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#1984 - Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

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  • Jerry Katz
    #1985 - Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - Editor: Jerry Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm Letter to the Editors: Click Reply on
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 24, 2004
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      #1985 - Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

      Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm   
      Letter to the Editors: Click 'Reply' on your email program, compose your message, and 'Send'. All the editors will see your letter.


      Adyashanti in Arlington
      by John Jablonski

      Friends and Family,
      I attended a 2 hour satsang with a very good Advaita/Zen teacher last
      night in Arlington.  The guy goes by Adyashanti.  His web site is linked
      [The guy is actually doing one more meeting tonight, Wednesday, at 7:30
      at the same spot in Arlington.  If you are inspired to attend, I can
      give you some tips about where to park.]
      [This is a long one, but it has been enjoyable to write, please read in
      a spirit of inquiry and please ignore the spelling mistakes.  The spell
      checker gives up after a page or so.]
      [Since I got on such a fun rif, I'm sending this to a wider distribution
      than my usual spiritual retreat stuff.  For those to whom this stuff is
      new, Welcome.  This is the kind of stuff I've been studying for 12 years
      now.  It started with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers and "The Power of
      Myth", moved on to Nisargadatta Maharaj and "I Am That", and more
      features Eckhart Tolle and "The Power of Now".]
      I actually tried to do a little reading at his site before I went and
      found the writing a bit dense.  I am happy to report that the man in
      person is very clear and personable.  Accessible and direct the way
      Eckhart is.  He comes from a Zen background, so the language he used was
      kind of flavored with that tradition, but the concepts map very nicely
      into the Power of Now and other Advaita teachings I've seen.
      One more disclaimer.  The pictures on his website seem to present a
      guru-ish image.  Again, happily, the man in person put on no heirs and
      was just a regular guy (who happens to have a very short haircut, but
      that's actually pretty popular in the general population these days).
      The haircut does give him a little bit of a Zen monk appearance, but it
      wasn't too distracting (smile).
      The format was fun and kind of nice for such a large group.  There were
      maybe 100 people in the Theater style venue.  The stage was set with the
      usual spiritual teaching setup, chairs, flowers, table holding a cup of
      hot tea.  But there were two chairs arranged mostly facing the audience,
      but at a small angle toward one another.  Adya, as he is known, did
      about a 10 minute silent meditation, that's about the max for such a big
      group, and then did maybe 30-40 minutes of a talk.  The rest of the time
      was done with a volunteer from the audience sitting in the second chair.
      A nice kind of question and answer conversation would happen with each
      participant.  There were maybe 5 people who went up in the time we had,
      and they represented maybe 5 very different places in the spiritual
      search.  A lot of great material came out in the context of these
      conversations, and you could really sort of put yourself in the place of
      the questioner and relate to what was being said.
      The basic technique was a kind of inquiry into the nature of the self.
      A deep look inside to really see who is in there seeking or asking the
      questions.  At first someone might say "well, inside I find me, I am
      asking the questions".  Asked to look a little deeper, "what is this
      me", the answer starts to become a bit vague, "the ego", maybe "a bundle
      of thoughts", and pretty soon the answer might become "I don't know".
      "Yes!", Adya would say, the essence of the self is nothing that the mind
      can grasp.  The mind tries to put a concept around this void and it
      comes up confused.  The questioner sits in confusion and and Adya says,
      "you've found the answer, but your mind is not willing to accept the
      truth, relax into the answer...  The answer to the question is that the
      essence of self is nothing, void, emptiness", or as the Zen teaching
      puts it "no-self".
      This no-self is the very aware but non-self-referential state that
      Eckhart talks about as being in touch with your being or being in the
      now.  What was going on while I was so absorbed in that programming task
      I was working on?  Where did that time go which seems to have flown
      right by?  What is the characteristic of that state of supreme presence?
      The self was not there.  There was no thought "I am programming", "I
      must type these commands now".  Programming was just happening.  There
      was no concept of a "me" doing it.
      The inquiry such as that with Adya is a great technique to lead yourself
      into that state of presence.  As the question goes deeper and the mind
      relaxes into the notion that the answer might be unfathomable to it.  We
      begin to experience ourselves as the nothing, the silence, the
      stillness.  Notice that this nothing is very aware, it is looking out
      through your eyes, it is taking in an image of what is happening now.
      It is feeling the air blow by your face or the fingers hitting the
