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



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

– 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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Adyashanti: Enlightenment is very ordinary


Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special, it’s not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred.

I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it.

Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence.

Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time; not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.

– Adyashanti

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


You can have a tremendously transformational experience, and it doesn’t immediately get rid of all of your contradictions and confusions. Sometimes your deepest shadow comes up after your deepest awakening. Often we have to begin by admitting what is still churning within us.

– Adyashanti, The Way of Liberating Insight

Adyashanti: Enlightenment may not be easy or positive at all


We must give up the pursuit of positive emotional states through spiritual practice. The path of awakening is not about positive emotions. On the contrary, enlightenment may not be easy or positive at all. It is not easy to have our illusions crushed. It is not easy to let go of long-held perceptions. We may experience great resistance to seeing through even those illusions that cause us a great amount of pain.

– Adyashanti

I don’t use the word enlightenment much. We can have a taste of it, or shift into it, by noticing content of experience and allow it, or rather notice it’s already noticed and already allowed. And that’s clearly not about “positive” emotions, which is another term I don’t really use.

It’s not easy, because it means a continuing disillusionment. It means looking at any belief, any identity, any identification, any hope and any fear, and see it for what it really is: a bundle of images, words, and sensations. It doesn’t exist outside of that. That disillusionment. We “see through” our most cherished identities, fears, and hopes, and that’s not always so easy, even when we cause ourselves a great deal of pain by not seeing them for what they are.

In this process, there is also an opening to anything unloved, unquestioned, and unhealed in us. All this tends to come to the surface, sometimes as a trickle, sometimes in great chunks at a time. And that’s not easy either.

So why do people seek this? That’s a whole other question, and the exploration could – and probably do – fill several books. The simple answer is twofold. One is that we seek awakening or enlightenment because we think it’s something else than what it is. We project our hopes into it. We think it’s a state. We think it will make everything easy. We seek it as an escape. The other is that it’s a natural movement for many of us. It happens whether we like it or not. We seek a more real truth, love, reality. We sincerely seek truth, love, reality. Truth, love, reality seeks itself through our life.

Adyashanti: I’ll put all my fantasies of a better life into my concept of enlightenment


It was a phone interview which was really nice because I get to sit around in my socks and stuff. [Laughs.] ‘What do you think,’ said this wonderful person interviewing me, ‘what do you think about soul mates?’ Then I tend to surprise people because I said, ‘you know, I don’t.’ ‘What’s that,’ I asked, eager to find out. ‘What is it, I don’t know, I thought you might know.’ ‘I have no idea what a soul mate is, such an idea never occurred to me.’ I mean I hear the phrase all over the place, but – Seems like another drug to me. It’s like the last bastion, right? ‘No other relationship has worked, but I’ll hold out for the final fantasy. It will be called the soul mate. It’s where I’ll stuff all my fantasies and wait for it to come.’

It’s like enlightenment, you know. ‘I’ll put all my fantasies of a better life into my concept of enlightenment, then I’ll wait for it to happen. And when it doesn’t, I’ll be really disappointed.’ [Laughs.]

– Adyashanti, Leaping Beyond All Fear, October 21, 2006, Oakland, CA.

I like how he likens those ideas – of a soul mate, enlightenment, and whatever else we put our hopes into – to a drug or a final fantasy.

It does become a drug when we invest truth and energy into it. It becomes something we crave and hold onto as a relief for our discomfort, unease, or sense of lack.

And it is, in a way, a final fantasy, a fantasy about something that will finally and perhaps forever give us what we wish for. Something we imagine exists and is not here. Or perhaps we imagine is here, and then are afraid to lose.

Adyashanti: To rest or abide as awareness


To rest or abide as awareness means to feel what awareness feels like. Of course, awareness is not itself a feeling, but it elicits a particular feeling tone or presence. It is a bit like asking someone what the sun feels like on their skin. The sun is not itself a feeling but it gives off warmth that you can feel.

In the same manner, awareness elicits subtle feeling tones in and around the body that are sometimes called presence, openness, stillness, silence, or intimacy. To abide as awareness means to take note of these subtle feeling tones of awareness, to rest in the feeling and experience of them. This can draw you more deeply into the core of your being, the realization of which can only come by grace, which means spontaneously.

– Adyashanti

Yes, and it’s the first step. As this becomes more familiar and a new habit, there is another step: notice that these feelings are sensations, and also notice which images and words are associated with it. Then, we can recognize more clearly that everything is already resting as awareness, independent of content and independent of any particular feeling.

Adyashanti: You are that in which opening and closing is happening


Yes. There may be a sense of expansion or contraction, of opening or closing, and that’s happening within the space any experience is happening within (including the sense of conventional space).

It’s literally boundless, since any boundary is imagined (a mental image) happening within this space.

It’s already here. It doesn’t close. It doesn’t open. It allows for (and is, takes the form of) any experience of closing and opening, contraction and expansion.

Said another way, it’s all happening within and as presence. Even the idea of presence (the words, images, sensations representing presence in our mind) is happening within and as this presence.

Adyashanti: What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting


What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting than what you try to manifest.

– Adyashanti

Yes, and as usual there is a lot more to this.

In one way, we are always in alignment with the universe. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts and feelings of the universe. (As Carl Sagan said.) What’s here is the universe feeling, thinking, acting, doing. It’s not two.

In another way, it’s possible to be more or less aligned with the universe. When I am caught up in fears, beliefs, velcro and drama it’s difficult for me to act from kindness and clarity, and follow (the quiet) inner guidance. When there is more clarity, and less trauma/beliefs/velcro/drama, it’s much easier for me to act from kindness, clarity, and guidance.

