Journey of Awakening Book Summary - Journey of Awakening Book explained in key points
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Journey of Awakening summary

Ram Dass

A Meditator's Guidebook

4.7 (219 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Journey of Awakening is a guide for spiritual seekers by Ram Dass. It explores the nature of consciousness, the ego, and the journey to inner peace and enlightenment.

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    Journey of Awakening
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Meditation helps you to live in the present moment and find balance and clarity.

    Have you ever had a moment when you felt at peace with the world – a moment totally free of self-conscious thought? It’s like being a surfer who catches a wave and moves in perfect harmony with the force of the water. This is a moment of flow.

    People often refer to flow as “losing oneself” or “forgetting oneself.” It can happen when you’re alone or with people you love and trust. These moments – when your anxiety is released and your awareness expands – are the essence of meditation.

    Sadly, most of the time, flow evades us – because we’re trapped by our egos. 

    The key message here is: Meditation helps you to live in the present moment and find balance and clarity.

    Think of your ego like a room made of your thoughts – you see the world through its windows. Your ego wants to convince you that your identity depends on staying inside, where everything is familiar and comfortable. Because you’re afraid to leave, your ego can become a prison.

    Outside of this prison is where flow exists. The good news is that you don’t have to destroy your ego to spend time outside its walls; you can stroll in and out as you please. How? When you begin a meditation practice, you poke holes in the walls of your ego – which helps you adapt to the idea that your thoughts are not reality. 

    The purpose of meditation is to help you move outside of your daily thoughts more easily so that you can live fully in the present. But perhaps you’re pursuing the healing powers of meditation halfheartedly, or for ego-driven reasons – like to increase pleasure or power. You secretly hope it won’t work, and you won’t really have to leave your familiar rooms. 

    Even if your initial goal for meditation is to feed the ego, the practice itself, paradoxically, leads to liberation from ego – if you can overcome your resistance to change. As you meditate more, the stillness allows deeper motives to emerge that encourage you to further your practice – and your thought prison starts to crumble.

    When your mind is rooted in awareness, reality is relative. You grow less attached to your thoughts, and stop clinging to feelings – like anger and fear – that make your life difficult. In doing so, you come to see the world differently.

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    What is Journey of Awakening about?

    Journey of Awakening (1978) is a guide to establishing and solidifying a personal meditation practice. Combining insights from many spiritual traditions, it outlines a path to self-realization through meditation – offering sage advice on how to stay the course through doubt, fear, and ego traps.

    Who should read Journey of Awakening?

    • Spiritually curious thinkers who aren’t sure where to start
    • Stressed-out people looking for peace of mind
    • Anyone interested in meditation

    About the Author

    Ram Dass was an American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and writer. He was the author of several best sellers, including Be Here Now, Still Here, Miracle of Love, and Grist for the Mill, and he founded the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman FoundationBefore his spiritual awakening, he conducted research at Harvard University with Timothy Leary on the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs.

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