During silent retreats, Adyashanti often shares letters written to him by the participants. The following is an excerpt from one such letter. We asked Lairy from Orinda, CA for permission to share it with you. An excerpt from Adya’s response is included.
This retreat represents an anniversary of sorts, as it was last September, while on retreat with you, that a profound change in the awareness that knew itself as Lairy seemed to occur, shattering the dream of “me.”
Last September during satsang, I became aware of a core belief regarding fear, and failure, and survival strategies that created this imagined identity, facilitating a seeing that penetrated and imploded this dream of “me.” The seemingly dramatic experience alternated between terror, disorientation, bliss, and an intense explosion of psychophysical bodily energy, for the better part of two months.
Ten days after the retreat while sitting and observing my feet, not recognizing them as mine, a single thought came, “Nice feet,” and in that moment everything stopped. Stillness made itself known in a most profound way. The first sense was, “I know this.” And instantly all the moments over the last thirty years when the stillness had shown up were remembered, recognized, and realized. Nothing was happening. There was no experience, just perfect stillness. It seemed as if all of creation—past, present, and future—was only brought into existence to facilitate pure beingness revealing itself to itself in that moment.
It’s been quite an unfolding, unraveling, undoing over the last year. Witnessing the bright quietness of this beingness outshining the lingering patterns of “me” has been and continues to be remarkable. The relationship awareness has with experience now is amazing. Experience is still arising as conditions, but it’s not happening to “me.” It’s as though someone turned up the volume of this silence.
And then there is this gratitude, this love. The sense is of receiving an incomprehensible gift. The giver and the receiver are the same, and still there is a movement to experience this beingness on a human level.
I don’t know who this letter is about; I don’t know who
you are—only this feeling of deep gratitude and appreciation for
how this beingness made itself known through or as the wisdom that is
Thank you, Lairy. The truth is that this awakening is a mysterious thing. There isn’t a “how to”; it just happens.
My job is simply to hammer away relentlessly and ruthlessly at your ideas about yourself. Something inside all of us knows the truth of what we really are. Something in us knows. You don’t know how it knows, but something in you knows, and when its time is right, it starts to reveal itself. And something within us knows the fiction of who we have believed ourselves to be. Whatever the identity—good, bad, worthy, unworthy, smart, stupid—it starts to crumble and fall down. When its time is right it just falls apart.
When this happens, there’s a great tendency to try to put it back together, because it can be quite disorienting, quite strange. You may be wondering why you feel disoriented or your body energies are going wacko, or you can’t sleep at night for six months, or you have strange bouts of anxiety, followed by strange bouts of bliss. The mind may try to figure it out, put it back together. But your mind can’t make sense of this coming unglued, the fiction of you breaking apart at the seams.
The beauty is, as you wrote at one point in your letter, Lairy, “You come to trust how everything resolves itself.” This process knows what it’s doing. It knows what it’s doing much better than I know what it’s doing, and much better than you know what it’s doing. To wake up to this stillness is a gift. ~ Adyashanti
Copyright © 2010 Open Gate Sangha