Aligned in the depth, and also at the surface

One of the simple inquiries Adyashanti suggests is to (a) identify wants (needs, wishes, motivations) and (b) explore what we hope to get out of it, continuing until we find what appears to be the seed motivation, the one that is a goal in itself.

Finding the seed motivation

For me, it seems that no matter what I start with, from the most mundane to the embarrasing to the elevated motivations and wishes, I see that their seed motivation is to be free from suffering, and find happiness.

And seeing the many manifestations of the seed

The layer just outside of this seed includes (a) being free from pain, a sense of separation, having what I don’t want and not having what I want, a sense of not being in the right place, a sense of loss and lack, of being finite in time so subject to birth and death, of being finite in space so subject to the whims of the myriad other objects, and (b) wanting a sense of belonging, of being home, of safety, of contentment.

Already aligned, and also aligned in conscious experience

Exploring surface motivations in this way, one by one, I find that they are always aligned in their depths. They all come from the same seed motivation. And through this exploration, through bringing this into awareness in a genuine way, through a sincere exploration, they also become aligned in my surface awareness. Awareness is brought to the seed, so they are aligned also at surface awareness.

Ease and simplicity

There is a sense of ease and simplicity around this as well. Finding the seed motivation behind each of the many surface motivations gives a sense of simplicity. And seeing that they all are already aligned gives a sense of ease.

There may is still the deliberation between choices in daily life, but now knowing that they are already aligned, they all are from the same seed motivation, and this allows a good deal of the drama to fall away. The appearance of internal war and struggle goes.

Seeing it here, and also there

So there is not only an immediate sense of the same seed motivation behind all the many and varied motivations surfacing in my daily life, but there is also a sense of the same with others. I see others having many different motivations and acting on them, and there is a felt sense of how they too want freedom from suffering, and happiness. This too takes a great deal of the drama out of it.

The inner mirroring the outer

As long as I am not familiar with the seed motivations of my many surface motivations, I’ll experience a struggle among them. And I will also experience a struggle between my own surface motivations and those of others.

Being familiar with my own seed motivations, it becomes effortless to also see them in others (or something similar), and see that we are all in the same boat.

The sense of struggle and drama goes out of it, internally and in relationship with others, although there are still choices made, still negotiations and explorations, still deliberations and sometimes not the apparently ideal options and resolutions.

Partial and deepening resolution

Of course, as long as there is a sense of I and Other, there will also be a sense of struggle and drama, but it is at least diminished, sometimes greatly diminished, through clarifying the seed motivations.

And the more the seed motivation is not only clearly seen, but also deeply felt, in our whole being, the more thorough this resolution is. We see and feel the seed motivation behind the varied surface motivations, and the trails leading from the surface ones to the seed.

Full resolution

The only full resolution is to realize that there is no I here in this human self, no I anywhere in all of form or anywhere else. There is just the field of awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of I anywhere, and now awake to itself as a field. There is no center. There is no doer, only the doing.

This human self, as anything else in the world of form, just happens. Arising here now in always fresh, new, different ways. Always new and fresh expressions of Spirit, absent of I anywhere.

Belly center and feeling into

I have started listening to Adyashanti’s Five Truths About Truth, and find his way of talking to be as refreshing, simple and clear as always.

He is one of the few I know who talks about the awakening of the belly center. He mentioned it in passing at his satsang in Ashland, and has probably talked about it in more detail other times (still looking for it).

Feeling into being emptiness

In Five Truths About Truth, I notice that he emphasizes feeling into the experience of being awake emptiness.

In my experience, that is one of the aspects of the awakening of the belly center. It allows for and invites to a deepening feeling, with the whole body and every cell of the body, that all is Spirit, all is awake emptiness and form, and it allows for a deepening reorganization of the body and the emotions within this new context.

Practice, and dropping into it

The difference is that before an awakening (even a very early awakening, as in my case) it remains a practice, something we have to intentionally do. After, it happens on its own, and the only intention is to surrender anything coming up, any beliefs, identities, any aspect of the personality, to it.

Alive luminous blackness

Also, before the belly center awakening the term fertile darkness does not make so much sense (at least it didn’t for me). After, it becomes a living presence, an immediate experience.

