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The Unfolding Now: Realizing Your True Nature Through the Practice of Presence [Paperback]

A.H. Almaas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2008
The keys to self-knowledge and deep contentment  are right here before us in this very moment—if we can simply learn to live with open awareness. In The Unfolding Now, A. H. Almaas presents a marvelously effective practice for developing the transformative quality of presence. Through a particular method of self-observation and contemplative exploration that he calls inquiry, we learn to live in the relaxed condition  of simply "being ourselves," without interference from feelings of inadequacy, drivenness toward goals, struggling to figure things out, and rejecting experiences we don't want. Almaas explores the many obstacles  that keep us from being present—including defensiveness, ignorance, desire, aggression, and self-hatred—and shows us how to welcome with curiosity and compassion whatever we are experiencing.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc; Second Printing edition (1 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590305590
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590305591
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 14 Feb 2014
By pixie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm probably biased because I love everything Almaas has ever written, but this is probably one of his more accessible texts so a good place to start for anyone who is just beginning to question reality.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 3 July 2008
Well, this book is very nice for beginners but also advanced and intermediate practitioners; those who have read 'The Power of Now' may feel a little bored by the first four chapters but stick with it and you really get to some juicy stuff. Things on identification, reification, hate, the world of time, and so forth.

Well worth a read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Introduction to Inquiry 4 Oct 2008
By David M. Bell - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read, or at least attempted five or six of this author's books. This was the only one that I found completely relevant for practice. With my Zen background, I tend to have a problem with teachers who talk up metaphysical abstractions and over intellectualizaions, (Although many Zen teachers can go too far in the other direction) and people like Ken Wilber who write massive works and seem to have everything figured out for you.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that this author stands out from every other independent teacher. He dares to question the status quo in conventional spiritual practice. He emphasizes essential development, or awakening for the everyday person for everyday life. And his philosophy that there is no dichotomy between spiritual and psychological practice, that psychological practice is a leverage on awakening that the ancient practices did not have or understand. I have read and re-read the Elixir of Enlightenment and found that line of questioning to be utterly genius.

This book is a collection of talks about how students of his school can inquire into their direct experience while also practicing a sitting meditation. And the talks have been edited for book form.

The author already has a book on inquiry but I found this one to be much much more direct and coherent. Through him and another teacher or two, I learned the missing practice in traditional spiritualities, "direct INQUIRY into one's present experience." I found that this inquiry is very difficult because it is organic and creative. But each inquiry session at the end of each chapter is a great starting point, before letting go of form for one's inquiry. As another teacher said, without inquiry, meditation can become disassociation from reality.

I personally find that I begin to digest the massive amounts of information on the spiritualities and psychologies I have interest in when I inquire (with a journal). What is genius about inquiry is that you learn every spiritual, metaphysical highest truth, or even psychological theories, are nothing but abstractions in your mind until understood in one's direct experience. So although this book is based on the author's diamond approach, it has a very Buddhist feel to me.

Highly recommended for those who seek a direct approach to a coherent practice and not just more abstractions from another spiritual teacher's subjective experience.
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary "how to" of practicing Presence 25 July 2008
By Sharon Mosley - Published on
We spend so much of our lives trying to get somewhere else. This book revealed to me how this habit of striving interferes in my inner experience of what is happening now. Learning to truly experience what is happening now does not mean being passive. It does not mean that I refuse to take action. It means that if I am sad, I experience that sadness, rather than rushing to cover it up with wishing for a different inner experience. I can take action to change circumstances without denying what my experience is with the current circumstance. Wanting my experience to be different is subtly different from wanting external change. I can work to improve communication and understanding in my family or community without denying my own inner experience at each moment whether it be frustration, anger, fear or joy. Almaas teaches with great clarity the "how to" of being present and tells us that being ourselves, being real, means being our True Nature.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nuts and bolts of taking the Diamond Approach journey sincerely 14 July 2008
By Maxwell T. Brandel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rarely do teachers reveal the essence of practice in incredibly clear and simple words which penetrate the veils in those of us who are still deeply longing to understand the truth of our nature more. For me this book has quenched a profound depth of that thirst. The quiet nature of this teaching in the diamond approach reveals itself incredibly slowly, but as it does, if one is sincere enough, the unmistakable feeling of finally being at home abides. As I see it this book is Hameed's attempt to reach out to a wider audience with the core of this diamond approach path. Beyond any means that I can understand Hameed, a man of incredible intelligence and mind boggling spiritual sophistication, speaks to us newer students with remarkable clarity simplicity and 'in-touchness'. Never have I heard a teacher communicate so clearly and gently about the task, from the beginning, of the soul learning to find itself again via; this practice of learning how to be real, letting go of judgments about 'real-ity', and then simply existing, calmly, as yourself unfolding now. It seems as though Hameed is saying all suffering is caused by us not simply being where we are, as we are. Various mind conjured resistances, unconscious and conscious, keep us from Reality, which is all the time displaying itself right under our noses. This is a step by step guide in learning to start, stabilize and deepen the being philosophy which the diamond approach offers. A manuscript of value I have trouble putting in to words. A clear, simple, spacious and detailed talk about this journey, told by a man, who if listened to, can not help but awaken ourselves.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Supportive 4 July 2008
By Mike in the Middle - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of those drawn to practice have had the experience of being moved by the open perspective of a teacher's words. While words alone can be supportive of practice, this work also provides a very clear introduction to the practice of inquiry. The reader who is willing to spend time with the questions at the end of each chapter will have the opportunity to gently shift their perspective with regard to self and life.

Broadly speaking, Almaas has written two kinds of books. His Diamond Heart series is an easy to read survey of the practice perspective of the Diamond Approach. His Diamond Mind series provide a detailed and scholarly examination of critical aspects of practice. In terms of flavor, this book is as approachable as the Diamond Heart books. For those who are unfamiliar with this approach or perhaps even new to any kind of practice, this book is a wonderful introduction. In addition to mindfulness and meditation, the Diamond Approach uses inquiry as a support for practice. While inquiry isn't the subject of this book, the short chapters are followed by a series of gentle questions. Working with these questions individually or with a partner not only gives a flavor or this form of practice, but also allows the reader to move beyond the tightly held assumptions about self and life that we all embody. Even those who are familiar with Almaas should find freshness in this work that is supportive of their practice.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the clearest writings on practice 1 Aug 2010
By Tony Bertauski - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always found Almaas's books some of the clearest writings for the practical application of Zen practice, or what he calls Work. His Diamond Heart series is very easy to understand and apply. The chapter on The Theory of Holes in Diamond Heart Book One is worth reading alone. At times, Almaas seems a little verbose and the message gets watered down with too many words. Some of his books have just been hard to read unless you're an intellectual. I'm a layman. Keep it simple.

And that's exactly what Almaas does in The Unfolding Now. His best writing to date. A practical guide to living life in an honest, practice-minded manner. If you practice meditation, this will help clarify what you do on the cushion as well as your daily life. I wish there was an opportunity to work with his school, but distance is an issue for many of us. Thankfully, he's given us some wonderful writings.
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