All yoginis are gypsies. All gypsies are artists. I’m a life-as-art ist(;
“The greatest (catalyst for awakening) is found within our lives the fabric of our existence, the grit of what’s actually happening in our everyday experience. I find that this is often overlooked within the context of spirituality. Many of us are using our spirituality as a way to avoid life, to avoid seeing things we really need to see, to avoid being confronted with our own misunderstandings and illusions.
“It is very important to know that life itself is often our greatest teacher. Life is full of grace sometimes it’s wonderful grace, beautiful grace, moments of bliss and happiness and joy, and sometimes it’s fierce grace, like illness, losing a job, losing someone we love, or a divorce, etc.
“Life itself has a tremendous capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, even as it is attempting to wake us up. The divine itself is life in motion. The divine is using the situations of our lives to accomplish its own awakening, and many times it takes the difficult situations to wake us up.
“The irony is that most human beings spend their lives avoiding painful situations. Not that we are successful, but we are always trying to avoid pain. We have an unconscious belief that our greatest growth in consciousness and awareness comes through beautiful moments. We may, indeed, make great leaps in consciousness through beautiful moments, but I’d say that most people make their greatest leaps in consciousness in the difficult times.
“This is something a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge that our greatest difficulties, suffering, and pain are a form of fierce grace. They are potent and important components of our awakening, if we’re ready for them. If we’re ready to turn and face them, we can see and receive the gifts that they have to offer even if the gifts sometimes feel like they are being forced upon us.
“Everybody has their own ways in which life is attempting to hold up a mirror, to squeeze the conditioned self out of us, to squeeze out of us the holding and grasping, to squeeze out all of our beliefs and ideas and concepts and self-images.
“If we are willing to look, we will see that life is always in the process of waking us up. When we are not willing to see what life is trying to show us, it will keep ramping up the intensity until we are willing to see what we need to see. In this way, life itself is our greatest ally. It is almost a spiritual cliché to say that life is your greatest teacher. Students nod as if they know what that means. But we can only know what it means when we have been through it, when we have allowed ourselves to have life hold a mirror up, so we can see ourselves clearly.
“To think that enlightenment only comes through wonderful experiences is to delude yourself. Yes, there are those cases where someone has a spontaneous awakening, and he or she doesn’t have a lot of karmic tendencies to see through. But that is rare. For most of us, the path to enlightenment is not rosy. We need to acknowledge this, because otherwise we’re only going to let ourselves travel toward that which feels good, that which supports our image of what the path of awakening should be.
“For most people, the path of awakening does have wonderful moments, profound moments and realizations. But it is also a gritty thing. It’s not what most people sign up for when they say they want to be enlightened. The truth of the matter is that most people who say they want awakening don’t actually want to awaken. They want their version of awakening. What they actually want is to be really happy in their dream state. (“dreaming to be awake” – Gurdjieff). And that’s okay, if that’s as far as they’ve evolved.
“But the real, sincere impulse toward enlightenment is something that goes far beyond the desire to make our dream state better. It is an impulse that is willing to subject itself to whatever is needed in order to wake up. The authentic impulse toward enlightenment is that internal prayer asking for whatever it is that will bring us to a full awakening, no matter whether it turns out to be wonderful or terrible. It is an impulse that puts no conditions on what we have to go through.
“This authentic impulse can be a bit frightening, because when you feel it, you know it is real. When you have let go of all conditions when you have let go of how you want your own awakening to be and what you want the journey to be like you have let go of your illusion of control.
“In fact, we have to be willing to lose our whole world. That may sound romantic when you first hear it “Oh, yes, let me sign up! I’m willing to lose my whole world.” But when your whole world starts to crumble, and you start to emerge from unimaginably deep states of denial, it is something altogether different. It is something altogether more real and gritty. It’s something that some people sign up for and some people don’t. (But) we don’t need to have any image about what it is going to take to awaken.
“What you have to be willing to do is to encounter yourself and to face your own uncertainty. But how many of us want to let go into uncertainty, into the unknown, into the uncontrollable?
“This isn’t a journey about becoming something. This is about unbecoming who we are not, about undeceiving ourselves. And so one of the most important steps is to come into agreement with your life so that you’re not turning away from yourself in any way. And the amazing thing is that when we are no longer turning away from ourselves, we find a great amount of energy, a great capacity for clarity and wisdom, and we start to see everything we need to see.”
Adyashanti, The End of Your World