Reading/Watching

Book: The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment – Adyashanti

2/23

This book is available on Scribd.com. If you click that link and sign-up you’ll get 60 free days of membership and I’ll get 30. 

The spiritual teacher Adyashanti will, no doubt, be familiar with many of you reading this. I was not really familiar with him until this book was recommended. Now, I’ve seen his name pop up on YouTube recommendations the odd time and have watched a few videos here and there but truthfully I wasn’t all that aware of who he is and what he does. Which doesn’t mean anything other than I didn’t come into reading this book pre-loaded with expectations.

The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment - AdyashantiIf you were going to read an Alan Watts book or a Ram Daas book the chances are you’re going to have a fair idea of who they are before reading the book. Of course, I’m probably a bit of an outsider here in not having really known who Adyashanti was, across his social media profiles on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram he has the bones of 200,000 followers, meaning he has a regular audience of about 10% of that. That’s quite a draw. Regardless, I just wanted to say that coming into the book I had no real preconceptions of what the book was going to be about.

The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment

In the intro to the book, Tami Simon, the book’s editor, spells out why and how this book came together. Actually, it was a series of talks given by Adya in 2008 with the topic being on the misconceptions, pitfalls, and delusions that can occur after an initial experience of spiritual awakening.’ Any of us on this lonely road know that books about spiritual enlightenment and how to achieve it are ten-a-penny; most are nonsense and we all have a few of them gathering dusk on our shelves. Is there a worse heartbreak that buying a book you don’t like? Well, actual heartbreak is certainly but every time you see that book you bought that you don’t like you’re reminded that you’re actually an idiot and know nothing; which helps you learn something. In conclusion to this thought then, all bad books lead to good books, now back to this book…

So, look, this is a pretty good book if you’re had any awakening experiences. I’m finding myself a little bit nervous writing here and I’m feeling a little reticent and I shouldn’t be at all. I’ve had many awakening experiences and am happy to talk about them with people who want to know. Indeed, that’s probably why the sense of reticence is here, I’ve no way of knowing if you, dear reader, have had similar experiences so…my thoughts are a mess, let me try this again…it seems like I’m looking at this book review as if I’m writing to people who have not had awakening experiences. If you haven’t had any aforementioned experiences then this book is no good for you and I really shouldn’t be tailoring a review to you. Sorry, that’s the old journalist in me; treat your readers as if it’s the first time hearing about what you’re writing about. That the approach we were told to take in journalism school. 

That approach won’t work here though. Let me put it in a sporting term; you can pick up a book and learn how to play football, the rules, certain tactics for possible outcomes, the paraphernalia needed etc. but a beginner’s book about football won’t teach you how to stay calm when there’s x-amount of opposition fans screaming torrents of abuse at you as you line up to take a penalty kick. You can only learn to handle that experience from previous experience. And thus; The End of Your World is something like that, you’re only going to get something from this book if you’re had one or two or x-amount of awakening experiences. 

But the book isn’t gatekeep-y, to use a modern phrase, it’s very much open to any experiences from any spiritual traditions, be they Western or Eastern but what it does is, it gives the reader some grounding for when you’ll be asking yourself ‘what do I do now?’ after you’ve had some kind of experience. It’s very clearly written, the language is very simple, you’re not going to need a footrest tome of a dictionary here as can often be the case with lofty spirituality books. Adya’s style is simplicity; boiling things do to the essentials when it comes to awakening and non-daulity consciousness. Of course, his style is the direct method of awakening but there’s plenty in here for people on the progressive path too. 

The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment

I saved a decent amount of quotes when reading it on Scribd (I bloody love that feature) so let’s go with one I really like:

But understand one thing: the trajectory of our spiritual lives—no matter what our path, whether it’s a progressive path or a direct path, whether it is a devotional path or otherwise—the trajectory of our spiritual lives and of all spiritual awakening is toward surrender. Ultimately, that’s the name of the spiritual game. Everything we do spiritually is leading us to a spontaneous state of surrender—to letting go. That is where it all leads, no matter what the path is, no matter what the practice is. Once you know that, you notice that each step along the way is the next opportunity to surrender. It may take effort to get there; it may take effort to get you to the point where you are willing to let go into grace, but ultimately the whole of spirituality boils down to letting go of the illusion of the separate self, letting go of the way we think the world is and the way we think it should be.

Ah, that dirty word ‘surrender!’ How can we possibly let go of control? When we do that, life falls apart! But wait, that’s not what he’s saying. That way I see it, surrendering here means more like letting go or casting aside something. Y’know, I’m up to my eyes in Advaita Vedanta and Hindu spirituality at the moment and of course they are big on the idea of Maya/illusion. So, for me, this surrendering is the casting off or the letting go of the

Santa Barbara Lifestyle Photographer Doug Ellis
Santa Barbara Lifestyle Photographer Doug Ellis

biases/projections/discriminations/shadows we’re picked up over our life thanks to our experiences and thoughts that are clouding the true reality of our lives. For me, this surrendering isn’t giving over control of myself to someone/something else, it is rather taking back my true form from the illusions I’ve bought into over the years. 

I feel you’re likely to learn quite a bit from this book if you are, like me, a solo practitioner of spirituality. The whole aim of meditating is to ‘awaken’ so a book like this is going to give you a good grounding for when certain experiences do occur. There were often times when I thought, ‘ah-yea, that’s what that was’ while reading. But the overall message of the book is about the peeling back of the layers of maya/disillusions/projections etc. we’ve gathered along the way to return to our true selves. 

Let me finish then with one final quote to further illustrate this point:

8★

2/23

This book is available on Scribd.com. If you click that link and sign-up you’ll get 60 free days of membership and I’ll get 30. 

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