The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People?


I apologize, but I have to officially interrupt my little journey through the Rights Of The Chakras (briefly between chakras five and six), in order to comment on something I just discovered today – Watkin’s List Of The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.

I just can’t resist.

I’m a sucker for lists.

I’m a sucker for contests.

And I’m definitely a sucker for anything “spiritual,” so Watkin’s list is a sort of gawk-at-it trifecta for me.

Watkin’s by the way is the publisher of a regular and online ‘zine called “Mind Body Spirit,” so I think they have the right to claim some authority in the area of listing spiritually influential people — certainly a lot more than me – but that’s not going to stop me from a little post-publication commentary.

One thing I have to commend the magazine for is they don’t just list the top 100, they actually comment on all of them (about a paragraph’s worth) – all 100.  But you’ll have to buy the actual magazine for that.  The online version only gives you the list and introduces you to the top 10.  Nice little marketing tactic, right?

Their list is comprehensive to be sure, including everyone from longterm gurus, like Eckharte Tolle and Deepak Chopra to lesser knowns who are making their way into the spirituality realm, like Comic Book Writer (yes, Comic Book Writer!), Grant Morrison and Tweet Master, Mastin Kipp.

So, with no further ado, here’s the list (reprinted from Mind Body Spirit, Issue #29):

1. Dalai Lama 34. Marianne Williamson 67. Caroline Myss
2. Eckhart Tolle 35. Lisa Williams 68. Michael Newton
3. Thich Nhat Hanh 36. Francis Chan 69. Daisaku Ikeda
4. Deepak Chopra 37. Don Miguel Ruiz 70. Vadim Zeland
5. Paulo Coelho 38. Masaru Emoto 71. John Bradshaw
6. Elizabeth Gilbert 39. Gregg Braden 72. Richard Bandler
7. Iyanla Vanzant 40. Andrew Weil 73. Jean Houston
8. Ken Wilber 41. Erich von Däniken 74. Starhawk
9. James Redfield 42. Adyashanti 75. Daniel J. Siegel
10. Rhonda Byrne 43. Krishna Das 76. James Lovelock
11. Alice Walker 44. Sonia Choquette 77. Judy Hall
12. Nelson Mandela 45. Joseph Ratzinger 78. Gary Snyder
13. Dr Wayne W Dyer 46. Louise Hay 79. Patrick Holford
14. Doreen Virtue 47. Amma 80. Oberto Airaudi
15. Michio Kaku 48. Vladimir Megre 81. Dr Azmayesh
16. Oprah Winfrey 49. Ervin Laszlo 82. Mother Meera
17. Alejandro Jodorowsky 50. Elaine Pagels 83. Rabbi Michael Lerner
18. Mantak Chia 51. Jeff Foster 84. Lynne McTaggart
19. Desmond Tutu 52. Seyyed Hossein Nasr 85. Michael Beckwith
20. Alex Grey 53. Neale Donald Walsch 86. Satya Narayan Goenka
21. Peter Russell 54. Drunvalo Melchizedek 87. Satish Kumar
22. Byron Katie 55. Pema Chödrön 88. Paramahamsa Nithyananda
23. Ram Dass 56. Diana Cooper 89. Rowan Williams
24. Esther Hicks 57. Bruce Lipton 90. Prem Rawat
25. Bernie Siegel 58. Dan Millman 91. Mooji
26. Richard Bach 59. Karen Armstrong 92. Stanislav Grof
27. Brian Weiss 60. Graham Hancock 93. Grant Morrison
28. Andrew Cohen 61. David R. Hawkins 94. Jon Kabat-Zinn
29. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 62. Jack Canfield 95. Dolores Cannon
30. Robin Sharma 63. Clarissa Pinkola Estés 96. Gangaji
31. Steve Taylor 64. Sogyal Rinpoche 97. Shakti Gawain
32. Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi 65. Swami Ramdev 98. Claudio Naranjo
33. Andrew Harvey 66. Philip Berg 99. Mastin Kipp
100. Marion Woodman

By the looks of things – Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Pray, Love”) and Rhonda Byrne (Creator of “The Secret”) being in the Top 10! – I think maybe popularity was weighed a wee bit too heavily.

The magazine claims they used the following three main criteria to make their list:

1) The person has to be alive

2) The person has to have made a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale

3) The person is frequently googled, appears in Nielsen Data, and is actively talked about throughout the Internet

Number one rules out some really big names, like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Buddha — just to name a few.  Number two rules out people like your grandma or that crazy neighbor of yours who does reiki and gives you oddly specific spiritual advice.  And number three rules out all those gurus who meditate in caves and have no clue what Twitter, Facebook or even the “email” is.

Clearly, our spiritual leaders today have to be tech savvy – or at least have the resources to have a staff that is.

First, let me just confess right off, that this list made me realize something —  I am way less plugged into the modern-day, spiritual grid  than I realized.  I didn’t even know half the list!  My familiarity score was only 45/100 (that’s an undeniable F – ouch).  Check out the list and see what your “score” is and please share — if you feel like it (no cheating).

The list highlights for me are:

Masaru Emoto at #38, since his research led me to invent Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™, and the response of my clients continues to validate the worth of his research regarding the profound way that words and symbols affect water (and also human beings, because we’re mostly water).

– Post-stroke, Ram Dass at #23.

– Bernie Siegel at #25!  I was just glad to find out Bernie’s still alive. I’m not sure why I thought he had passed, but it was a joy realizing he hadn’t — even better than finding old coins in the couch.  If you want to see what Bernie is up to these days, you can check him out in the newly released film “Heal Your Self.”

– Discovering some “old” names that deserve to get continued recognition for their contributions — like Shakti Gawain, Caroline Myss, John Bradshaw.

Nelsen Mandela — enough said.

Dalai Lamai at #1.  Can anyone argue with that?  Oh, I suppose, most Catholics would rather see the Pope there — or at least find him somewhere on the list. But given the three criteria, I imagine The Pope won’t make the list until he gets a Twitter account and facebook page.

What do you think of the list?

Weigh in!

After all, this list is supposed to represent all of us. We’re the ones being spiritually “influenced.”


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