Adyashanti: If there is an egoic self, it exists within who you are

 

If there is an egoic self, it exists within who you are. That’s different than thinking it’s who you are.

– Adyashanti

This is a very good pointer. There may be an “egoic self” here – identifications with certain stories at conscious or more visceral levels – and, as any experience, it happens within and as what we are. And we can notice that. That gives the mind some distance to it. It softens the identification a bit. And that’s big. That’s a new way of being. That opens the mind up to something very different.

We can also say that who we are happens within and as what we are, and independent of whatever form who we are takes we can notice it happens within and as what we are. Who we are may just be this human self operating on its own. It can be identification as this human self. Or it may even be who we are at more subtle energy levels, for instance as a soul. In either case, we can notice that who we are happens within and as what we are. And over time, this can be an ongoing noticing.

A note on terminology: This human self operating on its own can be called the psychological ego. This is the human operating system and it’s something we want to be as healthy as possible. Identification with a self – whether it’s human or soul or something else – is what’s sometimes called ego in a spiritual context. And that tends to lessen as we keep noticing that it happens within and as what we are.

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Adyashanti: Imagine that your existence is in no way a mistake

 

Imagine that your existence is in no way a mistake. Imagine that you are here in your life, in your incarnation, as an act of love. Because only by being completely willing to be here as an act of love can you redeem all the hidden and painful places within your being.

– Adyashanti

Another way to say this is that we are here as an act of love. Existence is an act of love. That anything exists at all is an act of love. And when we align with that, and our fighting against it falls away, a more profound healing is allowed to happen.

Adyashanti: Sometimes your deepest shadow comes up after your deepest awakening

 

Sometimes your deepest shadow comes up after your deepest awakening.

– Adyashanti, The Way of Liberating Insight

Why does it come up? We can say that an awakening is an opening to reality, and that reality includes our shadow. Or we can say that bringing the shadow into awareness is required for us to live the awakening in more situations and areas of life.

In any case, long before this happened to me, I thought this and other forms of a dark night sounded noble and a bit heroic. I thought I would be able to continue keeping what surfaced at a safe arm’s length’s distance and remain firmly centered in clarity and presence.

When it happened, it was more experienced as a complete disaster. And for me, that was part of the shadow that surfaced. I was unable to remain clear, centered, and keep it at some distance. And I had to finally admit to myself I was completely and utterly human.

Note: Healing unhealed parts of us is part of the embodiment process. As long as they remain unhealed, they will be triggered by life situations and we tend to live from reactivity to these unhealed parts. To the extent they are allowed and healed, there is space there to instead live from responsiveness, clarity, kindness, and wisdom. The shadow surfacing in the way Adyashanti talks about it is an important part of the embodiment process. It’s not comfortable. It may not be what we think we want. But it’s what’s needed for us to live more fully from the awakening.

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Adyashanti: most people make their greatest leaps in consciousness in the difficult times

 

The irony is that most human beings spend their lives avoiding painful situations. Not that we are successful, but we are always trying to avoid pain. We have an unconscious belief that our greatest growth in consciousness and awareness comes through beautiful moments. We may, indeed, make great leaps in consciousness through beautiful moments, but I’d say that most people make their greatest leaps in consciousness in the difficult times.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Adyashanti: Trying to get out of the illusion is the greatest illusion of all

 

Trying to get out of the illusion is the greatest illusion of all.

– Adyashanti

As any pointer, it’s meant as a helpful nudge. It can help us shift out of a stuck view. It’s medicine for a particular condition.

What condition is this a remedy for? The condition of believing we are absolutely stuck in an illusion and what we seek is somewhere else – instead of already here and already what we are.

And as usual, there is some truth to this and to the reverse.

What’s the truth in the reverse? That, yes, it’s actually worth trying to get out of the illusion. We are indeed caught in an illusion if we believe our thoughts and perceive ourselves as (only or mainly) a separate human being. And although there is great value for life in that illusion (helps life experience itself as limited and separate), it’s locally uncomfortable. So it comes with a wish for a release from this discomfort and the temporary illusion.

