I have included a list of some of the most helpful and influential spiritual teachers I’ve encountered below. They aren’t really in any particular order, and it is by all means not inclusive. There are many more teachers that I have encountered only briefly, but whose words have been helpful.
Byron Katie - What can you say about Katie? All I can say is read one of her books and see for yourself. Some may call her a self help guru, but she is just a beacon in the night inviting people to question their beliefs. “A Thousand Names for Joy” is hands down one of my favorite books, but her other books are great too.
Eckhart Tolle - Eckhart is probably one of the most well known spiritual teachers in the Western world. His teachings have touched tens of thousands of people, and that circle of influence continues to spread. I think the reason for his popularity is that his pointers are simple and resonate with people on a very basic level. Just a glimpse of what life in the present moment is like is enough for people to want more presence in their life.
Adyashanti - I’ve enjoyed several of Adya’s books (i.e. “Emptiness Dancing,” “The Impact of Awakening,” etc.), but his website has a great deal of free audio and essays as well. I highly recommend checking him out.
Gangaji - For me, Gangaji rounds out the top four of the most well renowned Western spiritual teachers. I enjoyed her books, “A Diamond in Your Pocket” and “You Are That,” as well as many of the writings and videos I found on her website and You Tube.
John Sherman - John was one of Gangaji’s students when he was serving time in prison (her prison outreach program has helped a number of people). All of his teachings are free through his website in the form of eBooks and webcasts. His message is as simple as the nose on your face – just look a yourself (figuratively). He has several websites that I recommend you check out. I also invite you to join the Just One Look email list to become a part of the inward looking movement.
Katie Davis - One of my other favorite books is, “Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment,” by Katie Davis. Her teaching approach is from the heart and points us back to who we are in our essence. She makes herself very available to people interested in awakening. I highly recommend you check out her website and blog, as well as the free videos she has to offer. Her husband, Sundance Burke, is also a spiritual teacher you might enjoy.
Gina Lake - Gina has written numerous wonderful books, and has a great deal of audio, video, and excerpts on her website. Her teaching is like a combination of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie, which is probably why I resonate with it. She is also very approachable for people with questions.
Nirmala - Gina Lake’s husband, Nirmala, is also a spiritual teacher. His teachings point us back to the direct experience of Being in a direct, no nonsense way. I recommend you check out his website as well.
Jeannie Zandi - I had my first real heart opening experience during my first satsang with Jeannie. Her message is one of Love, Beauty and Surrender. Truly a lovely human being.
Norio Xoximei Kushi - Norio is a truck driver by trade, who experienced an awakening while driving cross country. He points out beautifully how language is the root of our confusion, and how tangled up in words we’ve become.
Scott Kiloby - Scott has a simple approach as well. He writes about overcoming suffering and addiction, as well as stepping out of the story we have mistaken ourselves to be.
Karen Richards - Karen is a wonderful young woman with a very large heart. Her invitation to investigate the nature of reality resonates with a vast number of people, and I recommend you check her out on her website and on Facebook.
Karen McPhee - I highly recommend you check out the free guided meditations on Karen’s website. She was one of Eckhart’s students turned teacher, and has a very nice way of pointing people toward the present moment.
Pamela Wilson - In listening to some audio of Pamela, I realized that loving the ego was actually more important than trying to get rid of it. She teaches us to embrace all of our so-called negative sides, and get curious about it all.
Catherine Ingram - The thing I remember most about reading Catherine’s book “Passionate Presence” is the quote, “Just this.” It gave me a new felt understanding of what presences is all about.
Bentinho Massaro - Bentinho is a very young man with a great deal of joy that he exudes in the rapidly growing number of videos he’s putting out there. Check out his website as well as You Tube.
Benjamin Smythe - His message is simple, “You’re Perfect.” He has a great sense of humor about everything and is very reassuring about the fact that you can’t do this life thing wrong. Check out his quotes and videos.
Rupert Spira - Rupert uses the direct approach of experiencing what’s here, now. He has a lot of questions answered on his website, as well as video inteviews.
Though there are a whole host of teachers out of India, my studies have been with mostly Western teachers and I am only familiar with a few from the East. I can safely say that the words of the following teachers have been of great use to me. They are also some of the most well-known sages of the 20th century. They have all passed away now, but all of them have left behind a legacy that will continue to influence many generations to come. I’ve included some web sites to use as starting points, which have links to countless other sites out there for each. I’m sure you will find some powerful quotes that will resonate with you.
Sri Ramana Maharshi - The Father of Self Inquiry himself. All paths lead here. “Who am I?”
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - The original stand as Awareness man. “I Am That.”
HWL Poonja (Papaji) - Known for saying, “Call off the search. Stop. Be still.”