The Quest for Enlightenment

The quest for enlightenment is the quest for truth or reality. It’s not a quest for ideas about truth—that’s philosophy. And it’s not a quest to realize your fantasies about truth—that’s fundamentalized religion. It’s a quest for truth on truth’s terms. It’s a quest for the underlying principle of life, the unifying element of existence.

In your quiet moments of honesty, you know that you are not who you present yourself as, or who you pretend to be. Although you have changed identities many times, and changed them even in the course of a single day, none of them fit for long. They are all in a process of constant decay. One moment you’re a loving person, the next an angry one. One day you’re an indulgent, worldly person; the next a pure, spiritual lover of God. One moment you love your image of yourself, and the next you loathe it. On it goes, identified with one self-image after another, each as separate and false as the last.

When this game of delusion gets boring or painful enough, something within you begins to stir. Out of the unsatisfactoriness of separation arises the intuition that there is something more real than you are now conscious of. It is the intuition that there is truth, although you do not know what it is. But you know, you intuit that truth exists. Truth that has absolutely nothing to do with your ideas about it. But somehow you know that the truth about you and all of life exists.

Once you receive this intuition, this revelation, you will be compelled to find it. You will have no choice in the matter. You will have consciously begun the authentic quest for enlightenment, and there is no turning back. Life as you’ve known it will never be quite the same.

A great Zen master said, “Do not seek the truth; simply cease cherishing illusions.” If there is a primary practice or path to enlightenment, this is it—to cease cherishing illusions. Seeking truth can be a game, complete with a new identity as a truth-seeker fueled by new ideas and beliefs. But ceasing to cherish illusions is no game; it’s a gritty and intimate form of deconstructing yourself down to nothing. Get rid of all of your illusions and what’s left is the truth. You don’t find truth as much as you stumble upon it when you have cast away your illusions.

As the master said, “Do not seek the truth.” But you can’t stop seeking just because some ancient Zen master said to. Seeking is an energy, a movement toward something. Spiritual seekers are moving toward God, nirvana, enlightenment, ultimate truth, whatever. To seek something, you must have at least some vague idea or image of what it is you are seeking. But ultimate truth is not an idea or an image or something attained anew. So, to seek truth as something objective is a waste of time and energy. Truth can’t be found by seeking it, simply because truth is what you are. Seeking what you are is as silly as your shoes looking for their soles by walking in circles. What is the path that will lead your shoes to their soles? That’s why the Zen master said, “Do not seek the truth.” Instead, cease cherishing illusions.

To cease cherishing illusions is a way of inverting the energy of seeking. The energy of seeking will be there in one form or another until you wake up from the dream state. You can’t just get rid of it. You need to learn how to invert it and use the energy to deconstruct the illusions that hold your consciousness in the dream state. This sounds relatively simple, but the consequences can seem quite disorienting, even threatening. I’m not talking about a new spiritual technique here; I’m talking about a radically different orientation to the whole of your spiritual life. This is not a little thing. It is a very big thing, and your best chance of awakening depends on it. “Do not seek the truth; simply cease cherishing illusions.” And if you’re like most spiritually oriented people, your spirituality is your most cherished illusion. Imagine that.

© 2007 by Adyashanti.

“Come Empty Handed” poetry by Dorothy Hunt

“Come Empty Handed” © Dorothy Hunt, 2007

Come empty-handed to the

dwelling place of your own heart,

not knowing what to expect,

not caring if you find an innocent child,

a roaring tiger, a vast emptiness

or the river of your drowning.

Not caring if you find nothing at all

or everything your heart’s desired.

Face where the mind cannot go,

the place beyond division or distinctions.

Even then, you will not see God.

You will discover the darkness of Unknowing,

before there was a mind to speak of God,

or truth, or freedom.

Yet in this infinite Mystery,

you will be God’s seeing,

God’s listening,

God’s shining.

And everywhere you look,

there you will be looking back at yourself.

© Dorothy Hunt 2007.

check out Dorothy Hunt at http://www.dorothyhunt.org

Yoga because i simply enjoy it!

For 30 years I’ve been waking up with the thought I should meditate and do asanas(postures). That is alot of stress to have that for so long every single morning all these years. I had periods when I would get up at 4am, 5am, 6am and do many hours – to now…. I would say my formal practice has been non-existent this past couple of summer months. I just realized yesterday that it has been 30 years! What about waking up and not having that ‘should’ present anywhere in my mind whether conscious or unconscious?

I’ve been feeling inner division alot…. the old part thinks i should be doing yoga whether it it meditating or asanas, the fresh part that has accomplished sooo much in the relative world these past few months, is relaxed and enjoying life in whatever I am doing. I have wondered if there is something wrong with me because I am not meditating, am I afraid of something, is there somewhere inside sabatoging the Truth here?

