This is the first of a series of great talks given by Adyashanti at a retreat.
“Love says I am everything.
Wisdom says I am nothing.
Between these two banks
flows the river of my Life.”
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
It doesn’t take a lifetime of performing a special practice, meditating on a mantra bestowed upon us by a holy person, severe austerities, or a bucket of cold water thrown on the face to wake up. It takes one moment–the moment awakeness is noticed. That shift is instantaneous–from sleep to awakeness, now. Yes, we may seem to shift back to sleep again… and again… and again, until we are fully awake. But the moment of awakening does not last longer than the instant that the shift from ‘sleep’ to ‘awake’ is noticed.
It is easy for humans to envision this when they imagine this as a description of the process they are so familiar with–waking up every morning from their nightly slumber. And it is an accurate portrait of that process. However, much more important than our daily awakening into what we call our ‘normal’ life, is the profound awakening into the truth of our being–the understanding of our entire reason for being, here, now, in human form on this Earth. It is this awakening that frees us from the (perceived!) need to ever fall asleep and dream again. For the slumber of Consciousness–the dream of being a person who sleeps and dreams, and ‘wakes up’ to carry on in a ‘normal’ life–ceases to exist upon awakening. That dream falls away and leaves only this moment of pure awakeness, in need of no sleep, desiring no dream, at complete rest and peace with what is.
Some discover this through no effort. Others invest in a lot of effort (performing a special practice, meditating on a mantra bestowed upon them by a holy person, undergoing severe austerities, etc.) with this goal in mind: to wake up. But if/when they do–wake up–they discover, in that moment, that they have always been awake. They just dreamed that they weren’t.
“How can this be?” the mind asks. It is a mind-blowing paradox that can never be understood by the mind that asks. It is blown away, and so, dissolves… falling silent.
“If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind’s clothing
with more sooty knowledge.
No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.
For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.
So don’t just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.
Jump now into the space
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.”