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Welcome to Buddha At The Gas Pump.
My name is Rick Archer,
and I have the privilege today of hosting

a conversation between Adyashanti
and Francis Bennett.

We'll be talking about
Adyashanti's book, "Resurrecting Jesus".

I listened to the audio version of this book
and I had the feeling, as I was reading it

that it was something I could read
or listen to repeatedly, periodically

over the years
and that as I progressed

in my own spiritual development
I would be able to appreciate

deeper and deeper levels of what
Adyashanti was bringing out in the book.

I think it has a lot of vertical dimension to it.
Um...Francis read the book four times

including once when... (Francis interrupts)
- It's kind of right up my alley, I would say.

Oh, so, I assume he liked it (laughter).

So, let me introduce Adya and Francis.
Adyashanti is the author of
"The Way of Liberation",

"Resurrecting Jesus", "True Meditation",
and "The End of Your World".

He is an American-born spiritual teacher,
devoted to serving the awakening

of all beings. His teachings are an open
invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize

what is true and liberating
at the core of all existence.

Asked to teach in 1996
by his Zen teacher of 14 years,

Adyashanti offers teachings that are free
of any tradition or ideaology.

Quote, "The truth I point to is not confined
within any religious point of view,

belief system or doctrine, but is open
to all and found within all." - end quote.

He teaches throughout North America
and Europe.

Offering Satsangs and weekend intensives,
silent retreats,

and a live Internet radio broadcast.
Francis Bennett was an ordinary,
sociable young man....
- He's still relatively sociable. (Laughter)

Not as young anymore,

Who answered the call
to a life of spiritual adventure

as a contemplative in the Monastary
of the order of Sistertions

of the strict observance,
commonly known as "trappists".

Thomas Merton, the pioneer
and Christian mystic of the 20th Century,

was Francis's inspiration,
and it was Merton's influence
that led Francis

to explore the deepest reality of being,
within the frameworks of Christianity,
Buddhism, Advaita,

Vedanta, and Non-duality.
Francis has worked with the sick and dying
in parishes, hospitals, and hospices,
since he moved away from the gnostic life.
In 2010, while in the middle of mass,
there came what Francis describes as,
"a radical perceptual shift in consciousness",
which made it clear that the pure awareness
that is at the heart of all, is no different
from the presence of God, which he had
been seeking outside of himself for so long.
So, as I was listening to this book,
pretty much every point, I felt,
could easily be

a springboard for a whole
conversation. It's very rich.

There's a lot to unpack,
and I kept thinking, what are we going to talk

in this interview,
because there's so many different
angles we can take,

and you know, it could
be so comprehensive?

But I sort of hoped, and I still hope,
that, with a little bit of a send-off,
Francis and Adya will just
get into a conversation

and I'll stay pretty much out of it.
Maybe I'll have a couple of
questions towards the end.

Which is unlike the way I
usually do interviews - but...

we will leave to those
who say I talk too much.

So, where shall we start?
Francis: Well, Glenda from
"The Wizard of Oz"

says, "it's best to start from the beginning."
Right? [Laughter]

Isn't that the line from
"The Wizard of Oz"?

Rick: I think it might be

So, let me ask, just to kick-start it.
What motivated you to
write this book?

Adya: Oh, a love of the Jesus story,
as I said.

Loved the story, since I was a kid.
Like so many people, [it] totally captured my imagination.
It's really the founding story,
or mythic story,

of our whole Western culture.
I think it still dominates our
culture, even though,

Christianity as a whole
doesn't dominate

the culture like it did
500 years ago,

but still, you just feel
it everywhere in the culture.

And so...but personally,
it was just...

it was something that
totally captured my imagination.

I was taken by the story,
I was taken by, when
I was a kid, the "magical" quality,

as children love, magical things.
And it also had, a real
- probably

more than anything -
it really connected

me to the magic, I would think,
of Existence.

Just that feeling of sacredness.
And even for me, every
Christmas would roll around,

and about 2 months before Christmas
I thought,

I always felt I would enter
into this different domain.

Almost like a...into a
Harry Potter movie.

But it would just start...
you know what I mean?

Like the whole atmosphere,
the energy of the land,
of the space, were just,
would alter. And I could feel it.
And it would bring me in this
place that felt

very, very, very sacred.
And it would last about a couple
of months before Christmas,

and it would last for at least
a month afterwards.

So it was like a 3 month

And it still happens to me,
to this day.

There is like this 3 month
window that is

sort of, extra extraordinary.
And to me

that was always tied in with this
amazing story, of this amazing,
amazing being. So,
it's that feeling,

I think, more than anything,
that has captured me.

Rick: Since your awakening
and since

you became very busy as
a spiritual teacher, had you
really had

much time to put your attention
on the story of Jesus, and give it
much thought? Or was this like a real
discovery adventure for you,
researching and writing this book?
Kinda' like all kinds of aha's
come to you

that you hadn't thought
about before?

