on October 7, 2010
Edit May 31, 2015: I recently learned that the Second Edition of The Seven Steps to Awakening (2nd Edition) has been published. I believe it's through a different distributor connected with Amazon, and is always "In stock" through amazon. It has all the original 1574 quotes, but is slimmer in size and easier to carry around.
From the introduction:
"I really love you and want the best for you. I don't want you to continue to suffer needlessly. Here in these quotes I am showing you the way to bring the illusion to an end and to awaken into the Reality of Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss. Here in these quotes I am showing you what most aspirants cannot see, even if they have read some of these quotes before. Here I have collected the quotes that are most essential and most helpful for those who really wish to awaken in this lifetime. Here I have collected the quotes that have no detours or distractions. Here I have collected the quotes that reveal the most direct means that brings the impostor self to its final end."
"The Seven Steps to Awakening" is a masterpiece and a valuable gift from your true Self to sincere seekers of liberation. The ego [which the author likes to call the 'impostor self'] in all humans is very deceptive and cunning. Almost no human has the desire for the impostor self [or ego-illusion] to come to an end. The desire to preserve the ego-illusion is always greater than the desire for liberation. However, since the impostor self is responsible for all suffering, until it ends, there can be no true liberation. But since the impostor self never wants to end; even when one approaches teachers and teachings of liberation, the layers of deception within distort the teaching in order to prevent the ego-illusion from ending, and thus prolong endless cycles of suffering. It is a vicious cycle of the thief pretending to play a Cop. Many teachings of the past have thus been distorted by the ego [imposter self], and the essence of the teachings have been buried under layers of distractions and detours, thus making it almost impossible to find a direct way to end this ego-illusion and the suffering caused by this ego-illusion.
What makes this book truly special is that not only does it contain quotes by seven different truly liberated sages, but also that the quotes have been selected and arranged by a fully liberated sage himself! This makes this work truly valuable, as it saves true seekers of liberation a LOT of time and effort. All the distractions have been taken out and the seven steps to awakening have been revealed. Just reading a few quotes slowly and repeatedly takes me to a deep and spontaneous meditation. The first chapter lays the foundation for how the quotes are to be used [as practice instructions for liberation, not for intellectual entertainment or for gathering knowledge]. The rest of the chapters in a step by step manner unravel the a)nature of impostor self and the enormous suffering caused by identifying with it b) provides an understanding that without a strong desire for liberation [from the imposter self and the suffering caused by it], all efforts to be liberated will fail c) provides motivation, inspiration and encouragement for practice leading to liberation d) provides the direct practice instructions to bringing the impostor self and the suffering to a final end.
There are 1574 quotes in total. Each one serves a definite purpose. Several obstacles and pitfalls on the road to liberation have been pointed out along with ways to overcome them. Many seekers get lost in intellectual concepts and enjoy discussing and arguing about spiritual teachings instead of actually putting the teaching into practice….they remain trapped in such concepts until old age and never get a direct experience of Truth; some others get disheartened when they encounter challenges and abandon spiritual practice prematurely misperceiving such obstacles as apparent lack of progress; and there are those who get carried away by some temporary spiritual experience and mistake it to be final liberation, and they declare themselves “awakened” and start teaching others……in addition to deluding themselves, they mislead other people. I’m one of those people who’s pretty much fallen into many if not all possible pitfalls, and got my ego bruised and burnt and learnt it the hard way; I credit this book to helping me getting back on track every time I fell off. Careful study along with sincere application of the quotes in this book can save sincere seekers from falling into such traps and pitfalls and remain focused on the direct path; it can help one realize ones mistakes and know how not to repeat them thus saving years of going around in circles.
This is an exhaustive and comprehensive work containing everything: 1)The Supreme goal, 2)The inspiration to reach the Supreme goal and 3)The method to reach the Supreme goal are all given here. All other books can now be given away or discarded. The only other book I would keep is The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss (6th Edition) authored by the Editor/ Creator of this present book. I found that book to be amazingly inspiring and enlightening and started practicing the meditation "techniques" instructed in that book for 2-3 hours every day. There are times where amazing grace is flowing through, but there are also times when the impostor self presents challenges which lead me to being distracted away from practice into futile worldly pursuits. It is during those challenging times that I need inspiration to stay in the path without getting distracted into meaningless pursuits which always end in suffering. I find that this book offers amazing inspiration for that exact purpose. I have full convictions in the words of these books and through the bliss experienced by reading and practicing the teachings in the book, I am convinced that I am on the right track. I highly recommend this book to all sincere spiritual seekers!
