Dialogue from Gathering 2001

by Adyashanti

Adya at the GatheringThere were many special moments at the Gathering 2001, as we “celebrated the present” together. Since there were technical issues with most of the recordings, we could not bring you selections from each talk. This talk by Adyashanti is the only one to survive this Gathering.

The Self, Buddha nature, Spirit, God… these are not sacred words; they are simply pointers. The living reality is closer than any word or concept, and much more available. Every experience is a nondual experience, because it can never fit into your concept of the experience. I might point to it with a word or with a symbol, but I wouldn’t dare take it seriously.

By looking ever deeper into your true nature we see that awareness, which contains the content of all experience, is the nature of what is. It is more intimate than the most sacred pointer or concept. It is where wisdom and love meet. Awareness contains both subject and object, they are the same—no difference at all. Everything is the divine, including each thought that was ever in your head and each emotion that ever went through your body. Each confusion that you ever had was the divine confusion.

When the glass wall of awareness can’t maintain itself, can’t maintain a position even as awareness, then the divine truly breaks out in all of its glory. Everything is That. There, you are always meeting yourself.

 Awareness doesn’t keep at arm’s length what arises, but welcomes each and everything. Awareness celebrates itself because all that happens is itself, its beautiful divineness, your own beautiful wholeness and holiness.

 By the touch of awareness love penetrates confusion, penetrates pain; wisdom penetrates the illusion. We need to let the watching come fully into itself, where there is no guard and no armor. How much armor do you need? How much armor does awareness need? In deeply touching every moment of experience, deeply welcoming and celebrating it all, a love affair begins. When a doubt arises, instead of scurrying back to some old experience, trying to get a better one, the awakeness comes out to meet the doubt—to welcome the doubt. So God can experience itself as doubt. Have you allowed yourself to have such a complete and beautiful experience?

Everything is yourself; everything you ever tried to get away from. The heaven you sought was right here; this was it; this is it. What a joy. What a surprise—to find out that you are not a problem (laughter), and that they (pointing to audience) are not a problem. They are you.

And that “other” myth that gets destroyed, too, the one that says, “Wow, I’m going to awaken and cross the imaginary line in the sand. I will step over and be in the “enlightened club.” I will have made it and arrived—transcended the human condition completely. I’ll leave myself and everybody else behind (laughter). Also, I’ll try real hard to convince myself that that is love (laughter). And, then, there will exist a sort of “me” who will rest in the bliss of spiritual being—the spiritually enlightened being—oh, God bless the illusions (laughter).

As we wake up out of our “isms,” we wake up only to bless them, only to love them even more deeply. We come into our self where there is no “ism.” Look at this awakeness now, not some other awakeness tomorrow “when you get it,” but this one now. Don’t, in an unconscious way, keep it out “here” or out “there.” Notice that this awakeness is not abstract. Let it touch you here. Just see how it is deeply touching all that you are, whether joyfully or sadly. My teacher used to say, “All true love sheds a tear.” Have you ever felt that kind of love? It’s so sweet; it is a little bittersweet. When you are “that” touched this way, when your joy has been touched deeply—it’s tears of joy. To touch yourself is to be available for your beautiful self and for your angry self, for your jealous self and your critical self. Let the deepest part of you be touched by that.

Oh, the joy in falling in love with things you are not supposed to fall in love with. You know what that is like? I’m sure you do. Have you ever fallen in love with somebody who is angry with you? It just springs up—you can’t believe it. “I can’t believe it, I’m so in love with myself!” That wasn’t written in the books. I was supposed to be free of this, away from this, in some other dimension. But here I am, and it’s so delightful. This is not abstract spirituality or idealism. It’s about what is happening now, in your own heart, if you would just look and see. You will surprise yourself if you look and see what you are. You are so much less than you ever thought. You are so much less than you dreamed you were. You are so much less than emptiness. You are so nonexistent and so full and rich and unbelievably diverse. Your mind can’t understand this, so it bends in devotion. The other way is when the mind goes, “Wow, I’ve got to figure it out.” This is called arrogance. When the mind reflects the truth and sees that it’s bigger than its own mental construct, it is in awestruck. This is the birth of devotion.

I can guarantee I knew so much more four and a half years ago when I started teaching. God bless those souls who came to see me. I thought I had a “teaching” that was starting to “develop,” which means that I was starting to get really dangerous (laughter). And as we say in Zen, “You start to get the stink of Zen”—it’s not a pleasant smell. I know so much less. I don’t know the four noble truths anymore. The only steps of the eightfold path I can remember is number one, which is right view, and apparently that’s as far as I can get because that’s all I ever talk about. And tomorrow we won’t even know “this.” We won’t know this moment; it’s only now.

People say, “Adya, when I leave Satsang I lose something.” And I say, “Of course, lose it. Celebrate its loss. See if you can get rid of it. Run away from who you are as fast as you can.” I guarantee I’m not being cute. Try to get away from your own self—from your beauty—from this awakeness. See if there is any moment which is not fully embraced by awakeness; even your denial of it. See if your denial of this moment is also not fully embraced by awakeness. When you say, “I lost it,” see if your losing it is not already fully embraced in the awakeness right now. Then the losing is the finding. And this little mind is never going to “get it.” This is devotion, this is humility—a mind that falls in love with its own source.

www.adyashanti.org