Awakening to the Natural State Paperback – Sep 1 2004
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Some people may say his books are not for beginners. That they may require some background on Advaita or Non-duality. Personally, I do believe these books are perfect for beginners. No information or knowledge is needed at all. They will save a lot of time and digging to any seeker. I went to several retreats, courses and workshops, I spent one year in Zen monasteries. Now I just wish I started with John's books. I would've spared a lot of money and frustration.
I read many books on New Age, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism and many others. I read from Ramana Maharshi to J. Krishnamurti, from Shunryu Suzuki to Lama Yeshe, from Deepak Chopra to Eckhart Tolle, but John Wheeler is more solid and straight to the point than any other - in my opinion.
Till now I read "Awakening to the Natural State", I'm halfway through "Shining in Plain View" and I read bits and pieces of "You Were Never Born". They are all as clear as pristine water and direct as a lightning thunder.
He is utterly humble and simple, no self there at all looking for credit or recognition. At the same time, he is direct and ruthless when it comes to dismantling your illusions. I've sent him a couple of e-mails and he answers with the same clarity and straightforwardness used in the books. He is deeply "interested" in your direct understanding of your true nature, although deeply detached too.
Book 1, 2 and 3 are questions and answers, from beginning to end. Book 4 (You Were Never Born) adds an introduction to the basic points of John's approach, a collection of "pointers" and an interview with a Dzogchen practitioner.
All books are highly recommended. My understanding about spiritual issues is clearer than ever before. The beginning of the end of my spiritual quest has begun. It will conclusively end when I meet John in person. I will travel all the way from Europe to California just to meet him. I have absolutely no doubt that all will be clear and finished by then. That's how clear and sharp John Wheeler is to me.
Take a look to John's website and judge for yourself: [...]
I try to get suspicious about what I have been experiencing, and I generally doubt everything in my life, but I just can't get myself to doubt this. It is impossible to doubt. It is for each to experience this for themselves. This book is what did it for me, and I believe reading Jiddu Krishnamurti earlier in my life prepared me for this as well. It just happens to be the case, somewhat arbitrarily, that this book was it. Therefore, I have to declare this the most profound book I have ever read. However, the message is very simple and many others have written about it. So it could easily have been another book. Bottom line is, this book has the potential to evoke this revelation in you, as it did for me. I urge you to read this and similar stuff. Your life might change from the root, entirely, forever.
Please don't judge me as arrogant. All of this is there for all of us to experience and it is very easy. See for yourself and you will know. And if you know, you will understand the joy I feel in writing this review.
"Not being clear on our true nature, we believe the concepts and stories in the mind and they take us for a ride." pg 26
"Once you begin to glimpse your true nature as the awareness in which the mind and all else appears, you are out of the game." pg. 31
John's writing is very smooth, clear and direct. Very few "theories" for the mind to get hold of. Rather, just a constant barrage of pointers saying, "Here, here it is, it's right here. It's been here all the time!"
One thing I like about Wheeler is that he answers a lot of questions that I have not seen answered elsewhere. The book is filled with questions from seekers, fired one after another at Wheeler and he deftly shines an illuminating light on them all. He is able to do this because all his answers come from the same place... the space this presently arising moment is arising in!
To paraphrase John's message: We are not what arises, we are the space in which it arises.
Watch here how he assures a seeker who feels he had "it"(awakening), but lost it somehow:
"The interesting thing is that even while you are doing this and seemingly losing it, nothing has really changed. This is all just a play of thoughts dancing around in front of you and does not really touch you."
A very nice reminder that who you are never changes, even if you forget who you are!
If you like your medicine straight, you will definitely enjoy this book. (To see more of my spiritual book reviews, please visit my website. -Michael Jeffreys)