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Nondual Highlights Issue #1935 Tuesday, September 28, 2004 Editor: Mark
have to address your own level of fear, and that is called
compassion - simply being with `what is there'.
Accepting the whole texture of what you feel without having to act out, or lash out in some primitive bid for self-preservation.
We have to trust the texture of what is happening and relax with the `rip-tides' of what we feel.
If there's some space, then that becomes possible.
It's a ride though . . . but if we reject `the ride' . . . we get ridden . . . and the spurs bite deep!"
- Ngak'chang Rinpoche, posted to DailyDharma
A series of 4 posts on nondualnow:
a non-expert response to what bhakti is:
in my experience, upon entering online non-duality, i struggled conceptually with non-dualers about their views that bhakti and jnana are entirely separate paths, or in non-expert words, "love and wisdom", or at the Dalai Lama's talk, "mind and heart". i have dear online friends who lean towards the sword of clarity cutting through the knots of ignorance, those who serve truth in scriptural form, those who debone and dissolve, and others who stream mystical writings of union and love without caring of any theories. of course there are those who defy any description but to not leave out the ones who share deeply from the very lives in which we abide, illuminating an awareness within everything from the absolute to the relative.
i have seen that there are many arguments to be made for separation and yet i find i do not see or feel love and clarity as separate. i know one can be filled with love and also be filled with many stories and superstitions. i have seen that one can be absolutely keen-eyed sharp as to the failings and misunderstandings of others and yet be so detached in the void, that life passes right by with no recognition or appreciation of what is in front of us.
as far as i can see, it is where the heart and clarity coincide that all arises from and within. one cannot really, truly see another without falling in love with heartbreaking compassion and devotion for what is here. one cannot know anything completely without truly recognizing it is of one's own heart. one cannot truly surrender completely in love without recognizing the boundless, limitless, timeless, space where the knowing is irrevocable, clearer than any name, more known than knowing itself. when i know who i am, it is love. when i know who i am, it is clarity. and when i face all that arises in my awareness, it is these that are at the ground of every moment in this streaming.
i ponder at times, "non-duality", what is it good for? how does it actually apply to my life? and i find if i use it to avoid what is in front of me, then it is useless. but as i allow myself to notice this moment, the silence here, this stillness, i am here. when i open to this breathtaking, utterly, patient, aliveness, so fully present, i see that nothing is asked for, not even recognition. yet it receives all; every hope, concept, doubt, including every unworded aspect of it all. this exists between and beyond any ideas of non-duality. it is this wordless aliveness to which i am devoted.
yet it is not a separate devotion between any things, it is love itself enfolding, unfolding, purely being, expressed as life. all shines of this. and it is this love which calls me into every tiny piece that still appears unlit in my world. it is love that draws me forth to stay connected with all the suffering, to continue to face what appears unbearable with this total, nameless devotion. it is what flows the aliveness as this presence. and somehow i know that to retreat in silence and avoid what i would name as "not love" will only echo and maintain the suffering for all time within time. love calls me into loving what still suffers, to embrace it, to be with it. to be with what is here. to know this as my self. all of it.
and love lets me know there are no small things, there are no unimportant points, there is no pain to be ignored, that everything, that absolutely every being, is all awaiting this completion of being seen in love, with love, as love. and as much as continuing to care keeps the heart ripped open, it is the least i would do and the most i can do in my devotion for what is. being wide open is the only option. there is no other way that is alive in truth.
i was initially drawn to the wisdom online and began to feel ashamed of my undissolvable devotion to what is. yet staying in truth led me continually to what is here. and love is undeniable. love is absolutely, completely clear when recognized in its true nature. though softer than soft, and stiller than stillness, love in its flowing ever-self, is entirely, mercilessly, lucidly, unmovable from truth. while words are not needed for what we all know in our hearts, love overflows in expression exchanging words and attention here now. i guess i could say wording is my devotion for what is.
i have discovered that online, the politically-spiritually correct way is to never claim knowing anything. that this is the safest. yet this love is so un-safe, dangerous, that it undoes even this, and i am unable to deny what is my heart. i cannot in any truth say that i do not know love. nor am i able to deny what is wordlessly ever present, this clear, clear, silence. this heart of hearts. to know is to love. to see is to love. to be is to love. to me, the clarity of realization is purely the awakening to the love that is, as the love that is.
and along with this comes truly living this. the ancient wisdoms depend mainly on removal from relative life. we now see pioneers in awakening including the daily world, with people like pema chodron, vicki woodyard and others being courageous enough to bring it all into the light, to include life itself.
