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Suffering is caused by identification with egoic consciousness. When we identify with egoic consciousness, we go unconscious or become unaware of our true nature as conscious spirit.

Adyashanti (born Steven Gray October 26, 1962) is an American spiritual teacher and author from the San Francisco Bay Area who offers talks, online study courses, and retreats in the United States and abroad. He is the author of numerous books, CDs and DVDs and, together with his wife Mukti, is the founder of Open Gate Sangha, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1996 which supports and makes available his teachings.


  • I often tell people to make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being more or less happy. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.
    • The End of Your World:Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment (2008), p. 126
  • The main purpose of the illusion of me is to keep you at all costs from realizing your own nothingness.
    • The Undivided Self (2004)
  • The unknown, our own true nature, has the capacity to wake itself up when you start to fall in love with letting go of all the mental structures you hold onto. Contemplate this: there is no such thing as a true belief.

Interview for The Sun Magazine (2007)[edit]

The Sun Magazine | Who Hears This Sound? (page 3)
  • Sy Safransky: Didn’t taking the name “Adyashanti” reinforce a certain sense that you are an enlightened holy man?
    Adyashanti: Oh, absolutely it did. It’s sort of a ridiculous-sounding Eastern name. (...) I always tell people to call me “Adya,” and leave the “shanti” part off.
  • True love is not all bliss. As my teacher said, true love is bittersweet, like dark chocolate. It almost hurts a little bit. Ultimately all emotions contain their opposite.
  • Luc Saunders: What do you think happens to individual consciousness after the death of a body?
    Adyashanti: The question presumes that there is such a thing as individual consciousness. Awakening shows you that there isn’t. The mind creates the illusion of individual consciousness to convince us that this awareness is ours, that it belongs to us. I imagine that, after the death of the body, it’s very difficult to maintain the illusion of individual consciousness. But who knows? We’ll see. I’ll give you a phone call if I can. [Laughs.]

The Basic Teachings - Part 1: Principles of the Teaching (2009)[edit]

Cafe Dharma Video Page (the video needs to be selected manually)
  • Over time I found that one of the most important things in any spiritual teaching for anybody is to have a really basic and simple understanding of that teaching. And the reason for that is because as one gets involved in a spiritual teaching, it's really easy to lose sight of the basics, or the foundations.
  • Suffering is caused by identification with egoic consciousness. When we identify with egoic consciousness, we go unconscious or become unaware of our true nature as conscious spirit.
  • Egoic consciousness is something that the vast majority of people live in almost all the time. Humanity is by and large caught in this realm of egoic consciousness, and therefore manifests it in the way that we, human beings, live our lives - both individually and collectively.
  • Ego itself is a fiction created in the mind by circular patterns of thinking based on separation. So, 'the ego is the fiction in the mind' - what does that mean? [It means] that ego is basically our sense of self, and the thoughts, ideas and beliefs that circle around that sense of self that go into deriving a bigger, more conceptualized version of ourself. In other words: who we think and imagine ourselves to be.
  • Our egos are always trying to find happiness where [it] can't be found. One can't find true, lasting happiness outside of themselves. Whatever happiness you find outside of yourself, can be taken away. And in time, it will be taken away, because the nature of everything that exists, everything you can observe, everything that is around you, is that it is impermanent.
  • Who you think you are is just that - it is who you think you are. It is who you have been taught to believe that you are. It's a conglomeration of beliefs about yourself, ideas, opinions, judgements, all the ways that mind keeps thinking about a self - thinking a separate self into existence.
  • To have enough curiosity to start to question your deepest identity is absolutely vital and essential to spiritual awakening, and to the realization of peace and freedom.
  • You can't get rid of thoughts, and you can't get rid of thinking. To battle your mind is one of the most deceptive ways that the mind keeps you in its own domain.
  • The cause of suffering is not thinking, it's identification with thinking. This is very, very important to understand, because if you don't understand that it's identification with thinking that's really at the heart of the matter, and you assume that it's thinking itself that's the problem, then you can waste immense amounts of time and energy trying to stop your mind from thinking, trying to better your mind.
  • The mind is something that happens within you. Thinking is something that happens within what you are. Thinking does not define what you are. Thinking doesn't define anything.
  • Our true nature is something that is ineffable. In other words, it's not something you can grasp, it's not something you can really think about, it's not something you can touch, taste, or feel. (...) Because it has no shape, because it has no form, that is the reason that I call it spirit. Spirit is that which exists, but it doesn't have a particular shape or a particular form.
  • When we come to the realization that we are not this identity that the mind has created, but we're actually spirit, at that moment spirit has become conscious of itself. It's become conscious of itself as spirit, as ineffable being, as a sort of conscious presence.
  • Awakened values are not really based in morality. They're not based in should or shouldn'ts. Awakened values are values that are inherent within conscious spirit.
  • Every human being... the way they move in live, how they act, is completely dictated by what they value.
  • Unity is a truth. The truth is, there's only ultimately one. All this diversity we see - and there's great diversity and great uniqueness! But underlying it, the essence of all of it is conscious spirit. Conscious spirit is what everything is. Spirit is what everything is. Spirit is what's expressing itself. When you look around you, what you're really seeing is the expressions of ineffable spirit. That's what you're seeing. No matter what you see, no matter what you experience, it's really a manifestation of spirit.
  • The good news is that at the essence of who and what we are there is a deep and fundamental goodness. Not the goodness that we've been taught, not like morally good, as opposed to morally bad, but something deeper - a goodness which is inherent in what we are.
  • All the ideas we have about the awakening actually are distortions about what it really is. So we really need to let go of not only all of our ideas of ourself, but all of our ideas about spiritual realization, enlightenment, spiritual awakening. All of those need to be let go of as well, so that we can find out what's the truth, what's the reality of what we are.