It is a fertile darkness, an alive luminous blackness which is the ground of all forms, gives a deep sense of fullness and nurturing, and allows for a deep reorganization and healing of the emotional level. And as Almaas writes, and I have experienced since the (early) belly awakening some weeks ago, this luminous blackness is experienced everywhere, as if “peering out through all forms” as he puts it.

Almaas, and Barry and Karen the diksha givers, are the only ones I have found so far whose experiences with this reflects my own, down into the details, although it must be a relatively common occurrence, it is just that I haven’t explored it before in this way, and not looked for descriptions of it.

Adyashanti on The Awakened Way

One of the most clear, simple and beautiful descriptions of an awakened life I have found, from Adyashanti.

While the world is trying to solve its problems and everyone around you is engaged in the same, you’re not. While everybody around you is trying to figure it out, trying to arrive, trying to “get there,” trying to be worthy, you’re not. While everyone thinks that awakening is a grand, noble, halo-enshrouded thing, for you it’s not. While everybody is running from this life right now, in this moment, to try to get there, you’re not. Where everybody has an argument with somebody else, mostly everybody else, starting with themselves, you don’t. Where everybody is so sure that happiness will come when something is different than it is now, you know that it won’t. When everybody else is looking to achieve the perfect state and hold on to it, you’re not.

When everybody around you has a whole host of ideas and beliefs about a whole variety of things, you don’t. Everyone on the path is getting there; you haven’t gotten anywhere. Everyone is climbing the mountain; you’re selling hiking boots and picks at the foot in the hope that if they climb it and come back down, they may be too exhausted to do it again. When everybody else is looking to the next book, to the next teacher, to the next guru to be told what’s real, to be given the secret key to an awakened life, you’re not. You don’t have a key because there’s not a lock to put it in.

When you’re living what you are in an awakened way, being simply what you’ve always been, you’re actually very simple. You basically sit around wondering what all the fuss is about.

When everyone is sitting around saying, “I hope that happens to me,” you remember when you did that. You remember that you didn’t find a solution to that. You remember that the whole idea that there was a problem created all of that.

When you’re being what you are, when you’re living the awakened life, there’s nobody to forgive, because there’s no resentment held, no matter what.

The truth of your being doesn’t crave happiness; it could actually care less. It doesn’t crave love, not because you are so full of love, but because it just doesn’t crave love. It’s very simple. It doesn’t seek to be known, regarded highly, or understood. When you’re living what you are in an awakened way, there’s no ideal for you anymore. You’ve stepped off the entire cycle of suffering, of becoming; you’re not interested.


And finally, when you’re just living in the awakened way that you really are, you’ll never form an image again of what it’s like. Even as it’s happening, you won’t form an image because you’ll know they’re all images, dust. The way it was yesterday won’t be the way it is today.

Full text

Invitation to find for oneself

Of the many things I appreciate about Adyashanti, and maybe especially how there is always the invitation to find what is true for oneself.

He speaks from what he has explored thoroughly for himself, from what is alive for him right now, and in ways that invites the listeners to find it for themselves right now – in their own immediate awareness. His talk becomes a set of questions for inquiry.

There is a tremendous freshness, openness, immediacy and aliveness in this.

Is it true that what I seek is not already here?

Here is one of the inquiries Adyashanti suggests

Is it true that what I seek is not already here?

Specifically, he suggests asking this about our meditation. If I seek peace through meditation, is it true that this peace is not already here? If I seek to realize selflessness, is it true that this selflessness cannot be noticed right here?

But it applies more generally as well, to anything we seek.

  1. Something is alive in immediate experience.
  2. There is the idea that it can’t already be here, so it must be out there – in others, the world, the past or the future.
  3. And this inquiry, is it true that what I seek is not already here?, helps me see that it is already here.

There is a wonderful simplicity in this.

Flowering of Spirit

I went to a half-day satsang with Adyashanti yesterday, in Portland, and it was wonderful. As a friend of mine said, he is a breath of fresh air.

Awakening and flowering of Spirit

One of the things he talked about is the distinction between awakening and the flowering of Spirit, or Enlightenment and Self-Realization as Ken Wilber calls it in Integral Spirituality.

