by Tom Stine: I strongly urge all of you to read Who Hears This Sound? Adyashanti On Waking Up From The Dream Of “Me” published a few years ago in The Sun magazine. Someone sent me a link to the article, and I found it to be one of the best and clearest presentations of Adyashanti’s teachings I’ve ever read. It is often hard to find succinct versions of a teacher’s ideas and thoughts, but the interviewer did a nice job of bringing greater clarity to an already fairly clear teaching. That’s one of the reasons I like Adya so much: he is extraordinarily clear for an awake guy.
Here are a few excerpts to read now to whet your appetite for the rather long and extensive interview:
Awakening is when you realize that what you thought you were was nothing more than a dream, and you perceive the reality outside the dream, what’s dreaming the dream of you. It’s not just a mystical experience. It is actually realizing the underlying unity of all things.
Simply because you’ve had an awakening, however, does not mean you stay awake. Enlightenment, in simple terms, is when you stay awake. If the awakening is abiding, that’s enlightenment. And most awakenings are not abiding — at least, not initially.
Enlightenment has nothing to do with the head or the heart. Certainly, the head and the heart tend to open up, but that’s a byproduct. Enlightenment is actually waking up from the head and from the heart. It’s waking up from the dream of “me” and seeing the oneness of all things. That’s what I mean by “reality”: that oneness. The truth is that you are that unity. You are not simply a particular person in a particular body with a particular personality; you are that one reality, which manifests itself as all these seemingly separate things.
Spiritual awakening doesn’t happen because you master some spiritual technique. There are lots of skillful meditators who are not awake. Awakening happens when you stop bullshitting yourself into continual nonawakening. It’s very easy to use disciplines to avoid reality rather than to encounter it. A true spirituality will have you continually facing your illusions and all the ways you avoid reality. Spiritual practice may be an important means of confronting yourself, or it may be a means of avoiding yourself; it all depends on your attitude and intention.
So life became my practice, and mistakes became my teacher. And once again I experienced failure after failure. It was humbling, even humiliating. I put myself in situations where my self-image would get crushed. Looking back I could easily say, “Boy, I made a lot of dumb mistakes.” But I needed to do it that way. I wasn’t going to let go of those identities on the meditation cushion. It would have been nice if it could have been contained in this safe environment — bowing and meditating and meeting with the teacher — but it often doesn’t work that way. Spirituality is much more of a bloody mess than we like to admit.
Excellent interview. It is Adyashanti at his best. Again, the link is: