Recommended Reading for Understanding the Mystics

James Finley offers a list of significant teachers and texts that have supported his own learning and growth.

Contemplation, Meditation, and the Cloud of Unknowing

  • The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling. Translated by William Johnston. New York: Image, 2005.
  • Finley, James. The Contemplative Heart. Notre Dame: Soring Books, 2000.
  • Keating, Thomas. Open Mind, Open Heart. New York: Continuum, 2012.
  • Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions, 2007.
  • Merton, Thomas. The Sign of Jonas. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1981.

Zen Buddhism

  • Abe, Maseo. A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion. Edited by Steven Heine. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.
  • Aitken, Robert. The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan). New York: North Point Press, 1991.
  • Borg, Marcus. Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings. Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 1999.
    Loori, John Daido. The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2004.
  • Merton, Thomas. Zen and the Birds of Appetite. New York: New Directions, 1968.
  • Merton, Thomas. Mystics and Zen Masters. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1999.
  • Nhat Hanh, Thich. The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion. Berkeley: Parallax, 2010.
  • Nhat Hanh, Thich. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. New York: Harmony, 2015.
  • Nhat Hanh, Thich. The Heart of Understanding. Berkeley: Parallax, 2010.
  • Rahula, Walpola. What the Buddha Taught. Oxford: Oneworld, 2008.
  • Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice. Boston: Shambhala, 2006.

Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle

  • Teresa, of Avila. Interior Castle. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. New York: Doubleday, 1961.
  • Teresa, of Avila. The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila. Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1976.
  • Myss, Caroline. Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul’s Purpose. New York: Atria Paperback, 2013.

John of the Cross

  • John, of the Cross. The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross. Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1991.M

Julian of Norwich

  • Julian, of Norwich. Julian of Norwich: Showings. Translated by Edmund Colledge and James Walsh. New York: Paulist Press, 1978.
  • Jantzen, Grace. Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian. New York: Paulist Press, 1987.

Meister Eckhart

  • Eckhart. Meister Eckhart: The Essential Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense. Translated by Edmund Colledge. New York: Paulist Press, 1981.*
  • Davies, Oliver. Meister Eckhart: Mystical Theologian. London: SPCK, 1991.
  • Forman, Robert. Meister Eckhart: Mystic as Theologian. Rockport: Element, 1991.
  • Fox, Matthew. Breakthrough: Meister Eckhart’s Creation Spirituality in New Translation. New York: Image, 1980.*
  • Kelley, C.F. Meister Eckhart on Divine Knowledge. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.
  • McGinn, Bernard. The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart: The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing. New York: Crossroad, 2001.
  • Eckhart. Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher. Translated and edited by Bernard McGinn. New York: Paulist Press, 1986.*
  • Smith, Cyprian. The Way of Paradox: Spiritual Life as Taught by Meister Eckhart. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2004.
  • Schurmann, Reiner. Wandering Joy: Meister Eckhart’s Mystical Philosophy. Great Barrington: Lindisfarne Books, 2001.*
  • Eckhart. The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart. Translated by Maurice O’Connell Walshe. New York: Crossroad, 2009.*
  • Woods, Richard. Meister Eckhart: Master of Mystics. London: Continuum, 2011.
    *contain the sermons of Meister Eckhart

Mechthild of Magdeburg

  • Mechthild, of Magdeburg. The Flowing Light of the Godhead. Translated by Frank Tobin. New York: Paulist Press, 1998.

John of Ruusbroec

  • John, of Ruusbroec. The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works. Translated by James A. Wiseman. New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

Thomas Merton

  • Merton, Thomas. Disputed Questions. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1985.
  • Merton, Thomas. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.
  • Merton, Thomas. Mystics and Zen Masters. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1999.
  • Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions, 2007.
  • Merton, Thomas. No Man is an Island. Boston: Shambhala, 2005.
  • Merton, Thomas. The Sign of Jonas. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1981.
  • Finley, James. Merton’s Palace of Nowhere. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2003.

Recommended Reading on Transforming Trauma

  • Herman, Judith. Trauma and Recovery. New York: Basic Books, 2015.
  • The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling. Translated by William Johnston. New York: Image, 2005.
  • Levine, Peter A. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1997.
  • Nhat Hanh, Thich. Transformation and Healing. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2006.
  • Siegel, Daniel. The Mindful Brain. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.
  • Wilbur, Ken. A Brief History of Everything. Boulder: Shambhala, 2017.

Other Recommended Reading

  • Eliot, T.S. Four Quartets. London: Faber and Faber, 2001.
  • Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. London: Penguin Books, 2016.
  • Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Consciousness. New York: Dover Publications, 2002.