Adya: Kinda' both, kinda' both.
I mean, I really got into the whole
Christian Mystical, tradition
probably in my

mid-twenties, after I'd been doing Zen
for 4 or 5 years. When, you know, in your
twenties, 4 or 5 years seems
like forever.

Especially when you're doing Zen

it can be so difficult. But I felt
something was missing,

something I couldn't connect with.
And I didn't know what it was,
I didn't know how to find it.
I didn't know where to search for it.
But, I started to see it in
these books

of the Christian mystics.
And when I was in my mid-twenties
I just started devouring books.
I mean, probably, 200 books -
all of the Christian mystics,
and only in

retrospect, you know, like
looking back in the

rearview mirror - we're all so much
wiser than we are [Laughter] -
but looking back, I can see that
what it did was connect me to the
Sacred Heart, to the Spiritual Heart.
Which I couldn't find in Zen.
Now I can see that it was there,
but it

wasn't there, as a Westerner,
in a way that

it was easy for me to access.
Even the idea of "compassion"
to my way

of being, wasn't a way. I could feel compassion,
but it didn't get me into
the Spiritual Heart. It didn't really
open the whole thing up.
And then just reading some
of these mystics,

it was almost like entering into that
3 months of magic again.
That I could open those books,
write centuries...

St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart,
and many, many others,
and all of a sudden it would be...
so that's what started.

Rick: We're talking in the car,
on the way up, about...

in certain Buddhist traditions -
maybe predominantly - there

is very little talk of God, and actually,
a number of prominent Buddhists
proclaim themselves as Atheists.
And we were kind of speculating
as to why that is,

and whether Buddhism, at
least as those

people practiced it, only took you so far,
and that there's a whole
other range of possibilities, which

I think you're eluding to now, which
involve the heart and more
refined perception, and

deeper appreciation of
God's creation, of God Himself, or Itself.
Adya: I think to me, the Christian,
at least for me - because

I don't like to make general statements,
because the

way people interact with their traditions
is very unique to them - but for me, I think
on the whole, the best of the Christian
tradition as, kind of, an
enlightened duality.

Rick: What do you mean by that?
Adya: And I mean that in the very
best sense.

I mean that as a tradition,
of course the mystics go beyond that,
beyond any kind of duality,
or a lot of them go

away beyond any duality, but I think
one of its gifts - and its gifts is a
very needed gift in the world of

spirituality - is that,
our minds get so stuck on these
hierarchies like: "nonduality is
better than duality".

Really? Where, where,
is that written?

Francis: And what's that?
Duality! [Laughter] Exactly.

And here we are, right?
We call this "duality".

But to me, enlightened duality is,
to me, I could summarize it
really simply, is when

you see and feel and experience
everything -

everything you see, taste, touch,
feel is God.

And you know, in the radical
non-dual circles

that the world has, is called an illusion.
Like something that's a dream.
And that has a legitimacy too,
because contemplatives

for thousands of years, have
had these experiences

where the world does seem like a dream,
does seem, comparatively,
to some deeper state of being,
of very little importance, and
that's very freeing

and very liberating. But the
other side is the

completion of that insight, when you see
it's also absolutely God.
Not as a philosophy

or as a theology, but you
actually experience it that way.

And that's to me, you can
talk about that, I suppose,

and use lots of different language,
but to see everything as God...

Or as Ramana Maharshi
might see everything as the Self -

whatever language works for you -
to me, that's what I mean when I say,
"enlightened duality".

You know...the seeing duality for
what IT really is -

it's Divine.
This whole thing where we call,

"some parts real, some parts unreal,"
it's a convention of our human minds.
It doesn't actually exist "out here" in life.
There's not things that are "a tree is
real or not real."

These are ways that, I think,
we confuse ourselves.

Rick: Chime in Francis?
Francis: What I liked about this
book is that it really captures, for me,

the essence of who Jesus really
is for me now.

I grew up Catholic and a little
boy going to mass

and loving Jesus, all the time,
and then ended up in

religious life. So, my sense of Jesus
was very

devotional, and so on.
But then after a shift happened
in around 2010,

well, shifts happened for many years,
over many,

many years - little shifts and big
shifts -

and then in 2010 it seemed
that everything

was spun on its head. And Jesus
took on a

whole different meaning for me.
And what happened

with me was that I discovered,
you could say, the Christ within me,

That who I was in my essence,
in transcendence, was
the Christ; that

the Christ was living in and through me.
And a lot of the early Christian
formulations about Jesus,

the theological formulations,
the creedal statements,

and statements by the fathers of
the church -

fathers and mothers of the church -
they talk about what

they call the "hypostatic union of
humanity and Divinity",

in this one person. And for me, that's
a beautiful,

beautiful model of enlightened

Because Jesus is fully, fully human
and fully Divine.

Not 50% human and 50% Divine,
but 100% human,

and 100% Divine, altogether,
that it's

like 2 sides of a coin.
You can't really separate the
sides of a coin.

They both make up the coin.
And, I think in the non-dual scene
it's a needed approach,

just this idea that, "yes, it's necessary
to transcend

our humanity, to realize that we're
not merely

a body and a mind...we're not
limited to that.

