By Jeff Keller
The amount of money charged by nonduality teachers can be a delicate issue. There are those who believe that no teacher should ever charge money for communicating this sacred teaching. They will tell you that the truth is “not for sale” or words to that effect.
I can respect this position, although I don’t feel that way myself. I just don’t see a problem with charging reasonable amounts, especially in today’s society, where the teacher is incurring significant expenses relating to the transmission of the information (including maintenance of websites and securing meeting facilities). In addition, the teacher may have little or no other source of income and would be unable to devote considerable time (or full-time) to being a teacher.
I think many who are vehemently opposed to the idea of charging for nonduality meetings are thinking of situations years ago (in places like India) where sages held open meetings without charge and welcomed all truth seekers. However, it is my understanding that sages in these communities had all of their personal needs taken care of by others in the community, i.e. food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation, etc.
Such is not the case with most teachers today, especially in Western countries. The members of the community do not offer to provide for the basic needs of the teacher. How can a teacher in Chicago or London pay his or her living expenses (and in some cases support a family) without charging any money or receiving significant contributions? It would only be possible when the teacher has another job that provides adequate income.
I’ll offer some of my observations and judgments about fees charged by nonduality teachers. Naturally, these comments represent my own biases and conditioning. If you are relatively new to nonduality meetings and retreats, these comments may give some helpful guidelines. If you have attended meetings or retreats, I’m sure you have your own preferences and opinions on this subject.
In my view, the overwhelming majority of nonduality teachers charge very reasonable fees for their meetings and retreats. These teachers are not involved in teaching in an attempt to build wealth. They have a love of Truth and feel “called” to spread the teaching.
The amounts charged for meetings will vary with the locale and the cost of living in that locale. Therefore, we would expect meeting charges to be different in an area where the average income is thousands of dollars per month as opposed to areas where the average income is hundreds of dollars per month or less.
In the United States, it has been my experience that most nonduality teachers charge in the range of $10 – $20 for two-hour meetings. Full day meetings (approximately 6 hours) are in the range of $60 – $75. This can be called a registration fee, or in some cases, a suggested contribution. This is an extremely good value, as I see it. In addition, I don’t know of any respected nonduality teacher who would deny admission to a person who was truly unable to afford the registration fee.
With regard to retreats, the range for 5-7 day retreats is typically [in the area of] $300 – $450, which covers only the registration or tuition charge. Here again, I consider that a very reasonable fee for what is being offered.
Retreats can get expensive when you add in the lodging cost and food cost, as well as travel expenses to and from the retreat, if the retreat is not held near your home. Thus you may hear that someone paid thousands of dollars to attend a retreat in Costa Rica or Hawaii, but the lion’s share of the expenses were for travel, lodging and food expenses. The teacher did not pocket thousands of dollars from each student.
Of course, you will find exceptions. There are teachers, or should I call them charlatans, who will ask for thousands of dollars and promise that you will realize your true nature by attending their meetings or studying at their ashram or retreat center.
No legitimate teacher of nonduality will make promises that you will recognize your true nature within a specific time period—and they won’t promise that you will ever self-realize. I would be very wary of any teacher that asks for significant amounts of money upfront or makes any promises about what results will come from his or her teaching.
Some nonduality teachers charge consultation fees for phone discussions or email communications. In the U.S. and Europe, I’ve noticed that teachers charge in the area of $50 – 75 per hour for such communications. There are also many teachers who conduct phone discussions and email exchanges at no charge.
I admit that I’m not a big fan of consultation charges, especially when it comes to email. Many of the best nonduality teachers will answer your email questions at no charge, but they simply don’t have time to answer all email inquiries in detail—and it may take them a long time to respond due to a large volume of email.
“Can you imagine a popular teacher like Adyashanti trying to answer all of his email inquiries? It’s just not reasonable to expect a teacher to do that.” ~JK
If you are in the beginning stages of nondual investigation, email is not usually effective. You will tend to ask questions that can’t be answered in a short email response. And whatever response you receive will trigger more questions. You can’t expect every teacher to spend all day conducting email satsang with you.
