Adyashanti: It’s useful and important to have a sense inside yourself of moving through chaos with absolute truthfulness, integrity, and honesty

It’s useful and important to have a sense inside yourself of moving through chaos with absolute truthfulness, integrity, and honesty. These are the energies that keep you from losing balance.

– Adyashanti in The Autonomy of Unified Spirit

Why would Adya mention this?

Because it’s not a given. When we experience outer and, more importantly, inner chaos, it’s easy to be caught up in this chaos. We can lose our sense of center. We can lose our direction. We can lose whatever truthfulness, integrity, and honesty we had and lived from when things were calmer.

How can we find this sense in us?

Bringing awareness to this is the first step.

We can set an intention to find it and live from it, although this really works only when we are ready for it.

We can relate to the chaotic and suffering parts of us with more kindness, for instance through heart-centered practices (ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta). That makes it a little easier to not react to them and act from this reactivity, and not join in with the painful stories within them and act from these.

We can examine what happens when we don’t do it, when we get caught up in and partially live from the chaos. We can make a list of what has happened in the past in these situations. This helps sober us up and find a more genuine motivation to not join in with and act from our inner chaos.

We can identify the stressful beliefs in us that bring us out of truthfulness, integrity, and honesty, and examine these and find what’s more true for us. (The Work of Byron Katie.) We can also examine any identifications and fears that bring us out of it. (Living Inquiries.)

We can identify the emotional issues behind going out of it and invite in healing for these. It’s often the pain in emotional issues that we react to when we join in with the chaos and act on it.

We can also notice what we are and that all this chaos and reactivity happens within and as what we are. This can also make it a little easier to not get caught up in it and relate to it all more intentionally.

Forgiving ourselves

Another side of this is finding genuine forgiveness for ourselves for the times we have been caught up in our inner chaos and acted from it, and possibly hurt others and ourselves. Admitting to what happened – to ourselves and perhaps others – is a support in doing it differently next time.

And forgiving ourselves does the same. We acted from our pain and perhaps created more pain. We can take responsibility for this and for what happened. We can feel whatever feelings come up in us from it. (Anger, sadness etc.) We can also see that when we humans act in this way, it comes from confusion and is, in a sense, innocent. And that doesn’t in any way give us a free pass for doing it again.

What is this chaos Adya talks about?

I don’t know how he would describe it.

For me, it’s the internal chaos that happens when we join with triggered and painful parts of us, or go into struggle with these. In both cases, we join with and act from painful beliefs, identifications, and emotional issues.

This feels like chaos because these parts of us come from separation consciousness and are at odds with reality. They are at odds with other unhealed parts of us, and they are also at odds with the more healthy and sane parts of us.

When we join in with these painful stories and views, we create a sense of internal chaos and this is often reflected in how we act and live our life.

What I am most afraid would happen if I am sincere is…..

I listened to the audio from the first session of the The Way of Liberation webcourse with Adyashanti, and he talks about our fears of living from sincerity.

I notice there are certain situations and areas of life where it’s more challenging for me to live from sincerity – to hear what’s true for me, to live from it, to be real, to live with integrity, to hear and live from my inner guidance, the quiet voice of the heart.

It’s good to look at what my fears are in each of these situations, to stay with what I find, let it inform me, and find and feel and take it what’s more true for me.

What am I afraid would happen if I am sincere? What’s the worst that can happen?


Mistakes and disobedience

Pan’s Labyrinth is about many things, but what stood out for me was mistakes and disobedience.

The main character was disobedient twice. First through innocence, as a mistake, and from not knowing the consequences. And the second time, deliberately, fully willing to take the consequences including losing her life. And that’s how she passed her test.

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Dream: Jewish family

I am a close friend with a Jewish family. There is a growing hostility towards Jews in the community, and one day – while I am visiting but in another area of the house – the family disappears. I notice my fear of speaking up against the almost universal hostility, recognizing that I will almost surely meet the same fate as them if I do, and instead try to find a way to either help or escape unnoticed.