The trick is to do this skillfully. At one extreme, we may think that our existence as it is now is a mistake and / or that what we seek is somewhere else and different from this. We may wish for a dramatic shift that solves all our apparent problems. At the other extreme, we may not consider that something else is possible – or we think change is impossible. Either one is, of course, perfectly fine. There is nothing inherently wrong with these views, and both are quite common.

But there is a middle ground. We can recognize that what we are is what all happens within and as, including any temporary illusions created from believing thoughts. And that noticing that is the release we are wishing for. It won’t solve our very human challenges, but it does provide a different context for our human life and experiences. It does offer a certain relief from blind suffering and discomfort.

And there are ways to invite in this shift. One is healing of our human self, which is a relief in itself (and, at one level, often what we really wish for). Another is various forms of inquiry that can give us a glimpse of what we already are (Big Mind process, Headless experiments), or a release of beliefs and identifications creating the temporary illusion (The Work, Living Inquiries). We can also engage in different forms of meditation, including noticing and allowing what’s here, or noticing that we are the still presence all our experience happens within and as. Or, since all of this has a consciousness and energy side, we can invite in or support these shifts from the energy side (Vortex Healing).

So, in a certain context, Adya’s pointer is just the right medicine. It can help us shift out of a stuck view and find curiosity for what may be more true for us. It can help us reorient. And that path of discovery is rich and deep and somewhat unique to each of us.

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Adyashanti: Don’t get mixed up with the “whys”

 

Don’t get mixed up with the “whys”, they won’t help you.

– Adyashanti

I agree that why questions are often not helpful if we look for answers that we take to be inherent in life or the divine. That’s futile.

On the other side, why questions can be helpful if I use them to find what I can make out of a situation. That’s why I personally find why questions very helpful.

And, of course, why questions can be used in an ordinary and practical way. Why, in an ordinary and conventional sense, did something happen.

For instance, I got CFS a few years ago.

Why did it happen, in a practical sense? I have had it earlier, and had it at a low grade for a long time before this happened. It was initially triggered by mononucleosis and this time by severe pneumonia. Life stress may have set the stage for the CFS return. The house I lived in had mold problems. And so on. It’s helpful to explore these since they may give clues for treatment and prevention.

Why did it happen, in the bigger picture? It came with several invitations for me. An invitation to learn to relax. To change my life situation. To be aware of and find freedom from previously strong identities (as productive, active, smart, energetic, on top of everything etc.). To have time for exploring and deepening in healing and awakening.

And if I had a different worldview, I could torment myself with why questions aimed at finding a final or absolute answer inherent in life or the divine itself. Some of these answers may be obviously and inherently stressful (God wanted to punish me). Some may appear helpful but are inherently stressful because I know I cannot know for certain. And I may also torment myself by spinning and trying to find the correct answer while – somewhere in me – knowing I cannot know for certain.

I agree that some why questions can be unhelpful, as Adya says. Although personally I find why questions very helpful. I find the practical why questions helpful. And I find the why questions that help me look for invitations in a situation helpful.

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Adyashanti on functioning from non-self

 

Q: My ability to stay personally responsible on a material level is affected greatly by my continuing to let go of ego and self. I’m finding it challenging to pursue this path while also pursuing more complex earthbound goals. Am I limited to becoming a spiritual teacher by pursuing this path, or is it possible to successfully ‘surrender into life,’ as you said recently, and to use this no-self flow to live simply and thoughtfully through the material, everyday world? How am I grasping here?

Adya: Thank you for your question. The trajectory that moves toward the falling away of self can be very disorienting at times. It can lead one to wonder whether the state beyond self is made for this world at all. But I can assure you that no-self ‘eventually’ becomes a very functional state and functions quite well in life in its mature expression. If one retreats too much from life it can actually impede the no-self state from coming into mature expression and functioning. When it is all said and done (in retrospect), all other states of consciousness seem quite altered and strange when compared to the no-self state. No-self is in no way an altered state of consciousness; it is completely and absolutely unaltered. It is simply the One, seen from the One’s point of view. It is a single drop of rain, a cloud passing, the fall of your own breath.

– Adyashanti in “Experiencing No-Self” Online Course

Some say that awakening is not a state. I see how that’s accurate since it’s independent of any change in content of experience, and we can call the changing content of experience states.  It’s also possible to call awakening a state. It’s the state of the One (as Adya calls it) recognizing itself as all there is.