Regarding phone discussions, I can understand why some teachers charge a fee. If there is no charge for phone discussions, many people abuse the privilege. They will want the teacher to spend hours answering all of their questions. This can be a tremendous time burden for the teacher. I think most teachers who set fees for phone consultations are not looking to make money from these discussions; rather, they want to discourage those who are not “serious” from calling and wasting the teacher’s time.
It has also been my experience that nonduality teachers are usually willing to speak to you on the phone (or offer email responses) at no charge when you are deeply committed to your nondual investigation and need to clear up a few specific issues.
Almost all nonduality teachers are extremely generous in providing free resources, especially through the internet. Most of the popular teachers have websites, where they provide essays, books excerpts, question and answer exchanges, as well as audio and video materials. Some resources may be offered for sale, but in almost every instance, a generous supply of free materials is offered directly from the website.
There’s also the issue of teachers who set up their blog or website to allow site visitors to make a donation. I see nothing wrong with that and only a few teachers are very aggressive in soliciting donations. The majority have a short statement that donations are appreciated and there is no other mention of money.
Some people like to support a teacher’s efforts, realizing that the teacher is spending time to assist the site visitors and is not charging for his or her services. It’s a nice way for the student to give something back to the teacher. I don’t think many teachers are making a lot of money from these donations.
Finally, I salute all the teachers who are willing to travel to conduct meetings and retreats, even when their appearances will yield little or no money for the teacher. There are many fine nonduality teachers, especially in the early years of their teaching, who get requests to travel to different countries (or different parts of their own country) to conduct meetings.
In some instances, the attendance at these events is very small—perhaps only 15 or 20 people. The teacher is often getting nothing more than payment of his or her travel expenses. In other words, they earn nothing from the meeting and yet it requires several days of their time, when you factor in the travel time. They come because of their love for sharing the teaching.
You may have your own opinion about the fees charged by nonduality teachers. I am just grateful that there are so many outstanding, sincere teachers who willingly share the teaching without being motivated by how much money they can make.
It’s true that a small percentage of nonduality teachers earn quite a bit of money. What’s wrong with that? They deserve it and I see no reason they should have to take a vow of poverty. As long as they are coming from love and sincerity and charging reasonable fees to students, it’s all fine with me.
*Please note, this article is a couple of years old and may or may not reflect current “market pricing” for nondual services in the West.
What are your thoughts on charging VS not charging or any of the above?
by John J. Prendergast, Ph.D.
What is Nondual Awareness?
I have noticed that the term “nonduality” is still fairly unfamiliar to Buddhists even though it refers to the central Mahayana Buddhist teaching that form and emptiness are not different. This lack of familiarity is understandable given that the term “nonduality” derives from the Sanskrit advaita which means “not-two”. Advaita Vedanta largely draws from the wisdom of the Upanishads. It was consolidated by the Indian sage Shankara (788-820 CE) and continues as a vital current within contemporary Hinduism. Interestingly enough, the development of Advaita in the early centuries of the first millennium CE was strongly influenced by the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.
Buddhist and Hindu scholars have politely quarreled for millennia about how to think about our true nature (anatta v. atma/Brahman, no self v. Self), yet when the sages of both traditions speak openly about their realization, their often poetic accounts are remarkably similar. They describe an awareness that is without subject or object, where the discrete “I” has disappeared along with an apparently objective world of “you” and “it”. Things are not as they conventionally appear. Not by a long shot. The penetrating clarity and power of this revelatory being-understanding is such that these sages compare ordinary dualistic ways of seeing life to a trance or dream state.
The essence of nondual perception is that no-thing looks out and sees that it is everything. Rather than being a discrete, substantial entity, the apparent perceiver realizes that she or he is no thing —not an object that can be defined or confined. One knows oneself as infinite open awareness —empty of any form, yet full of potential. As this open, empty, formless awareness contemplates form it “sees” that form is an expression of itself: emptiness actually is form, form is emptiness. The appearance of duality collapses and life is experienced as it is —undivided, seamless, whole. Integral philosopher Ken Wilber describes it nicely:
“You don’t look at the sky, you are the sky… (A)wareness is no longer split into a seeing subject in here and a seen object out there. There is just pure seeing. Consciousness and its display are not-two…The pure Emptiness of the Witness turns out to be one with every Form that is witnessed, and that is one of the basic meanings of “nonduality.”
