March 29, 2011
No, it's not the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh—they come in second and fourth, respectively—according to the Watkins Review's "100 Spiritual Power List," which appeared earlier this month. The review is put out by Watkins Books, the century-old London book store specializing in esoterica.
Their selection criteria?
There are several factors that were taken into account when compiling the list. Listed below are the main three:
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 highlighted in throughout the blogosphere
It’s interesting to think about the amount of times that a person is googled; in a sense, being googled is a form of digital voting, and illustrates just how often someone is being sought out
Leading the list is self-realized mystic Eckhart Tolle; Oprah is #8, followed by Ken Wilbur at #9 (Jack Kornfield and Pema Chodron are numbers 38 and 39, respectively).
Some of the names are familiar, others less so, and if I were to have a go at it (and I won't), I'd have plenty of edits. I'd have guessed the pope, at #34, would have ranked more highly, for instance, than Doreen Virtue of Angel Therapy fame (#13).