This Extraordinary Moment: Moving Beyond the Mind to Embrace the Miracle of What Is

This Extraordinary Moment: Moving Beyond the Mind to Embrace the Miracle of What Is

by John Astin PhD, Adyashanti

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"The realization that there is no explanation for existence or awareness of existence is ultimate liberation. John Astin's book offers an opportunity for this liberation, if you are ready."  —Deepak Chopra

“This book has the power to transform lives.” —Shauna Shapiro, author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness

Anyone who attempts to describe what is ultimately indescribable faces the same challenge—how does one use words to explain something that transcends language? Many writers fall into the trap of using more words to do the job that most words aren’t even particularly suited for, the ideas growing ever more allusive and abstract as the verbiage piles up. But in trying to unmoor the essence of lived experience from the concepts and stories we use to construct it, author and spiritual teacher John Astin takes a different approach—using fewer words instead of more, and grounding them with exercises designed to evoke the actual experience of what he’s describing.

Evoking the true nature of experience in words is a tricky proposition: perceptual reality has no beginning and no end, making it impossible to delineate, and what arises internally as thoughts and feelings are equally limitless, indeterminate, and unresolvable. While we have countless ways to categorize, conceptualize, and label things, the truth of whatever is being felt, seen, tasted, touched, or heard is infinitely more complex and multidimensional than our conceptual or linguistic structures would have us believe. By becoming more intimate with experience itself—rather than trying to narrate, avoid, or escape it—we can begin to discover that our experiences cannot possibly limit us in the ways we’ve imagined, owing to their radically open-ended and ultimately indefinable nature.

This Extraordinary Moment​ invites you on a journey of boundless inquiry, which becomes a liberating free-fall into the mysteries that lie just beyond our understanding of lived reality—which words can never quite describe. Built entirely around personal experience and exploration, this book provides activities, dialogues, exercises, and meditations to help you unlearn the basic misapprehensions about the nature of moment-to-moment experience, and shows you how to gain distance from the stories you tell about what you’re experiencing, so as to better focus on what’s actually happening in the present moment.

With ultrashort chapters grounded in experiential practices, and without the use of the usual spiritual jargon, this fast-moving, highly readable book makes the esoteric accessible to all—from anyone interested in stress management, well-being, or positive psychology to the devoted spiritual seeker.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684031832
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 120
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

John Astin, PhD, is a songwriter, recording artist, spiritual teacher, and adjunct professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and Notre Dame de Namur University. He is author of Too Intimate for Words, This Is Always Enough, and Searching for Rain in a Monsoon.

Foreword writer Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. Adyashanti is author of The Way of Liberation, Falling into Grace, Emptiness Dancing, True Meditation, and The End of Your World.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface x

Introduction 1

Suggestions for How to Approach This Book 3

Two Approaches to Happiness 5

The Impressionistic Nature of Experience 8

The Misinterpretation of Experience 9

Cognitive Fusion 11

The Map Is Not the Territory 14

What Is Experience Made Of? 16

The Partiality of All Explanations 18

It's Not What You Think It Is 20

Dialogue: The Uses and Limitations of Language 21

Reality, the Greatest Drug of All 24

The Confirmation Bias 26

Distinguishing Thought from Experience 30

Categories 32

Dialogue: Discovering the Common Denominator 35

Interpretive Frameworks 42

Experience Deviates from Our Interpretations 43

The Vast and Indescribable Nature of Experience 45

Dialogue: Are You Saying That Suffering Isn't Real? 46

Relaxing All Effort 53

Don't Do Anything About This 54

Refer to Nothing 56

The Continuous Discontinuity 58

Mindfulness Is Unavoidable 59

Sitting on a Chair Isn't Merely Sitting on a Chair 61

Let Yourself Be Astounded 62

Dialogue: The Room 63

Let the Winds Blow 67

Boundaries 68

Reality: Virtual, Actual…or Both? 70

Everything Is Present 72

The Phenomenal Nature of Phenomena 74

The Mystery of Intention 76

Not Privileging Thought 78

What's True About This? 79

This Is It 80

Resting as the View 81

The Ease of Being Here 82

The Miracle of Perceiving 83

Expressions of Energy 85

We Have Not Been Here Before 86

Everything Slips Away 88

The Knowing of This Moment Is the Feeling of It 89

Being Here Now 91

Presence 93

Drifting Toward Reality 95

The Problem of Oversimplification 97

Signal and Noise 101

What Is Awareness? 103

Dialogue: The Miracle of Everything 105

Wide Open 107

No Hierarchy 108

Time 109

The Freedom of Uncertainty 111

Dialogue: The World Is Made of Verbs 113

The Bottomless Well of Infinity 116

The Borderless Field of Being 118

No Distractions 120

The Olympic Athlete Model of Spirituality 122

Dialogue: The Many Flavors of Here 123

Everything's a One-Off 126

Awareness Is Experience 128

The Fullness of Experience 130

The Surface Is the Deep 132

Overdramatizing the Path 134

Identity and the Body of Experience 136

What Are We? 138

The Impossibility of Measurement 140

Many Flavors, One Taste 143

Experience Doesn't Matter 144

The Magic Show 145

Everything Is What You Want 147

The Indescribability of Everything 148

It's Exactly What You Think It Is…and So Much More Epilogue: This Life That Is Also Death 152

Postscript 154

Acknowledgments 155

References 156


Astin resides in Santa Cruz, CA.

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