The titles of the seven chapters and some select quotes from each chapter are provided below for reference.
Use the quotes as practice instructions.
Know that a conceptual journey
is not a journey to Awakening.
"28. Only he who has attained immortal life can save the world. For the ignorant one to help another is but the blind leading the blind."
"57. On a verbal level everything is relative. Absolutes should be experienced, not discussed."
"82. I cannot solve your problem by mere words. You have to act on what I told you and persevere. It's not right advice that liberates, but the action based on it."
"199. The supreme truth is established only in total silence, not by logic, discussion and argumentation."
Know that the world is a dreamlike illusion.
"266. Bad thoughts make bad dreams, good thoughts make good dreams, and if you have no thoughts you don't dream at all."
"286. The only thing that can help you is to wake up from the dream."
"297. My heart wants you awake. I see you suffer in the dream and I know you must wake up to end your woes. When you see your dream as a dream, you wake up. But in your dream itself I am not interested. Enough for me to know that you must wake up."
"423. The world illusion has arisen because of movement of thought in the mind; when that ceases illusion will cease, too, and mind becomes no-mind."
See how the impostor self
perpetuates its imaginary self
and all illusion and suffering
"561. Realizing the Self is the only useful and worthy activity in this life, so keep the body in good repair till the goal is achieved. After that the Self will take care of everything and you won't have to worry about anything anymore. In fact you won't be able to, because the mind that previously did the worrying, the choosing and the discriminating will no longer be there. In that state you won't need it and you won't miss it."
"574. There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a momentary experience for full realization and destroy even the little they gain by excess of pride."
"587. Without Self-realization, no virtue is genuine."
"592. Insanity is universal. Sanity is rear, yet there is hope, because the moment we perceive our insanity, we are on the way to sanity."
"613. The dissolution of personality is followed always by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off."
"697. The existence of mind causes misery; and its cessation brings joy."
Increase your desire for liberation.
"791: In order to qualify as an aspirant, one must have the absolute conviction that happiness, the sole aim of all living beings, can be obtained not from external objects but only from one's own inmost Self. When one has this qualification, an intense yearning will arise in one's heart to try to attend to and know Self. Indeed for a true aspirant the desire and effort to know Self will become the most important part of his life, and all other things will only be regarded as of secondary importance. When such an intense yearning arises in one, success is assured, for 'where there is a will there is a way'."
"812. Questioner: How does one reach the supreme state?
Maharaj: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser, you cannot have the highest."
"816. Suffering has made you dull, unable to see it's enormity. Your first task is to see the sorrow in you and around you; your next to long intensely for liberation. The very intensity of longing will guide you. You need no other guide."
808. "…And do not waste energy and time on regrets. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them."
Be inspired, encouraged and motivated.
"921. You have to make an enormous effort to realize the Self. It is very easy to stop on the way and fall back into ignorance. At any moment you can fall back. You have to make a strong determined effort to remain on the peak when you first reach it, but eventually a time will come when you are fully established in the Self. When that happens, you cannot fall."
"923. Don't be discouraged by the length of the journey, and don't slacken in your efforts to get home."
"927. Don't waste energy on thinking or evaluating how well or how badly you are doing in your meditation."
"967. Faith is not blind. It is the willingness to try."
973. Try and try again.
1171. Only by persistent and determined self-effort and by one's own direct experience is perfection attained, not by any other means.
Turn your attention inward.
"1287. Fond, foolish people may find joy in pleasure at the moment. Soon it palls and leaves but pain behind."
"1320. A sincere aspirant should arrange his work in such a way that he will spend only a portion of his time and energy for maintaining the body, so that he can utilize the remaining time and energy in striving to earn the great profit of Self-knowledge."
"1353. Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage."
"1359. All you need is already within you, only you must approach your Self with reverence and love."
"1378. One should abandon all cravings for pleasure and attain wisdom. Only the mind that has been well disciplined really experiences happiness
Practise the most rapid, effective
and direct method
that brings the impostor self
to its final end.
"1439.If you observe awareness steadily, this awareness itself as Guru will reveal the truth."
"1451. Questioner: But is it enough to be aware of awareness?
Annamalai Swami: You are repeating the question, so I will repeat the answer. If you remain in the state of consciousness, there will be nothing apart from it. No problems, no misery, no questions."
"1564. You have heard all this, but you do not rest in the truth. Only by constant practice does the truth become fully established."
