Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening

by Doug Duncan

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Spiritual awakening goes by many names. It’s been referred to as enlightenment, the search for the Holy Grail, the Hero’s Journey, Christ Consciousness and more. This experience is the focus of this book. But what does this mean in the 21st Century? Once thought of as the domain of mystics and sages living away from society, this guide to awakening is accessible to anyone seeking greater depth and fulfilment in the context of contemporary life. Rather than retreating from the world and its complexities, the mess of modern life itself can become a vehicle for cultivating awareness, compassion, and wisdom.

Awakening, or the development of consciousness, is the path to seeing through delusion into the nature of reality. These ancient practices have never been more relevant than today, in the contemporary culture of consumerism and its attendant dis-eases of inequality, ecological destruction and the loss of diverse and sustainable forms of life. Spiritual practice is a form of radical resistance and antidote to these hollow, disconnecting forces, developing instead our capacity for attention, discernment, joy and wise action. This is freedom, this is waking up; the quality of our lives, our relationships, and indeed the future of the planet depends upon it.

In this adventurous and contemporary guide to awakening, master teachers Acariya Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat guide the reader through maps of the self from Buddhist philosophy, western psychology and wisdom traditions such as karma yoga, astrology and tantra. By first understanding the forces of ego and trauma that hold each of us back, we learn how to get beyond small views of the self, into expansive, ever-transforming selfhood, with the capacity to awaken through work, creativity, sex, relationship and action. In this way, we become bodhisattvas, vibrant forces of light, love, compassion and wisdom in the world.

Honest, edgy, and accessible, this book is a must for anyone interested in exploring the true nature of reality, inner and outer. In this continuum, our challenges and gifts are co-existent threads in the vibrant tapestries by which we realize our agency, affecting and affected by the whole.