Something there is about a list. Its orderly encapsulation of trailing bits of knowledge appeals to our inherent desire to categorize, to contain in neat packages the glut of the world’s information. If we can catalogue it, we can imagine it.

To wit, the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People, a compilation recently published by an esoteric British publication called The Watkins Review, applies a sense of order to an eclectic collection of individuals whose names we’ve long heard fluttering in the spiritual breeze and whose relevance enjoys new credence for their inclusion in this index.

With this debut tally, the magazine offers fresh insight to people whose appetite for enlightenment might be sated through exposure to the world’s most thoughtful spiritual teachers.

The magazine took several factors into account when nominating list members. Each person had to be alive, had to have made “a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale” and had to rank prominently in Web searches.

The result is an inventory, spearheaded by Vancouverite Eckhart Tolle, that contains a thoughtful collection of names, including Oprah Winfrey (#8) and Dan Brown (#42). The bulk of its ranks are male (76%) and their median age is 67.

“Lists of influential people contribute to the discourse and issues that each person represents,” the editors explain in their intro. “The Watkins Review hopes that our list will nurture debates surrounding contemporary spirituality.”

Have a look for yourself, and start the nurturing:

  1. Eckhart Tolle
  2. Dalai Lama
  3. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  4. Thich Nhat Hanha
  5. Deepak Chopra
  6. Louise L. Hay
  7. Paulo Coelho
  8. Oprah Winfrey
  9. Ken Wilber

10.  Rhonda Byrne

11.  James Redfield

12.  Neale Donald Walsch

13.  Doreen Virtue

14.  Alejandro Jodorowsky

15.  Richard Bach

16.  Alex Grey

17.  Byron Katie

18.  Masaru Emoto

19.  Nelson Mandela

20.  Bernie Siegel

21.  Caroline Myss

22.  Brian Weiss

23.  Mantak Chia

24.  John Gray

25.  Gregg Braden

26.  Stephen R. Covey

27.  Marianne Williamson

28.  Desmond Tutu

29.  Mata Amritanandamayi

30.  Philip Berg

31.  Ervin Laszlo

32.  Andrew Harvey

33.  Don Miguel Ruiz

34.  Joseph Alois Ratzinger

35.  Krishna Das

36.  Drunvalo Melchizedek

37.  Sai Baba

38.  Jack Kornfield

39.  Pema Chodron

40.  T. K. V. Desikachar

41.  Esther and Jerry Hicks

42.  Dan Brown

43.  Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi

44.  Diana Cooper

45.  Ram Dass

46.  Andrew Weil

47.  Satya Narayan Goenka

48.  Jon Kabat-Zinn

49.  Alan Moore

50.  Dan Millman

51.  Bruce Lipton

52.  Peter Kingsley

53.  Karen Armstrong

54.  Judy Hall

55.  Colin Wilson

56.  Joscelyn Godwin

57.  James Lovelock

58.  Satish Kumar

59.  Shakti Gawain

60.  Elaine Pagels

61.  Kyozan Joshu Sasaki

62.  Gary Zukav

63.  Erich Von Daniken

64.  David Deida

65.  Oberto Airaudi “Falcon”

66.  Stuart Wilde

67.  John Bradshaw

68.  Jeff Foster

69.  Patrick Holford

70.  Andrew Cohen

71.  Vladimir Megre

72.  Thomas Cleary

73.  Daniel Pinchbeck

74.  Jonathan Goldman

75.  Sonia Choquette

76.  Seyyed Hossein Nasr

77.  Mother Meera

78.  Barefoot Doctor

79.  Richard Bandler

80.  Robert Bly

81.  Adyashanti

82.  Sogyal Rinpoche

83.  Li Hongzhi

84.  Sri Bhagavan

85.  Rupert Sheldrake

86.  John and Caitlin Matthews

87.  Chogyan Namkhai Norbu

88.  Kenneth Grant

89.  Stanislav Grof

90.  James Hillman

91.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes

92.  Stephen Levine

93.  Candace Pert

94.  Barbara Ann Brennan

95.  Coleman Barks

96.  Robert Thurman

97.  B. K. S. Iyengar

98.  William Bloom

99.  Lynn McTaggart

100.Marion Woodman