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  • Nate Klemp: Open, Expansive, and Free

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    The Sounds True Blog

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    Standing Together, and Stepping Up

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600 Podcasts and Counting...

Subscribe to Insights at the Edge to hear all of Tami's interviews (transcripts available, too!), featuring Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Adyashanti, and many more.

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Nate Klemp: Open, Expansive, and Free

It’s not just you. Millions upon millions of people today are feeling more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed than ever before. As a result, explains philosopher and writer Dr. Nate Klemp, a lot of us are contracting ourselves—closing our minds in an effort to shield ourselves from the constant noise of the 21st century. With his new book, Open, Nate explores possible solutions to help us shift into a life of expansiveness, creativity, and wonder. 

Press the play button and join Tami Simon in conversation with this innovative and inspiring thinker, discussing: breaking free from screen addiction; the drivers of closure; the concept of “feast practice”; our need for novelty; an experiment that may shock you; the practice of staying; shifting from a wandering mind to “meta awareness”; how an open mind is synonymous with an open heart; overcoming separateness; noticing your “closure cues”; skillful closing; the intent to win versus the intent to understand; the portal of bliss and the portal of suffering; getting unstuck; letting go; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Alexandra Roxo: Dare to Feel

There are valid reasons why we sometimes guard our hearts. Yet when we keep them closed, we diminish our capacity to live life to its fullest. Alexandra Roxo has a gift for helping people “meet the difficult places” within us, to heal and open our hearts and “dare to feel” the emotions that were once too painful or overwhelming. 

This episode of Insights at the Edge features Tami Simon in conversation with Alexandra about her new book, Dare to Feel. Inviting us to walk the transformational path of the heart and embrace the totality of our emotional experience, Tami and Alexandra discuss: the emotions of relationship and intimacy; being a warrior of the heart; an overlooked—and wholly avoidable— source of emotional overwhelm; the “spiritual illness” of seeking numbness; the willingness to take risks to nurture and express love, especially with strangers; how contemplative practices help us stay with the full range of our feelings; the intersection of human experience and spiritual experience; pain as a portal to the divine; self-awareness and witness consciousness; emotional resilience and self-trust; practicing feeling; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Lisa Marchiano, LCSW: When You Need to Be Shrewd and R...

Women across every age and culture have struggled with the pain of repressing essential aspects of themselves. There may be no misery greater than when we bury our vital spark beneath a dense layer of niceness that society insists upon. With her book The Vital Spark, Lisa Marchiano, a Jungian analyst, author, and podcaster, offers readers a breakthrough guide filled with insights, practices, tales, and teachings to unleash your “sizzling spirit” and live life to the fullest. 

Get ready to reclaim your “outlaw energies” in this powerful podcast on: transformation through fierce feminine initiations; the protective quality of shrewdness and ruthlessness; breaking out of an “innocence complex”; allowing ourselves to know what we know; why “too much kindness defangs us”; discernment; the metaphor of the central fire within us; Carl Jung’s teaching on the unlived life and the “glowing coals under gray ashes”; the vehicle of story and fairy tales to convey wisdom; the tale of “Fitcher’s Bird”; squinting and symbolism; the unsentimental quality in nature; the story of Lilith; the role of greed and selfishness in the quest for wholeness; growing confidence; cultivating the qualities that help us stay connected with ourselves; and more.

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Amy Scher: How to Heal Yourself From Depression When N...

Amy Scher is an energy therapist, mind-body healing expert, and the bestselling author of How to Heal Yourself From Depression When No One Else Can. She has worked with organizations such as the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University and New York Presbyterian Hospital. With Sounds True, she has published the book, How to Heal Yourself from Depression When No One Else Can: A Self-Guided Program to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t. In this podcast, Tami Simon meets with Amy Scher in conversation about how our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions directly affect the physical body; changing your inner landscape as an important element in healing; our greatest fear: being who we really are; energy psychology practices and techniques; self-healing from depression; and much more.

Life After Awakening, with Adyashanti

Friends, I wanted to share with you a free chapter from Adyashanti‘s inspiring (and very provocative) book The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment.

More and more people are waking up spiritually. And for many of them, the question becomes: Now what? “Information about life after awakening is usually not made public,” explains Adya. “It’s most often shared only between teachers and their students.” The End of Your World is his response to a growing need for direction on the spiritual path. Consider this Adya’s personal welcome to “a new world.”

Here is the excerpt, entitled “Exploring Life After Awakening.” 

There’s a phenomenon happening in the world today. More and more people are waking up—having real, authentic glimpses of reality. By this I mean that people seem to be having moments where they awaken out of their familiar senses of self, and out of their familiar senses of what the world is, into a much greater reality—into some- thing far beyond anything they knew existed.

