Resources for Developing the Self-Knowledge/Intuitive Aspect of Deep Understanding


The intellectual knowledge needed to understand the human and cosmic situation is one foundation of deep understanding. (See the intellectual-knowledge resource list at The development of self-knowledge and intuition that results from inner exploration is the other. Listed below, in alphabetical order by author, are books which present slants on our inner lives that I have found particularly helpful. Each of these books is a partial map of the human psychological/spiritual territory, and together they present an excellent overview. Still, while good maps can lead us to the territory and help us find our way around it, if we hope to develop self-knowledge, we need to explore the territory first hand—directly, experientially. Reading cannot substitute for that. Some of the books I refer to are no longer available from their original publishers. If a title is not available at your library or through your local or online bookstore, you might want to contact an online used book dealer. Try, for instance, Advanced Book Exchange:, or Bibliofind (now associated with

Allan L. Combs — Teacher, lucid writer, consciousness historian and theorist, co-founder of Integralis: Journal of Integral Studies, and much more

The Radiance of Being: Complexity, Chaos, and the Evolution of Consciousness. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House. 1996.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi — the recognized expert in that state of ideal functioning where capability matches challenge

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperCollins. 1990.

Trevor Curnow — philosopher, and author of a most comprehensive book on wisdom's history, nature, and relationship to ethics

Wisdom, Intuition and Ethics. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co. 1999.

Joanna Field [Marion Milner] — a psychologist who wrote about the inner transformation produced in her life by simply widening her focus of attention

A Life of One's Own. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher. 1981 [1936].

Howard Gardner — a psychologist with wide-ranging interests who opened our eyes to the multifaceted nature of intelligence

Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books. 1985.

Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield — two of the best know, best respected teachers of vipassana (insight) meditation

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation. Boston: Shambhala. 1987.

Daniel Goleman — author of the most up-to-date book on human emotions, and one of the best books on meditation

Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books. 1995.

The Meditative Mind. New York: Putnam Publishing Group. 1996.

Bede Griffith — an Anglican priest who explored Eastern spirituality and shared his selections from the wisdom literature

Universal Wisdom: A Journey Through the Sacred Wisdom of the World. London: Harper Collins. 1994.

Doug Hall — master of the creative process, adventurer, and motivator of young people; someone who helps us get beyond our fear of acting boldly in the world

Making the Courage Connection: Finding the Courage to Journey from Fear to Freedom. New York: Fireside Books. 1998.

Jon Kabat-Zinn — pioneer in the use of mindfulness meditation for healing, stress reduction, and pain management

Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion. 1994.

Michael Lerner — Editor of Tikkun magazine, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco 

Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company. 2000.

Copthorne Macdonald — student of reality, and tender of this Web site

Toward Wisdom: Finding Our Way to Inner Peace, Love & Happiness. Lincoln, NE: 2001. [Chapter 9, which deals with the broadening of awareness and identity, is available online at Info and other excerpts at:]

Getting a Life: Strategies for Joyful and Effective Living. Lincoln, NE: 2001. [Info and excerpts at:]

Abraham H. Maslow — visionary psychologist, and a founder of the human potential movement

The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: The Viking Press. 1971 .

Toward a Psychology of Being 2nd Edition. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1968.

Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row. 1954.

Milton Mayeroff — philosopher, and author of a wonderful book on the role of caring in the fulfilled life.

On Caring. New York: HarperCollins. 1990 [1971].

Stephen Mitchell — translator of spiritual works who translates brilliantly because he has spent time in the mental spaces the ancients were writing about

Tao Te Ching: A New English Version with Foreword and Notes, by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Harper & Row. 1988.

The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose Edited by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Harper Collins. 1991.

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Edited by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Harper Collins. 1989.

Nisargadatta Maharaj — a practitioner of Advaita Vedanta who lived in full identification with Spirit/Being/the Absolute

I AM THAT: Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, 3rd Edition. Durham, NC: Acorn Press. 1986.

Larry Rosenberg — founder of the Cambridge (MA) Insight Meditation Center and superlative vipassana teacher

Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation. Boston: Shambhala. 1998.

