Let’s keep this simple. This is my reading list of books that have been most valuable in sorting out the chaos and damage; these are the building blocks of my ‘now’. Your results may vary. Caution: there are verbs involved.

[If you are in crisis, it could be that taking time to read an entire book is not quite the thing. There’s also this handy checklist.]

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions by Lori Deschene

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson

Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions by Robert Augustus Masters

Just One Thing by Rick Hanson

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Resilient by Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

As with any journey, a journey of discovery is well-started with a map.

As with any journey, a journey of discovery is well-started with a map.There are other amazing books that have served me well, and continue to guide me in the direction of becoming the human being I want most to be, and although I don’t consider them ‘building blocks’ in my foundation, I might not have gotten very far without them.

Five Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward Burger

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Letting Everything Become Your Teacher by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Art of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye

Get Some Headspace by Andi Puddicombe

Quantum Psychology by Robert Anton Wilson

One final observation; you’ll see a lot of books about mindfulness and mindfulness practices in my reading list. It’s no mistake. More than any one other thing I have undertaken to learn, mindfulness has been the most powerful Rx for my PTSD, and the most effective. More than any introspective rumination or pharmaceutical, practicing awareness and learning to treat myself truly well have been the things that matter most to healing and finding peace. Many of the books in my reading list are from a perspective of, or relate to, traditions and teachings of Buddhism; I am not a Buddhist, myself, and for me the information presented is far too valuable to look askance at the source. A great book about putting some of the great thinking and practices of Buddhism to use in an everyday secular life is After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular World by Stephen Batchelor.

If you’ve reached a place in your meditation practice, where you’re frustrated, perhaps frequently, by how real real life seems to be, and how not at all sublime those day-to-day moments often feel, I recommend After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield, very much.

Good luck on your journey; may you find more than you seek, and also great contentment.