Archive for February, 2014

Between the Notes


Last night I attended the first of what will be an ongoing series of Adyashanti Gatherings. Adyashanti is an American spiritual teacher from the Zen tradition. Two things struck me about the meeting: firstly, that even though we were watching a DVD, the man’s aura of peace was palpable. It almost visibly radiated from him. And it affected me, as I left the house with a renewed sense of my own peace, and a stronger desire to pursue it. 

The second thing that drew me was a part of his teaching. He was discussing the death of the self/ego, an effort I have pursued for some years with little success. He likened this death to the spaces between the notes of a great symphony. Without the silences between the notes, all we would have is a constant humming, with no meaning and no power to move our emotions. But when we let the note fall away, we have a tremendous work of art. In the same way, when we let our ego — what he called the “psychological self” — fall away, we are empowered to live life in a fuller and richer way. And we don’t have to force this; we simply have to let go of it

It is a common saying among spiritual groups that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I find it remarkable that I would encounter this teacher at just this moment in my life, and that the very first teaching of his that I would be exposed to would speak so closely to what I myself am currently seeking. That I would have made a New Year’s Resolution to embrace peace in my life, and a teacher whose name translates to “Primordial Peace” appears within weeks of such a resolution. Is he the teacher I’ve been seeking? I don’t know for sure yet. But I’m going to continue to attend the gatherings, and see what else he has to say to me.


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ImageLast night I fell into a small depression. This happens on occasion, despite the medications I’m on, and I’m kind of used to it. As with all my depressive periods, this one led to a series of about half a dozen nightmares, in which I lost my job, my family and my friends, one by one, as I desperately tried to keep hold of them. I awoke at last late in the morning, frightened, agitated and disturbed. 

It was difficult to drag myself out of the grogs of slumber, but at last I managed; it took me a bit longer to shake off the dreams. I had to focus on my inward being and remind myself that, while dreams are signs of events taking place, I am not my dreams. I am not trapped by them, any more than I am trapped by myself. 

Dreams show me the areas I still need to work on. They reveal the deep things that are working themselves out within me. And they show me the way out. 

So I don’t mind the disturbing dreams so much, even if they leave me shaking in my bed. I pay attention to them and study them, so I can see into myself that much more deeply. I listen to what they have to say. And then I focus on those areas they are pointing to that need to be worked on. 

This is my spiritual path.

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Common Ground


I was rereading my last post, wondering what I should write about next, when a line caught my eye. I wrote back then: “So maybe I’m not quite ready to confront my opponents.” And I realized immediately the enormity of the task that lies in front of me. Confront my opponents? That sounds angry and aggressive. And it sounds it, because it is. 

First off, why would I have opponents? What am I allowing to fester in my heart and mind that would lead me to consider anyone as such? Because the problem obviously does not lie with them; it lies with me. 

My emotions — and what I attach them to — are my responsibility. It is my decision as to what I become angry at, what I am annoyed by, what I am put off by. My feelings don’t rule me — unless I let them. And I very much don’t have to do that. 

So once again I find myself taking back my words. I am not going to confront anyone. Rather, I will seek to meet with them, to have reasonable discourse with them, to find common ground with them. Because there is always common ground. 




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