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Annotated captions of Adyashanti - Complete Interview in English

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global oneness project

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Adyashati: Complete Interview

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Ultimately, I see the main force of separation as fear, because the experience of separation...

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Adyashanti
San Jose, California
Spiritual Teacher

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...although it is illusory, it seems to be a natural stage in the development of consciousness.

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Just like adolescence is a natural stage of development or being an infant, you don't look back and say why was I ever an infant?

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That was silly. I should have just skipped over that stage.

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I see this sort of ego development that comes with the sense of separation.

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It all has to do with how our brain works and the immense power that thought has.

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It starts to create this sense of self. I see that sense of separate self as illusory but actually as a stage of development.

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When you get to the threshold, which I think is where a lot of people are now, they experience that separateness

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and they find that it is inherently unsatisfactory.

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Not only for oneself, but very unsatisfactory for the world, and very unhealthy for the world.

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You feel that pull, like there's something else, but that's when you often start to uncover this tremendous fear

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because its a sort of death. Moving beyond the separate self is a death of an identity.

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On the level of thought, its a death, its very abstract to talk about it and describe it, but when it starts to happen to you,

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and you literally feel like you're gonna die, or you look in and you see the emptiness of the separate self, and it sounds very spiritual,

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but when you actually see it, it can really be quite terrifying, quite shocking.

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My God! The person I thought I was isn't here. For a lot of people I have talked to, there is this great fear of nonexistence.

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That's part of the irony, is we have to come to true existence through the doorway of nonexistence,

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of our own separate nonexistence, and it's very very frightening, and so we distract ourselves.

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The world we have created is a perfect world in which we can distract ourselves with endless amounts of entertainment.

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Triviality, and when you get down to it, its this deep fear of initially realizing I don't even really know who I am.

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I just really don't know who I am. Most human beings really don't know who they are.

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And then on top of that, there's that fear of meeting that existential emptiness, or nonexistence, because that's the doorway.

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You have to realize that you can't manage it, because that's what the whole world is doing.

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Basically trying to manage fear. I think a lot of people don't know the extent to which fear operates in their lives.

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There are some people that don't walk around feeling really fearful.

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But if you really look at it, why is it that we human beings are looking for the little moments of approval.

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Why are we looking for love everywhere? Why are we looking for agreement, to be noticed?

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When you look really inside of those, there's many psychological reasons, but at the root, its always fear.

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Because if I don't get approval or I don't get acknowledgment, if I don't get this, if I don't get that, I will die.

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I won't exist. If I don't get all these exterior things, I'll have to face that great void of infinite inside.

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I'll have to encounter that. Most people aren't that conscious. They don't think about it in these terms.

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Fear is an incredible driving force for humanity.

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We see this on a deep spiritual level and on very exterior levels.

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I think to find where the love is or where the hope is, we have to see that the things we do to make things better often are motivated by fear too.

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The fear of destroying the planet, that's very true, and if we are addressing that truth from a standpoint of fear, then fear has won the day.

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Say we don't like a particular political system, if we are motivated by fear then we're still operating within the same old state of consciousness.

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We've just sort of switched allegiance. Instead of being a destroyer of the world, now we're a savior of the world.

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But if we are a savior of the world that's motivated by fear, then we're actually in the same consciousness. It's just heads and tails on a coin.

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Everybody always feels like they are doing the best thing, don't they?

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No matter what side they are on, they always feel like its the best thing.

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The interesting thing about fear, is when you really go through fear, instead of trying to manage fear, the other face of fear is love.

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They're not actually different things, just heads and tails on the same coin.

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When we actually start to confront and meet fear itself, that's when we start to come into love.

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Love always arises from that sense of unity of what we really actually are.

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From the experience of unity, rather than the idea of unity, because the idea of unity will keep producing fear.

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The idea that we are all one...its a nice idea isn't it. We're all one and we're destroying ourselves and we have to do something about it.

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You can feel the fear in it, as the idea of oneness. But the experience of oneness, the feeling of realizing it is the absence of fear.

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We are also afraid to be without fear.

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If I wasn't afraid about what would happen to the world if we don't do something, if I wasn't afraid about what might happen to humanity,

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then I wouldn't have any motivation to do anything. I might just sit in my rocking chair and say that its all spirit and its all fine.

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There's a fear of not having fear. That's how much as a species we talk about love, but we really don't trust it much.

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Love is indiscriminate.

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Love loves what is, everything. Nothing's left out. It loves people trying to heal the world and it loves people trying to destroy it.

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Its an indiscriminate lover of what is. That's love. [laughs]

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I think also as human beings we are often afraid of that. I really love everything and everybody including the people who are destroying everything.

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The people who are destroying everything are you and me. We always think its someone over there, but its actually

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our own divided state of consciousness. That's what's destroying everything.

