On the morning of what he calls his “real ﬁnal awakening,” Adyashanti wrote the following to one of his teachers, Zen master Jakusho Kwong Roshi:
Roshi, today was a very special day. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. as usual to sit for a few hours before going to Los Gatos. I lit a candle, offered incense and bows and sat on my cushion.
Suddenly I heard a bird chirping away outside. The sound entered me in a way it had never before and a voice within spontaneously asked ‘Who hears the sound?’ Instantly the whole world, my perception of it,flipped 180 degrees. Everything dropped away. Everything.
I was the hearing. I was the bird. I was everything and I was nothing at all. It’s just like waking up from sleep. Nothing special at all. No excitement. No thrills. Nothing like I thought it would be like. It’s like going home. Finding home. Being home. So very ordinary and yet so new. Like being born for the very ﬁrst time.
Every breath, every step, every thought, every perception is new. The Self returns to the Self, actually the Self realized the Self, but it’s so ordinary, so natural. Who would have thought there was a common belief that there is going to be a lot of ﬁreworks, lots of emotion, lots of dazzle, but this waking up is so silent, so quiet, so profound, so present in everything, as everything.
I felt something coming on for months. During the day I would be constantly laughing to myself because everything seemed to be transparent, so impermanent. Everything seemed to be falling away in front of my eyes. A huge void was looming in the background, swallowing everything up, every moment, every perception, almost as soon as it appeared, but I was not afraid at all. In fact, I was excited at watching it all happen.
Energy and conviction grew more day by day. Inside it felt as though all my old ways of perceiving the world and myself were just dissolving into nothing, into nothing. I kept investigating this nothing and this dissolving more and more deeply. Eventually even my questioning was dissolving as soon as it arose.
In some ways I felt dead, but joyously so. On and on it went for weeks, months and then last night the last thought I had was ‘I’m ready.’ The words just spontaneously came to mind, not as anything special, more like a simple fact. I thought nothing of it and went to sleep. The next morning when I heard the bird, everything dropped away and the next thing I knew I was the bird. I was the listening. I was everything. Everything and Nothing. So ordinary.
Excerpt – for full text see here
Adyashanti (born Steven Gray on October 26, 1962) is an American spiritual teacher and author from the San Francisco Bay Area who offers talks, online study courses, and retreats in the United States and abroad.
With thanks to Shanti Peace