"1570. Turning one's purified awareness within on the witness as pure consciousness; one should gradually bring it to stillness and then become aware of the perfection of one's true nature."
"1574. The universal Self is witness of itself."
Very highly recommended!!
on October 21, 2010
This book is fantastic compilation of quotes from awakened masters in the non-duality school, put together by Michael Langford. There is an unbelievably good flow of the materials, and the teachings they put forth are timeless---as relevant today as they were 100 years ago or more. Our technology has given us a multitude of avenues by which to distract and entertain, unfortunately all of these pull our attention outside of ourselves, and they are making us stressed and sick.
The keys to the kingdom, the secret to eternal joy, peace, bliss, and healing, lie within us. This book gives a motivating and supporting blueprint of how to go inside our minds and ourselves with a simple form of meditation. This form of meditation, known as "Awareness Watching Awareness" is fully explained in Langford's first book, The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss, which I also highly recommend. As a physician and expert in mind/body healing, I submit to you that the major keys to healing all involve lessening our attachments and identifications to our thoughts and emotions. When we can do this, the body goes into healing mode, stress melts away, our nervous system gets revitalized. We start to notice limiting beliefs that have created (dysfunctional) patterns of behaviors our whole lives; and then we are free to change them. We take back our own power and our health.
I encourage you to read this book, strive to understand what it is teaching, and further, put the meditation principles into practice. Your life will never be the same.
on September 27, 2010
It's easy to go overboard when one is blessed with a divine gift like The Seven Steps To Awakening.
That's why I'm glad "TF" reviewed this marvelous masterwork first here on Amazon. He did a real reviewer's hard labor -- all the "wise restraint" and understated maximal praise, leaving the rest of us to dance in digital streets like bliss-crazed sadhus.
For that's what this inconceivably rare samsaric spell smashing volume called The Seven Steps To Awakening inspires within one: a vast and ongoing joy.
Does the review title seem a tad over the top? Well, dear friends, it isn't: not by a hair. I feel no qualms in making what on the face of it seems to be an immature and absurd statement. I'll state it again directly: no putative 'spiritual' book published in any language anywhere can get near what this amazing text has to offer. Within The Seven Steps To Awakening you find no silly blather from neo-Advaitic hustlers on perennial global tour, nor ramblings from self deluded poseurs presenting themselves as "above and beyond" sincere spiritual practice.
Instead one is gifted with super de-hypnotizing inductions of truly Realized Vedantic Masters assembled in progressively explosive sequence.
They read like metaphysical nuclear bombs from the Armory of Freedom.
They blast away your ignorance.
They purify your intent.
They fortify your ceaseless exertion.
Within this clear 238 page volume is everything you need to investigate, zealously practice, and complete the Path to Final Enlightenment from start to finish.
These words will guide and awaken you all along the journey to Liberation.
Whomever you are.
Wherever you are.
And these guiding words are -- for all but the most sincere and experienced spiritual practitioners -- almost impossible to both find and recognize for their true worth. Even discovering bejeweled yogis like Sadhu Om (The Path of Sri Ramana Parts 1 and 2) as well as Muruganar (The Garland of Guru's Sayings) takes a lot of digging over the course of perhaps several lifetimes.
Michael Langford, the sage author, has done it all for us.
He deserves a collective "Thank you, Michael!" from our heart of hearts.
The sage also truncates his practice instructions for each of the Seven Stages to the minimum. Stage Seven, for instance, reads: Spend as much time as you can every day practicing the most rapid, effective and direct method that brings the impostor self to its final end. That method is described in the following quotes: (1439-1574).
The quotations then follow, as they do in each prior chapter. And each of these quotes, without exception, is liberating beyond measure.
The method the author encourages is, of course, Awareness Watching Awareness. And it is to this almost unknown sage that we owe the broadening regeneration and global spread of this simple yet ever deepening Way.
My suggestion is to buy multiple copies of The Most Direct Means To Eternal Bliss simultaneously with multiple copies of The Seven Steps To Awakening.
Rubber band two-book sets of each wonderful volume.
Carry a set everywhere you go.
Read from both books avidly.
Always have your "spiritual book power pack" within arm's reach.
After following the author's practice instructions, flip open a volume at random and inhale the ever clear, vivifying air of Eternal Freedom the words convey.
