The Awakening of Adyashanti - prose
So I get up one day and I go out to my zendo, which was right out here. The same zendo I told a lot of you that I would be so frustrated that I would literally be sitting in lotus and beating my head on the wall (chuckles). Right out there, I would get so frustrated.
I went out there that day and I was in this state of mind that I just had to ﬁnd out and I had been there for quite some time, just going bananas and there I was and within just a minute or two I got so incredibly frustrated. So just, “here we go again” and so I literally said, “screw it, I give up” and as soon as I said, “I give up”, there was this I guess what they would call it now, was some sort of kundalini experience.
But it was this incredible onrush of energy just like from down in my spine and just overwhelming, overwhelming to such an extent that my heart started to race and my breathing was like I was running the hundred yard dash. I was just laboring in breathing and my heart - having been a high level athlete, I knew what maximum heart rate was; I knew my heart rate maxed at about 210 beats a minute and I knew what if felt like and I knew I was way beyond that.
The whole body was completely out of control and again these internal energies and lights and just this incredible happening that intensiﬁed to the point that I was quite certain, absolutely sure that I wouldn’t survive it, because I knew what the body could take, and it couldn’t take this very long. At that moment, I knew I was going to die.
And all I said when I knew I was going to die, I said, “If this is what it takes to be free, okay”. So as soon as I said that, it’s like something just let loose. Just “shwoo” and I just found myself, everything became (snaps ﬁnger) like that, absolutely pristinely quiet and just this vast emptiness opened up and my awareness just went, it didn’t just expand, it just disappeared.
The boundaries just completely, they weren’t just expanded, they went so far, they just disappeared and it was just absolutely stillness and insights rushed in at I can’t even, I have no idea what the rate was, but literally hundreds came in, in just a matter of a few minutes. One, like simultaneously. Not just one after another, but just these groups and it was all ﬂashing, ﬂashing, ﬂashing and so this went on for awhile and then the insights kind of disappeared into that vastness and then there was just this incredible nothing and after awhile I got up and as I always would do, I had a little Buddha ﬁgure there, the incense and everything and I bowed down to it and when I hit bottom on the bow, I just started to laugh hysterically, because I looked at this Buddha (snaps ﬁnger) that’s what I was all along. (chuckles).
I have been chasing my self all these years. What an idiot you know and it was tremendously funny. (giggles). Just tremendously funny and so this was a really deep spiritual awakening and it also happened in my 25th year. So there went that life. See you later.
So there was some kind of knowing that there was something coming. It wasn’t the death I thought. It wasn’t the one I expected, but it was the one I got.
So, I rushed back and it didn’t happen in a retreat, because outside of the first retreat, no insight, no anything ever came from any retreat. Anything outside that ﬁrst little, beautiful moment of love at the first retreat, everything happened by myself. Always by myself, which always make my Zen teachers go (transcription note: A. probably made a facial expression), because it never happened at the retreat or with other people.
In fact Kwong Roshi used to say, “You are very different” “Your way is very strange” and then he would kind of pause, because he was very traditional, very traditional and he would kind of pause and he said “but it works”. So he had an openness about it.
I went back and I told him about this, what had happened and there were lots of other insights in between the time that I got to meet him. I meet him for a few months after that. And I didn’t tell anybody. I never thought to tell anybody. Really at the time. I was still going to Arvis, never even thought that I might mention it. I don’t know why. It just never even occurred to me that it might be a good idea.
Q: Would it have been ?
A: Oh, I don’t know. She probably would have said, “wonderful, good, okay, now let’s get on with it”. Sort of the Zen way. But I never, never thought of it. So when I did tell him this and he asked a number of questions, like good Zen teachers do to see how deep is it.
Because what happens, happens but there is a vast degree in how deep it went and so he was probing to see how deep it went and then when he was satisﬁed there was this beautiful moment of meeting and he looked at me again with this very quizzical look and he said, “How old are you ?” and I said “twenty-ﬁve”. He looks up and said “You are unusual”.