These experiences of awakening differ from  person to person. For some, the awakening is sustained over time, while for others the glimpse is momentary—it may last just a split second. But in that instant, the whole sense of “self ” disap- pears. The way they perceive the world suddenly changes, and they find themselves without any sense of separation between themselves and the rest of the world. It can be likened to the experience of waking up from a dream—a dream you didn’t even know you were in until you were jolted out of it.

In the beginning of my teaching work, most of the people who came to me were seeking these deeper realizations of spirituality. They were seeking to wake up from the limiting and isolated senses of self they had imagined themselves to be. It’s this yearning that underpins all spiritual seeking: to discover for ourselves what we already intuit to be true— that there is more to life than we are currently perceiving.

But as time  has passed, more  and  more  people are coming to me who have already had glimpses of this greater reality. It is because of them that I am giving the teachings in this book.

The Dawning of Awakening

This discovery I’m talking about is traditionally referred to as spiritual awakening, because one awakens from the dream of separation created by the egoic mind. We realize—often quite  suddenly—that our  sense of  self, which  has  been formed and constructed out of our ideas, beliefs, and images, is not really who we are. It doesn’t define us; it has no center. The ego may exist as a series of passing thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions, but in and of itself it has no identity. Ultimately all of the images we have about ourselves and the world turn out to be nothing but a resistance to things as they are. What we call ego is simply the mechanism our mind uses to resist life as it is. In that way, ego isn’t a thing as much as it is a verb. It is the resistance to what is. It is the pushing away or pulling toward. This momentum, this grasping and rejecting, is what forms a sense of a self that is distinct, or separate, from the world around us.

But with the dawn of  awakening, this outside world begins to collapse. Once we lose our sense of self, it’s as if we have lost the whole world as we knew it. At that moment— whether that moment is just a glimpse or something more sustained—we suddenly realize with incredible clarity that what we truly are is in no way limited to the small sense of self that we thought we were.

Awakening to truth or reality is something that is very hard to talk about because it is transcendent of speech. It is helpful, nevertheless, to work with some sort of a guidepost. The simplest thing one can say about the experiential knowledge of awakening is that it is a shift in one’s perception. This is the heart of awakening. There is a shift in perception from seeing oneself as an isolated individual to seeing oneself, if we have a sense of self at all after this shift, as something much more universal—everything and everyone and every- where at the same time.

This shift is not revolutionary; it’s the same as looking in the mirror in the morning and having an intuitive sense that the face you are looking at is yours. It is not a mystical experience; it is a simple experience. When you look in the mirror, you experience the simple recognition, “Oh, that’s me.” When the shift of perception that’s called awakening happens, whatever our senses come into contact with is experienced as ourselves. It’s as if we think with everything we encounter, “Oh, that’s me.” We don’t experience ourselves in terms of our ego, in terms of a separate someone or separate entity. It’s  more a feeling of the One recognizing itself, or Spirit recognizing itself.

Spiritual awakening is a remembering. It is not becoming something that we are not. It is not about transforming ourselves. It is not about changing ourselves. It is a remembering of what we are, as if we’d known it long ago and had simply forgotten.  At the moment  of this remembering, if the remembering is authentic, it’s not viewed as a personal thing. There is really no such thing as a “personal” awakening, because “personal” would imply separation. “Personal” would imply that it is the “me” or the ego that awakens or becomes enlightened.

But in a true awakening, it is realized very clearly that even the awakening  itself is not personal. It is universal Spirit or universal consciousness that wakes up to itself. Rather than the “me” waking up, what we are wakes up from the “me.” What we are wakes up from the seeker. What we are wakes up from the seeking.

The problem with defining awakening is that upon hear- ing each of  these descriptions, the  mind creates another image, another idea of what this ultimate truth or ultimate reality is all about. As soon as these images are created, our perception is distorted once again. In this way, it’s really impossible to describe the nature of reality, except to say that it’s not what we think it is, and it’s not what we’ve been taught it is. In truth, we are not capable of imagining what it is that we are. Our nature is literally beyond all imagination. What we are is that which is watching—that  consciousness which is watching us pretending to be a separate person. Our true nature is continually partaking of all experience, awake to every instant, to each and every moment.

In awakening, what’s revealed to us is that we are not a thing, nor a person, nor even an entity. What we are is that which manifests as all things, as all experiences, as all personalities. We are that which dreams the whole world into existence. Spiritual  awakening reveals that  that  which is unspeakable and unexplainable is actually what we are.

