Adyashanti

Photo of ()\

Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. His books include Emptiness Dancing, The End of Your World, True Meditation, The Way of Liberation, and Falling into Grace.

Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. "The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all." For more information, please visit adyashanti.org.

Author photo © Mukti

Listen to Tami Simon's interview with Adyashanti: Waking Up: What does it really mean? »

Also By Author

Adyashanti on Awakening

Please enjoy this interview excerpt with spiritual teacher Adyashanti and Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute about The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge and some common misconceptions about awakening . . .

 

Mitchell Clute: The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge is a bold title for this new journey you’ve created with Sounds True. Can we choose to wake up? And how do the practices in this journey support the awakening process? 

Adyashanti: The whole idea of The Wake Up Challenge is really the outcome of 24 years of teaching. Early on, I saw that the first thing I needed to establish was the idea that awakening is possible. If people think, “Awakening is rare. It’s for very unusual beings and maybe I’ll get there in 10 lifetimes if I’m lucky,” they’ll tend to manifest that thought pattern in their experience and it will seem to be true, whatever meditation or inquiry or other practices they’re doing. But as soon as people begin to challenge that idea, it just makes so much possible. The biggest challenge is often opening our minds to the possibility. 

Through all my years of teaching, I’ve seen that awakening is readily available to everybody. I’ve seen it in people who really have their act together, people who have good lives and relatively well-adjusted egos. I’ve seen it in people whose lives seem to be a mess, whose egos are really struggling. They can awaken. People come to me with very difficult backgrounds, with terrible traumas very early in life, and they can awaken. And I haven’t actually seen that any one of these groups has a greater advantage in terms of awakening to their true nature. 

I used the word “challenge” because I really wanted to challenge people. When I made this program, I took the best pointing-out instructions that I’ve developed over the years to induce insight. It’s not a program about processing your emotions, or about healing, or even about your spiritual path—though all those are an important part of life. It’s really narrowly focused on awakening to one’s true nature. 

I’ve been interested in making this program for over a decade now, and one day I thought, “I’ve thought about this long enough. I’d better just sit down and do it.” It was one of the most enjoyable—and challenging—things I’ve ever recorded. 

 

MC: One of the misperceptions it seems people have about awakening is, “If I just awaken, life will be good.” We believe that somehow, in light of that experience, clarity will automatically come to our relationships, our work, and our own journey. 

A: That’s an important point, because a lot of people hold this misperception. It’s a little disappointing to hear that awakening doesn’t instantly fix everything, but the truth is always more freeing than whatever our fantasy about the truth may be. Awakening is always one of the most seminal, transformative experiences we can have in life. And it does have a bleed-over effect into other dimensions of our life—the make-up of our healthy ego structure, our relating, our healing. But each of these areas of life—including emotional development, relational IQ, and personal healing work—[is] each a separate line of human development. They all interact together. But I’ve never met anybody who had an awakening and suddenly had an A+ ability to relate when they didn’t before, or suddenly healed everything that needed to be healed. It doesn’t happen that way; it didn’t happen that way for me. 

Awakening seems to have a different effect on different people. For some people, it transfers to their lives to a great degree, but we all have parts of our lives that need attention, that aren’t instantly clarified even with the deepest awakening. That’s just part of human life. But I think we can approach all those areas of life from a more benign position if we’ve had some taste of our true nature. Then, even if we have to do some healing work or emotional maturity work, we know through our own experience that we’re not coming from a place of lack, because we’ve really touched upon our unconditioned nature—that which is always and already complete.

So, awakening is always one of the most transformative moments in a person’s life, and can become a foundation from which to address other issues from a state of wholeness and with less fear or existential dread. But it’s not a magic cure-all for everything. 

 

MC: In Zen there’s the idea of “always being, always becoming”—of attending to both our humanness and our essential nature. But many students, and even some nondual teachers, seem to put all the emphasis on the being, our eternal nature, and almost nothing on the becoming. 

A: I think that’s something within human nature; we all want our securities. We’d all like to live in a world of absolutes, feeling if we could just find those absolutes we’d be safe and not be subject to the challenges of being and existing. 

Every dimension of consciousness has its own delusions. One of the delusions that is almost always inherent in awakening or the revelation of our true nature is a sense of confidence. We think, “Oh, this is it,” because we’re touching upon what is always and already complete. This confidence can tie right into our unconscious desire for fixed, final conclusions, because they provide a sense of security. 

