on March 17, 2011
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.
on March 18, 2011
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!!!
on March 19, 2011
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.
on March 19, 2011
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.
In "Falling into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering" Adyashanti shares fundamental wisdom to "spark a revolution in the way we perceive life." He says all our world religions are unique methods to address human suffering. All of the great spiritual teachings direct us to look within, to 'know thyself.' He says unless we know ourselves, we can never find our way beyond suffering. In truth most of us are addicted to suffering.
Adyashanti says when we come from "egoic consciousness" we see ourselves as separate, something other than everything around us. In actuality, the ego is a fiction. It's nothing more than a story in the mind. The mind has a powerful ability to put our awareness into a trance. Because egos are addicted to pain they tend to bond through pain not happiness.
Adyashanti says we limit who we are when we put a label on ourselves and think we are nothing more than a thought. We suffer when we believe and identify with everything we think. We become lost in our own beliefs, projections, opinions and illusions of control. The irony is the more we try to control life and others, the more out of control we feel. "Egoic consciousness" demands things be different and argues with reality.
Adyashanti recommends we speak to our negative emotions. He told a woman at a retreat, "I don't want to talk to you. I want to talk to your rage." He asked how her rage views life and what it thinks of others. When she allowed her suffering to speak her judgment, blaming and condemning came out. After she had spoken for awhile a softer voice of deep hurt and sorrow began to emerge. It was more intimate, less guarded and judgmental. He asked, "Is the story of what happened really true? What happens when you tell this story and believe it?" He then asked, "Can you remember the event and not tell a story about it?" To her surprise the memory of the event without the story made her feel better. She said, "You know, it's just a memory now. It's just an event that happened, but it's not triggering any feelings in me." Adyashanti says when we learn to separate the experience from the conclusions drawn, we begin to taste real freedom. This is also true of chronic pain. People who deal with pain the best do not resist it or believe their thoughts about the future, indulge in fear and judgment or argue with what should or shouldn't be. When we purge the stories that contain suffering we find inner stability and freedom. When we let go to the way we think things should be, then life starts to reveal its magical qualities.
Adyashanti tells of an elderly woman who confided on her death bed that she was afraid to die because she did not know who she was. He told her, "We'd better get at it, then...Can you drop your entire past?...and enter this moment fully?" She said, "I don't know."
Adyashanti says when he saw her again a couple of weeks later she was smiling and had a fiery, blissful glow in her eye. He did not have to ask, he knew she has finally let go.
Grace comes when we become open-hearted and open-minded and realize we may not know what we think we know. Sometimes it comes during beautiful moments and at other times with a fierce face. Difficult times often open our hearts and minds.
Adyashanti recommends we look underneath the veil of our thoughts and quietly ask, "What am I, really? He says we'll find a spaciousness, a quiet point of awareness or consciousness beyond the mind. When we stand in our own authority we experience the ultimate mystery, transparency and no-thingness of ourselves and stop identifying with our images, memories and thoughts. When we quiet our mind we see beyond it.
Instead of trying to change, all we need is the willingness to question our mind's conclusions, the willingness to relax and let each moment be as it is. When we open to a state of no conclusions we open to a dimension of consciousness of peace, stillness and well-being. This whole new state of consciousness already exists, there isn't anywhere to go, anything to search for and nothing to learn. Awakening is actually a process of unlearning. The harder we try to get out, the deeper we dig ourselves in.
Awakening is to take a step backwards, to turn around, reverse the process. Instead of looking for satisfaction on the outside look within, look precisely at the place where you are standing.
To let go of our egoic struggle we need to ask ourselves, "What do we know with absolute certainty? Everything in our mind is a story. There is no such thing as a true thought. The heart of reality is the vast expanse we live in. None of our stories are ever as real as what is.
Happiness, peace, love and freedom do not come from our minds. Revelation and insight comes from some other space - a place called "silence." When we see that our mind is just a story teller we begin to listen. The inner space of unknowing is our only doorway. Instead of telling God what you want, begin to listen to what God has to say.
Embracing the unknowing makes us wonderfully and beautifully humble. True humility is a very open state. An "aware spirit" is awake and empty. What we are in reality is alive, awake and conscious, existing as pure potential.
