Missing from this list are Lama Surya Das and Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul), as well as Dan Siegel, Joan Halifax, Jean Houston, and Joan Borysenko. Rabbi Michael Lerner (editor of Tikkun) and Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi (Reb Zalman), founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement should also be on the list.
I would also like to see Tami Simon on the list for the work she has done with Sounds True in getting the teachings of many of these people out to the public.
It's unfortunate to see so many people associated with The Secret on the list, but it has to be admitted that they have a lot of clout in this culture (sadly).
Here are the top ten - the whole list is here.
1. Eckhart Tolle
2. Dalai Lama
3. Dr Wayne W. Dyer
4. Thich Nhat Hanh
5. Deepak Chopra
6. Louise L. Hay
7. Paolo Coelho
8. Oprah Winfrey
9. Ken Wilber
10. Rhonda Byrne
1. Eckhart Tolle. Tolle does not advocate any particular religion, and has contributed to a wide range of spirituality. Eckhart’s profound yet simple teachings have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. His books, The Power of Now and the highly-acclaimed follow-up A New Earth are two of the best-selling Mind, Body, Spirit books in the world – more than eight million copies have been sold in North America alone. He deliberately avoided setting up an ashram or centre as he cautions that “one needs to be careful that the organization doesn’t become self-serving”.
2. Dalai Lama. Born Lhamo Dondrub, Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhists believe him to be a reincarnation of his predecessors and the Buddha of compassion. He is a vocal activist for Tibetan independence and has made an incredible contribution to global spirituality.
3. Wayne Dyer. A self-made success story, Wayne Dyer inspires readers to actualize their potential. He is referred to as a “preacher of self reliance” and is currently focusing on interpreting the Tao Te Ching. He lives in Maui, Hawaii and has eight children.
4. Thich Nhat Hanh. Buddhist monk, teacher, author and peace activist. He founded the Order of Interbeing and the Unified Buddhist Church, along with monasteries and spiritual centres in Vietnam, the USA and France, where he now lives.
5. Deepak Chopra. Deepak began as an endocrinologist, and then shifted his career towards alternative medicine. As a writer on Ayurveda, mind-body medicine and spirituality, he has had huge success with titles such as Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Chopra’s immense cultural influence spans beyond traditional MBS, from children’s books to comics.
6. Louise Hay. Louise Hay is a motivational author, and the founder of Hay House. Her best known work is You Can Heal Your Life; Hay House has published over 300 books, and has made an immense contribution to mind-body-spirit literature and the New Thought Movement. Thinking positively can definitely make a difference!
7. Paolo Coelho. The Alchemist is one of the top selling books in history—with over 65 million copies sold, and holds the Guinness world record for being translated in the most languages!
8. Oprah Winfrey. Oprah might be the most influential person in the world. She has discovered and advocated for so many spiritually influential thinkers—from Obama to Eckhart Tolle. We ranked her at only 8th place, because her influence isn’t focused on spirituality, but eighth place may act as a metaphor since 8 means infinity in numerous metaphysical paradigms.
9. Ken Wilber. Wilber has advocated Integral Thought and influenced figures as varied as Bill Clinton, Deepak Chopra, and Billy Corgan. He founded the Integral Institute and has written about adult development, developmental psychology, philosophy, worldcentrism, ecology, and stages of faith.
10. Rhonda Byrne. Well known for The Secret book and DVD. Byrne advocates the belief that we can all transcend our suffering by not falling prey to negative thoughts. She has been listed among Times Magazine’s list of 100 people who shape the world, and has also produced television shows. Last year she published The Power as a sequel to The Secret.
Learn more about the Watkins 100 Spiritual Power list >>