"An extraordinary book that weaves together years of scholarly investigation and contemplative practice to help us understand the nature of reality. ... 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.
It's Not What You Think It Is 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.