I never really practiced formal meditation like sitting on a cushion. Sometimes I had to though, when, for example, I lived in an ashram or frequented a local Zen club.
On the other hand, there is some kind of aid I use to settle in awareness. I just try to keep gently and effortlessly aware of breathing in and out. I try to actually feel the body and its surroundings, allow it to be and live. It is very simple and it is an art and blessing in itself. It is an all-inclusive practice and I find it deepens the ability to actually attend to what is. All blessings are to be found in that utter open and welcoming simplicity.
When that practice more or less started to mature it became obvious that when this practice becomes natural and effortless it is none other than the natural state or original state.
A shift seems to take place that is so subtle it is hard to describeif at all; you go from the state of attending to what is, to being what is. This being what is carries the seeds or perfume of the beyond what is somehow. It is the door to the great unknown, the void.
Anyway, when I started to realize there is nothing else to do than to simply see what is, which is vastly profound, and to have the faith and courage to live that freedom as that freedom, I lost interest in religion, spiritual philosophy, methods, belief systems and inner and outer authorities and deeply disguised dogmas and beliefs as relevant aids to a goal called enlightenmentas I see it they are mere obstacles build on unexamined fears. This was a kind of breakthrough and was not at all easy, it was and is and will always be new and earth shattering. It leaves me completely naked and vulnerable. Strange enough this is the ultimate security.
It was not at all easy, but where I am now, it is lonely sometimes, and sometimes it scares the hell out of me (an individual living in a world and society going insane), but at least it as real and substantial as a mountain towering in the empty skies. The relief of throwing overboard the intellect and the mind as a means of achieving (or figuring out) how to get it is immense. At this point psychological fear has lost its tyrannical grip on the heart and the heart can do what it is there for in the first place: embrace the immeasurable and dissolve in it. The beginning of right meditation, as I see it
This all may sound very far fetched or remote from ordinary day-to-day life. Well, its not. It is just that I will always struggle to express this blessing, I will and I must and I cannot do otherwise. So here we are struggling and alive
And its time to prepare to go to work.
Have a nice day,
- Ben Hassine
Swami and I have a prayer together every morning; it is for our own centering that we pray. Swami feels that being off-center is a bigger sin than almost anything else. He insists that we sit on folding chairs with our backs straight and our head bowed. We let our hands hang loose in our laps.
Silence is the centering mechanism for both of us. It is like putting a level on a crooked picture. The silence levels the inner life right up because what is off-bubble is screaming for your attention. It feels like a brown shoe in a white shoe world. We look at the brown shoe and with focused energy on it, we breathe it out and let it go. We continue breathing until there are only white shoes left. Don't take this too literally; since Swami usually wears slippers.
As we sit in silence together, I feel the love that Swami exudes with every breath he takes. This tiny man has the biggest heart of anyone I know. How I drew him to me is the biggest mystery of all.
The silence extends into the other rooms of the house. Our bedrooms, the hall, kitchen and living room are touched by the soundlessness arising from within our hearts. My heart is not as big as Swami's but it is beating in harmony with his. That gives me hope and the knowledge that for everything there is a season. Swami's silliness over celebrity is just another game for the old man. He knows how radically all who love him are changed. It is nothing that he does, of course. You know this by now. It is what he is that changes people.
When we stand up, we hear our bodies creaking. Swami is the first to break the silence. "Well, Vicki," he says with vim, vigor and vitality, "let's eat!" I head for the kitchen, knowing that the cinnamon rolls are begging to be buttered. I can hardly wait.
P.S. For those of you who don't know or keep forgetting, Swami is a fictional character and I take no responsibility for what he does when I am off duty. If he gets under your skin or into your heart, don't tell me. Tell him. Talk about a guru throwing you back on yourself....