      keyboard.  This very awareness is what we really are in essence.  It is
      nothing, in the sense that it is no-thing, but it also has a vastness
      about it, a universal nature.  It's not personal.  There is actually no
      self to it.
      The very awareness that I am, looking out my eyes, is the same awareness
      looking out yours.  This is the essence of love, when we recognize in
      the other person the one awareness looking back.  Biologically, the
      awareness looking out my eyes is attached, in a sense, to a system of
      memories, thoughts and perceptions based in the chemistry of my
      particular brain and body.  That universal awareness, forgetting it's
      vast nature and associating or identifying with this particular
      biological system is my very personhood being born.  Self realization,
      or enlightenment, is simply the realization that this identification is
      a mistaken identity.
      I am actually the vastness, the oneness, the nothing.  But the thinking
      mind has taken over ownership.  I believe that I am these thoughts which
      run through this physical brain.  Really I am the awareness which
      experiences the thoughts.  This is the point of meditation and other
      awareness exercises, to notice that you are the awareness, not the
      thoughts.  You can come to a point where you simply watch the thoughts
      float by, like puffy clouds on a sunny day.  The vastness, the sky,
      behind it all, clear and blue.
      Having had this realization, you still might have a cloudy day, the sky
      completely obscured by dense thoughts (I mean clouds)(smile).  Maybe
      most of your days are cloudy, but the vastness, the sky remains, clear
      and blue, behind the clouds.  The silence that you are remains, even
      when the thoughts are making a lot of noise.  The noise actually
      manifests out of this silence and retreats back into it during the
      little quiet intervals you might be able to notice.  Another aspect of
      meditation or practice is to notice these intervals and start to
      lengthen them.  The portals into being, which Eckhart talks about, put
      you in touch with these intervals, this void or vastness, whichever you
      prefer, underneath the noise made by thought.
      Adya was very clear; enlightenment is not some kind of continuous orgasm
      of bliss or sustained experience of the-oneness-of-everything.  Many of
      us have had spiritual experiences, either spontaneous or brought about
      by reading the truth as people try to express it in words, or feeling
      the connection of love, or that very deep meditation, but these are
      experiences, just like all experiences, they are impermanent, they fade
      and leave us wanting more.  Real enlightenment is much more subtle, so
      subtle that you might just miss it.  In fact most people miss it and
      keep seeking for years.  In reality, the awareness that we are never
      goes anywhere, it never leaves us.
      So, step one, we are not a human body which is aware, we are awareness
      itself.  This is the realization.  This universal awareness has nothing
      to fear and does not get born or die.  When operating out of awareness,
      we don't fear death, that is simply the dropping of this one particular
      body.  The vastness that we are has no beginning and no end.  Nothing
      that is real is ever lost.  Only temporary forms coming and going in the
      cycle of life.  Moni at the retreat a few weeks ago had a nice visual
      metaphor for this: referring to different people, she explained that we
      are all the same light, only different lamp shades.  This lamp shade
      might get old and worn. the light within, or spirit, shines with the
      same intensity all during our life and after our death.
      Step two, move more and more into the position of living as the
      awareness, being in the moment.  It's one thing to realize our identity
      with awareness, as Adya said, declaring, "I am That" in the fashion of
      the famous Hindu gurus, but quite another thing to actually live your
      life from/as this awareness.  Don't simply think about awareness and get
      wrapped up in all kinds of stories and drama about this aware person you
      think yourself to be, but be the awareness.
      You will find that more and more, the person falls away and you have the
      experience of life living itself.  Things you used to puzzle over and
      worry about happen as if automatically, like the heart beating or the
      breath going in and out.  Your breathing is almost always below the
      threshold of your thinking.  Stop giving so much weight/importance to
      your thoughts and you will find that life itself has the built in
      intelligence to proceed as much below the threshold of your thoughts.
      "But I use my thinking to decide what to do next", I can hear you say,
      "will progress simply stop?"  The answer is, don't worry, come from
      stillness and the next thing to do will become obvious and in fact will
      become done, without all the overlay of worry and self analysis, without
      any effort at all.
      Wow.  This has been fun.  I've been going to that still place and typing
      what comes up for the last hour or so and it only occurs to me now to
      look back and see how long this note has become.  In reality it's kind
      of a
      fusion of the stuff from last night, the stuff from the retreat with
      Moni, and stuff I've read and studied for a long time.  I've enjoyed the
      writing.  I hope you've enjoyed the reading.
      -- John
      SWE - Sent with only minimal editing (smile)
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