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6 Principles for Befriending Yourself: Part I

6 Principles for Befriending Yourself, Matt Licata, Jeff Foster

 

Enjoy this excerpt in our new mini-series of Befriending Yourself, written by Jeff Foster and Matt Licata. Want to go deeper? Join their free webinar on Wednesday, June 5! Be sure to register here. 

 

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz

Here’s the honest truth: Sometimes, no matter how much healing, spiritual, and therapeutic work we’ve done on ourselves, we just feel stuck, blocked, triggered, defeated, or tired. We feel separate from life, far from where we “want to be,” or think we “should” be. Our usual default or habit is to go to war with ourselves in some way. We run from the present moment and life becomes a battleground. And we end up exhausted – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How can we call off the inner war?

We want to invite you to slow down and tune into the alchemical medicine contained within your difficult thoughts and feelings and other “unwanted” states and experiences. To step off the battlefield with life and open to the guidance buried inside you, exactly as you are, now. This guidance is already here, not the product of some exhausting search. Life, or love, is not waiting for you to heal, awaken, or transform. What you seek is here now, unfolding and disclosing itself, and can always be found in the very core of where we have most forgotten to look.

 

THE DISCOVERY OF THE SACRED MIDDLE

We can so easily forget about the sacred “alchemical middle,” an alternative to repression or unconscious expression, which is available in every moment; a new and creative pathway in between the primordial pathways of fight-flight-freeze: The invitation to be present with the difficult material. Breathe into it. Infuse it with curiosity and love. This is our true route to healing, if we are ready to let go of our suffering.

Here is a principle that has the potential to change your life, if you really take it in:

 

TRUE HEALING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GETTING RID OF “NEGATIVE” THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. TRUE HEALING HAPPENS WHEN WE ACTUALLY STOP “TRYING” TO HEAL ALTOGETHER, LET GO OF “HEALING” AS A DESTINATION, AND SURRENDER TO THE PRESENT MOMENT OF LIFE, HOWEVER INTENSE OR UNCOMFORTABLE IT IS. THERE IS UNEXPECTED MEDICINE HIDDEN INSIDE THIS “ALCHEMICAL MIDDLE,” THE WISDOM OF YOUR OWN HEART, RELEASED WHEN YOU TURN BACK TOWARD YOURSELF IN A MOMENT WHEN YOU NEED YOURSELF MORE THAN EVER.

 

We want to help you stop struggling against life and truly “befriend” yourself, love and care for yourself – even in a moment when you really want to escape, when you have been caught in habitual and addictive ways of responding, and the trance of judgement, unworthiness, and self-abandonment has taken you over.

We want to show you that even your deepest shame, longings, sorrows, and loneliness are not mistakes, and not “blocks” to freedom and peace at all, but actually forgotten and misunderstood doorways or portals into the life that you long to live.

As Joseph Campbell said, “… in the cave you fear to enter, lies the treasure you seek.” Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel worse, to bravely touch into the darkness and “negativity” of the moment, in order to find the light, in order to remember our true strength, and get “better.” This is the law of “paradoxical intention,” a concept introduced by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. The great alchemists and tantric practitioners of the past also discovered potent medicine buried in the very core of our most difficult emotional states. In order to tap into this wisdom and bring it into our lives and the world, we have to turn towards the uncomfortable place, however counterintuitive that sounds – surround and infuse it with our curiosity, attention, love, interest and care, and allow it to disclose its mysteries.

Here is Part I in our Mini-Series of some effective pathways into befriending…

 

THE SIX PRINCIPLES 

  1. STOP TRYING TO BE HAPPY (happiness is not something you can “do”)

There is so much pressure on us these days from society – our friends, family members, social media, and even self-help authors and spiritual teachers –  to be “happy,” to be “up,” to be joyful, to be at peace and to have everything “together.” It can be so exhausting, this journey of “becoming”… and especially “becoming happy.”

Happiness is one state among many, one band or flavor of the spectrum of our humanness, a lovely experience, but if we become entranced with it, if we become addicted to it, we lose touch with the other shades of the spectrum, where profound creativity, realization, and insights may also dwell. If our journey to happiness entails a subtle denial of these other shades, we send parts and pieces of ourselves into the shadow where they will inevitably return (especially in our relationships) in less-than-conscious ways, generating unnecessary suffering for ourselves and others.

We unconsciously seek this kind of one-sided “happiness,” that sense that everything is “up” all the time, clear, free of doubt, certain, sure, positive. But it’s a concept that hurts us in the end, an impossible ideal that actually takes us away from ourselves and makes us distrust our “authentic unhappiness.” We forget the wisdom in our “shadow,” that which is hidden in the core of our wounds, in those places we’d least expect to find it. But to learn to trust our deepest experience will go against the grain of a culture and society that have lost contact with the wisdom in the unwanted. It requires a reorganization of our perception and nervous system, and training ourselves to rest and explore and open to the unknown, into unstructured states of being, which is always going to feel a bit risky, shaky, and yet also full of life.

