“The Way of Liberation is a way of completely facing yourself…without withdrawing into denial, judgment, or magical thinking. It is a means of piercing through the veils of illusion and awakening to Truth.”  ~ Adyashanti

awakening, trugh

Read this introduction to The Five Foundations, the first chapter of The Way of Liberation, Adyashanti’s guide to spiritual awakening. The Way of Liberation is available as a free download from Free Spiritual Ebooks. All text taken from the book is italicized. If you missed our previous post on The Way of Liberation — Practical Guide to Spiritual Awakening, click here. 

Adyashanti grounds his teachings in the Five Foundations, calling them “absolutely essential components of the teaching that apply after awakening as much as, if not more than, before it.”

He emphasizes… “The Five Foundations are a means of living and manifesting the ultimate nature of Reality in daily life”

Adyashanti insists that the teachings remain within the context of the Five Foundations. If you lose the context…. “you are removing the anti-egoic safeguards that protect the teaching from egocentric interpretation”  The ego is compelled to justify whatever points of view it’s attached to — a significant danger in spiritual work.

Adyashanti addresses trans-morality in spiritual work which is oriented toward truth rather than conventional morality and ethics found in the dualistic perspective. He offers a warning…

“…it is possible to have some experience of the ultimate nature of Reality while at the same time not being completely free of egoic delusion. This makes for the possible volatile mixture of Reality and illusion simultaneously existing and expressing itself in an unconscious and distorted way.. there are few things more distorted or dangerous than an ego that thinks it is God.”

Ultimate Reality, illusion

Accordingly, the Five Foundations offer protection from our egoic distortions and “are a means of gathering all of your inner resources—body, mind, and spirit—and focusing them in a unified way toward your highest aspiration.”

What are the Five Foundations?

1. Clarify your aspiration – “know exactly what it is that your spiritual life aspires to, not as a future goal but in each moment.”  

Very few of us actually have Truth as a deep value, we might think we do, but the competing demands and many distractions in our lives reveal otherwise. Adyashanti recommends that each of us look deeply inside and “meditate on what the spiritual quest is about for you”

“By deeply contemplating and clarifying what you value and aspire to, you become more unifed, clear, and certain of your direction.”

contemplate, clarify, values

2. Unconditional follow-through –  “Once you have clarified your aspiration, you now need to follow through on it. Following through has to do with what you are willing to do or let go of doing.”

This kind of dedicated aspiration has more to do with heart than the mind. You must be willing to clearly face “any illusion that comes between you and the realization of Reality.”

And…. “you do not need to be reminded of what you truly love…what you actually love is most truly reflected in your actions, not in what you feel, think, or say.”

Aspirations, focus, action

3. Never abdicate your authority you take full responsibility for your life and never forfeit it over to someone else; there is no such thing as riding the coat-tails of an enlightened being to enlightenment itself.

We are reminded that a spiritual teacher is a guide and not the embodied fulfillment of our unresolved personal issues. “It is essential to understand that a spiritual teacher’s role is to be a good and wise spiritual guide as well as an embodiment of the Truth that he or she points toward.”

“…it is important not to abdicate all of your authority over to your spiritual teacher or project all divinity exclusively onto them. Your life belongs in your hands, not someone else’s. Take responsibility for it.”

Adyashanti apples the same principle to spiritual teaching…

“To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it. Belief leads to various forms of fundamentalism and shuts down the curiosity and inquiry that are essential to open the way for awakening…”

sincerity, clarity

4. Practice absolute sincerity – “Sincerity encompasses the qualities of honesty, genuineness, and integrity…To be able and willing to see yourself as you are, with all of your imperfections and illusions, requires genuine sincerity and courage. If we are constantly trying to hide from ourselves, we will never be able to awaken from our illusion of self.”

This is a challenging but essential call…“True sincerity reveals a powerful form of clarity and discernment that is necessary in order to perceive yourself honestly without… being held captive by your conditioned mind’s judgments and defensiveness.”

5. Be a good steward of your life “you are not using spirituality to avoid any aspect of yourself or your life.”

A taste of awakening won’t erase the challenges in our normal human lives. A good steward embraces “every aspect of … life, inner and outer, pleasant and unpleasant…Your life, all of your life, is your path to awakening.”  


Stay tuned for additional posts from The Way of Awakening, Three Orienting Ideas and Core Practices are coming soon. Check out our Teacher’s Page for more details about Adyashanti’s writings, videos and teachings.

Images (edited and logos added): 1 and Featured) Fog Sunrise by winterseitler  2) Sunrise hills by HypnoArt  3) Yellowstone National Park, free photo  4) Sea by Marina1989  5) Architecture by Momentmal. All images are Public Domain CC0 1.0.
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