“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Book: Awakening to the Obvious

I've published a new book that compiles my essays on non-duality, including several that first appeared on this blog. "Awakening to the Obvious" is available both as an e-book and a paperback.

From the introduction: 

In January, 1994, after a contemplative practice of more than two decades, I awoke to the transcendent heart. That fact, plus a couple bucks, entitles me to a (small) cup of Starbuck’s coffee. I’ve waited nearly 20 years to publish these essays about my experience of awakening—in order to give the stink of enlightenment time to wear off.
My penname, Adyashakti, is Sanskrit for “Primordial Energy.” I’m a former national magazine editor, and an award-winning author of several novels, one of them published in 10 languages. I’m married (for more than a quarter century), with two grown sons, a grizzled old greyhound, and a nearly paid-off mortgage. I spent my late teens, twenties and thirties studying the world’s religions, with particular focus on the mystics of each faith; throughout my thirties I was a journalist, in my forties I wrote science fiction; in my fifties I spent seven years teaching world religions at the university level. I’m 61 as I write this book.
I am not a guru or spiritual master, nor any kind of “purified” or “perfected” human being. (Just ask my wife or kids. Or dog.) I am not living in a special state of grace, nor undergoing unusual experiences, nor do I possess super-normal abilities. Indeed, without wearing glasses, I would not even be able to clearly see these words as I type.
In short, nothing about me as a personality could be called extraordinary. Yet this does not detract from the matter at hand: I do understand my original nature, as described in Buddhist and other mystical teachings of the past twenty-five centuries. I have seen beyond the limits of conventional identity, into the open nature (free capacity) of consciousness itself.
Therefore, it is clear to me that enlightenment (or the enjoyment of reality) is not opposed to the flow of ordinary life and change and death; not at odds with car payments, health insurance premiums, and the lifestyle of a modern Western householder.

This book offers no special doctrine the reader can adhere to. “The Great Way has no back,” said the Chinese sage Lao Tzu. “Thus, it cannot be followed.” However, this book may help you to reconcile with the inherent mystery of life as it is, and thus be one with (no longer at odds with) the Great Way.
Like the taste of fresh, clear water, “enlightenment” is subtle to describe. Yet it is here for the tasting, and even the most carefully chosen words become obsolete as soon as you take the first sip.

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