on 2 November 2008
I bought this book a week ago and I've read it twice already. I have read many books on meditation and this simple and abeviated little book is probably the best.
It captures what we, in the west, are missing most in our lives. Unfortunately I cannot put into words what "this" is!!! However I can whole heartedly recommend this book, it's one that I will keep and turn to again and again.
on 14 April 2012
This short book is a very practical and potent guide to awakening. In my mind is represents a summary of the essential teachings of most of the Eastern spiritual traditions. I think the words here are all you really need if you are able to listen to and imbibe them. He uses very straightforward language throughout which makes it much more accessible that many traditional texts. However I never felt the teachings were being dumbed-down as so often happens. I did feel he was talking from his own genuine experience and even though not all the details were covered, the flavour comes through. And that is what matters, again, if you are open and willing to listen.
Essentially the book teaches that there are 2 main steps to spiritual enlightenment, and also has a accompanying CD which contains 3 guided meditations.
1) Firstly you develop a meditative mind in which all things such as thoughts, feelings and sensations are allowed to come and go as 'they' please. This means that you as the meditator or egoic centre have to let go and not control. This is what Adyashanti calls true meditation. He points out that this is not the concentration that is often touted as meditation, such as following the breath or a mantra or a visualisation. Concentration is a form of control in which the egoic centre is perpetuated. These concentrative practices are however helpful, if you are drawn to them, in order to gather and centre oneself before entering into 'true meditation'.
This is in line with most schools of Budhism which the concentration is called samatha and the allowing is called vipashyna/vipassana. It is also in line with Advaita Vedanta methods in which concentration is developed in order to develop a calm mind in which greater truths can be pondered such as self-inquiry/jnana yoga.
2) Second is spiritual-inquiry, which is best performed in this meditative state of mind. This involved posing deep and intimate spiritual questions that you are drawn to asking yourself. The deepest and most intimate of these questions is 'What am I'. Adyashanti takes us through how to pose the question, the negative approach of saying what you are not, and the positive approach of discovering what you are. This is in line with many Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta traditions, although leans more towards Mahamudra and Vedanta in the way he expounds it.
Along the way he points out that meditation without inquiry can leave the meditator lost in experiences and states with no lasting realisation attained. Similarly inquiry without meditation can lead to not truly exploring ones felt-experience leading to an overly intellectual/dry understanding which again does not result a transformation of one's life. He also touches upon meditation posture as well as stating the importance of continuing these 2 activities away from formal meditation practice.
3) The guided meditations gently take you through what he has taught, inviting you to awaken to your true self.
Incidentally, the tone of the book reminds me of a book called "Heart advice from a mahamudra master" and the subject matter reminds me of a mix of Shankara's Vivekachudamani and Namgyal's Clarifying the Natural State. The latter 2 books are much more detailed in various specifics of meditation and inquiry, but my feeling is that this level of detail is not necessarily required if you are able to understand what is in this book of Adyashanti's. If however your mind/ego still has further questions and want further reading, any of the above 3 books may prove helpful.
In summary this book/CD is powerful, comprehensive and practical as a spiritual tool. Highly recommended.
on 26 June 2010
This book comes with a CD with two guided meditations by Adyashanti, combining the art of allowing everything to be as it is with spiritual inquiry. The CD supports a wonderful written narrative that cuts through the confusion around meditative techniques providing a powerful alchemy towards spiritual awakening. Have I "achieved" spiritual awakening? Not yet. But I have gained a much deeper understanding of who I am not, and improved my ability to apply that understanding to my daily life. Clear and simple teaching that touches you deeply.
on 10 September 2012
This is a short but wonderfully clear and insightful exposition of what meditation should be about. Adyashanti emphasises that meditation isn't about trying to perfect a technique but rather about letting go of techniques and control to achieve spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Meditation achieves this by letting go of control and dissociating from identity with thought and feeling to arrive at our true essence, awareness. In Part 2 of the book meditative self-inquiry-asking a question of spiritual significance-is regarded as just as important as meditation. Adyashanti also urges that we act with a meditative state of mind in all areas of life, not just while we are meditating. So overall a very helpful meditation guide and some interesting ideas about what meditation is and what it can achieve.
on 24 June 2015
i have been seeking for the past 30 years, the usual path....... a few months ago after getting tired of meditation, ive tried most methods!
i starting asking self enquiry questions without being aware of it as a path,i came across maharshi which is quite complex in its teachings, then i came across this,it distills the ideas quite well but i feel maharshi offers more depth and explanations good read though
on 15 March 2009
This book is only 80 pages long but sparkles with insight and wisdom. No words are wasted in getting to the very heart of meditation and spiritual inquiry. Adya's message is very clear: the real altered state(s) is the sense of fracture and fragmenation that we operate in in our daily lives, we need to let this go and move into our natural state, enlightenment, by letting all be is it is, without our interference. Easy to say, but hard to let our habits die-but now in this book we have a guide. Adya brings true mediation off the cushions and into our deepest lives. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
on 28 November 2011
If you tried different methods of meditation and you are still unsure what it really is about and how to take the struggle, dissapointments and feeling lost and defeated by it all - this is the book for you. But even if you are well established in your practice, this book reminds you 0f the whole point of meditation. No frills and definitely no pretences here. You are brought down to earth,like it or not.
I loved it and my meditation practice has become so much more real and so much more meaningful.
Cannot thank Adya enough for this book!
on 27 June 2015
Very good book and it has inspired a change to my technique. My only criticism is the price of the kindle book. Wasn't even 90 pages! Still, anyone wanting to break free from the expectations of what meditation is (because as we know, there are so many "you should do this, you should do thats") should read this book. The author is very good at pointing out the subjective, highly personal nature of meditation. A must read for anyone pursuing meditation in earnest.