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When we really see that love is indiscriminate, it doesn't mean its stupid or that its an excuse for everything.

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To me that's the power of it. It's very easy to be motivated by fear.

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What I don't want to happen, what I want to correct. That's not very powerful though. We've tried that for centuries and centuries.

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We come up with a new political system, a new spiritual system, a new philosophy, we could come up with a new philosophy for oneness.

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Whatever it is, if its motivated by fear, it is still in the old consciousness.

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When its motivated by love, then it has power. Then we're not so interested in what I'm against.

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We're interested in what we're for. That's a very different thing.

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Mahatma Gandhi always used to tell people, "I'm not against the British rule. I'm for Indian rule. I'm for Indian rights.

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I'm not against anybody." Intellectually, people can go that's interesting, but really its very significant.

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Its literally a change of consciousness, when all of your consciousness goes to what you are for, which is innately positive.

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Its not being motivated by fear. When we look at what we're against, its always motivated by fear.

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So there's this little man in India that inspired, a great quality of inspiring people, and that inspiration was very powerful.

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Of course he always struggled with fear with the populous because there were always the outbreaks of violence.

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And he was always trying to tell people, "No. Don't hate. Don't be against. We're for Indian rights. We're for this, we're for that."

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I think that's just one example. Martin Luther King wasn't against white people, but he was for the rights of African Americans.

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That carries with it a very different energy, a very different consciousness.

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On the surface it may not look as powerful because we're not going to battle, we're not yelling, we're not screaming.

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We're not going to wars with people. Underneath, on the unmanifest level, its infinitely more powerful, exponentially more powerful

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when our consciousness is what we're for than what we're against.

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Fear just doesn't win out. Period. As far as I'm concerned. Nobody can avoid the truth forever.

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If the human species doesn't survive,

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well I would like it to survive, its nice, I like it as its going. But as far as I've seen in the history of the world,

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there's almost no species that survives forever, and if we don't do the job, if our consciousness doesn't evolve,

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life, our existence will just go, well that didn't work to well, you're out.

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And I don't mean that to sound as casually as I put it, because there will be a lot of blood and suffering and difficulty in that process.

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I don't mean it as casually as I sound it, but underneath I know that life takes care of itself.

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There's nothing in me that's afraid that somehow we'll all just go into this terrible abyss and nobody will ever make it out.

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But having said that, that's not just an excuse to go unconscious. Sense that's the way it will be, I won't do anything.

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I won't be involved. That's a spiritual kind of cop out.

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But when you come from that place, then we're not coming from a place of fear again. It keeps arising.

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I never find in this spirit that we are words like what we must do or that its telling us somehow we have to do this or we have to do that.

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To me I see it as being in the nature of spirit, within the nature of the sacred to do this, to lean this way.

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Its nature is to awaken, its nature is towards love, its nature is towards unity, or harmony.

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That's in its nature so that's what it does.

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It seems as though we keep getting to these points of crisis. Crisis is often the catalyst for change.

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I think humanity in general, we can all start to agree that we are coming to a point of crisis. We are coming into contact

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not just with our own personal mortality but our mortality as a species, that we as a species may not survive.

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That can provide, just like individual mortality, can lead to a change of consciousness that we realize time has run out.

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There is no more time. Sometimes consciousness can shift. As humanity I think we are rapidly approaching that same imperative.

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Time is running out. Quite naturally, there is tremendous pressure on humanity, we all feel it.

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There's tremendous pressure to evolve, to awaken. Intuitively, everyone knows that if there is not a

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dramatic shift in consciousness,
then this opportunity will be missed.

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Because there is the personal, I would love this transformation for my children and for all other beings.

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That's the point I was trying to touch on, although not as succinctly as I could have been.

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That point where that desire, or that impulse has to transcend our personal concerns, even the personal concerns for the future

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of my children. It has to include that we don't know what's the best. Maybe the best thing is that we don't survive as a species.

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Until everything is possible, we're not even actually inquired into what's true.

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Because we put limits...I'll only look at what's true if it happens to exist in this little box.

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But if what's true ends up to be existence is done with humanity, it hasn't worked, its going to try something else...

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To look at what's really true has to open up to this thing that's beyond...

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It includes of course your personal concerns, wanting to be happy, wanting your family and children to have a good life and survive.

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That's fine. We're never going to just get rid of that. But I think it has to include a much much bigger context.

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What's really real? What's really true?

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And can I even ask the question in such a way that the question itself goes beyond human concern.

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Can I ask it from the point of existence rather than from the standpoint of me, or even from the standpoint of humanity?

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Can I ask it from the biggest possible context? I think that's very important.

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Because only then are we actually touching into something that has infinite power.

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It seems like that's what's necessary. We have to touch in to something that has infinite power.

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Infinite transformative power. And we never come in to what has infinite transformative power as long as we stay only within the personal domain.

