11 Books to Wake You Up From the Matrix

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

— Zen proverb

Let’s begin with a radical perspective: 99.99% of books are not worth reading.

The worthwhile ones, however, are Sacred.

The best books are cage-melting Red Pills that appear only when you are ready for them.

Such books literally have the Power to transport you to a new reality.

A truer, lighter, more beautiful reality.

If you’re willing to pay the price.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

The price of moving closer to truth is the relinquishment of all comfortable illusions.

The process of melting away comfortable illusions is painful.

But I’ll be damned if it isn’t worth it.

Infinity times over.

11 Sacred Texts to Wake You Up From the Matrix

In the past two years or so, the following books appeared to me when I was ready for them.

Each one was a Red Pill that awakened me from various aspects of the Matrix, the sum of my illusions.

I am tremendously grateful to these authors, though I also caution against attaching to any of them, or any ‘external’ authority, period.

Even the greatest teacher can only reflect back to you the Truth of Who You Already Are and What You Already Know.

As Krishnamurti put it, “When you follow anyone, you cease to follow Truth.”

Follow only the Truth that whispers in the depths of your very Heart and Soul.

May these Sacred texts serve as beautiful, useful, healing, and liberating guides, leading you back to the voice of your own Soul, the voice of Spirit.

From these and any other books / teachers, my heuristic is: Take what is useful and resonant for you now; let go of the rest.

All right, let’s do this.

1. Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing by Jed McKenna

“The belief that something is wrong is the fire under the ass of humanity.”

— Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing

jed mckenna spiritual enlightenmentIt’s not really accurate to call this one a book.

It’s more like a Spiritual Atom Bomb that will likely fuck you up for a while.

Jed McKenna has an unprecedented knack for slaughtering Sacred Cows and challenging cherished beliefs.

As such, I have previously dubbed him “the Friedrich Nietzsche of spirituality.”

Warning: Honestly, do not read this book if you are not ready to have someone stab your deepest fears with a sharp stick. This is not a book for dabblers or dilettantes.

If you’re ready to read a book that will pour kerosene on you, light you on fire, and burn away whatever is not your Truest Essence, this is your book.

I also encourage you, while reading this (and anything), to keep an eye out for Jed’s shadows and blindspots; don’t take his word as Gospel.

Hint: Jed’s is akin to a Divine Masculine perspective on spiritual liberation; his work is best balanced by reading other authors who integrate more of the Divine Feminine.

I started with this book because I think it is The Single Most Powerful Text I’ve Ever Read, though I would recommend reading some of the others on this list (Hawkins and Tolle, specifically) prior to this one. You’ve been warned.

All beliefs. All concepts. All thoughts. Yes, they’re all false; all bullshit. Of course they are. Not just religions and spiritual teachings, but all philosophies, all ideas, all opinions. If you’re going for the truth, you’re not taking any of them with you. Nothing that says two, not one, survives.”

— Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing

2. Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David Hawkins

“It might be said that the smaller we feel inside, the greater the amount of power, money, and glamour must be accumulated in order to try and compensate for the inner smallness.”

David Hawkins, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

david hawkins letting go quotesThis book is something of a Godsent Magic Potion for curing ailments you didn’t even know you had.

This is the book I have recommended more often than any other book in my life.

I’ve also received the most feedback from people indicating that this book changed their life in a profound way. One friend told me he rapidly read it 4+ times in a row.

Thank you, David Hawkins, for writing what is basically the closest thing on Earth to a One-Stop Shop for all your healing and liberation needs.

This book is a highly approachable and practical Sacred Blueprint to the processes of self-healing and spiritual liberation.

Like Jed McKenna, Hawkins is not without his shadows; for instance, it seems he underestimates the fallibility of kinesiology.

Again, attach to no teacher; follow only Truth. Ultimately I view David Hawkins as one of the greatest teachers and sages Earth has ever known, and for his work I am eternally grateful.

If you want a more vivid preview, see this article / video I created about Letting Go.

“All judgment reveals itself to be self-judgment in the end, and when this is understood, a larger comprehension of the nature of life takes its place.”

