Is There a Path to Awakening? – Adyashanti
Adyashanti discusses various answers to questions regarding the spiritual path to awakening. He points out that all spiritual teachings are a strategy. All teachings are a pointing to help with awakening. If someone is struggling and listens to a teaching that says there’s nothing else to do. Just be. This might cause a gap and if this does cause a gap, maybe reality will come in. If there’s nothing to do and nothing to seek, some may struggle with this concept and others may not.
For example, I can say you don’t have to struggle and then you don’t. It’s a relief. You let go. It’s the very matrix of our existence. To realize that sometimes it takes letting go of the search is the best way to experience awakening and sometimes the search is useful. Depends.
I let go after ardent years of searching. I was spiritually, physically, and emotionally exhausted and I let go. It was the letting go that helped me, but if someone would have come to me in the beginning of my searching and told me to just let go, I probably wouldn’t have. My journey was necessary.
Each person must find the absolute truth for themselves.
Is the concept of inner awakening essential?
It’s a way of saying that there may be a different way to perceive yourself, existence, and God. The concept of awakening comes in and suggests to us that there is a different way to perceive ourselves and existence. It’s like having an “aha” moment. You begin to think, “Oh wow. There is more to this life than I thought.”
Everyone has a dance to dance to and you’ve got to dance all the way. If it’s to pursue an awakening with you’ve got, then that’s your dance. If it’s to sit and just be, then that’s your dance. Only the phonies or the unauthentic don’t really awaken, so stay authentic to yourself. Be true to what’s arising in your life.
Be connected. Know why you are seeking and reconnect what it’s all about for you. When it’s authentic your resources naturally come together and align.
Can the spiritual pursuit alleviate suffering?
Many are on the spiritual path to alleviate suffering. They are trying to run away from what is really happening and that’s understandable. I don’t see the spiritual pursuit to alleviate suffering as the main objective; it’s a byproduct. It comes as a byproduct.
Life becomes aware of itself. The main thing is that we attach “I don’t want to suffer” to the search because that’s what the ego wants. But enlightened people do suffer. Look at Jesus Christ. He suffered. See, the real thing is not the sales pitch. You don’t go the spiritual route and all of a sudden suffer no longer. Suffering is a part of it, but the experience shouldn’t be defined by what we can get out of it. A positive byproduct of the search is the relief that one is no longer looking for an escape from anything. When you look for an escape, you suffer. When you don’t look, you don’t suffer. We’ve got it all backwards.
I remember the early days people were shocked with these new spiritual teachings and they were awakening rapidly. Then people lost it and wondered how to get it back. They kept using teachings that worked for initial clarity and it took time to realize that it’s not quite that simple.
What creates the gap?
If we ask ourselves what am I really? What am I? Consciousness turns back and in a split instant it doesn’t find me as a thing. There’s nothing there. That’s not what is expected. It thinks, “I don’t know, but maybe I got the question wrong” and this creates a gap. The gap is where reality resides. That’s the doorway. In fact, all spiritual questions are a means of creating the gap.
Is awakening the final objective?
There really is no final objective. Awakening is the end of not knowing, but it’s also a beginning. The process of awakening starts the moment you begin awakening. Remember that there is a process. We are always becoming a clearer expression of what’s being recognized. We used to use this chant a lot in Buddhism: “Always being, always becoming Buddha.”
It’s a lifetime journey.