Adyashanti: One of the most beautiful things about spiritual maturity

 

One of the most beautiful things about spiritual maturity is that you see the divine in all its guises and you stop arguing about which ones are right.

– Adyashanti, 2017 Mount Madonna Retreat

In a narrow sense, we can take this as Spirit revealing itself to itself as love, wisdom, any and all content of experience, the void everything happens within and as, and so on.

In a slightly wider sense, we see that those expressing awakening realize, notice, and emphasize different aspects of the divine, and use whatever language is available to them through their culture and traditions.

And in an even wider sense, this stopping to arguing which one is right applies to any aspect of life, and is a feature of both spiritual maturity and the ordinary garden variety human maturity.

We get to see that it’s all life playing itself out.

Here are some examples:

Spirit may awaken to itself through some remaining filters of duality, so spirit seems different from (most) content of experience, and the world in general. This is a stepping stone, and with some maturity, we recognize that this is a stepping stone.

Any realization, revelation, and insight is a stepping stone. Awakening continues to open up, clarify, deepen, and find new ways to be expressed through this human life.

Genuine awakenings and revelations may be expressed through a variety of traditions, terminology, and images. Of course, it tends to get mixed up in fantasies and imaginations, and that’s OK too. That’s part of the play.

Any experience is Spirit itself, including those our human self does not like. For me, what I sometimes call the “dark night of the soul” has shown me where I still don’t get this in a more embodied and visceral way.

In short, nothing is wrong. It’s all life living itself out. It’s the play of Spirit. As we continue to realize this, our argument with reality lessens. And life continues to find ways to help us see where we still argue. It’s an ongoing process.

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Taking the lid off

 

Having a profound awakening can be like taking the lid off of a jar. All the karma that has been repressed, all the karma at the bottom of our misery that we aren’t conscious of, comes flying out because there is finally space in which it can emerge.

When it hits you in the face, you wonder where your freedom went and what went wrong. But understand that this is a consequence of the freedom; it is not a mistake.

Everything wants to come up into and be transformed by the freedom. If you let it come up into this aware space, which is love, it will reharmonize. This space that you are is unconditional love. 

Unconditional means just that: everything is welcome, nothing is cast away or set apart from it.

– Adyashanti from The Impact of Awakening

This is what happened to me after a six months non-dual transcendence/opening some years ago. I have written about it before so won’t go into much detail here. But I do want to say that this process seems to have a few different sides.

Ride it out. One is that it lives its own life, and we have to ride it out. We have to learn to live with it as it is because it often seems we cannot do much about it. I have written about practical ways to learn to ride it out, and these may include spending time in nature, finding support from others who have gone through it, having the right diet for us, rest, bringing attention to the sensations, and more.

Relate to it consciously. Another is that we can – and are invited to – relate to what’s surfacing consciously. To heal our relationship to it, and invite the unprocessed material itself to heal. To learn to meet the pain and fear with kindness. To recognize what’s surfacing as an expression of caring and love at a human level (fear, pain, anger, discomfort etc. are all here to help the human self and is an expression of caring and love), and as Spirit itself. To heal the material itself through any way that works for us.

We are invited to examine the unexamined thoughts and beliefs creating the suffering. To love the unloved. To experience the unexperienced. And it seems that we don’t really have much choice. Anything else is too painful. Although we can certainly drag our feet and prolong the struggle. And that too is perfectly understandable. That too is, in a certain way, an expression of caring and love, although slightly unenlightened and misguided.

Very human process. It’s a very human process. It’s very human material that surfaces to be loved, examined, and experienced. It’s very humbling. It’s very humanizing, especially if we let it be. Through befriending the wounds and traumas surfacing, we become more fully human.

Prerequisite for embodiment. This process, however it happens, is also a prerequisite for embodiment. What we are awakens to itself, and then needs to clear out our human self so it can be more clearly and fully expressed through this life. Our human self needs to realign to this “new” reality, and that involves a great deal of deep healing. We need to heal the wounds of, it seems, lifetimes. We are invited to mature within this process. And we are invited to embody whatever awakening is here.