So there is always and already alignment with the universe. It’s unavoidable. And I can be more or less aligned with the universe, through (a) recognizing what I am (what this experience happens within and as), (b) healing my human self, and (c) relate to what’s here – including unloved fears and unquestioned fearful stories – with love, presence, and gentle and engaged curiosity.

Adyashanti: Be a true representative of the goodness in your heart


Be a true representative of the goodness in your heart, and don’t expect it to be easy or even noticed.

– Adyashanti

And…. notice how I stop myself from doing that. What do I fear? What stories do I believe?

What unquestioned stories are there? What unfelt sensations? What unloved parts of myself? What unloved parts of my experience?

Adyashanti: The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit


The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit; there’s no guarantee of how it will all play out in your life. There’s only one guarantee that Jesus gave: if you can receive and awaken and embody what he is speaking about, then your life will never be the same again. Then you will realize that you’re already living in the Kingdom of Heaven.

– Adyashanti, Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic

It’s not a safe spirit since what it wants with us and our life may be contrary to what we, as a human being, wants. Jesus is the best example of this, with his crucifixion. And that goes for any awakening, not just one that’s (explicitly) associated with Christ.

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Adyashanti: To be truthful is to be able to look inside and enter the place in yourself where there is intimacy and vulnerability


To be truthful is to be able to look inside and enter the place in yourself where there is intimacy and vulnerability. I will give you an example: A person said they kept yelling at their spouse and then would attack themselves for yelling at their spouse. I asked them a simple question: What is it that you are really experiencing, and would say if you were not afraid to say what is going on for you? This person said: “What I would really like to say to my beloved is: ‘I feel separate and when I feel separate it hurts and I feel grief and I want to connect.'” That can be the opening of a more honest conversation.

– Adyashanti, from the Way of Liberating Insight course

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Adyashanti: I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously


And so at times we talk, and I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously. You may pretend to take your own struggles seriously from time to time, and although we pretend, we really shouldn’t forget that we are pretending, that we are making up the content of our experience; we are making up the little dramas of our lives.

We are making up whether we need to hold on or surrender or figure it out or pray to God or be purified or have karma cleansed—it’s all a thought. We just collude in this ridiculous charade of an illusion pretending that it’s real, only to reveal that it’s not. There is no karma. There is nothing really to purify. There’s no problem. There is only what you create and believe to be so. And if you like it that way, have at it!

– Adyashanti

Adyashanti: What style of approaching spiritual practice works best for you?


Rikki writes:

I’ve been taught that I should “practice like my hair is on fire” and in the past I have done so. Now I feel I should relax into it, be patient. But I keep attacking myself for not being more urgent with the admonition that the more awake I am, the easier it is for someone else to find freedom. How can I relax, urgently?

Dear Rikki,

Let us throw out both of the ideas that say you must practice “like your hair is on fire” or that you should relax in your practice more. What is natural to you? What style of approaching spiritual practice works best for you? That’s really the only relevant question. What attitude works best for you? It’s not about what’s right or wrong as much as it is about what is most natural and works best for you. And you will not find this in your head, but in your body. When you are applying the most conducive attitude to your practice you will feel inspired and relaxed, questioning but not impatient or anxious. You will also feel challenged at times but still open and eager to unveil Truth.

With Great Love,



Adyashanti: Enlightenment makes another movement of consciousness possible


Bit by bit, it began to reveal itself. I began to realize that our spiritual unfolding doesn’t really have a goal called ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment.’ There’s not an end point. To spiritually awaken or become enlightened is actually something that allows another movement to happen – and another and another and another. Spiritual awakening is the ground from which a whole new movement of spirit starts to occur, and that new movement that comes out of our own sense of freedom is what I call ‘awakening into our true autonomy.’

In fact, enlightenment makes another movement of consciousness possible. This other movement of consciousness is not really a waking up from our humanity, waking up from time and space, waking up from an individual identity. It is almost the opposite, where spirit comes into form and discovers this true autonomy.

– Adyashanti, Falling into Grace

Adyashanti: I got nothing I wanted out of awakening


The mind may get concerned about being disarmed and letting go of all its concepts and scripts. It might say, ‘I may not get what I want.’ And I say, you’re damned lucky if you don’t get what you want! I got nothing I wanted out of awakening. I thought it would solve lots of things. I had lots of ideas about what it was going to give me. Forget it! Not that you don’t get what you want, but you don’t care if you get what you want. I can’t think of one thing I got that I thought I would get. The only thing that did happen was that I no longer cared. What a hideous dream it was – thinking those things were needed for me to be happy.

– Adyashanti in Emptiness Dancing

Adyashanti: The challenge of enlightenment


The challenge of enlightenment is not simply to glimpse the awakened condition, not even to continually experience it. It is to be and express it as yourself in the way you move in the world. In order to do this, you must come out of hiding behind any superstitious beliefs and find the courage to question everything. Otherwise, you continue to hold on to superstitions that distort your perception and expression of That which is only ever awake.

– Adyashanti in The Impact of Awakening

Adyashanti: We can not control somebody with whom we have been 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.

We can not control somebody with whom we have been truthful. We can only control people if we tell half-truths, if we shave down what is true. When we tell the total truth, our inside is suddenly on the outside. There’s nothing hidden anymore. For most human beings, being that exposed brings up incredible fear. Most people walk around thinking, “My god, if anybody could look inside of me, if anybody could see what is happening in there, what my fears are, what my doubts are, what my truths are, what I really perceive, they would be horrified.”

Most people are protecting themselves. They are holding a lot of things in. They are not living honest, truthful, and sincere lives, because if they were to do so, they would have no control. Of course, they don’t have control anyway, but they would have no illusion of control, either.

– Adyashanti in The End of Your World