This is the point where the Zen master raps his or her staff on the zendo floor with the words, “This is it!”
Even as there is a profound attraction to release into this Great Mystery, there is enormous resistance to it. We humans are very ambivalent creatures! From the point of view of a “me” (whose main job is to resist), this shift of perspective is not good news. It is seen as an end that is distinct from and more terrifying than physical death, especially if one believes in an afterlife. To the controlling ego it looks like personal annihilation (the Latin root “nihil” means “nothing”) —a freefall into a dark abyss. At the very least this opening signifies the dethronement of personal identity and the surrender to a deeper nonconceptual, undogmatic truth.
Even after experiencing a deep letting go, the conditioned self commonly reconstitutes itself in subtler ways, often as a spiritual seeker that keeps the self-improvement project going by trying to attain or maintain certain spiritual experiences or states of consciousness. The mundane ego reincarnates into a “spiritual” ego and one can get stuck in some very interesting places, like being proud of being “no one” or imagining oneself as an “awake” someone. The process can get very tricky and a good guide is invaluable.
This reminds me of a joke from the Hasidic tradition that goes something like this: Once a janitor, who was cleaning the temple after services, overheard two distinguished rabbis having a lively discussion about the immensity of God and their own insignificance. The first rabbi proclaimed, “God is a huge ocean and I am but a small fish.” The second rabbi responded, “God is greater and I am even less than that. He is like the vast, dark universe and I am just a tiny, flickering light.” Unable to contain himself, the janitor burst out of the shadows and added, “And I am only a dust mote floating in God’s endless depths!” Shocked, the first rabbi said to the second, “Look who thinks he’s nobody!”
Psychotherapy: Beyond Self Repair and Improvement
It seems that more people are beginning to have intuitions of the insubstantiality of their conditioned self and of an underlying unity with the whole of life. Some of these people happen to be psychotherapists and clients. So the discussion and direct experience of what we are calling nondual awareness, once largely confined to a small group of academics and renunciates, is finding its way into the life of ordinary people living ordinary, worldly lives. The implications for the field of psychology are important.
Most psychotherapy aims at helping people have a better story and image of themselves and to be more in touch with their emotions and bodies. There is real value in becoming a better, more integrated, authentic person. It enhances our relative happiness and makes the world an easier place to live for everyone.
Yet what if our deepest happiness comes through the disillusionment of the separate sense of self? What if the nagging sense of lack, emptiness, and disconnection that so many of us experience, albeit subtly, is an inevitable existential consequence of misidentifying as a discrete somebody? What if a causeless joy and profound inner freedom are our natural birthright, available to anyone willing and able to undergo the pangs of a “second birth?”
There is an emerging possibility in the dialogue we call psychotherapy to take a step beyond the repair and improvement of the self, as important as this is. Instead of being a step forward, however, it is a step back, a deepening and settling in and down. This movement of attention back to its source in and as unconditioned awareness is accompanied by a flowering of presence, quiet joy, profound peace and deep connection.
While in principle there are no preconditions for the recognition of our deepest nature and it is not uncommon to have a brief glimpse of it, in practice it is very difficult to sustain this awareness when one’s inner sense of self lacks some degree of stability and coherence. Letting go into the “groundless ground” of Being or no-self can be profoundly destabilizing and terrifying, somewhat like being in a major earthquake. People who have experienced early trauma and/or absent and disorganized emotional attachments (bonds) will often need to do careful reparative work to establish a functional resilience before their system can tolerate such a major letting go.
Good psychotherapy and disciplines of attention training can play a vital role in supporting the experience of inner calm and resilience. The potential pitfall of trying to fix or improve the self, however, is that it becomes an endless project in itself. After all, what is there that couldn’t use some improvement within each of us? This could keep us occupied for quite some time. As my teacher Jean Klein would sometimes say, “The car is still stuck in the garage.” It is very easy for attention to be seduced and distracted from facing the underlying falseness of the constructed self, even a relatively authentic and well-adjusted one!
Of course, many people are not ready or even interested in exploring beyond the apparently safe, though sometimes rather miserable, confines of their familiar (and familial) self. This is not a problem. Yet it is important that someone who wants to look really deeply into who they are beyond all stories and images be able to work with a therapist or teacher who knows the territory well enough first-hand. A psychotherapist who is oriented in this way brings the additional capacity to work skillfully with difficult emotional and somatic states.