Thank you, Michael, for The Seven Steps To Awakening, one of the most important gifts to sentient beings in our timeless time.
on November 19, 2010
This is a wonderful book. The day it arrived in the mail I was in the middle of painting the exterior of my house. That evening I opened the book intending to give it a quick read but couldn't do it. I kept reading each quote over and over again, being drawn further into their meaning. Here are well, more than a few quotes from the book.
"Pure Being, our Self-nature, That alone exists eternally. Apart from That, all objects we perceive are clusters of illusive appearances that come and go, while That, unmoving and unchanged, abides the same forever".
"Thought is mind; there is no difference between the two".
"All your problems arise because you have defined and therefore limited yourself. When you do not think yourself to be this or that, all conflict ceases".
"When ego goes, there is no loss of Being. Hence be not afraid".
"When the mind disintegrates, there is liberation, and there is no more rebirth; for it was mind alone that appeared to take birth and to die".
"Beyond the mind there is no suffering".
"The universe out there appears when scanned. But when not scanned, it disappears. Turning away from this, search keenly for the Self within the heart, and think no more of birth".
"It is pure absolute consciousness, naught else".
"When all mental activity ceases, you are that which is".
"The unreal alone dies and it is the unreal that is born again apparently in another body".
I did fall behind schedule on the painting and I did buy copies of the book for each of my kids. I highly recommend this book to anyone on the spiritual search, but particularly those on the paths of Sufism, Vedanta, and Non-Duality. The author has done a great service to all by sifting through the most authentic printed works concerning the teachings of the foremost Realized Masters of non-duality. He then gives us their quotes that deal directly with the teachings.
May all benefit from the teaching of Truth. My eternal gratitude to the author, and all those that have realized the unity of Being.
on September 26, 2010
If you have seen through the banality of the numerous contemporary books about spiritual awakening and you are ready to apply the essential teaching that has been scattered amongst thousands of pages of writings and transcriptions of talks of the greatest sages, this book will be helpful. To get the most out of it, however, you must have reached the point where you already know what needs to happen, and, also, be ready to get on with it.
If you are simply looking for a good read to create the experience for the cognitive self that its conceptual understanding of the issues and their remedies is enough, then this book's highly condensed essence of the knowledge and proven method of liberation from the false mental world we call "me" will surely fail to entertain and soothe.
The unnamed editor, a fully awake sage whom I have read, corresponded with, and heeded via intense practice over the past several years, is almost unknowable in the ordinary sense. Indeed, this most rare, virtually anonymous sage focuses on what matters while remaining completely unencumbered with the burden of an identity in the hectic marketplace of personas who crystallize the me when you desire that they tell you what they know about awakening. Recently, for example, I saw advertised a small group retreat offering half a dozen fully awakened teachers, each of whom, by the very act of appearing, must be recognized as such in one's thought and in so doing, situate an observer me relative to another me, the teacher person.
The Seven Steps To Awakening is free of all that. Instead, the book's structure and content facilitate, through careful reading of very potent, short passages, an increase in desire for full freedom from the mental prison of the human construct that is the personal me. Far from a random selection of material, you could think of this book as an essential tool kit perfectly arranged to illuminate in clear language how to use the tool kit itself. The book's passages have two qualities for which they have been carefully selected: first is their meaning and second is their effect. If the effect is deeply felt the meanings expand greatly, become clear, and the focus stays on how rather than who or why.
To turn away from the cognitive me and its thought world, toward what one actually is, takes courage, desire and method. Courage is faith and knowledge, which the book aims to support, by selecting words of the greatest sages set in a sequence or flow intended to increase desire, reduce fear and eliminate confusion through sheer clarity. Eliminating the need to comb through hundreds of pages in dozens of books, it is all right here. One can easily feel the truth of what is said. Then it becomes obvious that one must take it to heart. Whether this happens or not, whether one's life is given over to truth, can be greatly helped by reading this book. In the end, as the editor once wrote to me, one must solve one's own spiritual problem. Turning repeatedly to this essential text works because it enables one to find and verify the truth in oneself.
on January 3, 2012
Seven Steps To Awakening contains nothing new to anyone who has concerned themselves at all with Vedic literature, or to certain schools of Buddhism or even Taoism. In fact, there are even many Western equivalent teachings, if one knows where to search for them. For instance, the first "Step" reads as, "Use the quotes as practise instructions. Know that a conceptual journey is not a journey to Awakening." In modern Western culture, we might express this idea as, "The map is not the territory," or, "To know about a thing is not to know the thing." The ideas in the Seven Steps are not new or even particularly difficult to find in many traditions.