The truth is that we simply aren’t meant to feel happy, inspired, joyful, and full of energy all of the time. We aren’t meant to be “up” all the time, or even most of the time! It’s so exhausting trying to stay in any particular state. It’s a relief to be allowed to be “down.” Imagine how a dear and trusted friend – a partner, a teacher, a therapist, or even a pet or some friend in the natural world – would just allow you to be down if you felt down, and not fix or judge you or try to make you “up” again, but simply hold you and allow you to cry if you needed to cry. Held in that kind of unconditional love, great healing could emerge. Through the darkness, to the light. This is the power of love.

We are actually built to contain all of life – the sorrow and loneliness and doubt and exhaustion as well as the joy and excitement, just as the sky is “built” to contain all kinds of weather, and just as a movie screen is “built” to allow all kinds of life scenes to pass through it. There is nothing wrong with you if feelings of sorrow and fear and even despair move through you, just as there is nothing wrong with the sky during even the biggest storm. The sky simply allows all of its weather. That is its nature. It doesn’t have to do anything except be what it is. Open, loving and vast.

We are actually meant to feel down – lost, disconnected, sad, and lonely –  sometimes! It’s good and healthy to make room in ourselves for this “negative” weather, too – the rain, the snow, the fog, and the thunderstorms as well as the pleasant sunny days. These are also sacred and healthy and even life-giving experiences, and we need to take some time in our day to really allow ourselves to feel whatever it is that what we are feeling, even if everyone around us is calling us “negative” or “broken” and trying to fix us and give us advice… or even “enlighten” us. There are gifts that are important for our journey – experiences, feelings, realizations, insights, and discoveries – that are available in states of doubt, confusion, despair, and grief that are simply not available in higher, brighter, and more certain states. You are vast, a majestic holding field that contains all of life, all of love’s art and creativity. It takes courage to turn from the advice of others, and the advice of our own minds (which is in large part only an expression of past conditioning), and surrender to our genuine present-moment experience. It takes bravery to be authentically as we are, in a world that wants us to be different. Here, in our authenticity, we will find our true happiness – a happiness that is not the opposite of sorrow, a joy that is not at war with darkness.

The deepest longing in your heart will only be met by discovering this true authenticity, inside your own eccentricity and wildness, in your unwillingness to go with the status quo if the price tag of doing so is the abandonment of your one unprecedented heart. It is risky to walk your own path, but there is a very unique gift of creativity inside of you that aches to be allowed into this world, one that is utterly unique and one only you can reveal here.

To be truly happy, you have to be prepared to allow yourself to be truly “unhappy,” however counterintuitive and paradoxical that sounds.

 

2. TRUE MEDITATION IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK (it’s what you are)

Here is the paradox: when we allow ourselves to be authentically unhappy, to embrace the “negative” aspects of experience, we can actually touch a deeper kind of happiness. The happiness of true self-acceptance, the joy of being exactly what we are. Again, we must embrace this paradox, not try to understand it! As the alchemists remind us, we cannot skip stages, we cannot abandon the moon for the sun or replace one with the other, for the gold we long for is only found in the embrace of both.

Befriending ourselves means giving ourselves a break from the exhausting Self-Improvement Project that so many of us have become tangled up in, and slowing down, taking a few deep breaths, and allowing ourselves to experience the entirety of the present moment without trying to fix or change it, even if it’s uncomfortable or intense or “negative.” To discover for ourselves whether this moment truly needs to be improved, or is somehow already complete. Not the picture or idea of “complete” the mind thinks or has been told it needs or requires, but a completeness of the heart, a wholeness, a vastness that is always already present and will never be found by means of more and more acquisition of material things, concepts, experiences, or insights. The completeness and wholeness of the sky, even in the midst of a storm.

Meditation doesn’t mean working yourself into a blissful, transcendent, or even relaxed state. These (and many other) states may of course come and go as byproducts of meditation and are also welcome and embraced, but they are not the goal. True meditation has no goal, however strange that sounds to the rational mind. Meditation is not even a “practice” really; it’s more of an attitude, a way of relating to the moment, dancing and playing with it, leaning in and leaning out of it. Meditation in the true sense of the word means getting really curious about your present-moment experience instead of trying to alter it, distract yourself from it, or even to cure, shift, transform, or heal it. But to truly inhabit and befriend it. And trust it to the core. To even “trust” in those moments when you cannot trust; to accept those moments you cannot accept. Even in the core of our  “non-acceptance” and resistance, our states of doubt and “not being able to trust,” if met in deep embrace, are also doorways to freedom. The goal is not to “shift” or “translate” non-acceptance to acceptance – but to open into the way psyche or soul is appearing now, as valid, workable, and worthy of our compassionate tending.

We can accept that we are in non-acceptance right now. We can trust our doubt. We can experiment with not resisting our resistance. We can allow our non-allowing, and give a big YES to the “No” within. We can allow ourselves to be exactly as we are, the way that beloved friend or pet would allow us.