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Adyashanti: The greatest solvent for ego is found within our lives

 

In my case, which I think is similar for many, many people, the greatest solvent for ego is found within our lives, the fabric of our existence, the grit of what’s actually happening in our everyday experience. I find that this is often overlooked within the context of spirituality. Many of us are using our spirituality as a way to avoid life, to avoid seeing things we really need to see, to avoid being confronted with our own misunderstandings and illusions. It is very important to know that life itself is often our greatest teacher. Life is full of grace, sometimes it’s wonderful grace, beautiful grace, moments of bliss and happiness and joy, and sometimes it’s fierce grace, like illness, losing a job, losing someone we love, or a divorce. Some people make the greatest leaps in their consciousness when addiction has them on their knees, for example, and they find themselves reaching out for a different way of being. Life itself has a tremendous capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, even as it is attempting to wake us up. The divine itself is life in motion. The divine is using the situations of our lives to accomplish its own awakening, and many times it takes the difficult situations to wake us up.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Ego here means identifications, holding stories as true, finding ourselves as what a story tells us we are, and taking it as the final or absolute truth. More intimately, it’s fear that’s met with lack of love and that’s unexamined, and the mind reacts to that fear by holding onto stories and viewpoints as true and solid. It takes refuge in these stories, and tries to find safety that way. It’s innocent and natural, and creates suffering as well.

The remedy is often, as Adyashanti says, life. Life rubbing up against these viewpoints and identities the mind holds onto to find safety, and which instead creates suffering. Often combined with the most simple and natural approaches, such as resting with the discomfort and any other experience that’s triggered, meeting it with gentleness and kindness, asking or praying for support (guidance, resolution, peace), giving it over the the divine.

Adyashanti: You are a vehicle for what wants to happen, not for what you want to happen

 
You are a vehicle for what wants to happen, not for what you want to happen.
–  Adyashanti
That’s true even from a (more considered) conventional view. Whatever happens has innumerable causes. It’s an expression of the whole, of movements going back to beginning of time (if there is any) and the widest extent of space (if it has any end). And that goes for what happens in the wider world as well as what happens in our minds and lives. Even wanting something to happen is included. That too is what “wants to happen”. That too is an expression of the whole, and movements within the whole. And the same for any experience of a separate self wanting, doing, living etc.

Adyashanti: Stop avoiding things

 

Stop avoiding things. If there is anything that is unresolved in yourself, turn toward it. Face it. Look at it. Stop avoiding it. Stop moving the other way. Stop using a moment of awakening as a means to not deal with something that may be less than awake within you.

Start to face it. Start to see it. In the simple willingness to see yourself, in simple sincerity, the truth starts to reveal itself to itself. It’s not necessarily a technique-oriented endeavor here. The technique is sincerity; we need to really want the truth. We need to want the truth even more than we want to experience the truth. This sincerity isn’t something we can impose; it’s inherent within reality itself.

– Adyashanti

Adyashanti: Life will be as hard or soft as it needs to be

 

Life will be about as hard or as soft it needs to be. It doesn’t care what it takes for you to wake up. Suffering is just a way that life registers that you are holding on to your position.

– Adyashanti

Some may hear this as some entity “life” intentionally deciding to give us a soft or hard life.

In reality, this is just built into life. Holding onto positions is inherently painful because life and reality will rub up against it. And the stronger we hold onto positions, the more painful it will be and life will be experienced as hard.

We don’t really have a choice in how we hold onto positions. Something in us holds onto positions out of a desire to protect us, and out of unquestioned and unloved fear. It’s innocent. It’s automatic. It’s often inherited from our ancestors through biology and culture. And it can soften through meeting that fear, and the innocent wish for protection, in presence, kindness, patience, and gentle curiosity.

Here, waking up may mean a few different things. (a) Waking up to the positions we hold onto. (b) Waking up to how holding onto positions creates suffering, and comes from innocence. (c) Waking up to what we are – the presence it’s all happening within and as – when these positions soften and there is more space for presence to notice itself.

Adyashanti: In order for the body to live the mystery knowingly, its personal agenda has to be dissolved

 

So in order for that body to totally live the mystery knowingly, its personal agenda has to be completely dissolved. The body-mind cannot dissolve the agenda just because it thinks it’s a good idea, but it can happen naturally as beingness sees more and more thoroughly that the only thing that actually exists is itself. It’s a visceral thing. Can you start to get the feel of it?

