Adyashanti (whose name means “primordial peace”) is an American-born spiritual teacher who has been teaching for 26 years. His teachings include evening meetings, weekend intensives, silent retreats, live internet broadcasts, and online courses. He has taught throughout the US and also in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. More than 30,000 people in 120 countries are connected to his website through free email subscription. He is the author of eleven books.
Born Stephen Gray in 1962 in Cupertino, California, Adyashanti grew up as an athlete and competitive bicycle racer. At age 19, he became interested in enlightenment, began to meditate, and became fully absorbed in a quest for ultimate truth. . . .
We stand for racial equality and social justice. We are for finding actions that speak as loudly as words, perhaps even louder than words. And, we are for creating together a more inclusive Sangha experience for everyone.
Read full statement here: Antiracism and Open Gate Sangha: What We Are For and What We Are Doing
Mukti’s name originates in Sanskrit and is most often translated as “liberation,” a term used in Vedanta and Buddhism much the way the term “salvation” is used in Christianity. Mukti has been a teacher at Open Gate Sangha, in the lineage of Adyashanti, since 2004. Together in 1996, Adyashanti and Mukti founded Open Gate Sangha.
Previously, Mukti was raised and schooled in the Catholic tradition and also studied the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda for over 20 years—two paths that have greatly informed her journeys into meditation, introspection, and prayer.
She holds a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a license in acupuncture, and a Hatha Yoga teaching certification. These backgrounds in body awareness and the healing arts, as well as her years of study with Adyashanti, largely inform her presentation style, her recommended inquiry methods, and her interest in the energetic unfolding of realization and embodiment.
The Quiet Dimension of Being
What we think of as spirituality is not limited to what we think spirituality is. Spirituality is innate to being. It’s to be involved in the enigma of being. It’s to crack that nut, to open up that mystery. I think so much of deeper spirituality begins when we finally have the maturity, whether it comes at five years old or ninety-five years old, when we have whatever it is that causes us to recognize how deeply and profoundly we are a mystery unto ourselves. You have to have a little gap in your constant judging and condemning of yourself to feel the mystery of yourself. You have to suspend judgment for a moment. It’s a very unique and pivotal point in someone’s life. This is the contemplative endeavor. It’s diving into the mystery of being.
Meditation, whether it’s done in a meditation hall or while you’re sitting on a porch in your front yard, is actually entering experientially into that enigma of being—not just to think about it and philosophize about it, but to actually enter into it. It’s not very far to connect with the mystery of being. It’s right there under the surface. When I started to notice all of this in my twenties, it was a weird thing, because when you get involved with spirituality, you get all these ideas of what a spiritual person is, and I didn’t seem to fit the model. The model of a spiritual person didn’t seem to be a highly competitive athlete who would run over your grandmother to win the next race. That’s not in the sacred scriptures. Someone like that does not receive the deeper spiritual insights, you might think.
The nice thing is that when you’re young, sometimes you don’t even put spirituality in a category. It’s not spirituality, it’s just life. Sometimes life shows up in an odd way, and all of a sudden your experience of it is very different. Maybe you feel deeply connected, or you seem to disappear into nothingness, or you seem to have a moment of connection with God that’s unusually profound and touching and life changing. Or maybe you sink into some spontaneous samadhi where you lose all connection to your senses, and everything disappears, and you’re like a point of consciousness. There are many, many different ways that the deeper dimension of being shows up.
I think it’s useful to think of spirituality in the most natural possible terms. Spirituality is just natural to a human being. It’s even natural to atheists. If you could listen to scientist Carl Sagan in his mystical awe of the cosmos, it was like listening to a mystic half the time, in rapt awe of the beauty of existence. He was a scientific materialist, but that was his doorway into experience, connection, and awe. He was somebody who didn’t believe in God, but he had a deep experience. Clearly his investigations brought him into something akin to a kind of religious or spiritual awe.
I mention naturalness because the sense of the naturalness of true nature or awakening to true nature is not just religious, and it’s not just spiritual. You can even have atheists who are deeply participating in a way of being that connects them to a greater dimension of being. So clearly, this is something that’s innate in all of us. And if we would just go immediately to whatever our felt sense of our own mystery of being is, just to dip for a moment underneath the evaluations, the ideas, and the judgments of being, it doesn’t take much attention—a moment, really—to connect with the sense of being this extraordinary, conscious mystery.
Of course, we don’t want to just leave it at that. There’s something deeper in us that wants more than simply to leave it all as a mystery. I’m suggesting that that’s the entry point. If you forget that entry point, you can do decades of meditation looking for something that’s actually completely innate. And so in the old, universal teachings among the esoteric inner dimensions of most spiritualities, the suggestion is to just go into that place where everything is an unknown.
Open to the unknown. Experience the unknown. Just stop for a second. There’s so much about you that’s unknown to you, it’s mind-boggling. What is it that’s walking, living and breathing, wanting what you want and not wanting what you don’t want? What is it that wants God or awakening or enlightenment, or just a little more peace and happiness in a troubled life? Every time we say “I,” what do we actually mean? We’re giving voice to something that’s immense, and the capabilities are astonishing.
From The Quiet Dimension of Being
© Adyashanti 2019
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