Adyashanti on the Biggest Barrier

by Robert Wolfe on November 2nd, 2014

At age 19, Adyashanti (Steve Gray) began a Zen practice, sitting in meditation sometimes three or four hours a day. During the sixth year, he had a deep insight that the seeker (himself) could not be apart from the sought (transcendent Being). As he described what occurred to him:

“I am what I’ve been seeking…[But] what is this that I am?”


Another six years later, that question was put fully to rest: he had penetrated to the emptiness of all things. Why had it taken twelve years, he pondered, to discover the actuality which he had never been apart from. Would he recommend a zazen meditation practice to others, as the most direct means to enlightened realization?

In an interview, with Stephen Bodian, he said:

“When I looked around at the Buddhist tradition, I realized that the success rate was terrible. People were in it for enlightenment, but very few were actually getting enlightened. ‘If this were a business,’ I thought, ‘we’d be bankrupt.’”

He began to look at his own transformation:

“Enlightenment is awakening from the dream of being a separate ‘me’, to being the universal reality. It’s not an experience or a perception that occurs to a separate person as the result of spiritual practice or cultivated awareness. It doesn’t come and go: and you don’t need to do anything to maintain it. It’s not about being centered, or blissful, or peaceful or any other experience…. The separate person is seen through, and you realize that only the supreme, universal reality exists; and that you are that.”

He emphasizes:

“This knowing has never changed or faded in any way…. It’s not that I, as a separate self, merged with everything. It was just a pure seeing that everything is one, and that I am that.”

Adya began to question the value of a spiritual practice that is contrived to unite an “individual” with an eventual experience. So he now dismantles various myths concerning enlightenment.

“For one thing, we need to let go of all the ideas and beliefs we’ve accumulated over the years about what enlightenment is supposed to look like…Some people who come to see me are already quite awake, but the mind causes confusion because the awakeness doesn’t fit their picture of it…In the spiritual culture that has evolved here in the West, we tend to confuse enlightenment with mystical experiences…mystical experiences are happening to the dream character you take to be ‘me’—and this ‘me’ is the one you wake up from…The realization is completely nondual….We do not need to go looking for ‘altered states of consciousness’: humanity is already in an altered state of consciousness. It’s called separation.”

Further, Adya says:

“The idea that enlightenment means sitting around with a beatific smile on our faces is just an illusion. At a human level, enlightenment means that you are no longer divided within yourself, and that you no longer experience a division between ‘yourself’ and ‘others’…When personal motivation no longer drives us, then what’s left is our true nature; which naturally expresses itself on the human dimension as love or compassion. Not a compassion that we cultivate or practice because we’re supposed to, but a compassion that arises spontaneously from our undivided state.”

And, he speaks of what he calls the biggest barrier to realizing this undivided state:

“I think it’s unfortunate that a person can spend hour after hour, day after day, year after year, dedicating his life to enlightenment, and yet the very notion that anybody attains enlightenment is a taboo. We’re all going after this; but God forbid somebody says they’ve realized it. We don’t believe them, we’re cynical, we have doubt; we go immediately into a semi- (or overt) attack mode. To me, it highlights the fact that people are chasing an awakening they don’t believe could happen to them. That’s a barrier, and the biggest one…And when people have breakthroughs and talk about them in public, awakening loses its mystique. Everyone else can see that it’s not just special people who have deep awakenings, it’s their neighbor or their best friend.”

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steve - February 24th, 2015 at 11:54 AM

What's going on with our selves?
Have you noticed that there are many people beginning to speak about transformations to a state where mind forms, separate self sense, ego are greatly diminished? "I" have. Not just theorizing or intellectualizing about it. But something real.
Many people are familiar with the concept. Many people in the non dual circles claim it. What is It?
It is the suggestion, a strong one, that identification with our separate selves is an illusion. As in, " No matter what arises, you are not that one who is sleeping or dreaming or even waking. You Are Consciousness Itself"
Thinking about this only goes so far, and there are many questions about how one moves through space and time, when not only is there no separate self, but there is no separate God, and no separate world.
There are simply no satisfactory answers for us, while we are identified, believing we are separate units. Is there help available?
In recent western philosophy, everyone is seeking, mostly by themselves to find the answers to the separate self dilemma. But this is enacted from the paradigm of separate self.The idea that there are Wisdom Holders who can guide us is accepted up to a point. But only up to a point. The possibility that there are Wisdom holders who can guide us is accepted, but only up to the point of keeping the independent self free to choose his or her own sadana or destiny.
Jesus, or Buddha or Krishna comes knocking on your door. What will you do? Will you recognize the One before you? Can The One animate a distinct separate body?
"You are just beginning to Awaken.
I am like the sunlight in the morning. I intensify the light of morning until you Awaken.
Until the Light Awakens you, even the Light of Consciousness Itself, you continue to dream, try to survive within the dream, manipulate yourself within the dream, pursue all kinds of goals, searches %u2014 none of which Awaken you.
Those who are Awakening in Truth begin to notice something. They begin to recognize the signs. They begin to recognize the activity of dreaming. They begin to sense something very unusual about Me.
I Am your own True Self-Nature Appearing within the dream to Awaken you. I Am your Awakening, and your Always Already Conscious State."
%u2014 Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Ancient Walk-About Way

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