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How does one do that individually is one question. A bigger question is how does that happen collectively?

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I'll tell you the truth; I don't have an answer for that.

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As a teacher, what I've seen is people come with that kind of motivation that's truly trans-personal that comes from existence.

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They come to me with it, or they don't. They got it or they don't.

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I can't develop it in them, I can't convince them. It's part of their own maturity. They may not start there, but later they may mature there.

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But I can't put it into them. I can talk to them about it, but...

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It's like when you're 10 years old and you say, "I'd love to be an adult for a day."

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What are you going to say to a 10 year old. Here's how to be an adult for the day.

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Here's how to fast forward your consciousness 10 years from now. No. It doesn't work that way.

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The time will come. Whether it comes quick enough, that's a whole other question.

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We are having a difficult time. We've been having a difficult time for a long time.

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If we don't realize that collective sense of what we really are, we're not separate. We're not even connected.

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We're more than connected; we are the same. We're the same in expression, we're very unique, and very different,

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and there's a beautiful individualized manifestation of the one, but its all the same substance.

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If we don't realize that, then there's no hope. There's no political system that's going to save us.

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There's no environmental movement that's going to save us. Nothing exposed from the exterior is going to change.

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We've been trying that for thousands of years, to impose structure from the outside.

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Here's the political system, here's this system, here's that system. Of course some are better than others, but ultimately, as the great

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Christian monk Thomas Merton said any political system is about as good or bad as the people who make it up.

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The system doesn't transcend the people, it doesn't change the people. Its our consciousness that is the thing that needs to change.

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Most of spirituality is a myth and a dream. It belongs firmly to the dream state. 90% of what we call spirituality, to me,

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actually serves the dream state, rather than serves waking up from the dream state. 10% of spirituality might belong to something

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beyond the dream state, which means that spirituality belongs to life, to existence, to the wholeness of existence.

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So spirituality and life and everything else, its the same thing. I don't see spirituality as something that's separate from anything.

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I think that's part of awakening. One of the first things I said to my teacher, and I was ready to get crucified for it,

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because I didn't know how she'd respond, but I said, "It feels like I just woke up from Zen, from spirituality."

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And she just smiled at me. And she pointed her finger, and she almost never did, and she said, "That's the whole point."

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That didn't mean that I've thrown away some Zen or spirituality, or my path. It just meant that I woke up from my ideas about it

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that were based in fantasy, that were separated from this life. I think any spirituality that is separated from this existence

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is a fantasy. I don't mean just the existence that you can see and touch and feel, I mean the existence itself, whether manifested or unmanifested.

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There's a collective consciousness of humanity and there's a collective mind structure, and its very easy to keep functioning

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In that mind structure while we think that we're not.

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Until we've come to see that the whole entire mind structure, personal and collective, it hasn't worked. Its not functional.

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There's no such thing as a better idea in it that's going to have the answer.

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First, it has to start to collapse for us, and that's a big thing for a person. That's a huge thing.

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Not only to get out of your own personal conditioning, but to get out of the conditioning of humanity as a whole.

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This is where one comes up against fear, because when your consciousness starts to get to that place, you feel like you're leaving it all behind.

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I'm leaving the consciousness of humanity, but when you get there, it feels like I'm leaving the view that everybody agrees upon,

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that I've known my whole life that we all function, I'm leaving that behind, and when you get there, you realize you're never going to get back to it.

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I'll never see the world like 99% of the people see it, I'll never get back.

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When most people get to that point, they see something beyond, but then there's always a reason why they have to cling to it again.

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It might be "What will happen to my family? Will I still be able to raise my children?"

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These are great questions. I've been asked these questions. Adya, I'm feeling this thing but I have a six year old.

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And there's no guarantee that if I really let go, that I will be a good mom.

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Will I be a good mom?, they ask. Good question, isn't it.

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And unfortunately, I've seen that all the reassurance I can give them doesn't really help that much.

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Ultimately, I just say "How bad do you want to find out?"

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Because I can tell you everything will be fine, but its not going to help you.

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I can't let go because humanity is going down this rat hole, we're destroying each other, and if I wake up out of the whole context,

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will I be a part of the solution? Will I care anymore? Does that make sense?

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The only answer I have is "Do you really want to find out?" Anything has to be possible.

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But if someone really lets go, and then they don't get caught where they let go into, because you can get caught out there in the middle of nowhere

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or you can catch yourself, if you don't stop there, then its like you've come full circle.

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You've let go of the world so that you can finally actually be in it.

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But when you get to that point, there's so many good reasons why not to let go.

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And some of them are personal and some of them have to do with all of humanity, because you feel like you are leaving humanity behind.

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How dare I? Its the taboo against fully awakening. Its the taboo of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

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Am I going to care about the caterpillars anymore? Its creating a separation that's not valid, but you get the idea.

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Its sort of like leaving your clan.

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