Adyashanti     97 posts


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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.

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ENLIGHTENMENT IS NO STATUS

“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.”

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The light of awareness has a welcoming wholeness to it—it sees the ordinary moment just as it sees the peak moment.

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It’s very important to not mistake teaching or spiritual practice strategies for the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth has to be experienced.

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EGO IS A VERB
From early childhood, we are given messages such as, "You are pretty," "You are smart," "You got a good grade, so you are good," or "You did not get good grades, so you are not good."
Soon the child starts to believe it, to feel it, to own that emotional essence as "me." In the same way, someone can have a thought, and pretty soon he or she will start feeling that thought. If he thinks about a happy, sunny day, soon his body will start taking on that tone, feeling something that doesn't exist. So, of course, this makes it rather difficult when someone is told to get rid of ego, because who is going to get rid of ego? What is trying to get rid of ego? That's how it maintains itself, thinking it has to do something with itself.
Ego is a movement. It's a verb. It is not something static. It's the after-the-fact movement of mind that's always becoming. In other words, egos are always on the path. They are on the psychology path, the spiritual path, the path to get more money or a better car. That sense of "me" is always becoming, always moving, always achieving.
Or else it is doing the opposite—moving backward, rejecting, denying. So in order for this verb to keep going, there has to be movement. We have to be going forward or backward, toward or away from. We have to have somebody to blame, and usually, it's ourselves. We've got to be getting somewhere because otherwise, we are not becoming.
So the verb—let's call it "egoing"—is not operating if we are not becoming. As soon as a verb stops, it's not a verb anymore. As soon as you stop running, there is no such thing as running—it's gone; nothing is happening. This ego sense has to keep moving because, as soon as it stops, it disappears, just like when your feet stop, running disappears.

From "Emptiness dancing" p.51

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If you start playing the game of being an "enlightened somebody," the true teacher is going to call you on it. He or she is going to expose you, and that exposure is going to hurt. Because the ego will be there, standing in the light of Truth, exposed and humiliated. Of course, the ego will cry "foul!" It will claim that the teacher made a mistake and begin to justify itself in an effort to put its protective clothing back on. It will begin to spin justifications with incredible subtlety and deceptiveness. This is where real spiritual sadhana (practice) begins. This is where it all becomes very real and the student discovers whether he or she truly wants to be free, or merely wants to remain as a false, separate, and self-justifying ego. This crossroad inevitably comes and is always challenging. It separates the true seeker from the false one. The true seeker will be willing to bare the grace of humility, whereas the false seeker will run from it. Thus begins the true path to enlightenment, granted only to those willing to be nobody. Discovering your "nobodyness" opens the door to awakening as beingness, and beyond that to the Source of all beingness.

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The teacher can light a fire, but the teacher is not going to complete the process for you. Transmission is most powerful for people who feel a sense of resonance with what is being offered. If the resonance is there, a potential is ignited. Once the potential is woken up, then you need to take responsibility for what’s happening. Don’t just sit around waiting for the teacher or the teacher’s transmission to do it for you, because then you come into a dependent relationship. And as soon as you come into a dependent relationship psychologically or emotionally, the effect of the transmission is dampened down tremendously. It just kills it right on the spot. It’s like putting water on a fire. We need to become responsible for our own transformation because no teacher can in any way do everything for us. We’ve got to do it for ourselves. We’ve got to look for ourselves. Being in the presence of somebody might light a fire spontaneously, but you yourself have to tend that fire.

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Enlightenment means the end of all division. It is not simply having an occasional experience of unity beyond all division, it is actually being undivided. This is what nonduality truly means. It means there is just one Self, without a difference or gap between the profound revelation of Oneness and the way it is perceived and lived every moment of life.

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How You Treat Others

Spiritual people often want unconditional support and understanding from their friends, family, and mates, but all too often seem blind to their own shortcomings when it comes to the amount of unconditional support and understanding that they give to others. I have seen many spiritual people become obsessed with how unspiritual others are and assume an arrogant and superior attitude while completely missing the fact that they themselves are not nearly as spiritually enlightened as they would like to think they are.

Enlightenment can be measured by how compassionately and wisely you interact with others—with all others, not just those who support you in the way that you want. How you interact with those who do not support you shows how enlightened you really are.

As long as you perceive that anyone is holding you back, you have not taken full responsibility for your own liberation. Liberation means that you stand free of making demands on others and life to make you happy. When you discover yourself to be nothing but Freedom, you stop setting up conditions and requirements that need to be satisfied in order for you to be happy.

It is in the absolute surrender of all conditions and requirements that Liberation is discovered to be who and what you are. Then the love and wisdom that flows out of you has a liberating effect on others. The biggest challenge for most spiritual seekers is to surrender their self importance, and see the emptiness of their own personal story. It is your personal story that you need to awaken from in order to be free.

To give up being either ignorant or enlightened is the mark of liberation and allows you to treat others as your Self. What I am describing is the birth of true Love.

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When your image of the me takes a break, you’ll find all you are doing at that moment is just being open. You feel quite relieved that you are not trying to get to another moment or a better experience. You feel yourself just being in a very relaxed, easy sense of peace. You haven’t gained anything at all—you’re not smarter, you don’t necessarily know more than anyone else, and you haven’t suddenly become holy. If you are resting as your own true nature, then you feel that there is really nowhere else to go.

At that moment, you feel as if your path has ended. It can be hard to end it when so much is invested in your path, but if you really want to be free, you must want to know the truth more than anything else. And when you do, you find that the truth is so damn empty. There is so much nothing to it. There is so much nobody there, just a very vivid awakeness.