One is the awakening of Big Mind to its own nature. It is realized selflessness. The other is the continuing maturing and development of this human self, or as Adya said it: the flowering of Spirit through this human life.

Flowering of Spirit in always fresh ways

As he pointed out, Spirit never repeats itself. It is always manifesting as fresh, new, different. Uniquely, whether it is as a snow flake, a mountain, or through and as a human life.

So this flowering inevitably involves the breaking of boundaries, of the conventions of society and our tradition, of the expectations of ourselves and others, of our old limited identity, any ideas of what this human self can and should do. The flowering, if full and encouraged, will naturally break and go beyond any and maybe all of these imaginary boundaries.

Adyashanti himself is one of the most clear examples of this. He goes beyond any imaginary boundary, whether from culture, tradition (Zen, in his case), expectations, identity. I suspect he continually surprises even himself.

It is possible to restrict and narrowly channel this flowering of Spirit, if there is a clinging to norms, tradition, expectation and old identities. And this probably happens quite a lot.

And it is possible to encourage this flowering of Spirit, going beyond boundaries existing only as ephemeral ideas.

Genpo Roshi does this, having gone beyond the Zen tradition and developed the Big Mind process. Byron Katie certainly does this, although she has learned to talk and communicate in a way that is a little easier for people to take in.Adyashanti does this, in his wonderfully clear and fresh teachings. Douglas Harding does this, daring – in a quite traditional British culture, to suggest that we are really headless in our own immediate experience.

Most of the figures recorded by history also seem to fall into this category, although that does not mean that they were necessarily more important the many who were more anonymous or less obviously adventurous. Jesus was certainly an iconoclast, as were BuddhaShakyamuni, Bodhidharma, Dogen, Milarepa, Meister Eckhart, Hafiz, Rumi, Hildegaard, and many others.

It requires Great Courage (or Great Foolishness!) to invite this flowering of Spirit in our human life. This flood which will break all dams and levees. And the reward is a possibly fuller and richer manifestation of Spirit in our human life, and a continual surprising of even ourselves.

How this human self is put together

I suspect that this too depends somewhat on how our particular human self is put together.

If it is already somewhat reckless, a sucker for freshness and newness, relentlessly curious by nature, or dedicated to truth and authenticity, then this flowering is more likely to be one that goes beyond any and all boundaries.

If more traditional and conventional by nature, the flowering may fall more neatly within the expectations of culture and tradition, and maybe even our old identity.

Both needed

Again, there is nothing wrong in either of these, and there is certainly room for both. If we were all reckless iconoclasts, little would be left of tradition and the accumulated experience and wisdom embodied there. If we were all traditionalists, there would be little freshness, innovation and adaption to new and changing settings and circumstances.

Equally important, some human selves – such as this one, has an affiliation to and resonate with the innovators. Others, with the traditionalists. And we all find our interest drawn to one or the other at various times, and maybe even both.

Further differentiation

(As I write this, I see that I started out closer to what I heard Adyashanti briefly say, and then go into further differentiation on my own. It shifts as I write, which is why I do it – to explore and clarify it on my own.)

When I look at it for myself, it seems that the flowering of Spirit can certainly be full and rich in either case. One is not necessarily more full or rich, or more important, than the other. They complement each other. They are both equally needed. They can both be a flowering of Spirit in a fresh way, whether within the general boundaries of tradition and culture or not.

The one boundary which the flowering do need to break out of is that of our old identity. This is the one that can restrict it. Sometimes, it is possible to break out of our own identity and still function within the general boundaries of tradition and culture. Other times, it may lead us to go beyond and break free from these boundaries. And this can happen in more or less obvious and dramatic ways.


So there is awakening, realized selflessness, which is independent of the particulars of the content, including this human self. And there is Self-Realization and the flowering of Spirit, which is all about content – about the life and maturing of this human self.

And this flowering of Spirit relates to the imaginary boundaries of tradition, culture, identity and expectations in two ways.

First, there is the realization of freedom from any boundaries of tradition, culture, identity and expectations, and the flowering of Spirit beyond and independent of these.