When we are quiet and still we are in a state of meditation. Meditation practice cultivates inner stability where suffering naturally comes to an end.
When we are clear, we respond and act from a place of love, peace, compassion and understanding.
Real autonomy is allowing spirit to inhabit our humanness and a fearless willingness to allow this freedom to happen. When spirit comes in form it is everything and nothing. We can make our prison comfortable or we can break out of it. To be in the world but not of it. To take tomorrow and yesterday out of the picture. To be nothing and everything simultaneously.
Grace is the ability to see the face of the divine in each and every moment of our lives.
Adyashanti's concise spiritual insights offer many "ah-ha moments."
on March 25, 2011
FALLING INTO GRACE has the usual clarity of Adyashanti's writings but, in this case, he is not only clear, he is poetic. This books is beautifully written. I don't think it really matters whether the thread is "Advaita Vedanta" or "Zen" when you speak from the other side of the gateless gate. I also agree with the other reviewer that there is material for both beginners and veterans of the contemplative traditions. His description of the death of his companion dog nearly brought ME to tears. My wife and I lost two good friends in 2009 and I understand how he must have felt. I can't think of a better place for anyone to more fully understand the ravages of the egoic consciousnes and how and why we fall under this spell!
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.
Having said that, we all vary and you may find that this book may be just what you need so that you don't cling to experiences that are good or bad but instead just take an interest in them, accepting the fleeting nature of life's experiences and being okay with whatever happens. I believe that's what he is calling falling into grace though I find it personally difficult to embody it. What is most helpful to me is to remember that falling into grace is like breathing.
Of course, Adyashanti is the first to admit that embodying these beliefs is simple but not easy. Because it's repetitive and the points don't stick for me or feel practical in everyday life, I have rated it only a 3 star.
on April 19, 2011
This was written to be a 'beginners' book on Spirituality. I am by no means a beginning reader on the subject, so I hesitated (chagrined mistake) before buying, thinking that there would be 'nothing new' in there for me - though I LOVE Adyashanti's other books and I am always amazed at how each of his books are exactly what I need to hear at that exact moment in time, as pure material usually is. I even remember being excited when I heard that Adyashanti was releasing another book, and then feeling, "AWWW - bummer, a Beginner's Book". (Please picture a very humbled-looking emoticon here....) This book is sublime, and has stopped me in my tracks several times - and I'm not even half-way through. I can feel the deeply silent transformation and opening/shifting that has so little to do with the words. (thank you Adyashanti, beyond words.) I have tried to really take it in and not hurry through -to stop and feel the full impact, but then I let myself read-on at full speed as I knew after about 20 pages that I'd be reading the whole thing over again anyway - it is that good. -And after that same 20 pages I was chuckling at myself for EVER even having entertained the illusion of moving on - even for a moment - from Beginner's Mind. There truly IS nothing else. As with all of his teachings, Adyashanti cuts to the absolute core and allows the simplicity to Be, but with this book he has somehow reached an even deeper, simpler, more profound place. This is the first time I've ever written a review, but I wanted others to know how amazing this book is, and not to hesitate for even a moment on reading this book if you feel called.
on March 26, 2011
I first heard an Adyashanti talk years ago on a radio station that had already introduced me to Alan Watts and Krishnamurti among others who shared their perspective on life and a spiritual path. Now, many experiences later, I find the personal and revealing information shared in this book to be like a refrain from a love song with a catchy melody. I need to tell you that such love songs have served like a mantra to help me walk through the moments in life when everything fell apart, as well as the times I seek fresh inspiration. Falling into Grace is compelling, accessible and direct. It is like having a clear conversation with a good friend who is pointing out the obvious often forgotten. I have been so moved by this book as to buy a Kindle to read it on. The ideas shared by Adyashanti, along with the "Power of Now," "Loving What Is" and others alongside the music on my iPod, form the backdrop that is part of the soundtrack that accompanies my day to day.
on October 6, 2012
I bought this book as i believed that i 'lived ' in my mind far too long and far too much,the information contained in this book had helped me tremendously, I now dismiss or just allow the thoughts to flow through my mind, i am more at peace, this is one of the first books that i have read consistently, i normally would read three books at the same time, i so wanted to understand the concepts that i focussed on this alone, i am not finished but i am not living in my mind as much as i used to.