The genius of this book rests upon 3 things:
First, the steps are all gathered together in one place and arranged sequentially in the order they ought to be experienced so as to be most easily assimilated and not just filed away in the intellectual file cabinet of the mind.
Second, these are inspired words. I hesitate to refer to them as "scripture", since I suspect those being quoted in this work would probably balk at the idea that their words are scripture. However, like all true scripture, the words carry some of the power that was present when their authors first spoke them. Call it a transmission of power, if you like. But however you choose to define it, reading and dwelling on the quotations here conveys some of that state of awareness out of which the words first emerged. It is a small taste of the experience of liberation, just for taking the time to read and ponder.
Third, and perhaps the most important, the final step involves the direct experience of awareness. It is not flashy. Reading what is suggested will probably not knock you to the floor in amazement and wonder. But, as the first step suggests, if you put it into practice, the effects WILL knock you to the floor. I have not come across an exposition of direct awareness so clear and powerful since having found the Taoist treatise, "The Secret of the Golden Flower", (the version translated by Thomas Cleary, not the severely flawed and misinterpreted earlier version of Wilhelm Reich and Carl Jung.) The Golden Flower presents the same direct awareness recommendation which it refers to as, "turning the light around".
If you are relatively new to spiritual practices which have as their aim direct, transcendental experience, you would be hard pressed to find a better guide than Seven Steps to Awakening. It is not difficult to understand on an intellectual basis, or hard to put into practice so as to assimilate the teachings and make them your own experience. It is my opinion that, even if you are a follower of any of the Big Three religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam,) the Seven Steps will serve to deepen and strengthen you in your chosen path, rather than to detract from it, as is so often feared by those who reject everything out of hand that does not originate from their chosen system of spirituality.
And, if you are somewhat more experienced, but are perhaps still searching for instruction and guidance that "clicks" with you, the Seven Steps is, in my opinion, a very good candidate to suit your needs. You will not learn anything earth-shatteringly new, but for the reasons I stated above, it may just be the thing that pushes you over that magical tipping point.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
on March 2, 2012
I have read hundreds of spiritual books. The Seven Steps to Awakening is the best spiritual book I have ever read.
The human mind has thousands of layers of self-deception. That is why so few people ever realize the true Self. By placing the quotes in Seven Categories the mind can stay focused on one category long enough to penetrate those layers of self-deception.
Each of the seven Sages has a different style of communication. Seeing a category from seven different styles of communication also helps the teaching to be transmitted through all those layers of self-deception.
I have read all eight of the books that these quotes were collected from. The problem with those eight books is that they skip from one topic to another without a sustained focus on a single topic. The Seven Steps to Awakening solves that problem by placing the quotes in seven categories.
The Seven Steps to Awakening is a concentrated teaching with no distractions or detours. It is the direct path communicated directly.
The Seven Steps to Awakening is the best book for those who would like to realize their true Self in this lifetime. If you are sincere, reading the book will produce a profound spiritual experience and change your perspective completely.
This collection of quotes by the great awakened Sages Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Vasistha, Sankara, Muruganar, Annamalai Swami and Sadhu Om is as close to spiritual experiential perfection as can be communicated in book form. It is clarity itself. Every quote is a direct clear teaching with no distractions or detours.
on December 12, 2010
I highly recommend this for those who are working with "Bliss" or other Non-Duality methods. One way to approach the book is to read over it quickly first, in order to satisfy the ego. Then take your time with each chapter and each quote, allowing it to speak to you, and give you a realization (which will happen).
The book gets right to the core of the Work, and clears up any misconceptions about thought being "the way", rather than direct experience. Many of the quotes can also be used as seeds for contemplation, bringing the doer back to Self.
on February 22, 2013
Because the author, enlightened and a native Sanskrit himself, took painstaking care in selecting passages from these spiritual masters and a few others, and translating them from their original Sanskrit form. Then, he put them in a certain order, giving the reader deeper insight with each page. The introduction itself is a profound spiritual lesson. You might awaken without it, but you're sure to awaken more quickly with it!
on October 26, 2010
Seven Steps to Awakening will guide you to the unconditioned state. Regardless of who think you are or what you think you know eventually you will come to an awakening. How you use this book to awaken is clearly up to you and your committment to awaken. Our age has produced few individuals with this clear insight into the nature of our conditioned state. Knowledge is conceptable by nature, this book points to needless accumulation of knowledge and leads one to the path of knowing.