The Way of Liberation (2012)[edit]

Adyashanti Way of Liberation
  • It is impossible to know what words like liberation or enlightenment mean until you realize them for yourself. This being so, it is of no use to speculate about what enlightenment is; in fact, doing so is a major hindrance to its unfolding. As a guiding principle, to progressively realize what is not absolutely True is of infinitely more value than speculating about what is.
  • No spiritual teaching is a direct path to enlightenment. In fact, there is no such thing as a path to enlightenment, simply because enlightenment is ever present in all places and at all times. What you can do is to remove any and all illusions, especially the ones you value most and find the most security in, that cloud your perception of Reality. Let go of clinging to your illusions and resisting what is, and Reality will suddenly come into view.

Wake Up San Francisco event (2015)[edit]

Alanis Morissette - Wake Up San Francisco with Adyashanti & Tami Simon - YouTube
  • I think one of the hallmarks of a spiritual maturity (or even a human maturity) is the ability to shift perspective. (...) We often use these words that give this... impression, which I think is a false impression ultimately, that there's some ultimate perspective that is the right and correct perspective, as if unity consciousness or something is the correct perspective. But, you know, if I'm a 3-year-old kid and someone's threatening my life, and my mother's next to me, I want her to be in a fierce perspective, right? I don't want her to kinda just go "it's all one, so it really doesn't matter if you're harmed". It does matter. And so... yeah, I think the ability to shift perspective is really vital to our functionality.
    • starts at 5:45
  • The beautiful thing is that anybody has the potential for a massive shift in perspective... even if they're a complete mess.
    • starts at 10:27
  • One of the exciting things about today is [that] people are not, for the most part (...) even in their spiritual domain, they're not satisfied necessarily with just an internal revelatory spiritual experience anymore. Most people that I meet are hooked up in such a way that it only is really deeply meaningful to them unless it actually starts to transform how they move and experience... their contribution to life.
    • starts at 11:43
  • Sometimes, you know, when we meet people, it seems to me (...) [that] it's hard to gain access to a real conversation. It's almost like it takes one of us to just be real, even if it's to say "you know, I don't really know what to say to you." Or to say no. Sometimes you have to say no, or to set a boundary.
    • starts at 18:20

Quotes about Adyashanti[edit]

  • Every single word that you write resonates. (...) I was first exposed to your work with Spontaneous Awakening, and I was excited because you... I was struck by (and this is my projection onto you) how intergrated you were, you seemed (...) very psychologically aware, spiritually aware, energetically aware, intuitively aware, somatically aware (...). It just felt like home when I would read, so thank you.
  • A sought-after gifted spiritual thinker, author and teacher. His message is simple: grace has the power to transform lives.

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