After 15 years of Zen practice and a series of ever-deepening realizations, this direct, loving and engaging modern teacher began to offer dharma talks, weekend programs and retreats in 1996. Known for his clarity, wisdom and rich humor he has a rapidly expanding base of students, many of whom have awakened to their true nature in his presence. His teachings have been compared to those of the early Zen masters, and the wisdom teachings of Advaita Vedanta, and speak deeply to all seekers of Truth.
By returning to basic and fundamental themes and exploring them in depth, Adyashanti has written his most helpful book to date. This book is accessible to beginners but offers a relatively complete guide for seasoned practitioners. Adyashanti is not for everyone, but if you appreciate his insights into stillness and silence, opposition and suffering, intimacy and peace, and waking up and liberation, you will likely find this book well worth a careful and reflective read. I have practiced in the Buddhist and non-dualist traditions for 25 years, and have read countless books in the process; this is one of the most penetrating and useful of those books. What should be kept in mind, however, is that Adyashanti makes only passing reference to a spiritual discipline (such as meditation), which may be necessary to practice what he teaches.
The book's title is a perfect fit! I'm about a third of the way into it and I'm awestruck, heart melted by the warmth and clarity of Adya's narrative. I enjoy a variety of nondual approaches available thru Amazon, but Adya's humanity is very special. As I read, the sweep of his narrative takes my mind to unknowing, and my heart to silence. I've had a difficult year - full of pain and grief and loss, and my nervous system has felt stressed to the max. Adya is helping me to surrender, to surrender this 'me' to Presence, reminding me I can't know the answers - this pained heart can just stop, stop REACHING and seeking, and notice the Stillness which is always here....I feel deeply grateful to be able to read this....and on Kindle!!!
Adya's clarity as he attempts to explain the unexplainable never disappoints. His aversion to "guru-speak", refusal to speculate upon anything that isn't abundantly obvious via his own direct perceptual evidence/experience, and jaw-dropping honesty gives him a credibility, accessibility, and effectiveness at "waking you up out of the dream state of egoic identification" that few (if any) other spiritual teachers can match. I have painstakingly analyzed almost every word this person has made public in my own futile attempt to understand if this enlightenment thing is worth attempting, and I would describe this book as several decades of Adya's wisdom condensed into an elegant sequence of ideas designed for the single purpose of maximizing the likelihood that the reader awakens. It is exquisite, relentless, and beautiful. Thank you Adya. I wish there was a way to let you know how your actions have affected me.
Adya explores relationships and emotions in this book (harder than awakening!) and as such, it is a bit of a departure from his more rigorous spiritual writing. There are some revealing personal notes, a section on how the ego puts Consciousness into a "trance," "generational suffering," and one on "autonomy" after awakening, which we often associate with "little me," or a function of the ego, but is not, as he explains.
This is an immediate "must buy" for those who have followed this spiritual teacher and/or have an interest in nonduality/Advaita/Zen. It is a remarkable synthesis of some very basic, clear pointers with several new perspectives.
No one on the planet is more ordinary that Adyashanti, which is the highest compliment that I can pay. As a result of deep, authentic humility and an ever-new willingness, That which inhabits and animates all of us shines through Adya with crystal clarity--and cuts with the power of Manjushri's sword.
Adya himself often declares, "I'm not a comfort guy, I'm a Truth guy." If that's your beacon, this is your man. There may well be plenty of comfort in Truth in the end, but we have to first be willing to sort through all the uncomfortable garbage that apparently lies between us and It. In actuality there's nothing at all between us and It; nothing but a story woven around and through a set of conditioned beliefs, but I'll leave that for Adya.
"Falling Into Grace", Adya's sixth book, is a masterpiece of what I call "The 360 Path". What I mean is that so often spiritual books or teachers help us to break out of the trance of separation, but simply leave us in the other extreme. We move precisely 180 degrees from where we've been all of our lives. First I was just-Fred and I thought I was lowly and common. Now I see that I'm actually NOT-FRED and now I think I'm special. (And believe you should think so, too!)
While this shift is freeing, and grand and important, it's not to be confused with true liberation. We're simply set up now to suffer from a higher level, through our identification with emptiness instead of personality.
Adya doesn't do anything via half measures and he won't point you half-way home. As the Zen poem says, "First, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers." (0 degrees) "Then mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers." (180 degrees) "Finally I saw mountains were again mountains and rivers were again rivers.Read more ›
I must confess that I had my own agenda when I read this book and I believe that is precisely what Adyashanti cautions against. My agenda was to learn how to fall into grace. Adyashanti cautions that when we have an agenda, it gets in our way.
It took me three months to read this book and I'm a quick reader. I've been reading Buddhist and other metaphysical material for 30 years and I'd say this is for the advanced student. In parts, I found it repetitive and rambling. I needed the repetition in order to get the point that grace is that subtle state that comes from not striving for either "good" or "bad" experiences, but instead taking an impartial interest in both experiences letting each go naturally in and out of our lives.
In one section he refers to this in terms of the breath. We can't only exhale even though a long slow deep exhale feels good. Likewise, we can't only inhale even though taking a deep breath feels good too. We need both the inhale and the exhale and it has it's own rhythm that changes over time, ebbs and flows. Falling into grace is like falling into breath in that it's both inhales, exhales and those moments in between. That was perhaps the most useful example for me of what he's talking about.
On the other hand, we all live in the real world with bills, frustrations, joys, etc and many spiritual seekers want to balance the real world with feeling peaceful inside. I can't really describe what frustrated me about this book but my guess is that I can't hold on to this material enough to practice it in my daily life. I'm sure I'm not the only one looking for a how to book on falling into grace.Read more ›