The human condition is characterized by a compulsive and obsessive personal relationship to thought. At its best, thought is a symbolic representation of reality; at its worst, thought takes the place of reality. Our thoughts describe and interpret both the external world and our internal experiences. To conceive of a life lived any other way is incomprehensible to most people. Thought tells us who we are; what we believe; what is right and wrong; what we should feel; what is true and what is false; and how we fit into this event called “life.” We literally create ourselves and our lives out of thought. Further, we associate the end of thought with sleep, unconsciousness, or death. It is this very personal relationship with thought that is the cause of all the fear, ignorance, and suffering which characterizes the human condition, and which destroys the manifestation of true Love in this life.
As long as your experience of self and life is defined by the mechanical, conditioned, and compulsive movement of thought, you are bound to a very, very limited perception of what is real. But imagine a relationship to thought that was impersonal. This would mean that you were no longer compulsively defining and interpreting yourself and your experience by the movement of thought. If this were the case, you would no longer be limited by the conditioned perspective of thought. Suddenly your entire perspective would shift away from thought to that which was the very ground and source of all thought. A source which, because it wasn’t being compulsively interpreted by thought, would be experienced as it actually is for the first time.
Why is this so important? Because when you are able to perceive this Source, you are actually in direct experiential contact with the truth of your own being. Out of that contact the possibility is ripe to suddenly awaken to who and what you really are – the Self – pure consciousness.
The Self is the context within which thought arises. Manifestation in the world of time arises as a wave out of the ocean of eternal consciousness. But the human condition is defined by a very personal and compulsive relationship to thought, which makes this realization impossible unless you are able, either suddenly or gradually, to let go of the compulsive need to know and understand with the mind. You must become more interested in the context within which thought and all experience arises than in the false security of thought itself. Most people find this very difficult because facing the context, which is prior to all knowing, is literally stepping into the unknown, which is the last place most people want to go. Why? Because thought always seeks security in itself, which is the known.
Fear and insecurity always wait for any and all who dare to probe the depths of the Unknown. The true seeker of liberation must have an uncompromising desire to discover Eternal Truth, a desire that outweighs any tendency to hesitate and contract in the face of fear. It is only when the fear of the Unknown is openly embraced that it begins to transform into the positive energy and intensity necessary to awaken from conditioned existence.
It is not uncommon in the presence of a powerful teacher, and under ideal conditions, to have a glimpse of enlightenment. But all too often most seekers are unwilling to surrender to the overwhelming implications of that revelation. The profound intimacy and vulnerability inherent in true freedom marks the destruction of the ego’s boundaries to such an extent that all beings and all things become the content of one’s own Self. To most seekers this is simply too much because the limitlessness of the Self leaves no room for any separateness from the whole. It is this complete lack of separation from the whole which is the very definition of selflessness and love.
The aim of spiritual practice is to discover in your own present experience That which the movement of thought never touches. This does not mean to suppress the thinking mind, nor does it mean to attempt to understand by using thought. What I am pointing toward is the Unknown: the already, ever-present, silent-still-source that not only precedes thought but surrounds it. You must become more interested in the Unknown than in that which is known. Otherwise you will remain enslaved by the very narrow and distorted perspective of conceptual thinking. You must go so deeply into the Unknown that you are no longer referencing thought to tell you who and what you are. Only then will thought be capable of reflecting that which is true rather than falsely masquerading as truth.
What I am talking about is a condition where the mind never fixates; where it never closes; where it has no compulsive need to understand in terms of ideas, concepts, and beliefs. A condition where you are no longer referencing the mind, feelings, or emotions for security in any way. What I am talking about is the complete surrender of all separateness until liberation becomes a permanent condition, and you are forever lost in the freedom of the Absolute.
(Him: Next to Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti seems to be the most recognized teacher on the topic of consciousness in the US. His teachings seem to be easier to understand compared to many others’ on the same subject. To learn more from Adyashanti, kindly visit: http://www.adyashanti.org)