- Vicki Woodyard
This is an amazing coincidence Vicki... Sam is also a fictional character who takes no responsibility for what he does although others would want him to...
He says he wants to be a real boy someday.
He clicks the heels of his ruby slippers whenever he thinks of it..
The director of this little household drama likes also to just sit in silence and watch his characters play out their little dramas on the stage of his mind... sometimes it is still for a bit... especially when he forgets to applaud...
Grace, as I see it, is what makes awakening occur or humanly possible. Grace gives wings to understanding so we can have the mighty view of the eagle. Grace is felt in the heart but it is something incomprehensible. It moves freely through the world but it is not of this world. Like a heavenly river streaming right through a battlefield. It is there all of a sudden and only heaven knows how it appeared there. The wounded can drink and bathe in the river; they can rest and heal on its welcoming shores.
Grace is invited by honesty and the courage to see things as they are without escaping or manipulating them. It is a mystery as I see it and still it is there. As if you met the Buddha or Jesus in standing in the supermarket waiting for you and to walk you home like good old friends do. Just like that, without asking.
I am sorry ... cant go on...
- Ben Hassine on awakenedawareness
Grace is a force, it seems to me, that surpasses all explanation. It is a deep, deep mystery and its power can never be understood by the brain.
It is just there and when it smiles the whole universe is on fire with love and the indescribable splendor of compassion .
It is wild and tender, secure and dangerous. It turns me into an eagle and humbles me to the core of my wounded and restless heart.
I lost my fear of death and when the day comes to go it will be a day of celebration.
It is so utterly dear and close it holds me by the hand and shows me the significance of ordinary day-to-day life in the light of eternity.
I really dont know what it is. It has no name.
-more Ben Hassine on awakened awareness.
Q: What I wanted to ask was when you, or if you, or how you might have come upon whatever it is in you that allows you to trust the awareness and the insights, you know the experience of Truth and if and when other people come up and question or demean a perspective, you can stay trusting your experience. In listening to you so far, it almost sounds as though, I was trying to figure out, is this grace, does this also come from a healthy childhood and is it psychological and it really sounds like it was always integrated for you.
A: Not necessarily. You could assume that by from what I said, but somebody could have come up and asked me questions or challenged me and the trust could have just fallen on its face pretty easily; outside a few things like that early learning to just rest with a question. And if someone said, no that's not the way you do it, I just knew, oh that's just you being a stupid adult. You don't know any better. But its not, see, to me this just happened. It didn't have anything to do with trust. I never thought of trusting anything. In fact, by the time I was into my teens, I was, and I still continue to be highly you could say logical in the sense of wanting to know what's true. So wanting to know what's true meant that I couldn't trust anything, anything. Because it could all be wrong. So from that point on, you could say I didn't have any trust except in this desire to simply know what's true, but the trust to actually find what that was and then to trust it, was hard won. Very hard won an fought for like a dog.
Voice: Say more about that.
A: (chuckles) Okay. Well relatively quickly when my spiritual life got going, was I decided that what I really wanted to know was what the truth was, the _nal truth in the end, which would be something like in the end, what ever the end was, but deepest core, is that ultimately something that is positive, you know that the world is peaceful, loving and good or is it something that is negative, that in the end its all terrible and its very much like it appears to be when you turn on TV, or is a combination of both ? And I had this raging desire that turned from sort of desire from enlightenment to the desire to know what is true. Because I was terrified to find out what was true because I had to equally take the possibility that it could end up being a terrible disaster. It could. And I found eventually the strength to entertain that possibility just as much as I entertained the possibility that it could be good because I realized unless I did, I would never know. I would find what I wanted to find, rather than find what was true.