There is nothing to hold on to. No viewpoints to hold. No separation.

This is why it has always been said that the truth sets you free. But the whole being has to realize the truth. It has to be the truth, knowingly.

– Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Adyashanti: Freedom is freedom to

 

[It is a] myth that [when I’m truly enlightened] I can rest in some assuredness that I will never again feel insecure, or feel fear, or feel doubt, or feel those emotions that we don’t want to feel.

Forget it. That’s not it. That’s the pipe dream. That’s the opium that’s sold to the masses. And they eat it up and they never get there, and they end up disillusioned. That’s not how it works.

Freedom is never freedom “from.” If it’s freedom “from” anything, it’s not freedom at all. It’s freedom “to.” Are you free enough to be afraid? Are you free enough to feel insecure? Are you free enough not to know? Are you free enough to know that you can’t know? Are you free enough to be totally comfortable knowing that you can’t know what’s around the next corner? How you will feel about it? How you will respond to it? That you literally can’t know?

Are you free enough to be totally at ease and comfort with the way things actually are?

That’s freedom. The other thing is the ego’s idea of freedom.

– Adyashanti

Adyashanti: Grace is simply that which opens our hearts

 

I remember hearing a talk from a very famous Tibetan teacher, a man who had spent many years in a small, stone hut in the Himalayas. He was crippled, and so he couldn’t use either one of his legs. He told a story of how a big boulder fell on his legs and broke them, and he spent many years in a stone hut, because there was really nothing that he could do. It was hard for someone with broken legs to get around much in the Himalayas.

He told the story of being in this small hut, and he said, “To be locked in that small hut for so many years was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It was a great grace, because if it wasn’t for that, I would never have turned within, and I would never have found the freedom that revealed itself there. So I look back at the losing of my legs as one of the most profound and lucky events of my whole life.”

Normally, most of us wouldn’t think that losing the use of our legs would be grace. We have certain ideas about how we want grace to appear. But grace is simply that which opens our hearts, that which has the capacity to come in and open our perceptions about life.

– Adyashanti, Falling Into Grace

Adyashanti: There is a simple secret to be happy

 

There is a simple secret to be happy. Just let go of your demands on this moment.

– Adyashanti

To me, this is an invitation to see what in me is scared of letting go of demands on this moment. Where in my body do I feel it? How is it to include that in what’s noticed, allowed, and rested with? What are the stories (images, words) connected with it?

Where in my body do I feel it? How is it to include that in what’s noticed, allowed, and rested with?

And then…. What are the stories (images, words) connected with it? What am I most scared would happen? What is my earliest memory of feeling this fear?

Life will squeeze what’s left out of you 

 

When you squeeze an orange, you’ll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what’s inside. The same logic applies to you: when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what’s inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what’s inside.

– Wayne W. Dyer

I had a private meeting with Adyashanti a few years ago. It was at his office in San Jose, and early on in the darkest phase of the dark night of the soul. (I have written about the dark night in other posts. It’s been a phase of loss, of old trauma surfacing to be seen, felt, loved, and recognized as presence, and much more, and it’s been very humbling in a painful but good way.)

He said that in the time ahead, life would squeeze out what’s left in me.

What does that mean? To me, it means that life circumstances bump up against remaining fears, identifications, and shoulds in me, and that’s when I feel squeezed. In reality, it’s these identifications that are squeezed since they are in opposition to life as it is. It feels like “I” am squeezed because there is identification with them.

If I allow it, or when I get sufficiently worn out and humbled, then life will squeeze out of me these identifications and what wants things to be different. And until that happens, at the very least I get to see what’s here. I get to be more familiar with it.

It does seem that life sets up situations for me specially designed to squeeze me. What’s happening is that I inevitably live from the parts of me that are still “in the dark” (not seen, felt, loved, recognized as presence), and acting from these sets up situations that in turn highlight or squeeze these parts of me. Also, life is rich and some aspect of life will inevitably hit and squeeze these parts in me. There may be more going on as well, including synchronicities that also squeeze.