We're not somehow confined to that."
And so we experience this reality
of transcendence

that who we are on the deepest,
most profound level

is pure consciousness, pure awareness,

that's incarnated IN a human being -
in our case, a human being,
in other case is a giraffe,

or an aardvark, or a praying mantis,

But I think that Jesus is just
a beautiful model of that.

That marriage of the human
and the Divine,

and that they're not separate.
That they don't need to be seen
as mutually exclusive.

That coming to a place of
transcendence doesn't

obliterate our humanity;
it actually causes it to flower.

We actually come to
realize that what

it really means to be human
is just this

glorious, Divine incarnation.
That what they said about Jesus -

the early fathers and mothers
of the church -that it wasn't only
true for Jesus,

but that is true for
everybody on the planet.

That we all are, potentially,
incarnations of God.

That we need to wake up to that.
We need to wake up to that
transcendence, but then

it needs to be embodied,
in an ordinary human life,

through things like marriage,
and work,

and raising children,
and living in the world,

and loving in the world,
and playing in the world.

The whole thing. The whole thing.
So I really was thrilled to find this
book in a non-dual kind of tone,

but using Jesus as a model for that.
'Cause I think he's a great model.
Adya: And I like what you said,
as seeing Jesus

as a model, 'cause that's
what I discovered -

going back to your earlier question -
later in life, after I was teaching.

And that's what so surprised me,
when I did really go back

and start to - 'cause I'd read like
a couple-hundred

books on the mystics, right -
but I actually,

believe it or not, it seems
crazy now, but I hadn't

actually read through the
New Testament all

the way through. I had
never done it!

I had read parts of it. But
when I sat

down and did it, the
first thought I had was,

as I said in the book was,
whose this guy?! [Laughter]

I've never heard of this guy!
'Cause the only Jesus I'd
ever heard of was

the theological, which is
an amazing Jesus,

but then I go into the story
and this is

this amazing being that is,
as you said, Divine

and also extraordinarily human.
And one of the things that struck
me, and still

strikes me to this day
about him,

is what I thought about the
people sitting

there writing this story, or
probably telling

it orally before that - the tradition.
I thought, how did they
not edit all his humanity out?

'Cause usually that's
what happens, right?

In the Buddhist story, you
don't get that much humanity, right?

You go to the Hindu saints...
so much of the...

there's like no humanity.
Absolute, sort of, abstract perfection.

And I was amazed to find
there's so much humanity.

He could get upset,
he could get angry,

he'd get extremely despondent,
and he could have all these
amazing spiritual insights.

And all this was mixed up
in the same being.

And when I rediscovered it,
I thought, ok,

now there's an accurate
depiction of a

human being - of what it means.
You know? Highly developed
human being,

obviously, but this mix of
human and Divine.

And I just found it extraordinary.
Because I had

so much heard about the
theological - sort of -

Francis: ...superguy, superman
Adya: This kind of superman.
And then you read the story and you realize,
there's a lot that's in here that
is superman, but

there's a lot in here that's
not superman.

Francis: Right.
Adya: And I was just floored
like...they didn't

take this stuff out?!
'Cause usually, I think it's erased [Laughter].

It's erased to this day, you know?
Like I always tell people, if you
want a perfect teacher,

pick a dead one [Laughter]
'cause then you can make anything
you want out of them.

Francis: They're hard to argue with.
Adya: They're hard to argue
with, right.

You can make them into anything
you want. [Laughter]

So, I think I connected to
what you said very much about that.

I just think it was so honest,
so honest.

Francis: Yeah, well, in the garden
he was there,

the disciples are all asleep,
he knows he's basically cooked.
He knows these are

going to come and get him.
And it says that he, he actually,
wept and said,

"Please take this cup from me",
and sweat great drops of blood.
I mean, this does not sound
like some placid,

benign image of somebody
sitting in lotus posture.

And then, not to mention the cross.
And I know, a couple of years ago -
Rick you know about this,

and a lot of people that know me
know about this - but I was

in the hospital, and I got
diagnosed with diabetes,

and I had an infection in my foot -
almost lost my foot.

It was a big deal, you know?
And a lot of things

happened at that time. I felt very
vulnerable in a lot of ways.

And yet it was post-awakening,
you could say.

So there was this sense of being
in this pure consciousness

that was very stable, and had
been there already for several years.

And what I discovered was this
human vulnerability,

the human pain, the suffering
of being sick,

of not knowing whether I was
going to lose my foot or not.

I went through these kind of
reactions pretty quickly,

which was different, but! - the full
range of human emotions was there.

The full range of a certain anxiety
about losing my foot arose,

and then went away. But what
struck me was how that,

all that is arising in this pure,
pristine perfect peace. And even bliss.

And it was just amazing. And I
thought a lot about Jesus during that.

'Cause I thought, that must have
been a lot of what he experienced.