Also, most people come to spirituality through some degree of suffering and difficulty. There’s a big motivation to want to have an experience that will put all that suffering behind you. Psychologically, we’re caught living in denial. We think, I’m done, I’m finished, I’ve realized an absolute truth and now I’m not subject to all these other aspects of being a human being. These delusions are inherent in the revelation of true nature, because any time we touch upon a facet of our true nature it feels whole and complete. 

But in the end, we realize we’re embracing a paradox. That which is always whole and complete is also always in a state of becoming. To me, this is the real nonduality. It’s not going back and forth from one side of duality to the other—from “I’m a human being” to “I’m spirit or consciousness.” Reality embraces this paradox of both sides. Always being, always becoming. A human being and pure spirit. It’s the nature of a more mature realization that we can not only see but begin to embody these paradoxes. 

 

MC: The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge has four parts. There are sections on the three types of awakening—the mind, the heart, and the ground of being—and a final section on how to put these insights into practice in our lives. Why did you present them in that order, and what do we need to bring to make the most of these teachings? 

A: I offered the teachings in the order they’re generally easiest to approach. As you know, I talk about awakening on the level of mind, heart, and gut or ground of being, and mind is usually the easiest one. They often unfold in something like that order, but not always. 

In my case, my first awakening was to the ground of being. Since I grew up dyslexic, my whole spiritual unfolding was dyslexic! It was backwards. But the reason I arranged the journey this way is simply that for many people it happens that way.

The power of our own honesty with ourselves plays such an important role. We can have revelatory and amazingly transformative experiences, but at the end of the day, our honesty about our own experience is going to tell us, “Oh, this seems to need more work,” or “I’m actually suffering in this area of my life,” or “Relationships seems to be an incredible mystery to me, and my awakening didn’t seem to give me great relational intelligence.” If we’re honest, we’ll see it, we’ll identify it, and we’ll focus on that for awhile. 

If there’s still healing work to be done, we can live in denial. It’s common in spirituality. People think that if they keep going back to the transformational experience over and over, it’s going to make everything else go away. But if we remain honest and don’t use that experience as a place to hide, then our awakening can give us real clarity, so that it becomes clear what we need to work on. 

And it’s hard for human beings to do—to simply be honest with ourselves. It sounds easy, but it’s not easy. But our experience tells us what needs attention. When we have an emotional or psychological or spiritual “ouch” that’s the way our system gives us feedback. It’s not mysterious. It’s not hidden from us. 

So there’s work to do after awakening. But we can also indefinitely postpone awakening by believing that we need to be some sort of semi-perfect being before it can ever happen, and that’s simply not true. 

 

Continue your awakening with our brand-new journey with Adyashanti, The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge. We begin Thursday, August 15.

LEARN MORE

Awakening the Spiritual Heart with Adyashanti

Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher whose work adheres to no single tradition, but points the way toward awakening for all seekers. He has published many books and audio programs with Sounds True, including The Most Important Thing, The End of Your World, and Resurrecting Jesus. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Adya (as his friends and students call him) about The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge, an upcoming online course designed to take listeners on a journey through the layers of awakened consciousness over the course of a single month. Tami expresses her excitement about the course and asks Adya whether it’s really possible to “wake up” in just a few weeks. Adya talks about the liberation of dropping into the Spiritual Heart, leading listeners in a practice for touching this sublime, compassionate inner space. Finally, they discuss the everyday applications of touching awakened awareness, as well as why The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge has been one of Adya’s intensive projects.

(66 minutes)

Adyashanti: Waking Up: What does it really mean?