Scientific Research: A Cautionary Note
If what we are calling nondual awareness is the natural fruition of human consciousness, it would be very interesting to discover if there are certain conditions that optimally support it, along with certain neurophysiological markers that accompany it. For example, the Baumann Institute is funding scientific research and dialogue into these questions, looking beyond popular progressive approaches to ones that directly point to nondual awareness and to a natural, causeless well-being.
It is important that any research of this sort acknowledges the dangers of material reductionism and the possible conflation of correlation with causation. That the brain may change states when nondual awareness is more foreground, does not necessarily mean that the brain is causing awareness. It could as well be a receiving instrument for it. It is tempting to reduce consciousness to an epiphenomenon of the brain, or “the heart” to the anterior cingulate cortex. It is doubtful to me at least that prajna or heart-wisdom originates in the brain. The consistent report of the great sages is that our true nature cannot be objectified, that “Buddha Nature” is autonomous. We would be wise in our research and thinking to be mindful of this, staying open, curious, and proceeding with some humility.
A Final Word
Nondual awareness is always here right now, whether we recognize it or not. The jewel of awareness is already hanging around our neck. It is not something that can be created or even attained. While effort is useful at one stage, in the end it becomes futile. All techniques will inevitably exhaust themselves. After all, how can we attain what we already are? As Rumi wrote:
Knocking on a door, it opens
I have been knocking from the inside!
John J. Prendergast, Ph.D. is the senior editor of two anthologies on the subject of nondual wisdom and psychotherapy — The Sacred Mirror (with Peter Fenner and Sheila Krystal) and Listening from the Heart of Silence (with Ken Bradford) — and has been a student of nondual teachings since reading the works of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj about thirty years ago and then studying with the European sage Jean Klein from 1983 until his death in 1998 and with Adyashanti since 2001.
He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at CIIS and a psychotherapist in private practice in San Rafael. He also leads several private self-inquiry groups. He may be contacted at Listening from Silence or at (415) 453-8832.
*Digital art (“space-like”) by Ernie Resendes.
Post by Jeff Carreira from Evolutionary Philosophy
I am posting this because I wanted to write some thoughts from the conference I am attending. The conference itself is a fascinating mix of spiritual teachers who are offering different forms of nonduality teachings and scientists who are seeing nondual reality reflected in their work.
Yesterday I saw Mokshananda, Pamela Wilson and Adyashanti. All of whom were pointing awareness toward the ground of consciousness that underlies all of our experience. I also saw Peter Baumman who I don’t believe considers himself to be a spiritual teacher but who was also sharing his own understanding of nonduality by explaining the futility of trying to control reality and espousing the virtues of accepting it as it is.
My own presentation was well received. The main point that I was making was that the experience of Evolutionary Nonduality may at first seem like an awakening that we are having as human beings to the process of evolution of which we are a part. But the deeper nondual interpretation of this experience is that it is the energy and intelligence of the universe itself that is awakening to its own existence though human form.
Last night I also saw two other speakers both of whom I found interesting and compelling. One was Peter Russell and the second was Robert Lanza. Peter Russell has been a leading edge thinker for many years and is a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, of The World Business Academy and of The Findhorn Foundation, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest. Robert Lanza is Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Peter Russell spoke about what he saw as an emerging paradigm shift that he believes is in its beginning stages in science and will unfold over the decades to come. This shift is being catalyzed by an anomaly that is inexplicable to our current scientific paradigm. That anomaly is called “the hard problem of consciousness” and comes from the one thing that we as human beings cannot deny is that we experience reality and yet our current science cannot explain why we have any experience at all. How does inanimate matter lead to some internal subjective experience of reality? We can explain everything about the world except why it appears to us in the first place. If you take an apple and bite into it as an example, there is no reason why the light that bounces off of the apple and reflects into your eye and stimulates your nerves with signals sent to the brain should become the inner experience of what we see as “a red apple.” There is also no reason that the interaction between the material of the apple and your mouth should produce the inner experience that we taste as an apple. Russell believes that the coming paradigm shift is one in which science comes to the realization that experience is not produced as an after effect, but that experience is an inherent part of all of reality. All of realty down to subatomic particles has some form of experience, which means some form of consciousness, inherent in it.