So from about twenty years old or so on, that was the tremendous fuel for my whole search, which was behind my whole search and of course that kind of fuel can drive you crazy because you don't have a reference to gauge what is true even if you come upon it. You know, you don't have much gauge what is true and how do I know its true. The answer to this question is something that will probably become obvious with time. Its not something I can actually just (snaps finger) how did I get the trust. But it was just by being determined to find out what the truth was at all cost. All cost. It just didn't matter and what I found was a perspective. That's what the truth I finally found out was. Its not in something. Its in a perspective. Its a way of seeing what is, undistorted. That is what is called the truth. Which means its a way of seeing where it simply nothing to be interpreted or distorted by the mind and we call that the truth and it just so happens that truth is tremendously liberating. It just so happens and it just so happens that truth is tremendously liberating. It just so happens that it is very, very liberating and it just so happens that what is revealed in that perspective, is that ultimately everything comes from an overwhelmingly good place.
Q: As a piece of this question I am still wondering what, I am having trouble formulating the question, but what inside of you enabled you to trust even that quest.
A: To trust the quest. The quest itself ?
Q: Yeah, to trust whatever words you want to put on it. To trust you. To trust your sense of this direction, oh that now what I see is the truth is this perspective as you described it.
A: Oh, well a big part of that was ..
Q: Versus having somebody, you know, some authority figure or someone else say, this way, look here.
A: Well the big part of that was not trusting myself. Was coming to a complete, absolute and total mistrust of myself and realizing that any part of the mind or personality or emotions were completely absolutely untrustworthy as far as the truth goes, totally, untrustworthy and the wrong direction, couldn't be more wrong to look there. So that was very much part of the discovery of finding out what is not trustworthy to tell me what's the truth. That's the _rst step. Because when you find out what is not trust worthy, what is, just becomes obvious. You know I can't explain it any more than that. But that is what I meant it was hard fought and hard won because it was a long process of coming to find what I couldn't trust, what never was worthy of trust and being able to withstand that. Because when you _nd that, almost everything in your experience that you ever thought you were, is totally untrustworthy and that is quite a difficult thing to hold up under.
I think where your question is coming from elicits, then where do I go ? I don't know where to go from there. That is an incredibly insecure place when you find out that nothing you ever relied on to tell you what is true and to find trust in, is trustworthy. Nothing. And what I found that when I was able to sustain that, that knowing without collapsing, then that which was trustworthy became obvious. I can't put it any better. That's as good as I can put it.
Q: In my experience I developed an adaptive psyche that was very conditioned and I found one of the things that really broke it open was drugs. Was that an inuence in your experience ?
A: No. Not that I didn't do a little experimentation but I quickly found with any experimentation, for me, it only took kind of once with any number of little experiments to _nd out that although that might have been nice, you know, it just wasn't my way. Nothing really broke through that big. I had already had all those experiences that people have on drugs when I was a kid. So any time they came along, I just kind of like ? big deal ! (chuckles). This isn't particularly unusual. Everybody else seems to think it is, but it doesn't seem so unusual to me. So for a lot of people I talk to, yeah, that can be the cracking of the egg. But it wasn't part of my cracking.
Q: In the past at different retreats and things, every once in awhile you allude to your past, so I have a real curiosity about some things that you have said. You at one time said that for a very long time you had not discussed your awakenings because you were waiting for the big one.
Q: But you also mentioned that you had a large awakening when you were a young man and that your teacher sat you down and said, \Now that this has happened to you at such a young age, this, this, this, and this will happen which will stop you along the path" and at the time you thought. Not me. Could you expand ?
A: It all happened. (burst of laughter).
Q: Yeah, that's what you said. Could you kind of do a quick review of what it was like to be going after I guess Zen at the time and ?. Thanks.
A: Sure. You asked all the questions that needed a good windup. A good lead in. So around age 19 or 20 I started to meditate and the funny thing about what I did it for, was ridiculous. I had a great-great aunt. Aunt Ethyl ? Was she great-great ? Two greats I think. Ancient. Aunt Ethyl was ancient from the time I was a little kid, Aunt Ethyl was ancient and Aunt Ethyl was highly spiritual, highly psychic and it was kind of a thing we all knew but didn't discuss that Aunt Ethyl was really good at astral projecting herself. She could kind of take off and fly everywhere and she kind of knew everything about everybody because of it and when I heard about this, I always knew that Aunt Ethyl was a very incredible being and everybody did. We would now call her in this modern spiritual climate, a very enlightened person to the extent when Aunt Ethyl was going to die, she ran out and found a wife for her 86 or 87-year-old husband, set him up, made sure they liked each other and fell in love and then she died. So he would have somebody to marry. So Aunt Ethyl was very awake and I could get in a big side track with her, but she was a wonderful being. But this whole idea of astral projection. I thought, isn't that interesting. So I went out and I got how to astral project. This little pamphlet. Right (chuckles) and it had these steps, you know.
