Adyashanti On Waking Up From The Dream Of “Me”
One day, when I was thirty-three, something happened without any emotion, which, for me, was absolutely necessary: I heard the call of a bird outside, and a thought came up from my gut, not from my head: Who hears this sound? The next thing I knew, I was the bird, and I was the sound, and I was the person listening; I was everything. I thought, I’ll be damned. I had tasted this at twenty-five, but there had been so much energy and spiritual byproduct. This time I didn’t get elated. It was just factual. I got up and went into the kitchen to see if I was the stove, too. Yeah, I was the stove. Looking for something more mundane, I went into the bathroom. What do you know: I was the toilet, too. Paradoxically I also realized that I am nothing, less than nothing. I am what is before nothingness. And in the next moment even that disappeared. The “I” disappeared completely. All of this — the oneness, the nothingness, and beyond both oneness and nothingness — was realized in quick succession. It all exists simultaneously.
I dreamt that I was in London, offering my business card to English women in exchange for a hug. They seemed pleased to hug an American; I was satisfied with the arrangement, too. Then I met a woman who was visiting from North Carolina. I didn’t come all this way to hug someone from North Carolina, I thought. But I gave her my card, too.
On the screened-in porch of my in-laws’ house in central Massachusetts, I am reading a book. Sipping from the tumbler in my hand helps fight the unseasonable chill in the June air. The ice cubes are shrinking, diluting the alcohol, and clinking every time I raise the glass to my lips.
To Jerry, everything was potentially interesting. When parents say, “Pay attention,” they mean, “Know in advance when danger will occur” — which, of course, is impossible. But Jerry showed me how to pay attention; how to look and then say what I had seen, precisely, accurately, truly. Jerry embodied attentiveness. His gift to his students was to pass on this process of attending to the world.
Catch lit a joint and smoked it as he drove past the Gulf Coast Pak & Ship, which still had its sun-faded WE SHIP FOR THE HOLIDAYS sign up from last year. It was Friday, Christmas Eve, and he was going to fetch his holiday bonus from Mr. Zimmer in the big yellow house, his last paycheck for the week.