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Happiness and satisfaction

Happiness research is hot these days, and it is good to see this topic finally getting the attention it deserves. After all, what do we want if not happiness?

When I explore it for myself, I find two or three layers of happiness or satisfaction.

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If everybody knew

The recent Tiger Woods story is a reminder of a simple pointer:

Would I do what I am doing if everyone knew about it? What would I do differently if everyone would know it?

In our digital and highly connected age, it is very possible that everyone will know, and that gives an added reality to the question.

Here is another take on those questions: When I am alone, do I behave as I would if others were here?  How would it be to act as if others were here? When I am with others, do I feel and act as free as I do when I am alone? How would it be to feel and act with the freedom that is here when I am alone?

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Big Integrity Movement

Big Integrity is the art and science of coming into right relationship with Reality and supporting others in doing the same. It can be spoken of as “getting right with God,” but religious language is not necessary and may in some circles be counterproductive, given the fact that so many people still have trivial, unnatural views of the divine. (Indeed, as I suggest here, atheist scientists such as PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins are playing traditionally prophetic roles in this process when they speak on behalf of reality.) Thus, I prefer thinking of Big Integrity simply as “being in right relationship with Reality”—both objective reality: the actual, physical Universe that dozens of scientific disciplines help us understand, and subjective reality: the inner realm of meaning, values, and interpretation that has historically been the focus of religion, psychology, and spirituality.

A nice post on the Big Integrity movement from Michael Dowd.

Digesting experience

A common metaphor for how we relate to experience is digestion. 

When a certain experience is digested well, there is some clarity around my stories about it, an allowing of the experience as is and with kindness, and acting with some integrity from what seems most mature, wise and kind in the situation even from a conventional view. 

When it is digested less well, there tends to be a resistance to the experience, a holding onto certain stories about it as true, and acting from less integrity. And in this case, the undigested experience will tend to come up again to be digested more fully.

It may come up when a current situation or event triggers the memory of it. Or when there is receptivity for it, for instance through allowing another experience (this one may come along, hoping to be digested as well), or when we are not able to distract ourselves from it – for instance at night in bed, while on retreat, or in nature for a length of time. 

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Any practice has elements of inquiry, devotion, integrity and service

Any practice has elements of inquiry, devotion, integrity and service.

It can be an expression of love for reality (God, Buddha Mind). It can be an expression of curiosity: what happens if…? It can be an expression of integrity, a sincere intention to live more aligned with reality. And it can be an expression of service, of realigning this human life so it better can be of service to the larger whole.

So there is fertile ground for exploration here. Any of those four is a practice in itself, and it includes elements of each of the other ones. What is the devotion component of inquiry? What is the integrity component of service? What is the service component of devotion? What do I find in my own experience?

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Living in integrity

There are many answers to the question what is it all about?

And here is one simple answer: it is about living in integrity.

What does it mean to live in integrity?

For me, it means to live according to relative and absolute truth. The ordinary truths on my ordinary human life, and also the truth of what I am and everything is.

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The gifts of inconsistency

Some things about consistency and inconsistency…

I can, of course, aim at consistency in the ordinary sense, between values, words and actions. And also integrity in acting on what is more true for me than beliefs, and notice and inquire into beliefs and fears preventing me from acting on it.

But there are gifts in inconsistency as well.

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Meeting people where they are

The long form improv guideline of Yes, And is a great way of meeting people where they are.

We find the grain of truth in their perspective, which is always there, acknowledge it, and then add another perspective to it.

It is a way to meet people where they are, and then gently expand the perspective. We expand our own by taking into account the truth in theirs. And we expand theirs by adding something new.

It is also a quick way to finding common ground, simply by noting the truth in their view.

And it is a way to stay in integrity. I find the genuine truth, for me, in their perspective. And then add something on my own.

It is very simple, almost childishly so as so much else in this journal. But it has a profound impact if we really bring it into our life.