Make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.– Adyashanti
NOTICING WHAT WE ARE
Noticing what we are doesn’t necessarily require that much of us. We can be guided to it, and notice it within a few minutes without much preparation. It can be so quick and unremarkable that some will dismiss at as not the real thing, or they don’t quite get the significance of it.
LIVING FROM THIS NOTICING – AS BEST WE CAN
In a sense, living from it here and now doesn’t require so much. It just requires noticing what we are, and living from this oneness as best as we can in the moment. It requires some intention and sincerity, and that’s about it.
We’ll do it imperfectly, for a few different reasons. It may be relatively unfamiliar to us, especially at first. Our human self will still be partially caught up in old habits formed from separation consciousness. And we’ll have parts of us still operating from separation consciousness, and this will color our perception and life, and when triggered, we may get caught up in the separation views of these parts of us.
LIVING FROM NOTICING WHAT WE ARE – THE TRANSFORMATION
And that brings us to what I suspect Adya talks about.
Living from noticing what we are requires a profound transformation of our human self, and that costs us everything. The many parts of us operating from separation consciousness come to the surface, one way or another and at one time or another, to join in with the awakening.
This requires us to experience how they experience the world, which is not always pretty or comfortable.
It requires us to heal how we relate to these parts of us, from seeing them as an enemy to befriending them.
It requires us to help these parts of us heal and join in with the awakening.
Although this can sound relatively simple and straightforward, for many of us, it’s anything but that. It’s a process that will bring us to our knees. It’s a destructive process, as Adya says. And as Evelyn Underhill wrote about the dark night of the soul, it’s a deeply human process.
MORE ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATION
There is a lot more to say about this transformation process.
It’s often called embodiment. We bring the awakening into our life, and that requires this transformation of our human self.
We are along for the ride. At some point, it becomes clear that we are not in control of this process. We just relate to it and deal with as best we can.
It can involve one or more dark nights, and different types of dark nights.
It’s an ongoing process. There is no place to arrive, although we can get through the most intense phases and have periods of more calm.
It doesn’t always look pretty. It can involve a great deal of struggle, confusion, overwhelm, despair, and so on.
We will likely see things about ourselves we rather would not see. It will demolish our pretty picture of ourselves.
It requires us to lose every cherished belief, ideal, and image of ourselves. It requires us to lose any idea of gaining anything from this process.
We experience it as a deeply human process because it is. It’s a transformation of our human self and life.
It requires us to meet any trauma, emotional issue, identification, wound, and so on in our human system, and there may be a lot more than than we thought or expected.
It requires us to notice any experience as the flavor of the divine, and as having the same true nature as ourselves.
It may require us to shed whatever in our life is not aligned with truth, whatever is not authentic and real and aligned with our heart. This may fall away on its own whether we want it to or not. And sometimes, we’ll have to make the hard choices. (In my experience, if I don’t life will do it for me and often in ways that don’t look pretty.)
In many cases, early phases of the awakening process involves a temporary transcendence of the human. We pull out of the human a bit so we can get more familiar with what we are. This is the opposite, it’s a process of descending and going deeply into the human messiness so it can join in with the awakening.
It is something many spiritual teachers don’t talk about in public. Perhaps because it happens after we notice what we are, and they like to do this one-on-one with these students. And perhaps because it can scare people from even starting on a spiritual path. (As if we have a choice.)
Many of the basic spiritual practices serve us well in this process. Heart-centered practices help us meet ourselves and these parts of us with more kindness, compassion, and love. Inquiry helps us investigate stressful thoughts coming up, and also identifications and anything with a charge in our system. Body-centered practices help us stay more grounded and kind with ourselves. Service can broaden our view beyond our own limited life and struggles. Ethical guidelines may help us avoid acting on some of the pain in destructive ways.
Ordinary forms of therapy and emotional healing can be very helpful in this process, especially if we find someone who understands what’s going on and have gone through it themselves.
For me, this has been a far more destructive process than I could have imagined.