The End of Your World by Adyashanti
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
The Truth about Spirituality
Adyashanti is an American born spiritual teacher. A couple years ago that very sentence would have been enough to make me roll my eyes. Spirituality? “Adyashanti”? Come on. But things have changed. I’ve changed.
The End of Your World is perhaps the ultimate book on true Spirituality. Spirituality isn’t about developing mystical powers, believing in Jesus or becoming a better person. It’s about discovering who you Are at the deepest level. The reason this book has such a provocative title is because, as it turns out, who you currently believe you are is wrong.
Spirituality requires you to deconstruct who you think you are in order to discover the truth. Thus, it is the end of “Your” world. Except, more accurate would be to say that it was never your world in the first place. This deconstruction process is what people call “awakening”, or Enlightenment.
Why it’s Awesome
I love this book because it is absolute straight talk about one of the most misunderstood topics I’ve ever come across. Adyashanti isn’t as overly dramatic as Jed McKenna. He isn’t as charismatic as Alan Watts. He just presents the facts as best as they can be presented. If you want honest answers presented in an easy to understand format, Adyashanti is your guy.
Besides explaining the nature of Spirituality, this book will also be a tremendous resource guide for anyone who is looking to undertake this spiritual journey. He is constantly quoting different traps that people can fall into along the way to non-dual awareness. If you ever feel stuck, which you will, one look through this book will likely have the answer.
For instance, many people believe that an Awakening experience is the same as Enlightenment. Not true. As Adyashanti points out, an awakening experience is often only the beginning. It may be years before a person reaches what we would consider Enlightenment.
This confirms with what has been happening in my own life. It seems very likely that several months ago I had some sort of spiritual experience. And yet, I definitely would not say I’m Enlightened. Far from it. The mind has many ways of manipulating these experiences so that your present identity is maintained.
Another point I love that Adyashanti makes is that life itself is often the best spiritual teacher. It’s tempting when you hear about Enlightenment that you can just brute force the process into happening how you want it to. But if you know anything about Enlightenment, you know this isn’t possible. Yes, there are techniques you can work with that will accelerate the process. And yes, you will need iron-clad determination at times. More determination than you’ve ever had in your entire life. But at the end of the day, life has it’s plans and any sense of control is just another illusion.
More often than not, the way people have an awakening experience is not through “techniques”, but through life forcing them into a situation where they have no choice but to confront the reality of their situation. Think of an alcoholic who has to “hit rock bottom” in order to find God and give it all up. This is what Adyashanti calls Fierce Grace, and it’s not pretty. Nor is it what most people sign up for when they say they want to be Spiritual. But this is the process. There is a shocking amount of agreement from spiritual teachers about this.
The final part I really love about this book is Adyashanti’s description of how you will make decisions post-Enlightenment. One of the by-products of Enlightenment is that you’ll no longer have any preferred outcome in any situation. So instead of “making decisions”, an Enlightened person recognizes patterns and the flow of life, going with it 100% wherever it goes. In reality, you were always going where life wanted you to go anyway, but you’ll no longer believe you are steering the ship. Something higher and much more profound has taken over.
This is something I try to incorporate in my daily life. Whenever I can, I do my best to “feel out” the solution rather than weigh the pros and cons. You could also call it “following your heart”, your intuition or your higher self. These are all words people use for this process.
It’s very difficult from the egoic perspective because the ego loves control and rationality. And for the scientific person, this probably sounds ridiculous. After all, guess work didn’t put a man on the moon. They’d argue that took rigorous and precise planning. Without out, we’d never be able to do what we’re able to do.
This is of course true. Trying to navigate the world without some amount of rationality seems impossible. But it’s also false. Because the truth is that everyone follows their intuition, 100% of the time. Even if you have the best data and mathematical model possible, it can still be wrong. So at the end of the day, you’re left to make a judgement call based on faith. The only difference is if you’re aware of it or not.
Why Does It Suck
This book probably won’t hit you on an emotional level like some other Enlightenment books have hit me. Emotion is important in the spiritual game because emotions imply you’re really grasping what’s being said, rather than just intellectualizing. So the real value of this book is not to cause you to have an awakening experience, but to help people who are already in the process.
If you’re new to these kind of ideas, I’d suggest reading either Eckhart Tolle or Jed McKenna first. Then come back to this book once you have the foundation and have starting taking steps on your spiritual journey.
The Wrap Up
The End of Your World is an amazing book for those on the path to Enlightenment. If you’re off course, Adyashanti will set you straight.
Be warned, it may conflict with every idea about spirituality you’ve ever had. And if you’re really lucky, it may just cause you to set fire to your whole life.
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