Q: How old were you ?
A: 18 or something like that. So you set up all these things and you go through all these motions. I can't even remember but it was this whole process. So I tried this whole process out and something wonderful was supposed to happen but nothing kept happening. But one of the things you had to do, you had to do some kind of meditation. I forgot what it was, but you are supposed to get really kind of quiet and as I was going through all of this and getting frustrated about the fact that I couldn't project myself out of my tennis shoes much less out of the room, I suddenly thought, well this meditation is really interesting. This is really interesting and so I stopped trying to astral project and I started to meditate and I didn't know what I was doing and I had some incredible meditations from the beginning. Of course before I learned how and screwed it all up, I had these amazing ? and that's what really got me kind of hooked and then I learned about enlightenment |- yatta yatta yatta. So we were off to the races.
And then I started to practice Zen. I met a Zen teacher in Los Gatos who was my teacher who eventually fifteen years later asked me to start teaching. Arvis. And Arvis is the one who trained with Mizumi Roshi and Yesutani and so on and some of the early Zen teachers in the early, early 60's while raising five kids and the whole bit and she used to have a lot of retreats at her house. The teacher would come to her house. There were no temples. There was none of this Zen everywhere like now. People would come to her house and she has a pretty big house, but they would have like 45 people doing week long retreats and they literally would be sleeping on the grass in the front yard and in the back yard and they were just everywhere and the toilets would constantly be clogging. It was just a mess. But they used to have these Zen retreats at her house and she trained for a long time. I think first Soan and then Yesutani who were just incredible Zen teachers and then later Mizumi and he used to come up and do lots of retreats and _nally he said, \You start teaching" So she started to teach and she taught for the better part of 30 something years out of her home. I met her there and after a few years of meditating, (she was a non-teaching teacher). She didn't call herself a teacher. She didn't like it. We would do one period of meditation, do a little Kin Hin, walking meditation and sit down and she would read somebody else's teaching and then we would do another period of meditation and then we would have tea and go home. But once a month, we would do like a half day or all day sitting where we would see her in private, Doksan. That's where her magic really was. It wasn't in, she didn't do good in open forum, but in Doksan that's where her magic was. But I didn't appreciate it at the time because it didn't have robes and they didn't have shaved heads and there wasn't big bells and there wasn't incense all over the place. You know, there was something way to normal.
But after I got into this for awhile (I am leading up to something), I had this knowing which somehow started to creep up on me that at 25 years old I was going to die and it wasn't in the slightest bit disconcerting oddly enough it was like ?. Well you have about three years, you damn well better hurry up. And so I had a certain sense of urgency. I could see no reason why I was going to perish. None at all. But it just seemed to be a fact and I didn't even particularly care. I just thought, well isn't that interesting. But it was serious. I didn't doubt it. It seemed so obvious that I just took it as the truth. So there I was being with her and then occasionally I went up to Sonoma Mountain Zen Center with my other teacher, Kwon Roshi, who was a wonderful human being, which was my true luck of my lifetime. My true luck was having two teachers that were wonderful human beings, way before they were wonderful teachers. Neither one of them were great teachers in the sense of pointers and helping make the path quicker. But they were incredible human beings and their human beingness, the way they acted, was the teaching. That is a very subtle teaching, especially for people who were so ordinary, I missed it for a long, long, long time, but they were both extraordinarily ordinary, but had this sense of something incredibly profound is there. Why can't I just get to it ? Why doesn't it talk ? Why doesn't it ? You know, it just walks around. So I would do retreats up there. So I started to get upset at this quest. Why do I want enlightenment ? My quest went from wanting to know enlightenment or wanting know what's true temporarily, to why me ? Why me ? And what is this ? Because I started to be able to localize it. It seemed to come from somewhere in here but what is this ? that is sort of driving me in this crazy direction, that when I started to realize that it was just going to be there and it was going to drive me crazy until I found out what the hell it was. I wanted to know what that was so badly because I was a little or lot upset with it because it wasn't in my control. I didn't own it and it got more and more and more and more intense and I would meditate more and more and more and like I said, sometimes I would sit out in that little zendo in the corner in the back yard for periods of 45 minutes each before going to work just to find this out. At work I literally would without doing it mechanically, but it would just run in my head; what is this ? What is this ? What is this ? It would just drive me crazy. It literally was driving me crazy for a certain period.
