Janet passed on to me a Sun Magazine interview with Adyashanti, a contemporary spiritual teacher in California. I'm gladÂ I read the interview before I looked at the website, because I think he comes off very well in the interview, but looks like just another Western guru with a funny name on the website. He has a teaching similar to Eckhart Tolle, but a tone that has slightly more edge and reminiscent of Augie Turak or Richard Rose. Some passages that caught my attention:
"I'm a truth guy, not a comfort guy."
"The role of spiritual practice is basically to exhaust the seeker. If the practice does what's it's supposed to do, it exhausts our energy for seeking, and then reality has a chance to present itself. In that sense, spiritual practices can help lead to awakening. But that's different from saying that the practice produces the awakening."
"Reality is always looking for a moment of vulnerability, when we let our guard down . . . it can be prompted by some tragic event: an illness, or a death of a loved one, or a divorce. Reality rushes into the cracks and presents itself."
Q: "What method do you teach people to sustaining awakening?" A: "The first thing I say is: you don't sustain it. The conscious effort to sustain it is the ego creeping back in. It's really a complex process of surrender."
Q: "What do you think is the significance of routine in spiritual practice?" A: "I've never thought about it. To tell you the truth, I'm always trying to disrupt routine. I'm always trying to unsettle the seeker in people, instead of give it something it can feel comfortable engaging in . . . 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. "
"Looking back I could easily say, 'Boy, I made a lot of dumb mistakes.' But I needd 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."
"No emotion or experience is necessarily excluded from my life. Do I ever get angry? Sure, I get angry. Awakening shows us that emotions are illusions -- but that doesn't mean they will cease to arise."
Q: "What do you think happens to individual consciousness after the death of the body?" A: "The question presumes that there is such a thing as individual consciousness. Awakening shows you that there isn't. The mind creates the illusion of individual consciousness to convince us that this awareness is ours, that it belongs to us. I imagine that, after the death of the body, it's very difficult to maintain the illusion of individual consciousness. But who knows? We'll see. I'll give you a phone call if I can. [Laughs.]"
"Statements about the ego 'disappearing' miss the mark. The ego is still there; you just see it to be an illusion."
"Most people who think they're part of the greater awakening of humanity are actually just aggrandizing their own egos . . . one of the best ways to stay asleep is to wait for a future when we'll all be awake. But, like I said, I hope I'm wrong. If the whole world wakes up tomorrow, I'll be glad that I was wrong."