He didn't shut down around
the human aspect of it;

it was arising in that transcendent
identity, but it didn't

shut it down. It didn't turn it off,
it didn't obliterate it,

or try to annihilate it or deny it.
And I think that's really, really
important. That in this journey

of awakening and awakened living,
that I often talk about

"awakening from awakening"!
That people in Zen talk about
"the stench of awakening". Where somebody

awakens and then they're stuck
in this very transcendent place,

and they're just denying all the
human vulnerability, and any

kind of human emotion, and so on.
And what I'm talking about,

sometimes with this
"awakening from awakening",

is like a full-circle journey.
That, yeah, you awaken to the the pendulum

is way over here in the relative,
then it swings over into

the transcendent. Then it swings back!
Until it finds a balance and realizes,
the two have to be held in a

wonderful union;
they can't really be separated.

So I think Jesus is a really good
model for that.

Adya: What struck me too was,
I love the images,

because the imagery is
so powerful and so strong,

that I think it resonates with,
especially, the Western mind.

But, I remember, this was after
I started to teach,

when I started to read through
the story again, and the

image right at the beginning of
the Gospels, where the

Spirit descended upon him in
the River Jordan, like a dove.

And I read that and I went, that's it!
'Cause I had had the experience

of Spirit - Zen would call
"Spirit leaping", literally up-and-out.

And I also had it coming down- and-in.
And I hadn't really heard that talked about.

Then I read that and I went, oh!
That's a completely

different spiritual movement.
It's a different realization than up-and-out.
Francis: Yeah...

Adya: It's literally the Divine,
almost completely surrendering,

giving Itself back into existence.
And to me that's...that was
a key that

helped me really get the whole story.
That the whole story, it has this
transcendent feel through

the whole story, but really
what it is, it's enlightened duality.

It's Spirit recognizing the Divine here.
And coming to grips with what that means.
'Cause that means, to me,

there's two things absolutely
certain about life, which is:

death and tragedy [Laughter].
Rick: I thought you were going
to say, taxes [Laughing]

Francis: Well, and isn't that
the first noble truth?

Adya: It does tie in with the
first noble truth. Francis: Dukha...

Adya: Yeah, and you know, I think
a lot of people, a lot of us...

part of spirituality was hoping to
transcend that in some way,

and you can, to a great degree.
But then you find out that

that's not the end of the journey.
Francis: Yeah.

Adya: The end of the journey is...
ok, I can transcend it, I can let go-

almost even let go of my own life,
but can I actually embrace it?

Francis: Right...
Adya: That's, to me, actually a
bigger letting go;

and a bigger surrender.
Francis: Right.

Adya: And that's what I find in that
story. Over and over again,

I find the surrendering back into life,
on life's terms.

Not on some "idealized" terms,
but on real, actual terms.

And then, how beautiful that is.
Francis: It's neat to me that you
were really

drawn to the mystics, and
then didn't really know the

direct Jesus story that much.
Because for me, the mystics

are a re-embodiment of the Jesus
story. They are just the Jesus

story extended through time,
in all these different forms.

One image I often use in my retreats
and things, is this idea of

stained glass windows. And I lived
in Europe for a while - I was

lucky enough to live in Paris - and
there's many beautiful cathedrals

with all this beautiful stained glass,
like at Chartres and Notre Dame.

And each stained glass window is unique.
Some of them can be similar, they
can have similar colors, similar shapes,

maybe similar scenes, but there's
no two that are exactly alike.

And yet the sun comes in and illuminates
all of them, and shines through them.

And they all have this beauty that's
really, essentially from the sun, but,

it's filtered through that particular
filter - that particular shape,

those particular scenes, what
they depict, and so on.

And I think that's the beauty of humanity,
that's why I talk so much

about humanity, and that's the idea
of the mystics, that they each,

in their own way, are like a stained
glass window that just shines

this light into the world...
Adya: Yeah...

Francis: This Christ-light, this Jesus
story, re-told in the life of each of us.

And that we're all called to be mystics.
You know, the mystics

aren't just these people who lived
in medieval times?

They got canonized because they
performed so many miracles,

and so on and so forth,
but that every person on the planet
is a potential vehicle for

that reality - that transcendent reality.
So, it's kind of neat to me that you
first saw it in the mystics,

and then went back and read the Jesus
story. Because my sense - and I can't

prove this, but just an intuitive sense -
is that that's kind of what Jesus

was trying to get at. That, I suspect
anyway, if you read all the extent stuff;

you read the Gnostic Gospels,
you read the Canonical Gospels

and all that, my sense is that a lot of
the stuff that later Christian

theological formulations said about Jesus,
Jesus was trying to say,

is true for all of us.
That we're all "the only begotten son
or daughter of God," in the sense that

we all reflect this glory of God in a
very particular way, you know?

That's never ever been seen before,
will never be seen again.

That's how wonderful is that?
Like snowflakes, or any number

of things in nature, like that, that
just can't be reproduced.

They're similar, but they're not
exactly alike.

Adya: And I think that's one of the
important things, especially for today

where we have, in the last 20 years -
has been a lot of efforts to have...