Robert Lanza was speaking in a similar vein about his theory called Biocentrism. Essentially he believes that all the problems that science is currently unable to explain, from the hard problem of consciousness to the inconsistencies of the Big Bang Theory all result from the same fundamentally problem. We have assumed that physics is the most fundamental science and that biology is a later manifestation. This leads to the belief that life and consciousness emerge out of matter. Lanza’s theory explains that if we turn the tables and assume that biology is more primary than physics and that matter emerges from life we will have the theory of everything that has eluded physics. In such a short presentation it is impossible to get any thing but a flavor for someone’s thinking, but I definitely intend to follow-up on Lanza’s ideas.
My overall impression of the conference is very positive and I feel that this effort to bring scientists and nondual teachers together could lead to some interesting results over time.
*Thanks Jeff, for your observations and for allowing us to excerpt your post.
Jeff Carreira is the Director of Education at EnlightenNext, a pioneering organization that is using educational programs, online and print publications as well as other forms of alternative media to catalyze a shift in human consciousness. Jeff’s Evolutionary Philosophy blog is dedicated to the aspect of Carreira’s work that is fueled by his passion for American Philosophy and specifically its importance in the development of evolutionary aspects that can be seen as the predecessors of Integral Spirituality and Evolutionary Enlightenment.
The Science and Nonduality Conference has been created to provide an arena where various aspects of nonduality can be explored, discussed, and experienced. Part seminar, part festival, part conference, this event explores how science combines with meditation, philosophy, art, music, dance, and entheogens to point the way to nondual experience, to aid in integrating nonduality into daily life, and to deepen the understanding of a fundamental nondual reality. The mission is to bring these ideas to a wider community through conferences, an ongoing workshop series, films, DVDs, and podcasts.
Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness. For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have came to the realization that there is only one substance and we are all part of it. This substance can be called Awareness, Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever-present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence.
In the last century Western scientists are arriving at the same conclusion: The universe does indeed comprise of a single substance, presumably created during the Big Bang, and all sense of being —consciousness, subsequently arises from it. This realization has ontological implications for humanity —fundamentally we are individual expressions of a single entity, inextricably connected to one another, we are all drops of the same ocean.
Science and Nonduality is a journey, an exploration of the nature of awareness —the essence of life from which all arises and subsides.
Speakers and Bios
*we will be highlighting six speakers in each post
ROBERT LANZA, MD
Robert Lanza, MD is Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and a professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe.” Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (Foreword by former President Jimmy Carter), and “Principles of Tissue Engineering” and “Essentials of Stem Cell Biology,” which are recognized as the definitive references in the field. Dr. Lanza received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter, Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the “Father of modern behaviorism”), Jonas Salk (discoverer of the Polio vaccine), and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. www.robertlanza.com
Adyashanti dares all seekers of peace and freedom to take the possibility of liberation in this life seriously. He began teaching in 1996, at the request of his Zen teacher with whom he had studied for 14 years. Since then many spiritual seekers have awakened to their true nature while spending time with Adyashanti. The author of The End of Your World, Emptiness Dancing, and True Meditation, Adyashanti offers spontaneous and direct nondual teachings that have been compared to those of the early Zen masters and Advaita Vedanta sages. However, Adya says, “If you filter my words through any tradition or ‘-ism’, you will miss altogether what I am saying. The liberating truth is not static; it is alive. It cannot be put into concepts and be understood by the mind. The truth lies beyond all forms of conceptual fundamentalism. What you are is the beyond—awake and present, here and now already. I am simply helping you to realize that.”www.adyashanti.org
For many years, Peter Baumann has focused on the exploration of well-being and quality of life from a philosophical, conceptual and experiential perspective. In the spring of 2009, Baumann established the Baumann Institute a nonprofit educational and research corporation. “We want to find out whether or not non-dual awareness can be instrumental in the alleviation of suffering and the experience of well-being,” Baumann states. “The results of scientific research were instrumental in exploding meditation into mainstream awareness and acceptance over the last 35 years. We’re hoping over the coming decades our work may lead to similar results with non-dual awareness.” Peter Baumann has brought to all his endeavors, a satisfying balance of natural, free-flowing intuition and rational, businesslike precision. Most recently, he’s focused this innate approach on finding the secrets to “the highest quality of life.” Baumann is a happy, fulfilled human being. “We all like to share what has made a difference in our lives,” he notes. With this in mind, he’s now intent on discovering if what he’s realized for himself can be of service to a broader humanity. www.baumanninstitute.org
RAVI RAVINDRA, PH.D.
