Guruphiliac: Bobby Visits Adyashanti's Satsang

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bobby Visits Adyashanti's Satsang

File under: Satsang Report

Among the denizens of Sarlo's GuruRatings whom we admire, Bobby Meizer is in the top five. He has graciously offered this report after attending a recent Adyashanti satsang in Santa Cruz, California:
I consider myself an “online student” of Don James. He says that awakening can be “sparked” by being in the physical presence of someone who is awake, if one adopts the proper relaxation of mind and openness of heart. I have proposed to test his assertion experimentally by trying to adopt the attitude Don suggests in the physical presence of people who Don judges are, or may be, awake. Adyashanti is one person that Don thinks is awake who comes to the Santa Cruz area on occasion, so I went to one of his public appearances when the opportunity presented itself.

Adyashanti's Santa Cruz area satsangs are held in the “sanctuary” at the Inner Light Center in Soquel. It's a high-ceilinged auditorium (with balcony) that seats a few hundred people. Admission was $10 which the publicity made clear was a fee, not a donation. That's admirable honesty, but did make it impossible for me to gauge the reaction when I declined to donate (a tactic which can be quite revealing of what's truly important to a teacher). I paid my admission and took a seat in the front row, but on the far right side which, because of the angle of the room, gave me an excellent view of the chair and microphone that were standing in for Adyashanti. The attendance was good; I would guess that around 250 people were there. This satsang was being videotaped, and we were informed that all the people who came up to talk to Adyashanti would be asked to sign releases so the video could be distributed. The woman who told us this and other information then introduced a man who came up on stage and played a flute, rather well I thought, for several minutes while people listened silently.

A moment after the flutist left the stage Adyashanti walked out and sat down in his chair. He closed his eyes, sitting straight and still, for a few minutes of silence. Recent remarks by Arvind on the Guru Ratings Forum attested to Adyashanti's shaking and physical nervousness. I didn't notice any of that. He seemed quite at ease to me. After the few minutes of silence he opened his eyes, adjusted his microphone, and gave his talk. This one, it seemed to me, was about how, along with someone most ardently desiring awakening, there must also be a powerful fear or aversion to it operating, or else one would awaken. He traced this aversion to the fact that awakening means the end of the world as we know it, a daunting prospect for most everyone. Then he spent a long time flogging a metaphor about the best thing on the menu being throwing away the menu (and getting a lot of laughs in the process). He was preaching detachment from one's own beliefs, opinions, tastes by holding out the carrot of awakening (which in a mysterious way, that I can't pretend to understand, is outside of time). That seemed like the gist of it, though I must admit that I wasn't listening too closely as I focused on relaxing and opening to Adyashanti's physical presence.

After his talk he opened the floor to one-on-one interaction. He would call on people with their hands up in the audience to come up to the front, below the stage, and speak into a microphone positioned there. On this occasion every one of them was someone who had spoken with Adyashanti at some previous satsang. Some of them were obviously serious students of his. It started with a woman who expressed effusive thanks and gratitude to Adyashanti for “saving” her and her daughter's lives with the teaching and sound parenting advice he'd given her at a previous satsang. She cried at points, giggled at others; it was pretty clear to me that she truly believed he had helped her cope much better with her life, and I saw no reason to doubt it from what she said. None of the other people who took the mike were that dramatic, but they were all interested in Adyashanti's guidance in their personal process of inquiry. It was very similar to what I've seen in other satsangs.

The modern nondualist teacher is as much a pastoral counselor, if not more, than any priest, rabbi or imam. What apparently works the magic in nondualism is the idea of a _________ (fill in the blank with whatever word you use for the unsayable), which is considered real, while “all this” is just an illusion. This seeing of everything separate as an illusion can indeed help people let go of all kinds of attachments, attitudes, beliefs, expectations, hurts, etc. That's a good thing. Of course, strictly speaking it's nonsense because the only reality a temporal entity can grasp is exactly all the stuff which gets labelled illusion, while what is labelled real is entirely incomprehensible to a being in time. This remains unchanged by the fact that “all this” is but the real appearance of an incomprehensible _________. In the purest sense, it's all just a well-intentioned trick in which people are fooled by doubletalk into letting go of their character armor; beautiful to see and/or experience when it actually works.

As to the other transmission, the one that isn't of words, I didn't get that from Adyashanti. Which is not to say that he didn't give it. If transmission requires the proper attitude on the part of the recipient to take place then one can never disprove a teacher's ability to “transmit”, only either prove it or fail to prove it. In the end, the experiment is entirely subjective. To me, Adyashanti seemed quite capable as a lecturer and counselor. Others have attested to me his abilities as a community leader as well, and I see no reason to doubt them. My superficial impression of him and his community is positive, and I think that those who are looking for a modern American-style nondualist teacher might be well advised to check him out for themselves.
That sounds like a ringing endorsement coming from Bobby, who does a great job keeping us (and others) in check on the list, along with himself of course.


At 11/16/2005 10:49 AM, Blogger ananda said...

