The Direct Approach. Part 3. Shadow, Responsibility, and the Great Indifference.  
Bert Parlee
Adyashanti “dares all seekers of peace and freedom to take the possibility of liberation in this life seriously.” Although unaffiliated with any particular lineage, his 15-year training in Zen Buddhism and deep resonance with the teachings of Advaita Vedanta highlight his emphasis on what both of these traditions are often known for: the immediate and unfettered realization of the Self Absolute, which can only ever be recognized now, as the always-already Enlightened Nature of all things. In line with this no-nonsense view of awakening, Adyashanti sometimes refers to his teaching as “the direct approach.”

Continuing his inaugural appearance as Integral Naked Guest Host is Bert Parlee, an Integral Life Coach, I-I seminar trainer, and co-Director of the Integral Psychotherapy Center at Integral University.

Adyashanti and Bert begin the conversation by discussing the role integrity in the student-teacher relationship, and the responsibilities involved on both sides.  The traps and seductions of any position of power have become increasingly well-known, particularly if that power activates any unconscious “shadow” impulses, and these concerns certainly apply to spiritual teachers.  As Adya points out, what’s sometimes forgotten is the importance of students “not abdicating their own bullshit meter.”  He continues, “To come to Truth within yourself, you’ll have to reconnect with your own intuitive, visceral sense of correctness.”  The trick, of course, is distinguishing whether a student’s objection to a teacher’s action or statement is simply their egoic self-contraction recoiling in the face of a larger Reality, or if there is something truly inappropriate in what the teacher is doing.  There are no easy answers here, because by definition the egoic identity can’t recognize ever-present Liberated Awareness in self (the student) or in other (the teacher), but, regarding most “crazy wisdom” teachings, as Adya puts it: “Nine times out of ten it’s more crazy than it is wise”—or looked at a different way, it might be “more shadow than it is wise.” 

Next, Adya and Bert discuss what they call “dharmic relationship,” or “enlightened relationship,” and the experiments Adya has had in incorporating these dimensions into his teaching.  The reason he did so was because, as he says, the “proof” of your embodied realization is going to be in your relationships.  The problem, he relates, is that many people have extraordinary difficulty with basic day-to-day relationships, let alone higher-level dharmic relationships.  However, experiments like this have helped clarify Adya’s interest in performing only one or two functions for students—understanding and embodying the Direct Approach—and that for other arenas of life (relationships, psychotherapy, fitness, career, etc.) they are going to have to look for help from other sources.  An Integral Approach to spirituality would agree that making this distinction up front, a kind of “truth in advertising” for potential students, is a very smart way of doing things.  In terms of actually illuminating, understanding, and practicing in all the major domains of human experience, we recommend the Integral Life Practice Starter Kit (see keywords). 

Bert closes by asking Adya to comment on the state of the world, and what hopes or concerns he might have for the future.  Summarizing Adya’s response, “There are definitely things to be concerned about, like we very well might not be here a hundred years from now.  But inside of me there is sort of two experiences.  One of them is the deepest Ground.  I know all is well.  If it all goes to hell, it’s still well.  It can’t possibly not be well, no matter what happens.  Simultaneously, from that place of all is well—that Great Indifference—from that same state, arises a real love and a real concern, but a concern that is totally free of worry.  There’s a love for humans and a tremendous connection to the tremendous suffering of this world.  So for me, these two things come out of the same place….”

We cordially invite you to join us in this conversation, and to also check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this enlightening dialogue….

(To learn more about an Integral Approach to spirituality, click here.)

transmission time: 38 minutes
keywords: Kwong Roshi, dyslexia, student-teacher relationship, crazy wisdom, Ramakrishna, Integral Life Practice Starter Kit, Byron Katie, sila (morality), dhyana (meditation), prajna (radical insight), What Is Integral Spirituality?, Integral Spirituality, multiple intelligences, levels and lines, shadow work, Integral Institute, Nisargardatta, Vedanta, Christian Mysticism, Thomas Merton, Communism, What Is Integral?,”A Theory of Everything.
most memorable moment: “Shadow, if not dealt with, will hold us back—or it will distort our realization. And there’s nothing more scary than a distorted ego that has access to an enlightened state….”

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