Adyashanti was right. I have experienced quite a lot of squeezing over the last few years, including right now. Sometimes, it seems relentless. Sometimes, a bit overwhelming. Sometimes, there is a set of amazing synchronicities setting up the squeeze. Sometimes, it seems that life knows exactly how to squeeze me the most. Sometimes, it seems like grace.

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Adyashanti: That may sound easy, but when it’s actually happening it’s more gritty and real than the description suggests

 

As we go through our trials and tribulations, outer circumstances seem to be exquisitely put together specifically to test each part of our realization. These trials and tribulations will also occur from the inside. Your unconscious at some point will start to reveal itself. In the unawakened person, the unconscious never fully comes into conscious awareness, but with awakening our means of suppression and denial are either torn apart completely or wounded so severely that we can’t repress as much.

The unconscious elements of our mind come into conscious awareness, and that is another kind of trial. What’s being asked of you is to meet all of that inner material from the standpoint of divine being, from the standpoint of eternity – to meet it, to understand it, to resolve it. That may sound quite easy, but when it’s actually happening it’s a little more gritty and real than the description suggests.

You could think of these inward and outward trials as a form of purification. You’re purifying the vehicle: body and mind, the same body and mind that you woke up out of when you awakened. Now this vehicle has to undergo its own purification so spirit can fully embody your humanity. And this is where the story of Jesus again provides a powerful mirror, because Jesus is someone who embodied in his humanity the divine impulse, divine being.

– Adyashanti, Resurrecting Jesus

This very much fits my experience.

Adyashanti: Freedom is the realization that everything and everybody gets to be exactly as they are

 

Freedom is the realization that everything and everybody gets to be exactly as they are. Unless we’ve come to that point, unless we’ve seen that this is how reality sees things, then we’re actually withholding freedom from the world. We’re seeing it as a possession, and we’re only concerned with ourselves. How good I can feel? How free I can feel? True freedom is a gift to everything and everybody.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Adyashanti: Enlightenment is a destructive process

 

Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbing away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagine to be true.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Yes, enlightenment is a falling away of our familiar world. Of what we imagine to be true.

Interestingly, for many of us, that also includes trauma. Traumas are created and held in place by what we imagine to be true. So traumas surface so these imaginations we imagine to be true can be eradicated.

At some point in the awakening process, these traumas surface to be seen, felt, loved, and held in presence. They surface so we get to examine them and see how the mind creates them. We get to see how body contractions and imaginations create traumas, and we get to see each component for what it is. Sensations as sensations and imagination as imagination.

This can be challenging beyond what we have experienced before. Our habitual reaction is to shrink away from these traumas, and that’s very understandable. Evolution and culture both tells us to avoid what’s painful. And now we are instead invited to hold these traumas in presence. And examine them. We are invited to face what we have spent a lifetime avoiding. We are invited to re-experience the pain of the trauma as we enter into it, and meeting it in a very different way from before.

This is a very real part of the awakening process. It’s often not encountered until we have gone through a honeymoon phase in the awakening process. And it’s often not mentioned in the initial sales pitch for practices that may lead us into an awakening process. Both life and teachers tend to wait with presenting this to us, for good reasons. If we knew, we may not be that interested. Not that we really have a choice. Life will have its way with us, and this is part of it.

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Adyashanti: Spiritual awakening is a remembering

 

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.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Adyashanti: We don’t have any control

 

The reality is that we don’t have any control; the ego has no control over how reality unfolds and reveals itself. How is it the case that the ego doesn’t have control? Simply because ego is merely a thought in your mind. It’s an image. It’s a way your mind references itself, thinks about itself, and creates a sense of self in the first place. If your whole egoic self is merely a product of imagination, a mechanical result of thoughts linking themselves together, then it’s obvious that a thought doesn’t have any control. A thought is just something that occurs. It happens and then passes away.

– Adyashanti, Falling into Grace

Adyashanti: The core of the fear of being truthful

 

I have found over the years of working with people, even people who have had very deep and profound awakenings, that most people have a fear of being truthful, of really being honest—not only with others, but with themselves as well. Of course, the core of this fear is that most people know intuitively that if they were actually totally truthful and totally sincere and honest, they would no longer be able to control anybody.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Adyashanti: Having a profound awakening can be like taking the lid off of a jar

 

Having a profound awakening can be like taking the lid off of a jar. All the karma that has been repressed, all the karma at the bottom of our misery that we aren’t conscious of, comes flying out because there is finally space in which it can emerge.

