Sunday, January 18, 2015

Anyone can awaken

One of the myths about enlightenment is that it's very difficult to attain, and that only an august few human beings manage to do it.

I remember many years ago at my teacher Adyashanti's satsang, a man came up to dialog with him. The man asked several questions, all of which were in the vein of, “Can someone who is not awake have a reasonably happy life?” Finally, Adya stopped him because he saw the assumption this young man was making: awakening was impossible for him. Could his life be worthwhile nonetheless, he was asking.

Adya finally stopped the man and said, “Let's see who's here tonight.” He looked out over the gathering, which was small enough in those days that he knew personally most of the people present. “I'd estimate,” he said, “that fifty percent of the people present have had an awakening, so why not you?”

This is the little secret, you see. Most people think that awakening is somehow this difficult thing. You have to meditate for years, or do some other kind of practice, and then maybe, if you are the right kind of person, you will be blessed with a little glimpse of the truth. No! Someone needs to tell the truth: we all have access to this. And there are no preconditions. It is our true nature. How could it not be available to us – whoever we are, whatever our past or present circumstances?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Will and Thy Will

Recently, I went to a discussion group about Buddhism. I thought I'd like it, but I was bored to tears. For me at least, having found out that words are empty, I can't handle abstractions anymore. I wanted to shout out, “But you don't exist so none of this means anything!” But I knew how that would be greeted. Everyone at the meeting was very nice, and no one would have responded rudely, but they would have just ignored my outburst, perhaps looked at me a bit askance, and then continued on with more abstractions.

I remember how being told that I didn't exist did absolutely nothing for me when I was trying to wake up. What did it even mean?

Similarly, I remember my teacher once giving a talk about how when we are truly awake we have surrendered our will completely to the larger consciousness. I remember thinking, “Then I'll never be awake because my will isn't going to lay down, I'm sure of that.”

This are both aspects of the same issue. Our mind has an idea that we have an identity separate from the whole. That identity is based on a history of experiences which the mind has put together to form an image of “me.” But there is a beingness of ourselves that is deeper than that and this is what those teachings described above point to. Before realization, though, they didn't make much sense to me.

Recently, I came across something in a Christian context: “Thy Will be done.” Same message but it sounds so much better somehow – maybe because it doesn't explicitly oppose one's own will to the larger consciousness. After all, it's all the same will. It's finally just a matter of knowing that – not as a fact, but experientially – and then the struggle ceases. I think for me this happened without my even being aware of it. It hasn't felt that anything was laid down – more like an awareness gradually dawned: my will is also That.