Read an excerpt from spiritual thinker Adyashanti's Falling into Grace.
By Adyashanti
248 pages; Sounds True
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I was reflecting recently on my many years of teaching. One of the things I've noticed is that the most transformative element of any spiritual teaching is its basics, its fundamentals. These are also the easiest to forget, because our minds have a natural tendency to move into complexity. The mind believes that the more subtle and complex something is, the more accurately it reflects reality. What I've seen, however, over the many years of my own teaching, is that it is actually the fundamentals of the teaching that are the most impactful; that it is the basic elements of the teaching that hold the true power to help transform our lives.

Our minds have a hard time believing this—how something so simple can be so powerful. But I continue to see that by exploring the most basic elements of why we suffer and how we perceive life from the perspective of separation, that these are without a doubt the most transformative aspects of the teaching.

Beyond even any teaching, though, the aspect of spiritual life that is the most profound is the element of grace. Grace is something that comes to us when we somehow find ourselves completely available, when we become openhearted and open-minded, and are willing to entertain the possibility that we may not know what we think we know. In this gap of not knowing, in the suspension of any conclusion, a whole other element of life and reality can rush in. This is what I call grace. It's that moment of "ah-ha!"—a moment of recognition when we realize something that previously we never could quite imagine.

Many circumstances and experiences are capable of opening us to this grace. Whether it's a beautiful moment in nature or spending time with someone we love or just sitting quietly in stillness, for some reason, a whole new perspective opens up. We find ourselves filled with grace. At other times, grace comes with a more fierce face. Somehow the difficult situations in our lives have a way of opening our hearts and minds the most. We do everything we can to avoid such moments, but in reality, it is these challenging moments that often offer the greatest opportunities for growth and the transformation of consciousness.

You need to have the willingness to slow down, even stop, and fully digest what you hear, because ultimately, the truth of any teaching can never be found in the words. Rather, the truth is found in that which is revealed inside of our own selves. By exploring in this way, we make the teachings our own. And by making a teaching our own, by experiencing what the teaching is pointing to within our own experience, we come to awaken to a view of life that's more whole and unified—and, in the end, one that directly addresses the deepest yearning and longing of the human heart.