I literally had moments of thinking, if this goes on I will go crazy. Literally. It is just too much of you could say strain. It was a tremendous strain. Well I did my _rst retreat up at Sonoma. It was awful, terrible, hideous, horrible, drudgery, just the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and I was used to su_ering because during a lot of this period of time, I was a competitive bicycle racer and I was at a pretty high level, so I was used to a lot of pain for a long time and I could put up with a lot of pain. I was particularly good at putting up with a lot of pain and here I found myself in this retreat and this was different. This was hell. I wanted to be there so bad, all the myth about it, _nally I am going to Mecca and I sat myself down on the cushion on the first night, it started about 7 or 8 o'clock at night. My butt hit the cushion and something exploded and said, you have got to get the hell out of here. And this anxiety, not fear but anxiety that just almost would shake me off the cushion. I mean internally it was just like this never ending explosion of anxiety and about the second day I was sure I was going to leave. Sure. Positive. And when I was sure I was going to leave, something else came up and said, if you leave, this is it. If you leave, this is a turning away from that, whatever that annoying little thing is, that's it if you leave. It's all over. You won't get it this life. So me and that knowing did battle. And I mean battle. I mean each meditation period was an eternity of just hellish eternity and there was _fteen of them a day. And it went on and on and on and on. And the only way I really got through was two things. I prayed like the dickens. I prayed and prayed and prayed and one time I went in and I asked Roshi. I said, you know I'm only getting through this because I'm really praying and I said, Is that okay ? Because Buddhists don't pray right ? They chant and they sit around meditating but they don't do any praying and I was just, I was praying with everything I had.
Transcription note: Much laughter by Adyashanti and group.
I was just saying, the only thing I could come up with was ? thy will be done, because mine ain't good enough. Thy will be done, thy will be done and everything inside me was screaming, the hell with thy will, screw it and you know. So anyway I asked him about this and when he found out how I was praying, he said, (I am trying to remember his words). It was very useful. He said, \That prayer comes from Buddha, it is not yours" So he said, \That's good" And later that day he gave a talk and his talk started to talk about prayer and he never talked about prayer and about the right way to pray and the wrong way to pray and it was everything we had talked about in our private meeting and it made me feel good. I thought, \Oh God, cool". So anyway when I knew that I had to make it through, I did. But any moment was like. Do you ever have those moments where you know you are like on this tight rope that is thin as a hair and any second you could go either way ? It was like that the whole retreat and for _ve nights I didn't sleep a wink ?
Voice: Oh God !
A: That's what I said, \Oh my God" ! Not a wink because as soon as I lay down to go to sleep, just the same sort of overwhelming energy was there. To make it worse on the last night we meditated and we knew this going in, which was knowing it was way worse than it actually happened, we sat thirty minute periods up until 11:30 after we had dinner and they we took a half hour off and then we had one continuous period to dedicate Suzuki Roshi who started San Francisco Zen Center, a dedication for him. It was a memorial for him. We would sit from 12 midnight until 4 a.m. in the morning and there were a few rules; you couldn't get up and you couldn't lay down. Anything else goes. You could change your position a hundred times, but you couldn't get up and you couldn't lay down. Once that bell rang at 12 you were there until 4 o'clock. Of course, nobody was going to kill you if you left, but that was the agreement, that you just wouldn't. Knowing this was coming, made the hell even worse, because I knew that was coming. So anyway we go through all that night and I survived it and we get up the next morning and we do this beautiful ceremony for Suzuki Roshi and as we were doing the ceremony, (part of it was all in a big circle, sort of like we do at the end of ours) in this ceremony, because it was dedicated to Suzuki Roshi, you would go up and offer a little incense and bow and you would say whatever you wanted to say ? to the altar. A lot of people just bowed and a lot of people said something. I was watching. I was very happy that it was all over and after about three or four people, somebody bowed and as they were bowing, I could feel their love and when I could feel their love, this incredible rush like energy and light just ooded, ooded me. This incredible release and ood and _rst it was internal and it made me really woozy but it was highly enjoyable and then it went out into the room and pretty soon I couldn't see the room, it was just this incredible like golden white light and when each person would bow, it would be like they had turned up the volume and it get going and going and the volume every time somebody would and I was sure boy, I'm going to pass out, but I didn't care. It was beautiful. It was just this experience of overwhelming love and I just wanted to throw myself at anybody's feet and prostrate ? you know ? people have had that experience and just this gratitude. So I guess the _ve days wasn't for nothing.