Since you are talking about satsangs, Sai Kaleshwar, whom you so kindly brought to our scattered attention, is giving a shaktipat on Dec 3 in LA. A friend of mine who heard of him here, has decided to attend and check out. Just in case you might like to do so too. (I know what you think of shaktipats!)

This friend also left Kracki and is having a great experience with Swami Nithyananda in LA. So much that i have finally decided to go down to Bangalore and attend their program in December.

Lets see how things go. I am in such a dump nowadays :-( your pieces do lift me out for a moment - thanks.

About the apsaras - i will tell you lots more tomorrow!

At 11/16/2005 11:54 AM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Ah, Sri Nit, the world's first pin-up swami since Vivekananda left us.

It sounds like your friend has gone from bad to a little less bad. Not much of an improvement, we're afraid.

At 11/17/2005 1:45 PM, Blogger not not fat said...

I very much enjoyed this post. I have only followed your site for about 6 months. I enjoy reading the ridiculous, and enjoyed this even more. Please continue!

At 11/17/2005 7:28 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Thanks for reading, but this post was all Bobby. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share his wisdom on the blog.

At 11/17/2007 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sitting here, and I asked myself who I was. I heard the words, "I am you". I asked, “ who said that?” and realized my voice saying, “I did”. Once I realized it was me, I realized it has always been me. Always, and had never been anything other than me....Wow...I started laughing out loud...Im still giggling.

Where do I go from here?..I guess wherever I take me....

~It is that simple. It does not require anyone's ability to transmit or a proper attitude...It just "is". Adyashanti gives a great example in one of his talks. He poses the question,"If a shoe wanted to know what it was, and it asked you where it needed to go to learn the answer, in what direction would you tell that shoe to walk in order for it to learn what itself is?"

This isn't some great mystical secret. It's not found by leaving the body through meditation...."It Just Is".

It's allowing all the layers of reality, you ever bought or sold yourself, to simply fall away.

What we are stares us in the face everyday. Think about those 3-D pictures that were popular in the 90's. At first glimpse, there are just a ton of squiggly lines..However, after gazing at it for a few moments, as we start to un-focus or strain to see something, the true nature of the picture becomes visible, if not blatant. You begin to see the true and intended image that emerges. Realizing “The One”, is a like process.


"......And here I stand, at the intersection of Infinite and Possibiities:.....-Where I've always been."

At 7/18/2008 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Adyashanti is f.cking AWESOME!

Like Mizz Katie and Gangaji… he’s not like a teacher… he’s like the big brother you always look up to because you know he’s been there. Ya know?

Also,… he’s not a dork. He’s a culturally-literate, cool-ass, laid-back American, even though he’s clearly ‘beyond all that’ – I relate to him and of course that helps! I’ve never once felt like the time spent listening to him has been a waste. Heh, yeah… the ‘not a dork’ thing… Very important in my own particular veil of maya...

That's one thing I'll potentially miss about living in the Bay Area -- going to Adya's Wednesday satsangs in Palo Alto every once in a while. :-(

I took my mom when it was just Mukti, his wife, at satsang... I had been really wanting to have her check out Adya himself, so at first I was way disappointed... [ but then I started questioning myself, my own motivations... am I here just for someone's charisma? am I just out to be 'spiritually entertained'? am I just a dressed-up version of a celebrity-follower? ...or am I in it for what I'm really in it for? ]

and so we stayed and by the end of the night I was impressed. Mom was too -- we got present to something -- she was talking about Mukti alot the rest of the week -- she called her 'the spiritual psychologist' -- and consider, this is a high-society lady from South America with a Catholic background -- she's never even had an inkling or concept of this whole satsang-nonduality-whatever it is we're doing realm. So, it was important and appreciated that there was a merciful lack of pretense in the whole enterprise.

cool stuff.

his newsletters are great, aesthetically almost pitch-perfect and useful too.

keep up the good work!


At 1/03/2009 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adyashanti does leave me with a good vibe. I listen to Charlie Hayes, Burt Hardering, and Sailor Bob's Stuff even more.
The so called western non duality or adviata what ever we call it has been a blessing for me. Peace of mind comes to many folks through several applications,for me this softening, unwinding, or erasing of self sense is what feels right . I have no interest in doing other than listening to these guys and their way of pointing
the direction away from cognitive loops and their destructive emotional baggage. Seems at 57 the foundation is built , Hard-drive is close to full time to allow the old boy to stop smell the roses and move along without the compulsive, pushing,yearning, needy, passions.

At 7/23/2015 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seeing of everything separate as an illusion can indeed help people let go of all kinds of attachments, attitudes, beliefs, expectations, hurts, etc. That's a good thing. Of course, strictly speaking it's nonsense because the only reality a temporal entity can grasp is exactly all the stuff which gets labelled illusion, while what is labelled real is entirely incomprehensible to a being in time.

this made me get deeper into figuring out the illusion aspect of the outside/inner world that is so poorly explained by those who teach it. so i came up with this:
The [outside] world is not an illusion; the illusion is of being separate from what I am.
The inside world is an illusion only if I think I am my thoughts and my body, which I am not because I can observe them; however, my ability to think and to move and through them, experience life are essential accessory of the I- the infinite and eternal Consciousness/Self that enables the awareness of existing.


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