John Stewart — evolutionist, and insightful commentator on the relationship of physical and psychological evolution to humanity’s future

Evolution’s Arrow: The direction of evolution and the future of humanity.  Canberra: The Chapman Press. 2000. [Check]

“Future Psychological Evolution.”  Dynamical Psychology: An International, Interdisciplinary Journal of Complex Mental Processes.  [Check]  

“The Evolutionary Significance of Spiritual Development.” [Check:]

Ken Wilber — generalist, synthesizer, and practitioner of deep understanding par excellence

Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy.  Boston: Shambhala Publications.  2000.

The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad. Boston: Shambhala. 1997.

No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth. Boston: Shambhala Publications. 1981.

Books about Dzogchen Practice — Taking slightly different approaches and slants, the following books present the essentials of Dzogchen philosophy and practice:

Keith Dowman, Translator. The Flight of the Garuda. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 1994.

Namkhai Norbu. John Shan, Translator. DZOGCHEN: The self-perfected state. London: Arkana. 1989.

John Myrdhin Reynolds, Translator and Commentary. Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press. 1989.

Sogyal Rinpoche. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco. 1993.

Tulka Urgyen Rinpoche. Rainbow Painting. Hong Kong: Rangjun Yeshe Publications. 1995.

Internet Resources

Mighty Companions is “‘dedicated to encouraging the awareness of ourselves as a One Life.’ We produce events and projects and communications to support a shift of consciousness from outer focus to inner, from separation to union.”

New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network "strive[s] to provide listeners with practical knowledge and perennial wisdom. We foster living a more healthy life of mind, body and spirit while deepening our connections to self, family, community, the natural world and the planet."

Stephen Palmquist brings a wisdom focus to his online book THE TREE OF PHILOSOPHY: A Course of Introductory Lectures for Beginning Students of Philosophy. "is a web site devoted to techniques for finding enlightenment. We provide information about yoga, meditation, enquiry, discrimination, and anything else that works.  To us, enlightenment means becoming free of the ego.  We do not identify with any particular guru, sect, or religion. We are interested in all traditional and modern approaches."  Worthwhile online text from many traditions.

Union of International Associations presents analyses and creative ideas from thousands of intergovernmental and tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations in its hyperlinked online databases. Particularly relevant to inner development are the free "human values" and "human development" databases.

The Wisdom Channel "informs, entertains and empowers by showcasing human values and the impact of the mind, body and spirit connection on individuals and the global community." Wisdom Radio and Wisdom TV are distributed by satellite and some cable systems, and thanks to RealPlayer technology, both are now available on the internet.

The Wisdom Page is "a compilation of wisdom-related resources: various on-line texts concerning wisdom, references to books about wisdom, information about organizations that promote wisdom, wise activities, and listserv groups concerned with aspects of wisdom."

Meditation Centers and Resources

When it comes to actually exploring the territory of the mind, a powerful tool is the practice developed by that consummate introspective psychologist, the Gautama Buddha, called vipassana, insight, or mindfulness meditation. Daily sittings at home plus occasional intensive retreats make up an investigative regime that many have found highly effective. Dzogchen is a highly effective practice for developing nondual cognition.

Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA. offers weekend, 9-day, and 3-month vipassana meditation retreats in a most supportive environment. Phone: 798-355-4378

Vipassana Centers, Teachers, and Online Resources associated with the Insight Meditation Society.

Vipassana Meditation Centers presenting the practice as taught by S. N. Goenka

Online Meditation Course is free, but requires a serious 10-week commitment to actual practice.

Dzogchen Community in America "was established in 1982, in Conway, Massachusetts by the Dzogchen Master, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu. Tsegyalgar is the name of the main seat in North America and is part of the worldwide Dzogchen Community International. Other regional centers (Gars) are: Merigar in Italy, Tashigar in Argentina, and Namgyalgar in Australia."

The Dzogchen Foundation "essence teaching of the non-sectarian practice lineage of Tibetan Buddhism." Phone: 617-628-1702, option 2.

"is an international network of meditation centers and groups
under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche."

Integrating the Inner and the Outer

Satyana Institute "is a non-profit training organization. Our mission is to support individuals, communities, and organizations to combine inner work of the heart with outer service in the world."

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