David Hawkins, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

3. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of Mature Masculinity by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

“In the absence of The King the Warrior becomes a mercenary, the Magician becomes a sophist (able to argue any position and believing in none), and the Lover becomes an addict.”

— Moore and Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

king warrior magician lover moore gillette booksHoly shit, what a text.

I remember the moment I heard Martijn Schirp recommend this book in Costa Rica, after an Ayahuasca ceremony, and something about the title stirred my Soul, indicating, “Yes, read it.”

A few short months later I devoured this Gemstone and found it to be an Absolutely Priceless Map of Sacred Masculine Development.

So. Many. Fucking. Epiphanies.

Nine words: Extraordinarily Useful Jungian Archetypal Map Of Divine Masculine Development.

Gentleman and Ladies too: Read this. Yesterday.

I’m now searching for the feminine equivalent to this book, and so far my best leads are the book Women Who Run With the Wolves, as well as this epic article, Queen, Mother, Wise Woman, Lover.

4. The Ascent of Humanity: Civilization and the Human Sense of Self by Charles Eisenstein

“Another way of being is possible, and it is right in front of us, closer than close…”

— Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity

charles eisenstein the ascent of humanityI previously wrote an entire fucking article singing the praises of Charles Eisenstein and his magnum opus, The Ascent of Humanity.

I’ll say it again: Dude is an Absolute OG Cultural Physician expertly diagnosing the ills of the Western global-consumerist monoculture.

Don’t read this unless you’re ready to pull back the veil and realize all of the ways you’ve been lied to.

Don’t read this unless you’re ready to start waking up from the Matrix and realizing how much Sacred Knowledge we’ve forgotten as a global civilization.

The Ascent of Humanity is one of the ultimate Red Pills for ripping off the blinders and seeing clearly the shadows and sicknesses of the modern world.

Charles Eisenstein is utterly essential reading.

“We in the richest societies have too many calories even as we starve for beautiful, fresh food; we have overlarge houses but lack spaces that truly embody our individuality and connectedness; media surround us everywhere while we starve for authentic communication.”

— Charles Eisenstein

5. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

— Eckhart Tolle

I fucking Love Eckhart Tolle.

If you know the dude please let him know that I’d love to fly to wherever he is at any moment in time and treat him to a beautiful dinner at the restaurant of his choosing.

This book is a Holy Jewel.

It is a Bullshit-Obliterating Laser Beam of Clear Seeing.

I have friends who’ve listened to this audiobook 50+ times.

The number of friends of mine who cite this book as paradigm-shifting is dizzying.

This shit is Flame.

Eckhart is That Dude.

Read it in the Only Moment We Ever Have: Now.

“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.”

— Eckhart Tolle

6. Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change by Tao Lin

“McKenna seemed excited and delighted by topics I’d just finished expressing in my novel as sources of bleakness and despair and confusion—technology, drugs, human existence, the future.”

— Tao Lin, Trip

trip tao lin

Holy Moses, I Love Tao Lin.

He’s an under-the-radar Sage in my book.

Dude is a Psychedelic Wizard-Genius.

He probably wouldn’t really care for that flowery title, but that’s my appraisal and I’m sticking to it.

When I found out he wrote a book about the Great Sorceror-Trickster-Philosopher Terence McKenna and the shadow side of modern life, it was a done deal: I had to read that shit.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Lord, I wasn’t disappointed!!

I even had a chance to interview Tao about the book.

Thank the gods!!

Life is but a dream!!

“From what I understand of existentialism, it says we should make our own meaning in an indifferent universe. [Terence] McKenna corrected Sartre by saying nature is not mute, as Sartre felt, but obviously it is humans who are deaf. Existentialism seems like an ends, but I’ve learned that it can be more like a phase.”

— Tao Lin

7. When Things Fall Apart: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

“You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.”

— Pema Chodron

Oh, Pema.

Pema, Pema, Pema.

Thank you, sweet soothing Divine Feminine Seer-Sage.

If life is rocking the shit out of you, read this book as soon as possible.

This is the best of Buddhist literature: Unconditionally Loving no-bullshit illusion-melting illumination of the Nature of Reality.

This book found me at a time when I direly needed it, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Pema pens potent poems of Awakening!

