Friday, April 01, 2011
Part 2 of the Download: Beliefs
Most of us feel pretty ordinary, and if we have this conscious or unconscious belief that enlightenment is rare—that it's for only very extraordinary people—it totally contradicts our experience because we're not extraordinary... And so this idea, it is one of the, if not the most powerful impediment to awakening.
We have images of the awake being, and they are all sort of halo-enshrouded... And if they are doing anything in life they're always teaching, and they always have disciples....
It's very hard for our minds to get that enlightenment can look like your grandmother, or the grocer.
Enlightenment doesn't need to look in any way extraordinary.
Adyshanti, an interview
Early on I got from Adya that beliefs impede enlightenment.
I was stunned to consider that maybe my belief that enlightenment is rare was my major stumbling block.
So, I worked on letting that go.
Ha! I replaced it with another belief, “This is possible.”
Well... that’s a useful start.
Adya also stated that in the end we have to give up ALL beliefs, and the spiritual ones will be the hardest.
So, I have been watching my reaction this past year or more to the Neo-Advaita teaching which I interpreted as something along the lines, “You can be awake and still be a ‘jerk.’”
I really resist believing that!
If awakening doesn’t turn you into some reasonable version of a saint, or at least diminish your obnoxious traits – What’s the point?
I have little tolerance for the behaviour of the so called enlightened that erupt into the scandal.
I have little tolerance for my getting frustrated with my mother.
Surely we should be able to do better than that!
Or, so I believed.
And I wanted to believe.
What’s interesting to me now is discovering that that belief made me deaf to a really useful teaching:
Awareness is Already and Always there -
even when I am a jerk.
Adya has another teaching that I immediately liked:
Ask yourself, “How am I unenlightening myself?”
Well, I realized that the belief, “I’ll be enlightened when I’m always patient with my mother,” immediately becomes,
“Oh, look! I’m not enlightened.”
Or, “I had it and then I lost it.”
Right there the deed is done.
“I had it and then I lost it.”
Believe that! And you’ve just done it – unenlightened yourself by believing in a belief.
And what specifically was that belief? “Enlightenment means I’ll behave a certain way.”
Well, that’s no better than saying enlightenment is based upon behaviour.
And, I hope we can all agree that enlightenment depends upon consciousness: pure, eternal, awareness rather than any specific, fleeting, temporal behaviour.
Hey, even Jesus could throw a hissy fit – ask the money changers in the temple. He was sincerely angry.
Perhaps a better way to explain the difference that this makes is to share a few clips from Bentinho's online Journal:
Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:42 pm
Today was a funny day and interesting as well. I have felt some intense emotions and thoughts, something that I have not had to this degree in a while. It was mainly disappointment, followed by sadness, self-pity and anger (towards some colleague of mine). I was quite touched by it and while doing my work that morning all kinds of stories went through my mind continuously. I occasionally believed in them as well. I naturally recognized awareness too, but that did not stop the stories. And I dangled somewhere in between freedom and believing in these stories.
So it was quite a challenging situation in the sense of being not distracted by my intense emotions and stories. It went quite well just as it went and I did not force anything. I just let it run and be for most of the time.
After some hours I just could no longer belief in my thoughts, instead I naturally felt light and free from suffering.
I was shocked when I first read these words. I felt something burning inside.
For a moment it crossed my mind that “Bentinho’s not so enlightened” and then slowly came this great relief:
1) Finally, a teacher who is willing to share the moment to moment of what’s it like. Totally honest. And not much different from me.
2) There are times when things are intense. But, it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong!
It doesn’t mean that you are any less or more enlightened. Awareness is already and always there.
Notice that! Let the difficult emotions pull you deeper into your grounding in awareness.
Let the thoughts and feeling becomes pure energy and burn the dross away.