literature and seek spiritualism more through stories than religious-themed texts may find this book very approachable. I think just sitting down to engage in a poem helps settle the mind and calm the nerves. Who prefers evening contemplation, there is also a night edition with a whole range of different poems to delve into.
Lebe Inspiriert by Debora Karsch
This German guide to live a more inspired life was gifted to me by my big sister (again). This is a far more interactive book with tasks and a daily page to read. It takes ten weeks to get through, and while working through it I enjoyed the tasks and interaction very much. It really helped me get a routine for my daily contemplation time in the morning. Compared to the others, it's far less spiritual and more coaching themed; however, it made me think more deeply and profoundly about what is important to me and what I want to change in my life.
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman
Philosophical thoughts as basis for getting in the right mood are a great start into the day. When perusing the shelves for appropriate books for my morning contemplation, I didn't have to stumble far to get to The Daily Stoic. The book spans a year and each page relates to a date of the year (like the poem book), which makes it easier to choose a passage to read for each day. First, there is a quote from one of the big stoics, followed by a short interpretation by the authors. Each month is dedicated to a specific umbrella topic. What inspires me most about this book is that you can read the authors' interpretation, but you can also mull over the quotes for yourself. Many quotes have made me reflect about recent events in my life and recalibrate how I deal with them. It is also astonishing to note that already so many years ago, the philosophers philosophised about the very things that keep us up today.
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig is my most recent acquisition and, to be honest, kind of my favourite. Matt Haig is one of my all-time favourites, and I have already written about my love for his books in various blog posts like the review for The Midnight Library, Some Fantastically Narrated Books to Read and 7 Great Non-Fiction Books that Will Leave You Inspired. In The Comfort Book, Haig collects his thoughts on any topic under the sun (ranging from peanut butter to happiness and pasta). Some are very brief and sweet, some are longer, all are brilliant. This book is perfect to peruse again and again, and it will never fail to give you what its title suggests - comfort. The texts are thought-provoking without being draining, and the short chapters with headings make it a fast-paced read. As you can surmise, this book is my favourite read in the mornings, it's 100% to-do-free, while being 100% inspiring.
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