This Extraordinary Moment
Moving Beyond the Mind to Embrace the Miracle of What Is
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
"The realization that there is no explanation for existence or awareness of existence is ultimate liberation. John Astin's book offers an opportunity for this liberation, if you are ready." —Deepak Chopra
“This book has the power to transform lives.” —Shauna Shapiro, author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness
Anyone who attempts to describe what is ultimately indescribable faces the same challenge—how does one use words to explain something that transcends language? Many writers fall into the trap of using more words to do the job that most words aren’t even particularly suited for, the ideas growing ever more allusive and abstract as the verbiage piles up. But in trying to unmoor the essence of lived experience from the concepts and stories we use to construct it, author and spiritual teacher John Astin takes a different approach—using fewer words instead of more, and grounding them with exercises designed to evoke the actual experience of what he’s describing.
Evoking the true nature of experience in words is a tricky proposition: perceptual reality has no beginning and no end, making it impossible to delineate, and what arises internally as thoughts and feelings are equally limitless, indeterminate, and unresolvable. While we have countless ways to categorize, conceptualize, and label things, the truth of whatever is being felt, seen, tasted, touched, or heard is infinitely more complex and multidimensional than our conceptual or linguistic structures would have us believe. By becoming more intimate with experience itself—rather than trying to narrate, avoid, or escape it—we can begin to discover that our experiences cannot possibly limit us in the ways we’ve imagined, owing to their radically open-ended and ultimately indefinable nature.
This Extraordinary Moment invites you on a journey of boundless inquiry, which becomes a liberating free-fall into the mysteries that lie just beyond our understanding of lived reality—which words can never quite describe. Built entirely around personal experience and exploration, this book provides activities, dialogues, exercises, and meditations to help you unlearn the basic misapprehensions about the nature of moment-to-moment experience, and shows you how to gain distance from the stories you tell about what you’re experiencing, so as to better focus on what’s actually happening in the present moment.
With ultrashort chapters grounded in experiential practices, and without the use of the usual spiritual jargon, this fast-moving, highly readable book makes the esoteric accessible to all—from anyone interested in stress management, well-being, or positive psychology to the devoted spiritual seeker.
“Surrender to mystery can lead to bewilderment, which in turn can lead to joy and even transcendent ecstasy. The realization that there is no explanation for existence or awareness of existence is ultimate liberation. John Astin’s book offers an opportunity for this liberation, if you are ready.”~Deepak Chopra
—Deepak Chopra, coauthor of You Are the Universe
“John Astin is a gift. He points our awareness to insights that could take a lifetime of practice to reach, but can also be apprehended by just the slightest turn of attention. With his rare blend of experience as a seasoned academic scientist, mystic, poet, and musician, John’s ability to illuminate a path toward realization with a lack of jargon and an elegant economy of words is unparalleled. This book is like walking into uncharted terrain with the kindest of guides pointing out the sublime in every step.”~Cassandra Vieten, PhD
—Cassandra Vieten, PhD, president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences
“With its mini essays and friendly practices, John’s book examines experience with a vast, nondogmatic openness.”~Greg Goode
—Greg Goode, author of The Direct Path and After Awareness
“In his latest book, John Astin offers us a multitude of simple, straightforward, yet elegant practices for welcoming and embracing each moment of life. If you wish to discover methods of inquiry that easily peel away misperceptions of thinking, and which lead to the discovery of a lasting happiness and well-being in the midst of daily circumstances, then this is a book that deserves to be on your reading table for years to come.”~Richard Miller
—Richard Miller, author of iRest Meditation and The iRest Program for Healing PTSD
“This Extraordinary Moment is a remarkable book that weaves together years of scholarly investigation and contemplative practice to help us understand the nature of reality. John Astin reminds us that the whole point of spiritual inquiry is to discover the ways in which our fantasies, hopes, beliefs, and ideas could never possibly capture the inconceivable depth and richness of our moment-to-moment experience. This book has the power to transform individual and collective lives.”~Shauna Shapiro
—Shauna Shapiro, professor at Santa Clara University, and coauthor of The Art and Science of Mindfulness
“I’ve never read a book that goes so deeply into the question, ‘What is experience actually made of?’ John Astin has created a masterpiece here that draws us into this question in a very thorough and meticulous way. If you take this book deeply, you can begin to see that he is pointing to the fact that concepts cannot pin reality down and that reality is an ever-changing flow of experience that cannot be grasped. This can be the start of a profound recognition of freedom. Highly recommended!”~Scott Kiloby
—Scott Kiloby, author of Natural Rest for Addiction and The Unfindable Inquiry
“John has taken on an impossible task—to communicate the incommunicable, to share the unshareable—yet he has written a remarkably accessible, multipronged invitation to the reader to explore their normalcy, and possibly discover for themselves the unrecognized goal of all their aspirations, unsuspectedly hidden in plain sight in the very nature of that ‘normalcy.’ A lucid, intelligent, and wide-ranging exploration.”~Peter Brown
—Peter Brown, author of Dirty Enlightenment
“‘Live in not knowing’ is a pointer you hear repeated across non-dual traditions and teachers. In This Extraordinary Moment, John expands this simple pointer into a complete path to awakening. Using a mixture of original metaphors, contemporary cognitive science, inquiry work, and vibrantly alive writing, the book continually invites us beyond the narrow confines of our conceptual mind into the vastness of our real experience. Highly recommended!”~Chris McKenna
—Chris McKenna, guiding teacher at Mindful Schools
“This wonderful, clear book invites us to drop out of metaphysical speculation and belief, stop our desperate efforts to grasp reality conceptually, and instead, tune in to the direct immediacy of present (sensory, energetic) experiencing, just as it is. John offers a simple but immensely rich and subtle exploration of actual experience, revealing the depth of this extraordinary moment that is ever-changing but always here-now. Instead of turning to outside authorities, he suggests listening to experience itself. Instead of urgency and seriousness, he invites approaching this practice in a lighthearted, playful way. Nothing is an obstacle or a problem in this approach. John suggests that, ‘The subtlest depths are not found behind, below, or beneath but smack dab in the middle of the so-called gross or surface level of things.’ This book points you to the vibrant aliveness that is right here in every moment, to be discovered not by transcending what seems ordinary and mundane, but by opening fully to the (sensory, energetic, experiential) actuality of this very moment, however it seems to be.”~Joan Tollifson
—Joan Tollifson, author of Nothing to Grasp and Awake in the Heartland
“This Extraordinary Moment delivers clear, engaging, refreshing, and transformational spiritual teaching. John guides the reader to awaken to the unconditional freedom and well-being that is available in every moment. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in psychospiritual evolution.”~Jessica Graham
—Jessica Graham, spiritual teacher, and author of Good Sex