Thank you, Pema.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

— Pema Chodron

8. Power VS Force by David Hawkins

“We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.”

— David Hawkins

Oh yeah, David Hawkins Round Two, baby.

I Love you so much, David.

This book is Utterly Paradigm-Shattering.

If you are laboring under the illusion that nothing worthwhile in life can be attained without teeth-grinding fist-clenching hard work, read this as soon as possible.

Hawkins illuminates the way in which paradigms of Force are doomed to be vastly less effective than paradigms of Power.

In short: Force means trying to push and shove and control reality. Power means liberating oneself internally such that one begins effortlessly magnetizing one’s Soul’s true desires.

If you’re saying “bullshit,” consider that that may be your fear, ego, resistance, and conditioning talking.

Power VS Force is life-changing. Read it. Last week.

“The skillful are not obvious
They appear to be simple-minded
Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute
To know the patterns is the Subtle Power
The Subtle Power moves all things and has no name.”

― David R. Hawkins, Power vs. Force

9. Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment by Jed McKenna

Live free or die. That’s the motto of escape. It’s just that simple.”

Jed McKenna

Mr. McKenna makes another appearance!

This is Book Two of his Enlightenment trilogy.

Book Three, Spiritual Warfare, is also indispensably ego-melting.

Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment somehow manages to be nearly every bit as gripping and stunning as Book One.

Jed is just truly inimitable sort of Jedi existing on a whole other plane.

Reading four of his books in 2019, weighing them against my own Soul, and determining my RESPONSE to Jed McKenna was a seminal event of my life.

All Glory due to Jed and to the Most High for bringing this staggering text into earthly existence.

“Suffering just means you’re having a bad dream. Happiness means you’re having a good dream. Enlightenment means getting out of the dream altogether.”

― Jed McKenna

10. The Kybalion by Three Initiates

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.”

― Three Initiates, The Kybalion, 1908

“And Death is not real…”

— Three Initiates, The Kybalion, 1908

Ohhhhh shit.

Here we go.

Here we go.

The Kybalion is one of my most beloved books of all time.

One of my Bibles, right up there with the Tao Te Ching

Published in 1908 by the anonymous trio, the Three Initiates, it is widely accepted as a mesmerizingly accurate distillation of Ancient Hermetic Wisdom.

It feels like this text was channeled directly from Thoth or Hermes or something like that.

If you are ready to pull back the veil and open up to the Unfathomably Intricate Mystery of the All, start here.

Infinite Thanks to the Three Initiates. Whoever you are, I send you a ridiculously prolonged Soul Bear Hug.

“Do not make the mistake of supposing that the little world you see around you – the Earth, which is a mere grain of dust in the Universe – is the Universe itself. There are millions upon millions of such worlds, and greater. And there are millions of millions of such Universes in existence within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL.”

― Three Initiates, The Kybalion

11. Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson

“Belief is the death of intelligence.”

— Robert Anton Wilson

Oh, Bob.


Thank you, Brother.

Thank you so much.

You were truly a Wizard Warrior King.

And here you truly outdid yourself, penning one of the most useful Sacred Maps of Consciousness Evolution in history.

I Love You.

I Love You.

Thank you for existing.

“If you think you know what the hell is going on, you’re probably full of shit.”

— Robert Anton Wilson

Read the Sacred Texts of This World

“Sit in a room and read—and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.”

— Joseph Campbell

Life is too short to read books that don’t truly grip your Soul.

There are certain books in this world that can melt the cages you didn’t even know you were in.

Here I’ve given you a list of some such books.

May they bestow upon you many blessings.

Cheers to Freedom, Clear-Seeing, Soul Power, Divinity, Courage, and Unconditional Love.

See you around the next bend in the River. 🌊

Jordan Bates

If you appreciated this, you’ll love 12 Books That Destroyed and Rebuilt My Mind.

Note that the Amazon books links on Refine The Mind are affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small portion of the profit if you buy via my links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work.

Feature art: ‘Wizard’ by katya-gudkina


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About Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a Lover of God, healer, mentor of leaders, writer, and music maker. The best way to keep up with his work is to join nearly 7,000 people who read his Substack newsletter.

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