I call them "ecumenical kumbaya
moments" [Laughter].

Where all different religions get
together, and then they all pretend

like they're talking about exactly
the same thing.

Which is great, because at least it gets
them not to argue so much. [Laughter]

But what gets lost with that, at least
as I see it, is that there is an

underlying mystical truth they're
all tapping into, but they're

actually bringing very different qualities
of that truth, and manifesting those,

and that's actually a good thing, as
soon as you realize you don't

have to sit around arguing about who
has the best way to do it.

But that's coming back to your point
of that each - not only each person,

but I think, even traditions and people
within those traditions, are manifesting

very unique takes on that same reality,
and to me,

that makes it much more rich when you
realize, can see it through

Ramana's eyes, you can see it through
Jesus' eyes, or Saint John's eyes,

or you can see it through your eyes, or
you can see it through that person's eyes.

And sure, people can be deluded in
their take, can be completely in illusion,

but people can also be very clear in
their take, can be very

legitimate and very beautiful.
Franics: Sure. You know, when I
was a Trappist at Gethsemani,

we were engaged a lot in
inter-religious dialogues.

And the Dalai Lama came...there's
even some books

"Gethsemani - what is the experience"
or something,

I forgot what are they called now...
But there were books about

they were like a kind of account
of some of these

dialogical processes that went on.
And I remember the Dalai Lama

one time saying at one of these, that,
he said, "You know, people

think that Buddhism is the highest
religion. Or, you know, if you're

Buddhist or if you're Christian, you
think that's the highest religion. But,"

he said, "in my opinion, maybe
somebody in one particular lifetime,

they may be best-off being in a very
dualistic, devotional place. Or, they

may be better off being in a very
non-dual, unitive vision of things.

And that it all just sort of unfolds and
works itself out the way it's meant to.

And each of those insights has
something kind of special to bring

to the table, and they're valid."
They have a validity. So non-duality is
maybe the absolute, ultimate truth,

but duality has its place. It's not,
it doesn't need to be seen as

something that needs to be obliterated.
It has a validity, it has a kind of
relative validity.

And I thought that was neat,
that he could recognize that.

Especially somebody that's representative
of a huge Buddhist organization.

Adya: Yeah, yeah. Well, he obviously
has a very ecumenical, vast view.

Which is, I think, makes it even more
extraordinary when someone like

that is...basically, the head of that
whole sect of Tibetan Buddhism,

and yet, can have that view, which is
transcending his own

religious perspective - to say
something like that.

Francis: Right, right.
Adya: [Laughing] Hopefully we all
can do that, we can certainly

all learn something by it.
Rick: Pope is starting to talk that
way too.

Francis: Oh yeah...
Adya: Amazing...
Rick: Maybe he and the Dalai Lama...
Francis:...he's got a great name too.
[Pointing to Francis...Laughter]...yeah, yeah.
Adya: Yeah, he's extraordinary. It's
fun to watch him operate. [Laughter].

Rick: One thing that, in the book,
a lot, you talk about Jesus -

he's symbolic of a lot of things.
And what if, we could also

say that, it's possible that he
literally did the things

he was said to have done?
Adya: Sure.

Rick: ...walked on water? Healed the sick,
raised the dead,...

Rick: ...turned water into wine, all
those things. Then, if that is true,

then to me, that makes Jesus a very
interesting example of what human

beings can actually aspire to, or become.
Adya: Sure...
Rick: And on the one hand, you don't
want to make him into some

super-ultra thing that nobody could
ever attain, and then people

feel like they, you know...that he was
some kind of unique being, that

none of us - and this is, you know, one
of the major aspects of Christianity -

that none of us could ever aspire to;
that he was something special

and unique, and one and only.
But on the other hand, I see a tendency
in many spiritual circles for people to

"dumb down" spirituality a bit.
To have some little awakening,

to say, "I'm finished".
Adya: Right.

Rick: Or to say, "It's only this," or
whatever. And to actually criticize,

when people start talking about what
may sound like more flowery,

or extraordinary possibilities.
Adya: Um-hmm...
Rick: To criticize that as a distraction
or, "you're falling back into delusion,"

or something.
Adya: make-believe, or something...
Rick: Yeah, yeah...because it's only this
"simple thing" and that's it, I'm done.

Adya: Yeah.
Rick: I probably used twice as many
words as I needed to get out that point,

but maybe you guys can...
Adya: I think it's a great point.
And if you go over to India,

and you start talking about their
saints and sages, to be able to

walk on water and heal the sick, it's like, they're a dime-a-dozen over here!

Doesn't mean they're not special -
I mean, that's overstated

to say they're a dime-a-dozen but,
it's not an unusual thing reserved
for one person, and they don't

see it as just magical thinking.
With someone like Jesus,

we'll never know. There were no
cameras - we'll never know. But,

I think what you're saying brings up
a really good point, because it's part

of spirituality that, I think, is easy to
lose sight of.