Today I am noticing that because I’ve seen the absolute impossibility of any yoga practice bringing one to true ‘awakening’ or enlightenment, then why do it is one thought thread I’ve had inside this summer since going to a 5 day silent retreat in June with Adyashanti. The absolute hopelessness, complete impossibility and the deep utter failure of the so called ‘you’ ,,,,, ‘attaining anything’ in the spiritual realm.

It is all a set-up for failiure. I’m not talking about gaining experiences that come and go.

How about practicing yoga not for any goal in the future? How about practicing yoga because something here simply enjoys it!!!! How about simply for the love of IT!

Yahoo! What freedom… I can’t even describe it! Or I could say that maybe it feels like a kid jumping off our tower into the pond.

Enlightenment: What Haven’t I tried Yet?

 

Sat down one night after teaching a yoga class in the Fall of 2006 and this came out. Fasten your seatbelts if you decide to read my reflections on my 30 years of being spiritual seeker…….another warning, there is a subtle or not so subtle occasional vibe of a kind of happily exploding rage……:)

What haven’t I tried yet?

A bicycle trip changed my life……. Be conscious when I die’ the prison psychologist said to my brother and I. That made something go ping inside of me… only goal in life for the past 30 years. I have tried everything to become conscious except one thing.….. be a better person, purify my body, change my emotional patterning, dive deep into past conditioning and rip it apart piece by piece, therapy of all sorts, change my reactions to people, get rid of this anger, that grief, never get angry at my kids, be a more patient person, understand this and that. I had to earn enlightenment with austerities of all sorts. Don’t eat this, eat that, sleep this long, get up at 4am, do this many hours of asanas, pranayam, meditation, study and I’ll get enlightened.Wildflower in our field.

If I think this or that thought – I am unspiritual. Oh.. all the inner judgments. Practically every thought is a judgment in some way. Believed that people who meditate long hours are more holy than being a mom. I challenge anyone who thinks of themselves as spiritual and hasn’t had children of their own – to have a child of their own – get them up and ready for the school bus day and in day out. What is your definition of spiritual now?

Wear white clothes only as they are pure and colours are not.
Don’t wear leather shoes as I became a vegetarian of course. Sat and mixed all sorts of meditations at once, hey why not do it all at the same time – I thought. Blew a few circuits. Pretty funny. Sex and no sex. Save ojas or not. Raise my kundalini, go insane. Think I’m bad and wrong for even existing. Believing so called enlightened yogis coming to the west with the air of mystery. Teaching no sex and they all are having sex it turns out. Hey maybe they are enlightened, I’ll never know, they just didn’t fit into my belief about how an enlightened person ‘should be’. Believing beliefs – that’s what causes wars. Can’t enlightened people have sex for Christ’s sake? Why did I believe everything? Maybe if I read this book, that book, I’ll find the secret to life I have missed. Go to this teacher and that. If I look like you, walk like you, eat the same food, can you give it to me? Keep spine straight, don’t sit with bad posture – God forbid, how unspiritual. You can’t be enlightened if you eat meat, have poor posture, smoke drugs or cigarettes, drink alcohol and have sex. As a result I don’t smoke, do drugs or drink alcohol, though I did indulge in a few of those things. Didn’t give up sex for long. Driveway into the Quietness

Thought getting a university degree would prove to myself that I wasn’t stupid. Didn’t make any difference. Funny that it took 17 years to complete. Give myself good marks for persistence. Persistence this is what I have had for 30 years! Take this vitamin or mineral, magic water, fasting, essential oils, and juicing. Never got into raw food, though in my early seeking years I fasted long and regularly, smoked pot, drank, ran a lot of miles, practiced yoga at least twice a day, played tennis and had a job – all on the same day. Hahahaha. Had boyfriends for as long as I could stand them. Those were the days. What fun!!!

I believed that person or that book. I believed another persons beliefs and judgments about me before I believed and listened to myself. I never honoured any feelings inside especially when someone else had their own opinion. Should I do this or do that? I was always wrong no matter what. God can’t be right here, inside of this insane form, I am too impure. Thought I would get enlightened in this life for sure. Truly felt that until I started to read all the books that said it takes many lifetimes and one must be pure of all negativity and basically be rid of all human emotions and desires etc. Now I see that I had an impossible idea of perfection as an enlightened human being inside fueling much of my life. I see that perfection is a man made concept that we accept and believe on some unconscious level. Tried to be perfect not knowing there is no such thing – only an idea inside someone’s head. I projected perfection on to teachers and perfected projecting onto teachers. Wanted to be like them rather than discovering how the hell am I anyways or who the hell am I? Only the gurus were allowed to be enlightened. We are all supposed to be followers for ever because they are supposed to know everything and it is disrespectful to wake up ourselves. Some unwritten taboo. What would happen to my relationship with teacher if I woke up? God forbid. I’ll just keep pretending – better than being honest.