Q: Was the : : : : : : : : :besides prayer: : : : : : : : :
A: Well the prayer and just the knowing that if I turned away from it this time, that would be it. I don't know if it actually would have been, but there was an intuitive knowing. It was like this is a crucial moment in my life. I knew it. And I knew it if I backed down, I would be so incredibly defeated, I would never be able to go back. I would never be able to get there again. It would be too much of a defeat. I couldn't have taken that. So there was intuitive knowing that this is it. Everything is on the line. And that more than any thing else is what convinced me just to purely gut it out. Just hold on and survive and those were the two things. That knowingness. So this event at the end was something that really spurred me to keep going. As you can imagine. So fast forward two years, a couple of more years and this same \what is this ?" is back. You know, really, really intensely; tremendously intensely - \what is this inside me ?".
Q: A voice asks a question on top of Adyashanti's voice which is not able to be deciphered.
A: Oh yeah, growing more and more and more and more and more. So I get up one day and I go out to my zendo, which was right out here. The same zendo I told a lot of you that I would be so frustrated that I would literally be sitting in lotus and beating my head on the wall (chuckles). Right out there, I would get so frustrated. I went out there that day and I was in this state of mind that I just had to _nd out and I had been there for quite some time, just going bananas and there I was and within just a minute or two I got so incredibly frustrated. So just, \here we go again" and so I literally said, \screw it, I give up" and as soon as I said, \I give up", there was this I guess what they would call it now, was some sort of kundalini experience. But it was this incredible onrush of energy just like from down in my spine and just overwhelming, overwhelming to such an extent that my heart started to race and my breathing was like I was running the hundred yard dash. I was just laboring in breathing and my heart - having been a high level athlete, I knew what maximum heart rate was; I knew my heart rate maxed at at about 210 beats a minute and I knew what if felt like and I knew I was way beyond that. The whole body was completely out of control and again these internal energies and lights and just this incredible happening that intensified to the point that I was quite certain, absolutely sure that I wouldn't survive it, because I knew what the body could take, and it couldn't take this very long. At that moment, I knew I was going to die. And the question kind of ?. And all I said when I knew I was going to die, I said, \If this is what it takes to be free, okay". So as soon as I said that, its like something just let loose. Just \shwoo" and I just found myself, everything became (snaps finger) like that, absolutely pristinely quiet and just this vast emptiness opened up and my awareness just went, it didn't just expand, it just disappeared. The boundaries just completely, they weren't just expanded, they went so far, they just disappeared and it was just absolutely stillness and insights rushed in at I can't even, I have no idea what the rate was, but literally hundreds came in, in just a matter of a few minutes. One, like simultaneously. Not just one after another, but just these groups and it was all ashing, ashing, ashing and so this went on for awhile and then the insights kind of disappeared into that vastness and then there was just this incredible nothing and after awhile I got up and as I always would do, I had a little Buddha figure there, the incense and everything and I bowed down to it and when I hit bottom on the bow, I just started to laugh hysterically, because I looked at this Buddha (snaps finger) that's what I was all along. (chuckles) I have been chasing myself all these years. What an idiot you know and it was tremendously funny. (giggles) Just tremendously funny and so this was a really deep spiritual awakening and it also happened in my 25th year. So there went that life ! See you later.