Abiding and Nonabiding Awakening

As I’ve mentioned, this experience of awakening can be just a glimpse, or it can be sustained over time. Now, some would say that if an awakening is momentary, it is not a real awakening. There are those who believe that, with authentic awakening, your perception opens up to the true nature of things and never closes back down again. I can understand  this perspective, since ultimately the  whole spiritual journey does lead us to  a full  awakening. Full awakening simply means that we perceive from the perspective of Spirit—from the view of oneness—all the time.

From this awakened perspective, there isn’t any separation anywhere—not in the world, not in the universe, not in all the universes everywhere. The truth is anywhere and everywhere, at all times, in all dimensions, for all beings. It is a truth that is the source of everything that will ever be experienced—in  life, after life, in this dimension or any other dimension.

From the perspective of  the ultimate, literally every- thing—be it at a higher or lower dimension, here or there, yesterday, today, or tomorrow, everything—is but a manifestation of Spirit. It is Spirit itself that wakes up. So, ultimately, the trajectory every being is on, whether they know it or not, is a trajectory toward full awakening—toward  a full knowing, toward a full experiential knowledge of what they are, toward unity, toward oneness.

But the moment of awakening may or may not result in a permanent seeing. As I said, some people will tell you that unless it’s permanent, the awakening is not real. What I’ve seen as a teacher is that the person who has a momentary glimpse beyond the veil of duality and the person who has a permanent, “abiding” realization are seeing and experiencing the same thing. One person experiences it momentarily; another experiences it continually. But what is experienced, if it is true awakening, is the same: all is one; we are not a particular thing or a particular someone that can be located in a particular space; what we are is both nothing and every- thing, simultaneously.

So, as I see it, it doesn’t really matter whether an awakening is instantaneous or continuous. It matters in the sense that there is a trajectory—nobody’s heart will be totally fulfilled until that perceiving from the point of view of truth is continuous—but what is seen is an awakening, whether it is sustained or not.

This glimpse of awakening, which I call nonabiding awakening, is becoming more and more common. It happens for a moment, an afternoon, a day, a week—maybe as long as a month or two. Awareness opens up, the sense of the separate self falls away—and  then, like the aperture on a camera lens, awareness closes back down. All of a sudden that person who had previously perceived true nonduality, true oneness, is quite surprisingly now perceiving back in the dualistic “dream state.” In the dream state, we’re back in our conditioned sense of self—in a limited, isolated sense of being.

The good news is that once a moment of this clear seeing has actually taken place, the aperture of our awareness can never completely close down again. It may seem like it has closed down completely, but it never quite does. In the deep- est part of yourself, you don’t ever forget. Even if you’ve only glimpsed reality for a moment,  something within you is changed forever.

Reality is nuclear; it’s incredibly powerful. It’s unimaginably potent. People can experience a f lash of reality in the time it takes to snap your fingers, and the energy and the force that enters into them as a result is life altering.

Just one moment  of awakening begins the dissolution of one’s false sense of self and, subsequently, the dissolution of one’s whole perception of the world.

Awakening Is Not What You Imagine It to Be

In a very real sense, it is much more accurate to talk about what we lose upon awakening rather than what we gain. We not only lose ourselves—who we thought we were—but we also lose our entire perception of the world. Separation is only a perception; in fact, when it comes to our world, there is nothing but perception. “Your world ” is not your world; it is only your perception. So while it may seem negative at first, I think it’s much more useful to talk about spiritual awakening in terms of what we lose—what we awaken from. This means we’re talking about the dissolution of the image we have of ourselves, and it’s  this dismantling of who we thought we were that is so startling when one wakes up.

And it is indeed startling: it’s not what we think it’s going to be like at all. I’ve never had a single student come back and say, “You k now, Adya, I peered through the veil of separation, and it’s pretty much what I thought it would be. It measures up pretty closely to what I’ve  been told.” Usually they come back and say, “This is nothing like what I imagined.”

This is especially interesting since many of the people I teach have been studying spirituality for many years, and they often have very intricate ideas about what awakening is going to be like. But when it happens, it is always different from their expectations. In many ways, it is grander, but also in many ways, it is simpler. In truth, if it is to be true and real, awakening must be different from what we imagine it to be. This is because all of our imaginings about awakening are happening within the paradigm of the dream state. It is not possible to imagine something outside of the dream state when our consciousness is still within it.

How Does Your Life Change after Awakening ?

With awakening there also comes a total reorganization of the way we perceive life—or at least the beginning of a reorganization. This is because awakening itself, while beautiful and amazing, often brings with it a sense of disorientation. Even though you as the One have awakened, there is still your whole human structure—your body, your mind, and your personality. Awakening can often  be experienced as very disorienting to this human structure.