lightness of being - a light pink spring peony

Always resonated with “Be still and know I am God.” Makes me weep when I stop.
I was Christian in a mystical way, then a Christian mystical yogi, than a Hindu Christian yogi, then definitely a Hindu yogi, then in India as a rebellious westerner yogi, wondering what is this hindu stuff all about, feeling hypocritical. Chanting mantra, kirtan, ran yoga retreats. Thought all these things would get me ‘there’. Started to forget why I was doing all this in the first place. Became a habit. I don’t even know what enlightenment is, how could I even recognize it. Obviously my ideas and beliefs about it were wrong. Not good enough for anything or anyone. Got to get rid of my ego – all the while creating a huge frigging spiritual ego. All sorts of variations. The ego of belittling the self. I have great conditioning in this arena.

Enlightenment- a pie in the sky, in the so called spiritual world. What the fuck is IT anyways? Trying to live up to other peoples concepts of how I ‘should be’ and they are living up to someone else’s made up concepts. Concepts keep the world of so called personal hells carrying on. Talk about fuel for the spiritual ego. My God. Hilarious. Look outside for all answers. Always looking out. Always discounting what is here inside as wrong. To say No or Yes is like pulling teeth. Big resistance depending on angle of my perception. Most of life fuelled by ‘NO’. Mind blowing to really see this. To say Yes when the pattern of No is so big inside has been an interesting process. To say No when something inside is screaming it and the conditioning is afraid to say it because of self judgment and believing I have to keep everyone happy and make sure everyone likes me. Fucking hell really. All self created. All self created……

Have you noticed that absolutely everything is temporary in terms of doing spiritual practices? If you fast, do asanas, meditate, study this or that, move energy this way or that way, go on this retreat, it is still all related to the conceptual world that DIES and or changes form. Temporarily you’ll feel good after doing asanas, meditation, eating a so called ‘pure’ and tasteless diet. Isn’t it the temporary form that is affected by all of this doing? The conditioning comes back. We crash back into our humanness after our temporary ‘highs’ or retreats from life. Believed that only the old forms of spiritual paths are best, new ones are deluded. It is all a huge misunderstanding. Talk about ego eh! Being what I thought was a spiritual person on some deep level – I thought I was better and more holy than people who didn’t practice the same practices as me. Was I ever deluded! Its all ego for Christ’s sake….just different expressions of same across the board ignorance.
Funny isn’t it!

Sunrise Buddha

Isn’t God BIGGER than fasting, asanas, meditation, nationality and Death of the Body? Isn’t God bigger than believing this is the way to worship God or that way is the way to worship God? Does God care? WHAT isn’t affected by all this DOING? What is underneath all of the doing? The spiritual practices are on the surface of being. Re-arranging the temporary forms of existence – not saying it is bad, just saying it is not IT. What is not temporary? Don’t want to be stuck in man made forms anymore…. save me …….What is not man made? What is not thought up by humans?
Is GOD affected by any of the so called spiritual practices? I resonate with the word GOD. Maybe it is my church background, even the minister couldn’t answer me when I asked him to prove to me that there is a God.
I resonate with the words ‘ Divine’ , ‘Spirit’ and ‘Love’ and ‘Joy’. Despite seeing the hell on this planet created by man made religions – I appear to have a very devotional nature. I resonate with the form of Hanuman in a deeply and surprising way lately. Gratitude is my teacher. The altar of the Heart is my new resting place when it all stops and I take notice. The Alter of the Heart has always been here.

I resonate with the teachings of Adyashanti and am so deeply grateful for Adyashanti. Why not be open to what is here, here, here and here. Look at the leaves on the trees how still they are. Hanging in the air oh soooo still. Thousands and thousands of leaves on one tree – just being.

Adyashanti

Wake up or bust, become awakened, become conscious, get enlightened. . 30 years I have been struggling to be conscious. Do this , do that. A professional seeker. All the time hiding behind everything going on outside and everything going on inside. Always really simply afraid to meet what is really True…..no blame, just habits of humanity. Can’t do this anymore. …..breaking free, coming out of the self created prison, not knowing, no clue, afraid, don’t know ‘how’ the mind pattern says… hahahahahahaha.
WHAT TRASH ! ALL OF IT!

Springtime bud of a  wild Mayapple
A small green shoot peeking up out of the dirt, so rich, a big sky above, not knowing, IT blossoms into an exquisite flower. I’m going outside to play.

