Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Problem with Awakening

The topic of this Sunday's teaching will be taken from the post below. The portion in quotes is Adyashanti, with the other comments by Mark Scorelle. The main point to grasp with this work is that it is never ceasing. No matter how far you have gone, or think you have gone, there is much work left to be done by no one. Adya does a wonderful job of succiently summarizing some of the most difficult challenges for both teacher and student post-awakening. The deprogramming of deeply ingrained, automatic, largely unconscious habits and beliefs must continue as long as there is a bodymind. We will discuss in this teaching how to recognize and deconstruct these ingrained habits (vasanas) in yourself.

Adyashanti talks about the common 'I got it; I lost it' experience with awakeners - an awakening is followed by a return to duality.

“So why, then, does awakening vacillate? It mostly has to do with our conditioning. There are areas within ourselves that are so conditioned that, at first, not even awakening is able to penetrate them. As such, we haven't become totally free. Another word for conditioning is karma. Karma is a word that comes from the East and, without going into any esoteric meanings or explanations, means cause and effect. It refers to the conditioning we've received from our life experiences - the things we are predisposed to like or not like, based on our past experience."

Interestingly, despite the awakening, the remainder of one's conditioning means that ego is still functioning, and the challenge is to be honest enough to see it, acknowledge it, and do something about it.

“As a spiritual teacher, getting people to this state of honesty, or suggesting that they go there, can be quite difficult. This is because there is a strong tendency in the egoic structure to use awakening as a reason to hide from all of one's inner divisions. When I suggest some of the things I'm talking about here, like recognizing where we unenlighten ourselves, some of my students will say, 'But there's nobody to do that. There is no person here. The ego and person is an illusion, so there's really no one to look inside.' From the perception of awakening, there isn't a problem, even when things are a total mess. From the perception of awakening, there isn't a problem; therefore there is nothing to do. If you perceive that there is something to do, you're deluded.

It can be very difficult for any spiritual teacher to get through to students like this, to get them to stop holding on to their fixation on an absolute view. This is one of the dangers of awakening: the tendency to grasp at a lopsided view. We grasp at the absolute view of awakening, and we deny anything else. It is actually the ego that fixates on the absolute in this way, using it as an excuse for dismissing unenlightened behavior, thought patterns, and divided emotional states.”

In other words, the awakening process gets hijacked by the ego.

Posted by Mark Scorelle 12/1/09 on the Wisdoms Goldenrod listserv (

I have noticed a tendency for people with some degree of awakened awareness to 'hide in the cave of nonduality'. This is partly what Adyashanti is alluding to in his commentary. There are many potential pitfalls on the spiritual path. The issue described here is one of the most problematic post-awakening seductions. We will examine it, as well as the way back to Truth.

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