Professor of Physics and of Comparative Religion at Dalhousie University
Ravi Ravindra, a native of India, emigrated to Canada following his early education, and, in 1977, was made Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. He served from 1978 through 1980 as the Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge and, in 1989, was the pilot Professor of Science and Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dr. Ravindra now holds the position of Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he has served as Chair of Comparative Religion, Professor of International Development Studies, and Adjunct Professor of Physics. In addition to his study of the world’s great traditions, Ravi Ravindra’s spiritual search has involved him in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, G. Gurdjieff, and Zen. The author of many books on religion, mysticism, and spirituality, Dr. Ravindra lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
STUART HAMEROFF, MD
Director, Center for Consciousness Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Dr. Hameroff’s research for 35 years has involved consciousness – how the pinkish gray meat between our ears produces the richness of experiential awareness. Studying anesthetic gas mechanisms, he focused on how quantum effects control protein conformational dynamics. Following an interest which began in medical school in the computational capacity of microtubules inside neurons, Dr. Hameroff teamed up with the eminent British physicist Sir Roger Penrose in the early 90s to develop a highly controversial theory of consciousness called orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR). Dr. Hameroff began the international, interdisciplinary conferences on consciousness (Toward a Science of Consciousness) as Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. He has published five books and well over 100 research articles, and appeared in the film What the Bleep do we know!!??www.quantumconsciousness.org
HAMEED ALI (A. H. ALMAAS), PH.D.
Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas), was born in the Middle East, but at age 18 he moved to the USA to study at the University of California in Berkeley. Hameed was working on his Ph.D. in physics, where he was studying Einstein’s theory of general relativity and nuclear physics, when he reached a turning point in his life and destiny that led him more and more into inquiring into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature. Hameed is the founder of the Diamond Approach® – a spiritual teaching that uses a unique kind of inquiry into realization, where the practice is the expression of realization. Freedom is living our realization, a dynamic enlightenment where our transcendent nondual truth lives personally in the world. This inquiry opens up the infinite creativity of our Being, transforming our lives into a runaway realization, moving from realization to further realization. Almaas’ books include: The Inner Journey Home,Essence , The Pearl Beyond Price , Luminous Night’s Journey , and The Unfolding Now.
There will also be some excellent workshops taking place:
2 DAYS PRE CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS
Selected presenters offer an exciting opportunity to engage and discuss their ideas in an interactive workshop setting.
Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment
An interview with Adyashanti
Tami Simon: Let’s return to your metaphor of awakening being compared to a rocket ship achieving liftoff. How do people know if their rocket ship of being has actually taken off? I could imagine some people being deluded about this.
Maybe they have read lots of books about spiritual awakening, so they make the leap in their mind that awakening has occurred, but perhaps in reality they are simply sputtering on the ground. How do we know for sure that we have attained liftoff?
Adyashanti: It’s not an easy question to answer. The only way I can answer it is to reiterate what the nature of awakening is. The moment of awakening is very similar to when you wake up from a dream at night. You feel that you have awakened from one world to another, from one context to a totally different context. On a feeling level, that is the feeling of awakening. This whole separate self that you thought was real, and even the world that you thought was objective, or other, all of a sudden seems as if it’s not as real as you thought.
I’m not saying it is or isn’t a dream; I’m saying that it’s…
*excerpt interview from Sounds True. Please read the full article here
“When I first met Adyashanti [in the Fall of 2004] I was struck by the original and fresh way he taught about spiritual awakening. Although he honored his Zen lineage, he emphasized the importance of not relying on a specific teacher or method for realization. Instead, he talked about how important it is to look to our own direct experience and fearlessly explore the territory of our own lives.” – Tami Simon (Sounds True Publisher)