Then, there is the expression of this, how it is lived in the world. Here, it can be aligned with and mostly within the boundaries of tradition and culture, and may even appear to be mostly within the boundaries of the old identity (although most likely not). Or it can obviously and clearly be expressed free from and independent of any and all of these boundaries.

In the realization of freedom from boundaries, there is also the freedom to express it within or free from these boundaries. And that depends on how this human self is put together, the situation, what seems most helpful to others, and so on. It will change with changing circumstances.

Inquiry into what I really want

There are so many forms of inquiry that reveals the complete innocence of anything about our human selves. The Work is one.

And Adyashanti suggests another…

Adyashanti’s inquiry into what you really really want

  1. Make a list of what you want. Don’t hold back. List everything, including or maybe especially those things that seem patently unspiritual, immature and embarrassing: money, sex, fame, eternal vacation, beach, hot women/men, the adoration and love of others, power, the ability to eat anything at any amount without getting out of shape or sick.
  2. Then go through each one on the list and ask: what do I really hope to get out of this? What is the best possible outcome? Again, be sincere. Find what you really want to get out of it. What do you think and wish you will get from it? When you find it, ask the same question again: what do you hope and wish to get from this one? Then repeat, and repeat, until you arrive at something that seems irreducible to something else.

The results from my inquiry

For me, when I do this, I find that each one – no matter how unspiritual and immature they may seem to be in the beginning, end up in freedom from suffering, and happiness. That is where they all lead. The real motivation is revealed as completely innocent.

And it also happens to be the explicit and essential motivation for practice in several traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism.

What started out as a clearly wicked wish ends up as a completely innocent wish, and the most sincere motivation for practice.

Deep seated suspicion of our human self, unravelling quickly when we look a little closer

Yet, as Adyashanti points out, there is the myth that our desires are inherently flawed or will lead us astray. There is a deep seated suspicion of our human self in so many traditions. A suspicion that unravels as soon as we scratch just a little bit under the surface.

Nonduality Video Snippets

I have been watching some nonduality (advaita, zen, buddhism) video snippets on YouTube. There are quite a few of them there already, and I am sure more to come. Here is one of several of Adyashanti, amazingly fresh and clear as he usually is.


True Meditation & Meditative Self-Inquiry

I am listening to Adyashanti’s True Meditation and Spontaneous Awakening, and find a deep appreciation for the wonderful simplicity, freshness and clarity of his teachings. I also see how the practices he talks about come from a Buddhist tradition, which is not surprising since he studied with a student of Maezumi Roshi, as I did/do as well (in my case, Genpo Roshi).

What Adyashanti describes as true meditation, just allowing anything arising to be as it is, is a description of shikantaza, or what is sometimes called just sitting. And the practice of meditative self-inquiry is similar to koan studies, and even more similar to the Big Mind process developed by Genpo Roshi.

The meditation allows awareness to notice itself as aware of content, and also as no different from its content. Said another way, it shifts the center of gravity from the content to the seeing of the content, allowing the content to live its own life.

The inquiry allows for a clearer seeing of this process, and also for a clearer seeing of what we really are. Am I the changing content? Am I that which does not change? Am I the seen? Am I the seeing? Is there a separation between the changing content and that which does not change? Am I the seeing and the seen?

Planting Seeds

I notice that if I plant a seed in the form of a question (and maybe some information to go along with it), an answer will usually surface some days, weeks or even months later.

This has been noted by many people of course, including in writing by many psychologists, inventors and scientists, and Adyashanti as well, on the Spontaneous Awakening CDs.

The most recent example for me was the question of Sakyamuni Buddha’s statement following his awakening: all sentient beings, the great earth and I have awakened together. I remember having the question come up briefly some weeks back, and then an answer of sorts came up yesterday, out of the blue. In between these two instances, there was no attention to or even conscious awareness of the question.

The answer surfacing, at least in its expressed form, is of course always relative, provisional, temporary, to be refined, modified, replaced. Any formulated or expressed answer is by its nature relative: It can be very helpful in orienting in the world of phenomena, yet at the same time is not absolute, limited in scope and even of temporary usefulness.