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Discerning Healthy Relationships

Q. "I feel the falling away of self happening very gradually, leaving me with an ever-increasing need for stillness, gentleness, and simpleness.

I live in a very negative, hectic, chaotic, and verbally violent environment, with a person who is in constant emotional pain. He yells a lot, and is almost always angry.

I feel like I’m suffocating, and I just want to leave, to walk out. I just want silence. I accept him for where he’s at. But my partner says that if I were truly feeling the falling away of self, that none of this negativity would bother me. Is this true?

When you transcend the ego, or when the self falls away, does this mean nothing bothers you anymore? Is the desire to be away from negative environments, an egoic desire?"

Adya. "Thank you for your question. Let me start by saying that your partner is wrong in assuming that if you were liberated you would feel fine in any situation. The more free you are, the more you can discern what are healthy and unhealthy conditions and relationships, and the more you feel free to take the appropriate action. Freedom is not stupid, nor is it a doormat for others’ dysfunction. It is the freedom to act as life dictates.

Please do not let anyone use these teachings to disempower or dehumanize you. They are meant to serve the liberation of all."

From: No Self Study Course - Q&A - 2013

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The problem is that most people are paying attention to objects, to what they perceive - rather than to the ultimate perceiver, the background. Either way, awareness is happening 100% of the time. The light is on brightly. It never goes off, but where is it looking?

The human condition is characterized by a complete fascination with objects, starting with this object that we interpret as 'me.' Me is only a thought. You are before this me thought.

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Student: I've heard it said that the ego must die in order to be enlightened. What does ego death mean?

Adyashanti: It is said that the ego must die in order for you to truly live. But nothing need die; you simply need to grow up. A child does not die in order to grow into an adult. The child simply grows up; it evolves and leaves behind what is no longer appropriate. See that the ego is no longer useful or appropriate and leave it behind. Only the ego makes its own demise seem dramatic.

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We have long ago forgotten what it means to contemplate some- thing. With the click of a computer mouse we can get the answer, or what promises to be the answer, to almost any question we can imagine. All of the world’s most ancient spiritual teachings are but a click or download away, and yet we remain so lost to ourselves, so cut off from what nourishes the soul, that we are collectively suffocating under the weight of our ignorance and alienation from the sacred dimension of Life.

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Love is a flame that burns everything other than itself. It is the destruction of all that is false and the fulfillment of all that is true.

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As soon as you believe that a label you’ve put on yourself is true, you’ve limited something that is literally limitless, you’ve limited who you are into nothing but a thought.

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Enlightenment has nothing to do with states of consciousness. Whether you are in ego consciousness or unity consciousness is not really the point. I have met many people who have easy access to advanced states of consciousness. Though for some people this may come very easily, I also notice that many of these people are no freer than anyone else. If you don’t believe that the ego can exist in very advanced states of consciousness, think again. The point isn’t the state of consciousness, even very advanced ones, but an awake mystery that is the source of all states of consciousness. It is even the source of presence and beingness. It is beyond all perception and all experience. I call it ‘awakeness’. To find out that you are empty of emptiness is to die into an aware mystery, which is the source of all existence. It just so happens that that mystery is in love with all of its manifestation and non-manifestation. You find your Self by stepping back out of yourself.

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RESPONSIBILITY AND ACTIVE ENQUIRY

There is a fine line between being truly open to the guidance of a spiritual teacher and regressing into a childish relationship where you abdicate your adulthood and project all wisdom and divinity onto the teacher. Each person needs to find a mature balance, being truly and deeply open to their spiritual guide without abdicating all of their authority.
The same can be applied to a spiritual teaching. A spiritual teaching is a finger pointing toward Reality; it is not Reality itself. To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it. Belief leads to various forms of fundamentalism and shuts down the curiosity and inquiry that are essential to open the way for awakening and what lies beyond awakening. A good spiritual teaching is something that you work with and apply. In doing so, it works on you (often in a hidden way) and helps reveal to you the Truth (and falseness) that lies within you.

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I have steered away this evening from talking about many of the positive aspects of enlightenment, but there is no way you could really see the truth and not be giggling in some way for the rest of your life. There is no way that you couldn’t just love this world to death, even though you know it’s not half as real as you thought it was. There is no way you could not love people a hundred times more, even though you know that they’re not what you thought they were. But I don’t want to speak too much about that because the mind starts to think it’s being handed candy when it’s not. It’s being handed a sword.

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If you have any image of what the Truth is, slay it immediately because that’s not it.

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We must leave the entire collection of conditioned thought behind and let ourselves be led by the inner thread of silence into the unknown, beyond where all paths end, to that place where we go innocently or not at all, not once but continually. True freedom isn’t ‘I am free.’ True freedom is ‘everything is free.’ Which means everyone has the freedom to be who they are. Whether they are awake or not awake. Deluded or un-deluded. Freedom is that everything and everybody gets to be exactly as they are. Unless we’ve come to that point, unless we’ve seen that is how Reality sees things, then we are actually withholding freedom from the world.

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When we start to suffer, it tells us something very valuable. It means that we are not seeing the Truth, and we are not relating from the Truth. It's a beautiful pointer. It never fails.

Live without a reason, a purpose, a position. The mind is frightened of this because then 'my life' is over with, and Life lives itself and moves from itself in a totally different dimension. This way of living is just Life moving. That's all.

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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 facade of pretence. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.

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

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When you inquire “Who am I?” if you are honest, you’ll notice that it takes you right back to silence instantly. The brain doesn’t have an answer, so all of a sudden there is silence.

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True Love is far greater than anything that could be called personal. True Love is a non-personal miracle. It is the nature of reality itself. It is the natural and spontaneous expression of the undivided Self.

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