When it hits you in the face, you wonder where your freedom went and what went wrong. But understand that this is a consequence of the freedom; it is not a mistake.

Everything wants to come up into and be transformed by the freedom. If you let it come up into this aware space, which is love, it will reharmonize. This space that you are is unconditional love. Unconditional means just that: everything is welcome’ nothing is cast away or set apart from it.

– Adyashanti, The Impact of Awakening

That’s certainly been the case for me.

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Adyashanti: deep in the belly [emptiness] is centered and grounded 

 

We bring awareness down into the belly where we have our deepest fears and also an access to courageous stability.

Down in the gut, deep in the belly, emptiness is experienced with a greater kind of density and weight. Up in awareness it is spacious and open. Deep in the belly it is centered and grounded.

It is the domain from which courage arises, which will be important when it comes to embodying and expressing what we have realized. Let your body experience that deep groundedness and courage.

– Adyashanti, The Way of Liberating Insight

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Adyashanti: To question the one who is holding the beliefs is much more efficient

 

When you sit in meditation, you begin to recognize the various points of view you have carried, and you can let them go. But as fast as you let them go, you’ll replace them. It’s like belief. Most people don’t let go of one belief without grabbing another belief. This one is better, so I’ll take this one now. But to question the one who is holding the beliefs is much more efficient than to question each little belief along the way, because you will see through one but soon another one will pop up. It’s kind of like pulling weeds.

– Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

I would say they go hand in hand, and may even turn out to be the same.

Any identification with a story creates a sense of a separate self so it’s good to explore them as they come up. And the sense of a doer or observer or I or me is also very helpful to explore.

It’s similar to exploring time. It’s helpful to explore the idea of time and past, future, and present. And it’s also very helpful to explore specific imaginations about past, future, or present.

These all go hand in hand. It’s not one or the other, in my experience.

Note 1: When I say explore, I mostly mean looking at the sensations and imaginations making up my experience of these things. How do my mind create its experience of a me or I or body? How does it create its experience of past, future, present, or time? What images, words, and sensations make them up? What happens when I look at the images and words, and take time to feel the physical sensations?

Note 2: I agree that it is important to explore the more fundamental ideas such as a me or I, and – for instance – ideas about time. And yet, that’s usually not sufficient. It’s also important to explore the specific instances as they come up, especially when they have a charge to them.

Adyashanti: Whatever the image of yourself, it’s a mask

 

adya

Whatever the image of yourself,
it’s a mask and it’s hiding
emptiness.

– Adyashanti, My Secret is Silence

Whatever image we have of ourselves, it’s a mask. It’s imagined in the sense that our image of ourselves is made up of mental images and words associated with sensations. The sensations lends a sense of solidity and reality to the imaginations, and the imagination lends a sense of meaning to the sensations. It’s a mask since it’s not what we really are.

And it’s hiding emptiness. What we really are is this awareness (or consciousness) that our whole experience is happening within and as. Our experience is awareness (consciousness) itself.

What we are is empty of solidity and materiality. Any sense of solidity or materiality is created by the mind through associating stories with sensations which makes the stories appear solid.

It’s also empty of any identities or stories that are real in any final or absolute sense. What they point to are only real in a very limited and conventional sense.

There is a lot more to say about this. For instance, sensations appear solid and substantial only because the mind has stories about them which makes them appear solid and substantial. And these stories about the substantiality of sensations appear real and solid because these too are associated with certain sensations.

When it comes to the emptiness of identities and stories about ourselves, it’s similar. These too appear solid and real to the mind only because they are associated with sensations. Without sensations lending them a sense of solidity and substance, they would just be recognized as imaginaitons. They may be helpful in a limited and practical sense, helping us to orient and function in the world. But they don’t have meaning or substance beyond that.

This may seem quite naive and simplistic. I realize that. But it’s possible and within the grasp of most people to investigate this for themselves. Working with a faciliator of the Living Inquries, or learning how to apply the Living Inquries for ourselves (or the Buddhist inquiries the LIs are based on), is one way. It usually doesn’t take that much to see this for ourselves, although it does take more work before it is more present in our experience in daily life.

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