Question: People can be pretty skeptical nowadays about people who claim to be awake, and it may appear to many that you’re setting yourself up for an awful lot of criticism.
Adyashanti: And isn’t that telling? I think it’s unfortunate that a person can spend hour after hour, day after day, year after year, lifetime after lifetime dedicating their life to enlightenment, and yet the very notion that anybody attains enlightenment is taboo. We’re all going after this, but God forbid somebody says they’ve realized it. We don’t believe them, we’re cynical, we have doubt, we go immediately into semi- or overt attack mode. To me it highlights the fact that people are chasing an awakening they don’t believe could happen to them. That’s a barrier, and the biggest one.
This is such an important point, one I harp on constantly here on my blog, as well in my interactions with other dharma practitioners. Our models for what enlightenment is, to a large degree, seem to determine our success in waking up. If we cling to perfection models, which are unrealistic and unachievable, then we’ll constantly be distorting reality with expectations and assessments which are out of focus and unhelpful. When we relax our models, investigate the thoughts surrounding them, and use everything that arises as something worthy of investigation, then insight naturally happens and awakening is assured. Of course, we still have to re-engage our models and continue to grow and evolve as human beings. On the personal side of the things, this is an endless process, but awakening is not “endless”.
I’m glad that more teachers like Adyashanti are getting this message out there, are challenging the dark shroud surrounding enlightenment, and are bringing it into the realm of the achievable. In the same article Adyashanti claims that, “when people have breakthroughs and talk about them in public, awakening loses its mystique. Everyone else can see that it’s not just special people who have deep awakenings, it’s their neighbor or their best friend.” Here’s to more transparent dharma, and to more people actually getting it for themselves!