Monday, April 25, 2011

Tolle and Adyashanti: 'The Voice in the Head"

Meditation is not a goal, and a meditative practice is not the end, says the enlightened neo-Buddhist spiritual teacher, Adyashanti. In fact, he says, it can be counter-productive if we mistakenly identify ourselves with our thoughts about meditation.

"If it's thought only as a means to an end" he says, "then its is overvalued."

"Because, he says, we think, 'You must do this in order to achieve a certain end.' Meditating (is then seen) as a means to get to a spiritual goal. Then we tend to adhere to ideas that say we must meditate a certain amount, and a lot, that it's sort of the highway to enlightenment. But that is to turn (meditation) into a goal. And, as soon as we turn it into a goal, then it is trapped within what I call the 'dream state' - a state of consciousness that is dominated by the mind (and) which is created by the mind."

"The 'dream state,'" he explains, "is just another word for mental consciousness, actually believing the mental noise in one's head, which is the common state of consciousness. The common state of consciousness of humanity is one in which human beings believe the mental noise in their head. And because of that, human beings have this compulsive relationship with thought. They think compulsively. Its like an addiction. As if you would sort of cease to be if you didn't think."

"In a very simple manner of speaking, its all awakening is - our consciousness going from this 'dream state' in which we are caught in the compulsive nature of thought and its world-view, and its 'self-view' - and going from this which is itself a 'dream state' created by thinking, and going from that to the state of consciousness which is not proceeding from thought."

"Whenever thought is no longer compulsively moving and, therefore, we are not deriving our sense of self from it, our sense of reality from it," says Adyashanti, "then we are free of the ordinary 'dream world,'" from the ego's consciousness and the suffering it causes.

This simple yet profound teaching is similar to that of his colleague, the spiritual teacher and best-selling author, Eckhart Tolle.
"Most people have a voice in their head which is the usual thought processes that they are usually identified with," says Tolle. "So for most people that is their basic reality, that 'voice in the head'. And, they are so identified with these continually arising thought processes," he notes, "that they don't even know that they are identified with every thought that comes to them. They don't know that there is a 'voice in the head' because they are the 'voice in the head.'"

1 comment:

  1. I get what Adhyashanti is saying, but I don't see my meditation as a goal. It is a practice to REACH the goal. And it is not a "thoughtful" practice. It is a technique to get BEYOND thought as he himself advocates and would like. But I'm afraid he is advocating a practice of not thinking, or as he says not compulsive, judgmental thinking. That could become mood-making and not an efficient or effective way to get beyond thought.