I think the absolute nature of reality
is something that - well, it's

just the absolute nature of everything.
Whether it's ordinary or extraordinary,

unique or unified - whatever it is. And
in that sense, it's just so -

the underlying suchness of existence.
Then, we also got this, this other
whole part of realization, that

it's about what is the extraordinary,
almost infinite capacity of any being,

but we'll just talk about human beings,
right? Obviously human beings -

the human mind - has extraordinary
capacities, potentials, in it.

And there's a whole part of spirituality
that is a lot about

unlocking those potentials, bringing
them into manifestation.

Whether they're miraculous, or they're
healing, or all sorts of other human

potentials that, again, I think if we
just go to the absolute,

those potentials don't take on much

In fact, forms of spirituality that aim
exclusively at the

absolute, you're often told directly:
"Don't put your attention on that stuff."

"Oh, you can read someone's mind....
don't worry about it, let it go.

Just focus, refocus."
You know, in Zen they do that?
No matter what...

Francis: Some mysticism too...
Adya: Some mystical thing happened: - "...don't!"
And there's a reason for that. 'Cause
you can become side-tracked.

And so, I think for a lot of people for
a long time, that's really good counsel.

But there's also another aspect of
what people are bumping into,

is the extraordinary nature of
human potential.

Francis: Um-hmm.
Adya: And some of that potential is -
verges on what we would

think of "the magical".
Rick: Yeah.
Adya: And I do think we
just discount it, when we just

discount it as some, some fiction,
we're actually discounting some

certain potentialities within ourselves.
Rick: Um-hmm. I used to be a student
of Ramana Maharshi Mahesh Yogi

as you may recall from your visit
to Iowa. But, he used this analogy often,

of capturing the fort. He says, "life is
like a territory where you have

all these interesting things you could
explore: diamond mines and

gold mines and silver mines, and
everything in this territory.

But there's a fort, which commands
the territory. And if you just

start going off after mines, without
having captured the fort, then

the territory doesn't really belong to
you. And so, you're on shaky ground."

And so he said, "First capture the fort.
But having done that, then there's all

kinds of interesting possibilities.
Then you could explore."

Adya: Um-hmm. That's what part of
relativity is about, right?

Is exploring those human potentials.
Francis: Well, it's interesting you say,
that's what relativity is about,

'cause that's what came into my mind
just now, was that,

there are so many different dimensions
and levels of being - levels

of manifestation of this infinite
reality. And a lot of

people think, "Oh, it's just confined to
this human body and this planet,

needs trees and animals, and
all the phenomenon we

see everyday, and most everybody
sees. But, there's all these

other levels. There's all these infinite
levels - I'm convinced they're infinite.

And in all the spiritual traditions they
talk about angelic realms, and

demonic realms, and heavenly realms,
and hell realms, and all

these things that, to the normal,
ordinary human person,

they can't perceive 'em.
But just like a dog - dogs can hear
noises that human

beings can't hear. Dogs have a whole
different experience of

reality than a human being.
Or even ants, or flies, the way
they see with those eyes -

those many-faceted eyes. They see
something completely different.

And I think that when a person - this
is precisely pointing to that point

I was trying to make before, is that -
when a person transcends the relative,
then for the first time can they really

appreciate the depth and the nuance,
and the profundity of the relative.

That it's not just about
what seems to appear,

you know... what's appearing before us.
In the Creedal statements they say, "I
believe in all that is seen and unseen."

Which is an interesting phrase to me,
'cause it's implying that...

ok, there's a lot of stuff that most
people see, and there's a lot of

stuff that most people don't see.
But that doesn't mean it's not real.

There's a lot of sounds that only
dogs can hear

we can't hear, but they're still
frequencies; they're still sound waves.

Rick: Sure, we just have a little sliver.
Francis: We can't perceive it. But I
think when a person awakens

to this transcendent reality, obviously
then, when they do this

return movement, when they awaken
from awakening, and they

realize that there's this integration of
both, they realize the amazing beauty.

You know when we had that panel
on "Celestial Perception", this analogy

that came to me just in the moment
was, it's like if you're in love.

If you're in love with a woman or a man,
they're so special to you.

They're so precious to you. And if you're
sitting across from them -

candle-lit dinner or whatever,
and you gaze into their eyes,

and you can see things that
other people can't see.

You could see like the little flecks
maybe, in her or his eyes.

You notice things about them.
And my sense is that when a

person falls in love with Divinity,
or with this transcendent reality,

then they actually heighten, somehow,
the perception; that you appreciate

things, and your perceptions become
much more subtle, much more refined.

And I think that is a reality of awakening
that often is like, you say, dismissed,
and yet it's an aspect of the path.

It's maybe not the most important
aspect, it's not crucial to awakening

itself, but it's a natural fruition, and
it's mentioned in all the traditions.

The Christian mystical tradition, the
Buddhist tradition, the Hindu tradition -

they all talk about these realities.
Rick: And I think it needs to be
addressed because, if people don't

get stuck in their spiritual evolution,
they are going to continue to unfold,

and begin to encounter this stuff!
Adya: Yeah, true, yeah...
Rick: And so they're gonna wonder,
"What is this?"