So it is the process that happens after awakening that I want to explore. As I’ve said, for a very few people, the moment of awakening will be complete. It will be final in a certain sense, and there will be no need for a continuing process. We might say that such people had an extraordinarily light karmic load; even though they may have experienced extreme suffering before awakening, one can see that their karmic inheritance, the conditioning that they were dealing with, wasn’t too deep. This is very rare. Only a few people in a given generation may wake up in such a way that there’s no further process to undergo.

What I always tell people is this: don’t count on that person being you. Better to count on being like everyone else, which means that you will undergo a process after an initial awakening. It won’t be the end of your journey. What I will attempt to do here is to point you in a direction that may be useful and orienting as you embark on that journey. As my teacher used to say, it’s like getting your foot in the front door. Just because you’ve gotten your foot in the front door doesn’t mean you have turned the lights on; it doesn’t mean you have learned to navigate in that different world that you’ve awakened to.

I’m very happy that this book, which is based on a series of  talks I’ve given, offers  me the opportunity to  address this subject—the question of what happens after  awaken- ing. The information that exists on life after awakening is not usually made public. It’s most often shared only between spiritual teachers and their students. The problem with that approach is that, as I’ve said, a lot of people are now having these moments of awakening, and there is very little coher- ent teaching available for them. In that sense, this book is meant to be a welcoming to that new world, that new state of oneness.

Radically Reframing Aging

Maria Shriver is a mother of four, an Emmy® and Peabody award-winning journalist, a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, an NBC News special anchor, and founder of the nonprofit Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. She is also the founder of the media enterprise Shriver Media, which produces award-winning documentaries and films, bestselling books, a popular podcast, and a popular weekly email newsletter called “The Sunday Paper.” Her latest book, I’ve Been Thinking…, and its companion, I’ve Been Thinking…The Journal, were written to offer wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to those seeking to create a meaningful life.

In this podcast, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with Maria Shriver about her new project, Radically Reframing Aging: Today’s Groundbreakers on Age, Health, Purpose, and Joy, an online summit exploring how we can all live our healthiest, most joyful lives as we grow older. Maria and Tami also discuss reclaiming the many gifts of aging; shifting your inner narrative to keep your dreams alive; implementing habits that help us age well; reframing mental health and therapy; a new understanding of challenges like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia; reframing menopause; the practice of writing out our fears, redirecting our thoughts, and other tools for managing anxiety about aging; the mindset of “super-agers”—purpose, independence, creativity, and more; reframing retirement; and the importance of “having the conversation” and sharing our personal experiences with others.

Timeless Classics

Lance Allred: The New Alpha Male

Lance Allred is a former NBA player (who was the first legally deaf player in the league), public speaker, and author. With Sounds True, he has published The New Alpha Male: How to Win the Game When the Rules Are Changing. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Lance about the experiences he had in professional sports that led him to reevaluate what it means to be a man in contemporary society. Lance explains how his upbringing in a rural, polygamous commune informed his original ideas about masculinity, highlighting the subconscious assumptions about money and power that affect American men’s self-worth. Tami and Lance also discuss the roles of emotional vulnerability and surrender in the lives of modern men. Finally, they talk about the principle of perseverance and the increasingly urgent need for all cultures to reexamine their assumptions and core values.(63 minutes)

Micah Mortali: Rewilding

Micah Mortali is the director of the Kripalu School, a certified yoga teacher, and a longtime wilderness guide. With Sounds True, he has published Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Micah about humanity’s growing disconnection from the earth and how “rewilding” can help slow that trend. They talk about rewilding both as individuals and as part of whole ecosystems. Micah also shares the story of an intense, revelatory trail encounter with a bear and comments on the “species loneliness” of urban environments. Mulling the sense of grief they have for humankind’s effects on the environment, Tami and Micah consider how modern people can grapple with being in exile from the natural world. Finally, they discuss the barriers many have to reentering nature, as well as ways to initiate your own rewilding experience no matter where you are.(64 minutes)

Christian Conte: Healing Conflict: Listen, Validate, a...

Christian Conte, PhD, is a mental health specialist and leading authority on anger management. With Sounds True, Christian has published Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon talks with Christian about his Yield Theory of emotional management, focusing on the process of “listen, validate, explore options.” Christian explains the events that led to his interest in anger management, as well as the origins of Yield Theory. He emphasizes the importance of meeting others where they are, giving them the opportunity to drain anger’s charge from their limbic system. Christian and Tami discuss why it’s necessary to cultivate humility and how Yield Theory might be applied to our currently divisive culture. Finally, they speak on “the cartoon world” that angry responses often create, as well as the importance of watching what we add to our minds.(63 minutes)

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