I enthusiastically recommend this book!
Click the image below to link to Adyashanti’s web site.
I love the writing of Stephan Bodian (pictured below), author of Wake Up Now. He writes about awakening with such clarity! When I finished the book, I signed up for his newsletter. The following short piece is from his January 2012 issue. As I read it I felt myself smiling and could feel the words, “Yes! This Is It!” dancing through the open chambers of my heart. Aaaahhhh.
“Just had a lovely session with a woman this morning who said she longed to awaken to the truth because she felt strongly motivated to put an end to her anxiety and depression. I invited her to rest here, in this moment, and welcome whatever arises. Right now, I said, without consulting your mind, does anything need to be different from the way it is? Is anything missing, even enlightenment? No, no…t at all, she said, after a pause. Now ask yourself, who is experiencing this moment right now? Anything you experience is just an object of experience–but who is the experiencer? She sat with this question in silence for a long time, then finally said, I don’t know. Then rest in this not knowing, I offered. What is it like? Again, after a long pause, she said, it’s limitless and silent; it has no edges. Then she started to cry, with tears of gratitude and wonder. I can’t believe it, she said. I can’t believe this is what I am–this vast mystery. Yes, I said, this is it. Just rest as you are, and let everything arise in you. This is the enlightenment you’ve been seeking.”
The following text is from the book Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth.
Inquiry can be done any time, anywhere—when you are alone, with a friend, with a teacher. It can be done as a writing practice. Begin by becoming aware of a question—something you don’t know but want to know. If you are aware of a problem you have, but think you know why you have it and what to do about it, there is no reason to do inquiry. The effectiveness of inquiry lies in its open-endedness, its evocation of true curiosity.
When you practice inquiry, you see what and who you have been taking yourself to be that you have never questioned. Inquiry allows you to be in direct contact with that which is bigger than what you are writing about: the infinite unexplored worlds beyond your everyday discursive mind.
- Give yourself twenty minutes in which you won’t be disturbed.
- Sense your body. Feel the surface you are sitting on. Notice the point of contact your skin is making with your clothes. Be aware of your feet as they touch the floor. Feel yourself inhabiting your arms, your legs, your chest, your hands.
- Ask yourself what you are sensing right now—and where you are sensing it. Be precise. Do you feel tingling? Pulsing? Tightening? Do you feel warmth or coolness? Are the sensations in your chest? Your back? Your throat? Your arms?
- Start with the most compelling sensations and ask these questions: Does the sensation have shape, volume, texture, color? How does it affect me to feel this? Is there anything difficult about feeling this? Is it familiar? How old do I feel when I feel this? What happens as I feel it directly?
- At this point, you might begin associating a sensation with a memory or a particular feeling like sadness or loneliness. And you might have a reaction, might want to close down, go away, stop writing. Remember that a sensation is an immediate, primary experience located in the body, whereas a reaction is a secondary experience located in the mind. Some examples of reactions are: the desire to eat compulsively, telling yourself that your pain will never end, comparing how or what you feel to how you want to feel, comparing the present experience to your past experience, comparing yourself to someone else, making up a story about what is going on.
When you notice that you are reacting to what you are experiencing, come back to your body. Sense what is going on in your chest, your legs, your back, your belly. Inquiry is about allowing your direct and immediate experience to unfold; it is not about a story you are constructing in your mind.
- Recognize, name and disengage from The Voice. If you feel small, collapsed or powerless, it is usually a sign that The Voice is present. The Voice says things like, “You will never be good enough”; “Your will never change”; “You deserve to suffer”’ You are a failure / a bad person / unlovable / stupid / worthless / fat / ugly.” Any feelings of same are a response to The Voice.
To continue with the inquiry, you must disengage from The Voice, since its intent is to keep you circumscribed by its definition of safe and to maintain the status quo.
If recognizing its presence does not dispel it, you can say, “Back off!” or “Go away!” or “Go pick on someone your own size.” Keep it short. Keep it simple. A successful disengagement defuses The Voice and releases the sensations.
- Whenever you notice that you are engaged in a reaction or are distracted, confused, numb or out of tough, go back to sensing your body.
- Pay attention to secrets, thoughts or feelings you’ve censored. When those arise, be curious about them. Be curious about what’s hidden in them.
- Don’t try to direct the inquiry with your mind. If you have an agenda or preferences (i.e., you don’t want to feel needy or angry or hateful), the inquiry won’t unfold. As the Tibetan Buddhists say, “Be like a child, astonished at everything.”
Remember: Inquiry is a practice. It’s not something you “get” the first or tenth time around. You don’t do inquiry to get something; you do it because you want to find out who you are when you are not conditioned by your past or your idea of what a good person is supposed to be. Each time you do it, you learn more. Each time you learn more, you continue the process of dismantling the stale, repetitive version of your (ego) self. With each inquiry, you have the chance to discover that you are not who you think you are. What a relief.
A description of this wonderful book can be found on this page of her web site: http://www.geneenroth.com/women_food_and_god.php.
And here is a clip of the author reading snippets from her book:
“Perhaps the biggest problem which our sense of linear time gives us is our alienation from the present-tense reality of our lives. The fact that we spend so much of our time immersed in thoughts about the future and past means that we don’t live fully–or even mainly–in the present. Rather than focusing our attention on the surroundings we’re in at a particular moment or the things we’re doing in the surroundings, we think about things we were doing–or surroundings we were in–at times in the past, or things we are planning to do in the future. This is slightly bizarre; the present is the only reality we have, we can only live in the present. The fact that we’re largely alienated from it means that, to a large extent, we aren’t actually living. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee that only one that is… Thus we never actually live, but hope to live.”
More strictly, though, this isn’t specifically an effect of our awareness of the future and the past, but our thought-chatter in general. It isn’t so much that we think about the future and the past, but just that we think, that whenever our attention is free we become immersed in a world of abstraction in our heads. Rather than giving our attention to the present-tense reality of our lives, we give it to our thoughts–or, failing that, to distractions like television, computer games or newspapers. The only time we frequently come close to “living in the moment” is in moments of “active absorption” or “flow,” when our attention is completely concentrated on an activity–for example, dancing, writing, painting or playing a musical instrument–and get so involved in it that we forget ourselves and our surroundings. In these moments we do live in the present in the sense that we give our whole attention to something that we’re doing in the present. However, this is a very limited kind of present-tense awareness, since it involves “blanking out” the whole of our surroundings and our experience apart from one small part of it.
And our inability to live in the present is connected to the familiarity mechanism, too, which makes our present surroundings and the things we experience in them appear so drearily familiar to us that we don’t feel the need to pay attention to them, just as we don’t feel the need to watch an old film which has been on TV dozens of times before.
The ability to live fully in the present is one of the benefits that what I call the “trans-Fall” state of being brings us. In the words of D.H. Lawrence, there is a “marvelous rich world of contact and sheer fluid beauty/ and fearless face-to-face awareness of now-naked life” waiting for us, if we can manage to subdue our constant thought-chatter and transfer some of the vitality we waste through it into our perceptions of the world around us.”
Evidence for a Golden Age,
6,000 years of insanity,
and the dawning of a new era