Francis: Right...
Rick: "What does it mean?" Or, "Why am
I seeing this, or perceiving this?"

And, "Why do I have this ability that
other people don't seem to have?"

And so, if all those things are part
of the full range of

spiritual possibilities, then we need to
understand them as a contemporary culture,

because people are going to be
progressing into them. And I know

a number of people, from this
room, who already are [Laughter].

Francis: Sure, sure.
Adya: And yeah, this is going back
a lot of years, but I remember

Mukti having a conversation with me.
We're talking, and she said,

"Adya, you gotta be more careful about
what you just "casually"

say that you want."
Because I would just say, "I'd like this,
I like that, wouldn't that be fun,"

and I wouldn't even really mean it,
and then it would just show up.

And then it just shows up, and
sometimes you're like,

"Ok, now what do I do with that?
I didn't really
mean it!" - which I actually think

is the secret to manifesting anything -
to think you gotta not mean it
so much, in a way.

And then it just shows up.
So something like that just

happens, and it's not uncommon.
It doesn't make anybody special.

Lots of people that that kind of stuff
occurs to. And then yeah, then you

do have to, kind of go, "Ok...geez,
I gotta take responsibility for this."

"I do just have to be a little more
careful about what I "casually" say,

because apparently, me and the
universe, or God, have a

more intimate understanding of each
other now."

And things occur...
Francis: Well, and the story of Jesus,
if that's a model for this whole

unfoldment, it's chockfull of all of
this. And he's giving this teaching:

Whatever you desire, whatever you
want, believe and you will receive it.

And angels are coming and
ministering to him, and angels attend

his birth and sing, and announce that
he's going to be born to the shepherds,

and healings are happening.
And all this kind of things...

He is calming the storm and things like that.
And I'm not saying that all that,
necessarily, is historically,

literally true, but I'm willing to guess
that some of it probably was.

Because look at all the different
traditions, all the

mystics and saints of all the different
traditions, have had all these

experiences, and even to this day
people have experiences like this.

So it is also in the story of Jesus,
if we want to use

that as a model, it's saying that:
yeah, this is part of the journey.

This may be not the crucial, central
theme, but it's part of it.

He often would say to people when
he'd heal them, "Don't tell anybody."

So you can see that even Jesus, he
kinda had this sense of -

"This is not what I want people to
mostly focus on but, it's there."

Adya: Yeah, which to me was a really
interesting part of the story.

Is that he had this whole healing,
miraculous thing going on,

but he was always trying to keep
people to be quiet about it.

Francis: Keep it on the down-low

Adya: Keep it on the down-low,
'cause he had a different message.

Francis: Yeah.
Adya: He had a very different message,
and most of his miracles were -

not all of them, but many of them were -
done for the sake of someone else,

not for the sake of displaying miracle.
Francis: Right.
Adya: Yeah. He healed people that
he didn't even want to be there.

He really didn't; he would rather have
not had to deal with it

"Ah well, ok. I'll show up and
I'll..." - you know? That's compassion.

That's not somebody going,
"look what I can do".

Francis: There's this beautiful,
beautiful story. I think

it's in Mark, where the lady is a
Samaritan or something. She's

not Jewish. And she comes to Jesus
and she wants him to perform

a miracle, to heal somebody.
And he says,

"Well, I've come only for the
children of Israel.

You know, that's, mostly, my mission.
I'm out to preach to Israel."
And she persists and persists.
And he says, "I can't give food to the

which is a pretty strong statement actually.

"I can't give food to the dogs when
the children are hungry;

I have to feed the children first."
And then she says, "But Lord,
even the dogs get the crumbs

that fall from the children's table."
And he says, "That's so good.
I'm gonna do it." [Laughter]

And he heals her! [Laughter]
Adya: You (referring to the woman)
gotta good point.

Francis: Yeah. I think that's a great story.
Adya: I do too. And I think the
counterbalance to that is also found

right in the beginning, where he goes
to the desert.

Basically, the whole temptation of
the devil, is the devil is,

basically, in lots of different ways
saying, "Use your powers

for self-centered reasons."
Francis: Right.

Adya: And he's always rejecting that
at every...whether it's power,

or to show off, or to test God, or to
prove his own enlightenment.

Anything that's self-serving, he's
basically saying, "No, I won't

use any of my powers for any of that."
That's a teaching that dovetails
with all the miracles

you'll see, 'cause all the miracles
you'll see are not

self-serving miracles.
Francis: Exactly.

Adya: The devil, everything he wanted
Jesus to do was always

egoically utilizing that power. And I've
always seen those two

teachings dovetailing each other.
Really, quite well.

Rick: That's interesting because a
lot of spiritual teachers

have perhaps succumb to that temptation...
Adya: Sure...perhaps

Rick: ...from the devil. "Guru" is almost
a dirty word because so many
gurus have tripped up

when tempted by this, that,
and the other thing.