Can you figure out what I haven’t tried?

Sunrise at the cottage

………….on the morning I started to write these words a very quiet voice inside said from behind… GIVE UP. A voice I had never heard before from somewhere very very deep. Who or what said that. A louder voice said I can’t give up how ridiculous what a failure. …I’ve been listening to the louder voice my whole life.

Wait a minute….the one thing …. I have never tried is ……GIVING UP…..reeeeaaalllly stopping all of this doing. Don’t even know how to give up.
STOP.
Afraid to STOP.

Spriritual Seeking!

I’ve been an addicted spiritual seeker for many years. I admit, a part of me judges myself for this. I also know that that is just my habitual conditioning jabbering away.  To be free of sticking to the conditioning and seeing clearly the Truth that is present under it ALL, that is what something would like here…. once again the thoughts trying to get rid of themselves…. it is all hopeless, hopeless, hopeless…. why keep trying woman!

I asked yesterday, who/what would ‘I’ be without the seeking energy, without labelling myself as a ‘seeker’?  What would life be like without ‘seeking’ anything? I have NO IDEA!  WOW,  going to hang with that.

Stop looking from your cloud of hazy thought.

Looking from that vantage point is pure folly.

Look from behind that cloud of thinking.

There it is always clear.  Adyashanti

Spiritually seeking what?

I am finally getting or ‘grocking’ the story about the beggar who for his whole life was sitting on the street waiting for people to give him money. Always he was waiting for the gold to appear in his begging bowl, always thinking that he needed more $ and a lack of something. A stranger/holy man came along and told him that he was sitting on his treasure all along. He said oh no you are mistaken!…. He eventually looked under the box he was sitting on and there was a pot of gold, all along it had been there, he just didn’t look! I just probably destroyed that story, but it went something like that.

In terms of this life here. A few years back I started to have resistance to being ‘called’ a spiritual seeker. I had so much ego/energy/life tied up with being a spiritual seeker = phew! Made me feel better about myself. I hid behind the mask of a spiritual seeker, from myself and others.

What is THAT which I have been seeking? Is That which is seeked to be found in a new book, a technique, a teacher’s words, a teachers’ presence, a teachers gaze, the teachers’ grace, the teacher loving me and me feeling that, satsang with a teacher or basically somewhere else than whatever is going on here?

“Don’t imitate your teacher or your guru.

Find within yourself that power which moves him. ” written by Adyashanti

That which is seeked; can we buy it at a store, get IT from someone else, ‘get’ IT at all? Why do we think we can ‘get’ it?
Usually spiritual seekers are looking for something as if an object is to be obtained. They (I) believe (d) if they purify themselves of whatever is bad, wrong, impure, then they will have earned the enlightenment, peace, truth, consciousness or whatever they were seeking. I was taught this and I believed this for many years. So many books are coming from the angle that something is wrong or there is a problem that needs to be fixed and the author sets out to show us how to fix ourselves and make ourselves better human beings.

IS IT TRUE?

Here is another quote I love;

“The problem is that most people seek out

religions of all sorts as a way to relieve themselves

of the burden of finding and verifying the truth

for themselves-as if they could ride piggy-back

to enlightenment on the shoulders of some religion

or what some enlightened guy in the past said. Adyashanti from My Secret is Silence.

How can Truth, consciousness, peace, love, enlightenment, divine- whatever you want to call it be obtained like an object????? IT seems that as a seeker something believed that ‘it’ could be obtained.  WOW!  That was a misperception!! At this point, this perspective here has shifted big time.  As these are non physical ‘things’ they are not to be bought at the local Wallmart when i ‘get’ enough money or obtained by going to 5000 retreats and doing a million hours of sadhana. It seems that the mind or the ‘seeking’ energy has been trying to grasp or hold That which it can not be held or grasped!  Doesn’t seem like the sticky, clingy energy of the egoic mind will ‘get’ IT, as the Space is from this limited perspective at the moment, beyond or underneath all the stickiness and untouchable.

Here is another poem that speaks to to me .  I guess I am a a bit dribbly today….. I do so love Adya’s poems and one liners.  Forgive me.

Before you start to meditate, ask yourself a question:

Is it true that peace and silence are not here now?

With you intention to move towards quietness,

the first step we take is away from it

because we assume it’s not here already.

copyright by Adyashanti from My Secret is Silence.

I’m off to clean the kitchen and make dinner….. my real sadhana….is this ‘doing’ spiritual? Perhaps it is what is underneath all ‘doing’. Maybe the question could be WHO is doing the doing that needs to be noticed or realized?

WHO/WHAT IS THE SEEKER?  What does the seeking energy feel like under all the stories I tell or believe?I think i am going somewhere, aren’t I?