Adyashanti is a widely beloved, American-born spiritual teacher whose practice is rooted in Zen Buddhism but has expanded beyond any one path or perspective. He has created many books and audio programs through Sounds True, including Resurrecting Jesus, Emptiness Dancing, and Healing the Core Wound of Unworthiness. In this episode of Insights of the Edge—which previously appeared as part of the provocative interview series Waking Up: What Does It Really Mean?—Tami Simon and Adyashanti inquire deeply into what exactly constitutes “awakening.” Adya describes his own experiences of awakening, vividly comparing and contrasting his felt sensation of each of these life-changing experiences. Tami and Adya also discuss whether awakening is a sudden or gradual process, and what one can and cannot expect from these moments of profound epiphany. Finally, Adya shares his pith instructions on how to encourage such a spiritual awakening.
(57 minutes)

You Might Also Enjoy

Dilip Jeste, MD: Wiser, Faster

Dr. Dilip Jeste is a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences and the director of the Center for Healthy Aging at UC San Diego. He’s spent the last 20 years studying aspects of healthy aging and the neurobiological roots of wisdom. With Sounds True, Dr. Jeste has written a new book titled Wiser: The Scientific Roots of Wisdom, Compassion, and What Makes Us Good. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Jeste about wisdom—what it is, how we can cultivate more of it in our own lives, and how we can grow into a wiser society. They explore a new definition of wisdom that incorporates neurobiological and evolutionary components of what makes us wise, as well as the social and cultural ones we might be more familiar with. Dr. Jeste and Tami also discuss the future of wisdom, including the potential of a metaphorical “wisdom pill.” Finally, they speak on the importance of helping our society become wiser, faster.

Jacqueline Suskin: Every Day Is a Poem

Jacqueline Suskin is a poet and author whose published titles include Help in the Dark Season and The Edge of the Continent trilogy. With Sounds True, she has written a new book titled Every Day Is a Poem: Find Clarity, Feel Relief, and See Beauty in Every Moment. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Jacqueline about the soulfulness of poetry and the internal changes one goes through while writing it. They discuss Jacqueline’s affinity for working with manual typewriters and the success of her ongoing Poem Store project. Jacqueline and Tami talk about the poetic impulse that is the root of true change, as well as overcoming the inner critic’s desire to stifle creative expression. Finally, Tami considers the “trance state” of creative flow and Jacqueline shares a spontaneous poem for the audience.

Meet the Author of . . . Spark Change

The Author

Jennie Lee is the author of Spark Change: 108 Provocative Questions for Spiritual Evolution. In addition to being an author, she is a recognized expert in the fields of yoga therapy and spiritual living. She has taught classical yoga and meditation for more than 20 years, and coached private clients in the practices that integrate life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. She is also the author of the award-winning books True Yoga: Practicing With the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment and Breathing Love: Meditation in Action. She lives in Hawai‘i with her husband and bunnies. For more, see jennieleeyogatherapy.com.

The Book

Spark Change BookIt’s been said that finding the right question is as important as finding its answer. As author Jennie Lee writes, “Quality questions lead to quality answers. Questions promote deeper thought, connection, authenticity, and humility.” In Spark Change, Lee shows you how to identify your most important personal questions and explore how they might redefine the trajectory of your life.

 

 

 

 

Send us a photo of you and your pet (and let us know if your pet had any role in helping you write your book)!

Jennie Lee and Toki

Most evenings I share a little couch time with my house bunny Toki. As prey animals, rabbits sense energy, so if I have had a tense day and carry any agitation into snuggle time, Toki will nip my leg as if to say, “calm down!” Relaxing with the bun reminds me to let go of what I can’t control, and to practice being peaceful in the present moment. Toki time in the evening reinforces what I write about in Spark Change—the necessity of self-reflection and accountability for what needs changing within myself. And he is a darn cute teacher.

What is something about you that doesn’t make it into your author bio? It could be something that impacts your work, or something totally random and entertaining!

Jennie Lee Surf

Although I grew up in Southern California, I was always a bit afraid of the ocean. When I moved to Hawai‘i, I wanted to get beyond this fear, so I taught myself how to surf. Now, paddling out at dawn into the gorgeous turquoise water is one of the best things about my day. The focus that is required to catch a wave is an apt metaphor for accomplishing anything in life, and the exhilaration that comes when I make the drop and take the ride is pure joy.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Harold Purple Crayon

As an only child, I played alone a lot.  I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon because Harold drew himself into his own adventures, created his own frightening dragons, and saved his own life by imagining a new way home. Imagination is essential to living a creative life and this story illustrates how we craft our experiences through our thoughts. Ever since childhood, I have been learning how to design, with greater intention, the life of my dreams by eliminating dead ends in my thinking and replacing them with new roads home.

Learn More

Spark Change Book

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | IndieBound

>