Last week, I went to see Adyashanti who was holding satsangs (talks) in Portland. At the end, during the concluding question and answer portion, I raised my hand and, when called on, approached the microphone…
I thanked him for devoting his life to helping others even though it must bore the hell out of him (enlightened or not, I’m still a wise ass).
There was a kind of nervous laughter as the crowd suspected that I might be a heckler, but then I clarified it by saying, “To most people here, what you say is absolutely fascinating, but to you, it’s just everyday life. Do you get bored talking about this all the time?”
He smiled and replied something along these lines, “No.” (pause). “Sometimes I do, but now I only teach when I want to. I don’t usually talk about this stuff in my day-to-day life, especially with my family.”
Confirmation: I feel the same way. Even though enlightenment is a relatively new perspective for me, I’m still “Wayne” –there’s just no ego. I don’t think about enlightenment all the time, nor do I go around preaching it on street corners. To my friends, family and anyone else who knew ego-Wayne, I’ll still appear and act pretty much the same–it’s just that my perspective (and values) have changed since I was ego-Wayne.
I then asked Adyashanti if he still experienced conditioned reactions, specifically, self-consciousness. Then I realized I had to give him a little background–which was not my intention originally–so I plowed on, “This is going to sound cocky as hell, but there it is. I woke up about two months ago, and I’m still getting used to it. What surprises me most, are my reactions. For example, here we are, in front of about 300 people, and, though I feel no ‘self’, I’m surprised I still feel a twinge of self-consciousness. Is this just a conditioned reaction? Does it go away?”
He said something along the lines that yes, these are just conditioned reactions, but he doesn’t feel them nearly as much as he used to. He said that his teacher once told him that it takes anywhere from five to 15 years after enlightenment for the mind to settle down.
Confirmation: This gave me an immediate sense of relief, as I have been troubled as to why my body still reacts in a very self-centered way (sudden actions that arise due to circumstances: frustration while driving, reaction to an unzipped fly, reactions to people giving me those curious looks (maybe due to the above mentioned fly), etc.). My mind and body just haven’t settled into it yet.
Three Levels of Consciousness
Then the big one, the one that had been confusing me the most. I asked, “My ‘center’ of awareness seems to shift around a lot. Sometimes I feel this powerful sense of Love and Light pouring through me,” –here he smiled and nodded knowingly. “Other times, I am the Witness, and even other times, I am just ‘here,’ walking, or talking, or thinking–Pure Consciousness. Is this your experience or does that settle down too?”
He replied along the lines, “Yes, there is a flowing,” (referring to himself), “sometimes Love pouring out, sometimes Stillness. This is my experience also. I’m always hesitant to talk about these things though, as I don’t want to give my students something else to cling to.”
Confirmation: This was nice to know. The “flowing” is a wonderful feeling. Additionally, hearing that this is his experience also, lends support to something that has been nagging at me ever since my awakening. I’ll talk about this later though, when the truth of it has “settled” into my brain (understanding comes much easier to me now if I just “relax into the thought” rather than trying to force/figure out a problem).
I thanked him, sat down, and then he closed out the satsang. The next day, I attended his six-hour intensive–though I didn’t have any other questions. It was pleasant, and deep, and funny. Of the big three, Adyashanti is definitely the most down-to-earth.
I left him a copy of Fading Toward Enlightenment, talked to a few people who had approached me about my experiences, and then headed back to my camp.
It's Time To Wake Up
Mystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of Being is a step-by-step guide to enlightenment and beyond.
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It's Time Let Go
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