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.


KathyB said...

Peter Fenner, during his interview, mentioned that even he can still "lose the space".

I loved the way Peter described this.
He said if something happens that "falls outside the parameters of what can be integrated in nondual awareness, a reaction arises. In other words, it goes over the boundary of my preferences. I still have preferences. It's not possible to be aware of the moment at which we lose this because if we were aware of this, IT COULDN'T HAPPEN."

So, it seems that ALL of us would still have lines that couldn't easily be crossed ("integrated"). Even Eckhart Tolle mentioned a reaction he had when witnessing an animal being mistreated.

Pat Bralley said...

Thanks for sending this along. I think it really helps to know this stuff!
Sounds like an interview worth hearing too!

KathyB said...

One more thought...
So, in a pre-awake state, the reaction to crappy things happening is always a solid "dammit", but as awakening takes hold, this reaction slowly changes to nothing but "Thank You". (Not there yet!)

"If I get a pimple on prom night or find myself trapped in a burning car, my response is never fear or anger or disappointment or doubt, my response is always the same. It’s thank you. It’s always thank you." - Jed McKenna

Pat Bralley said...

Well... I don't know! Not there yet either. But, in the meantime, maybe not believing I have to be saint like will allow me to be more sainti-like... HA! A paradox so maybe that's a sign.

As for Jed... I have my doubts.
Does he really exist? (I mean even as a body.)

KathyB said...

Right... my favourite koan (if you could call it that), a caution to all would-be saints, is:

"In fact, our desire to give, which should have been the guarantee that our world would be a good place to live in, is actually the reason for all the evil in this world." - Rabbi Laitman (Kabbalah)

As for Jed, yes, isn't he a mystery. At a recent Adya retreat, someone asked Adya if he was Jed. He implied that he wasn't but he was strangely obtuse about it. Someone, who I hold in high regard, said they have found Brett (the outspoken female rancher in Spiritual Warfare). She is still alive supposedly.

Pat Bralley said...

Wow! Is that the mirror image of the paradox I posed! Ha... ha...
This is why basically I think I'm on a heart path and not an intellect path... it's get's too weird for my little brain! Ha!!... laughing so much, now I am going to log off and go eat lunch or something (it's not lunch time).