Demystifying Awakening - Book Cover

Demystifying Awakening

A Buddhist Path of Realization, Embodiment, and Freedom

See the potential that is within each of us—the realization and embodiment of our true nature

256 pages ~ March 2022
$24.95 US hardcover ~ $16.95 paperback ~ $9.95 US ebook
978-1-7347810-6-9 ~ 978-1-7347810-4-5 ~ 978-1-7347810-5-2
Published by Buddha’s Heart Press

With Demystifying Awakening, senior meditation teacher Stephen Snyder skillfully marks the subtle path of the Awakening process. With loving care, personal examples, and gentle suggestions, Stephen plants the seeds of practice and meditation by:

  • explaining Awakening in an accessible way that draws on Zen and Theravada Buddhist traditions;
  • guiding readers through more than thirty foundational and advanced meditations and practices that support each step on the path of realization;
  • offering advice for identifying and working with resistances to Awakening; and
  • encouraging the embodiment and lived expression of realization through an exploration of the pāramīs, the Buddhist perfections of behavior.

Demystifying Awakening transmits a practice path for Awakening in this lifetime.


“With skill and compassion, Stephen invites a surrendering into the formless, luminous presence that is our true home. This is a rich and beautiful resource for those called to deepen their exploration of Awakening and freedom.”
—Tara Brach, best-selling author of Trusting the Gold and Radical Compassion

“We all long for a timeless inner peace—and Stephen Snyder shows us the path to it. As a guide, he is friendly, helpful, and sweetly encouraging. In his pages, you feel like you’re coming home to who you’ve always been: wakeful, loving, contented, and wise. He’s done a brilliant job of clearing away the clutter and summarizing the essential steps of full Awakening. It’s a joy to walk them!”
—Rick Hanson, PhD, NYT best-selling author of Neurodharma and Buddha’s Brain

“A unique and profound manual. It clearly and succinctly unveils the path, and process, of Awakening as practiced, lived, and taught by Stephen Snyder. Written from deep experiential knowledge and wisdom, this book resonates as a transmission of Awakening.”
—Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, NYT best-selling author of Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind

“A remarkable grounding in the Absolute—in the formless, timeless, spaceless reality that is always immediately with us, showing up as every moment of our lives—radiates right through this deeply compassionate work. It maps out, compares, and shares the paths to profound Awakening that the author has trod himself, making the paths seem accessible to each and every one of us—as in fact they are. There is indeed a path to Awakening—or even 84,000 paths—and accepting Stephen’s invitation to join him on the deep ones presented here will surely be the journey of a lifetime.”
—Henry Shukman, author of One Blade of Grass and guiding teacher of Mountain Cloud Zen Center

“Stephen has written a profound manual of Awakening that is rich with the insights of a lifetime of practice, and abundant with the kinds of insights that can only come from the first-hand experience of one who has truly walked the path. A must read for everyone who is serious about waking up in this life!”
—Steve James, educator, founder of the Movement Koan Method, and host of the Guru Viking Podcast

“In Demystifying Awakening, Stephen Snyder pulls back the curtain on the process and experiences of spiritual Awakening. He offers a gradual and multifaceted series of practices, including self-inquiry, meditation, and contemplation, derived from his own practice and from his years of guiding and supporting others. This is not a conceptual book for scholars; rather, it’s a book for those of us who long for the freedom that the Buddha promised and who are willing to walk the walk.”
—Jennifer Wheeler, MA, Buddhist Studies, University of Sunderland

“If you’ve been on the hunt for a practical guide to dissolving the small self and its many-colored coat of suffering, stop here. In Demystifying Awakening Stephen deconvolutes and disambiguates the many steps and stages of enlightenment, grounding even the wordless, formless, ageless, entirely empty realm-that-is-not-a-realm into right-now possibility. He walks you right to the edge.”
—Elizabeth Koch, founder of Unlikely Collaborators

“To say I’ve been waiting—throughout fifty years of Buddhist practice—for someone to write this book is an understatement. Finally, here is a presentation of the path of Awakening, the processes of growth, and how to address the obstacles within the unfolding of insight and realization. It carefully lays out the methods for breaking through the barriers of self-identity to Awakening, and provides descriptions and confirmation of the awakened state. This book is a guide, a manual, a companion to any practitioner in retreat or on the path to Awakening.”
—Dhammadasa, founder and former director of Cloud Mountain Retreat Center

Demystifying Awakening is enormous in its scope, from the beginning of practice to expansive experiences of Awakening. To condense a lifetime journey into a book is an incredible undertaking and results in a gift to those who can find themselves somewhere in its pages. It is clear that the book is offered as an inspiration and encouragement to the practitioner, and in this it succeeds completely.”
—Susie Harrington, meditation teacher at Desert Dharma

“Stephen lovingly guides us through the subtle landscapes of the Awakening process, inviting us to know for ourselves our true identity. He does this with precision, rigor, and the felt sense of direct realization. This book transmits a depth of nuanced wisdom that is rare.”
—Marisa Mohrer, LMSW, MPH, trauma therapist and author of Songs of Awakening

Demystifying Awakening is an immediate classic! This book clarifies and explains the core principles and teachings of the spiritual journey to Awakening. This book consolidates Stephen’s years of experience in meditation, Awakening, and teaching; it is a must read for anyone who has ever had an interest in discovering a deeper truth.”
—Ñānavira, Matthew Buckley, Buddhist monk

“A wonderful guide to the Awakening path. Lucid and precise, Stephen shares his story of the precious gift of his own Awakening through Buddhist teachings and practices. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the path of Awakening in any tradition as well as to followers of Buddhist practices.”
—Constance Corson, MD, psychiatrist and meditation teacher

“Stephen’s direct experiences of jhāna, emptiness, and Awakening—coupled with his ability to transmit these experiences through his teaching and writing—are extraordinary. This book is well worth having in everyone’s library.”
—Warren Buck, PhD, physicist and meditation teacher

“I consider this book a material manifestation of our true nature. I hope it will be present in this world for a long time to serve and inspire those who feel a burning call to return home.”
—Andrea Magoni, graphic designer and mindful gardener

“Although a cornerstone of Buddhism, Awakening often isn’t mentioned or is spoken of in fuzzy, mysterious language. It’s a motivator for many meditators, but what is it? Stephen clearly explains what Awakening is, as well as meditations that support Awakening (both pre- and post-). He makes it clear that Awakening is possible for all of us.”
—Claire Charney, MSW, ACSW, social worker and meditation student

“A treasure trove of simple yet powerful meditation practices to help gain deeper insights into human nature. This book is a map, guide, and reassurance that our nature is always resting in innate goodness and love.”
—Tomislav Maric, educator, author, and meditation practitioner

“This fascinating detailed description of the Awakening experiences and the practices to undertake to realize them woke up in me the deep longing to come back to the source that threw me on the road to India some forty years ago. With his profound direct experience of the awakened states Stephen reminds us that these are available and realizable in this very life. Demystifying Awakening provides clear directions on the way of practice and reinforced my commitment to do my utmost best to follow the path.”
—Lua Fahy, meditation student

“Demystifying Awakening brings welcome clarity to the Zen and Theravada maps of Awakening while providing a plethora of practices to navigate the territory.”
—Nicolas Campbell, meditation student

“A supportive and useful guide to navigating Awakening, the book is filled with descriptions of the territory and meditations to help the meditator move through areas of difficulty.”
—Alexis St. John, meditation student