Adya: Sure.
Adya: Well, power's a dangerous thing.
Any kind of power. Whether it's just power
somebody gives you as authority,
whether it's spiritual power,
any power is ...anybody that thinks
they're beyond the temptations of
power, have already begun to
succumb to it.

You know, it's a potentially
very dangerous thing to play with.
And I think that's why all the traditions
talk about, basically how to utilize;
what it is to wisely utilize power.
Whether you call it, in Buddhism
"right action",

or you see it in the devil tempting Jesus,
or however you do that,
there's always an acknowledgement
of the dangers of power, and the necessity
to be able to use it in a wise and
compassionate - basically, a selfless way,
because that's part of waking up.
You become a more powerful person.
It's part of the deal.

Francis: And it's the insight too,
isn't it,

that you don't own that power.
There's nobody really to be enlightened,
in a certain sense.

You don't own enlightenment.
There's just clarity of vision,
there's clarity of seeing.

It doesn't belong to anyone.
You can't claim it and say, "Oh, you know,
that's something that will give me
something to talk about at
cocktail parties now.

I'm not only a millionaire at 35,
but I'm also enlightened." [Laughter]

Adya: And Jesus, when he would often,
always say,

basically, "I'm not doing this;
it's the Father that's doing it."
Francis: Exactly.

Adya: His reference was always
to something larger than his humanity.

Francis: Absolutely.
Adya: And I think that's another

important counterbalance to
certain other forms of spirituality.
Even forms of our own insight,
where we can forget that on a
human level, that it's really wise

to have some sort of sense of
something bigger.

That's the paradox.
It's like, I am That, I am the All,
AND, I'm a human being, and I
have to be in a correct relationship
to the All. 'Cause it is me,
and in one sense, it's also bigger than me.
Francis: Yeah.
Adya: And I think that if it gets out of balance,
that you're only in relationship,
then you're never fully awakened.
If you just go, "It's all me,"
and you fall out of any human
relative relationship with what's
bigger than you, then...

Francis: You're a megalomaniac.
Adya: ...You're a megalomaniac.
Yeah, yeah.

Your enlightenment has unfortunately
deluded you.

Francis: There's a great line in the
spiritual 14th century classic
I'm going to be talking about at S.A.N.D.,
called "The Cloud of Unknowing".
And in that - and it's a radical statement
for a 14th century Christian mystic,
but he says, "God is your being.
But always remember,

you are not God's being."
So that's what he's pointing to.
Adya: That's a great line.

Francis: Yeah. There's this
transcendent reality

that is at the core of your being,
who you are, and yet,
who you are on a relative level,
in itself, isn't that.

It's part of that, but it's included in
all of phenomenon.

All of reality, you know, because
that's where when the ego
becomes God, well then you're in trouble.
You know?

Yeah, we're all God in one sense,
but in another sense, we're not.

Adya: Yeah.
Francis: So it's always good to
remember, I think. [Laughter]

Adya: I always remember,
it was very telling to me, this is years ago,
when me and Mukti did this intensive
- this 2 day intensive.

And it was one of the worst-attended

that I ever did at that time.

And it was because of what
it was about.

And the title was "Servants of Truth".
It was all what it was to be a servant
of what we realized.

To basically come into right relationship
with what our own realization is:
how to embody it and move it.

And it was so telling to me
when we had it,

and I thought, wow! These intensives
usually get, you know, 350 people,
and there's less than 200 here.
What it did was made me -
it wasn't that the numbers mattered -
but as a teacher, what it made
me do was go,

"Ok Adya. What aren't you getting across?"
You know, "There's something
that you have not been able to
communicate the importance of.

You're trying to do it now, at this event."
But the fact that so few people
were that interested,

showed me that I had not
been communicating

the importance of how to be
in that relationship

with your own realization,
or with Divinity.

That the idea of being a servant to It was
so off-putting to a lot of people.
It really clued me into
something really important -
what I felt was important.

Rick: And so why did you feel that people
were uninterested in that?
Adya: Westerners don't like
being a servant of anything.
Rick: Ah.

Adya: [Laughing] In the West,
we all are taught to be the top-dog,
to be the head of the class,
to be, you know, to have

people serving you, or something
serving you.

Even if it's God serving you;
we're taught how to ask
God for exactly what we want

We're not often taught so much
about how to give ourselves
completely away to God,

as I call it, "giving the keys
back to Divinity."

So I think there's something in
our Western psyche

that's harder for us to make this
shift to realize that, to embody
our deepest realizations, it's a kind of
a relationship where we're serving It.
We're literally serving something like a ...
Francis: Like a vehicle for It.
Adya: ... a vehicle for it.
And to be a vehicle for, it
takes a kind of humility.

Because we won't ever do it in some, sort of,
idealized, perfect "way."
That's the beauty of it.

I think we all have infinite capacity
to embody and express the Truth, but
because It's infinite, there's no
line you cross

where you go, "Got it!"
Francis: Yeah, right.

Adya: "I can now perfectly manifest the
Divine in every situation."

Francis: But there is, as I