So there was some kind of knowing that there was something coming. It wasn't the death I thought. It wasn't the one I expected, but it was the one I got, so that's how the whole ? So, I rushed back and it didn't happen in a retreat, because outside of the first retreat, no insight, no anything ever came from any retreat. Anything outside that first little, beautiful moment of love at the first retreat, everything happened by myself. Always by myself, which always make my Zen teachers go (transcription note: A probably made a facial expression), because it never happened at the retreat or with other people. In fact Kwong Roshi used to say, \You are very different" \Your way is very strange" and then he would kind of pause, because he was very traditional, very traditional and he would kind of pause and he ? \but it works". So he had an openness about it. I went back and I told him about this, what had happened and there were lots of other insights in between the time that I got to meet him. I meet him for a few months after that. And I didn't tell anybody. I never thought to tell anybody. Really at the time. I was still going to Arvis, never even thought that I might mention it. I don't know why. It just never even occurred to me that it might be a good idea.
Q: Would it have been ?
A: Oh, I don't know. She probably would have said, \wonderful, good, okay, now let's get on with it". Sort of the Zen way. But I never, never thought of it. So when I did tell him this and he asked a number of questions, like good Zen teachers do to see how deep is it ? Because what happens, happens but there is a vast degree in how deep it went and so he was probing to see how deep it went and then when he was satisfied, of course he didn't tell me this, but I know now and when he understood how deep it was, and there was just a wonderful moment as meeting as many people in here have experienced, this beautiful moment of meeting and he looked at me again with this very quizzical look and he said, \How old are you ?" and I said \twenty-_ve". He looks up (audience laughter) I can't remember quite what he said, but it was still like \You are unusual" (much laughter in room) and then came what your question was asking, and then came this whole talk which is this is what tends to happen when this happens. And I can't remember at all but he went down and he said, \You might go o_ on a long trip and sort of leave everything behind, a lot of people do that, and then you might be involved with, be really careful getting involved with women right now because very likely you will make some really dumb mistakes".
A: Asks Annie, \do you remember any ?? Annie: There was like ?.
A: There was like 4 or 5 things that were all these ridiculous, complete idiotic blunders, you know that you tend to make when this happens to you. And I thought when I was listening to him, it kind of like (quizzical look on face) \what are you talking about" \I'm free of all that" What ? I didn't say that, but it just seemed ? Suddenly I sort of saw him like this old man, you know, kind of ? you know ? who just wasn't quite hip and with it. (laughter in room). So I listened but I didn't really listen and lo and behold, I could go by every single thing he warned me of and I did every damn one of them and I did them really good. Really stupid. Really big. All of them. Every single one. In all of those areas he mentioned, I made a complete and utter ass of myself. That was a very good learning experience as well. But you know I didn't start making an ass out of myself for a couple of years.
- excerpt from an interview with Adyashanti, posted to AdyashantiSatsang by Bob O'Hearn (with apologies for the imperfect transcript.)
The more you run after things, the more they go away. You say, 'Okay, I am not running after anything. I am here. I am contented.' Then, everything comes to you. Everything looks for a contented person. It's not just a mere theory or philosophy. It's a practical thing. You can even have a sort of trial week -- a week without wanting. Try it. Stop wanting anything. See how many things come to you.
Because everything and everybody likes to be with a contented person. If you are happy, everything comes. You should bring out fragrance of happiness. When there is nice fragrance, when there is honey in you, you don't have to advertise for the bees to come to you. They just come.
God bless you. Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi."
- Swami Satchidananda, posted to meditationsocietyofamerica by Bob Rose
Kill the snake of desire in the beginning;
or watch out: your snake will become a dragon.
But everyone considers his own snake to be just an ant:
if you do, seek knowledge of your real state
from one who is a lord of the heart.
Until copper becomes gold,
it doesn't know that it's copper:
until the heart becomes a king,
it doesn't recognize its poverty.
- Rumi, Mathnawi II: 3472-3474 Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski Rumi: Daylight, Threshold Books, 1994, posted to Sunlight.
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