You could trust the weather, even if you didn’t like it. You might say “this isn’t the weather I had hoped for, or wanted, but I trust that it’s here today, and it will pass in time. But for now, I’m going to walk out into the rain, the fog, the snow, the darkness….” We can find the rain, the fog, the snow, and darkness inside our own bodies and neural pathways, inside the cells of our hearts and nervous systems, along with their friends the sun, the springtime, the warmth, and the flowering, too. Let’s make room for all of the weather, in any given moment of our lives.

Meditation means letting the present moment be as it is, “kindling a light in the darkness”, as Carl Jung put it. Jung also reminded us that we’ll never discover “enlightenment” by “imagining figures of light,” but only by providing sanctuary for the darkness – allowing our repressed fear, the shame, the deep feelings of loneliness and sorrow to emerge into the light of our conscious awareness. In any moment of your life you can simply get curious about what you’re feeling now, what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching in this very unique instant of your life.

You can “en-lighten” the moment, instead of waiting forever to become enlightened!

Beholding the moment as a work of art, rather than something to fix or mend; this is true meditation – seeing any moment through eyes of curiosity and fascination. And you can always begin where you are. No matter how things are going in your life, you can always begin now.

With the way your feet feel. Your hands. With a sense of pressure between the eyes. With the weight of your clothes on your body. With the rising and falling sensations of the breath. With a feeling of joy or boredom, bliss or confusion. With a sense of numbness or emptiness (yes, you can even get curious about your lack of curiosity!). All states – both sacred and profane –  and experiences – both pleasant and unpleasant –  are worthy of your curious attention. Meditation means falling in love with where you are, even if where you are is hot and sticky and unpleasant and a bit scary and groundless. Even if you have to begin with falling in love with the part of you that wants to be somewhere else. Even this “weather” is not a mistake. Remember the sky…

 

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt in our new mini-series of Befriending Yourself, written by Jeff Foster and Matt Licata. Want to go deeper? Join their free webinar on Wednesday, June 5! Be sure to register here. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

JOIN JEFF FOSTER AND MATT LICATA EACH MONTH IN THEIR NEW “BEFRIENDING YOURSELF” MEMBERSHIP SITE: www.befriendingyourself.com

6 Principles for Befriending Yourself, Matt Licata, Jeff Foster

MATT LICATA

Matt Licata, PhD is a psychotherapist, writer, and independent researcher based in Boulder, Colorado. Over the last 25 years, he has been active in the ongoing dialogue between depth psychological and meditative approaches to emotional healing and spiritual transformation.

His psychotherapy and spiritual counseling practice has specialized in working with yogis, meditators, and seekers of all sorts who have come to a dead-end in their spiritual practice or therapy and are longing for a more embodied, creative, imaginative way to participate in their experience, in relationship with others, and in the sacred world.

Matt’s spiritual path and exploration has been interfaith in nature and includes three decades of study and practice in Vajrayana Buddhism, Sufism, Daoism, and Contemplative Christianity. His psychological training and influences have been in the larger field of relational psychoanalysis, Jung’s analytical and alchemical work, and Hillman’s archetypal psychology, to  name a few. He is the editor of A Healing Space blog and author of The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You (Wandering Yogi Press, 2017) and the forthcoming A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times (Sounds True, 2020). His website is www.mattlicataphd.com

 

JEFF FOSTER

Jeff Foster studied Astrophysics at Cambridge University. In his mid-twenties, struggling with chronic shame and suicidal depression, he became addicted to the idea of “spiritual enlightenment” and began a near-obsessive spiritual quest for the ultimate truth of existence. The search came crashing down one day, unexpectedly, with the clear recognition of the non-dual nature of everything and the discovery of the “extraordinary in the ordinary.” Jeff fell in love with the simple present moment, and was given a deep understanding of the root illusion behind all human suffering and seeking.

For over a decade Jeff has been traveling the world offering meetings and retreats, inviting people into a place of radical self-acceptance and “Deep Rest.” He has published several books in over fifteen languages. His latest book is The Joy of True Meditation: Words of Encouragement for Tired Minds and Wild Hearts (New Sarum Press, 2019). His website is www.lifewithoutacentre.com

 

How to Cultivate Generosity in Our Children

 

Nearly every spiritual tradition has a practice of generosity and giving. We call it Dana in some traditions, Caritas in Christianity, Tzedekah in Judaism, alms or communal sharing in others, or in the United States, “The Holiday Season” stretching onward from Black Friday through the New Year. These spiritual (and commercial) practices existed long before the term “positive psychology,” but the principles overlap significantly. We know now that making a practice of kindness and generosity leads to physical and mental health and social and spiritual benefits.

In families, children are often in the “getting” role, while adults are in the “giving role,” but how can we encourage that spirit of generosity in the next generation?

We are wired to be generous, and both neuroscience and well-worn clichés tells us we feel more joy in giving than in receiving. However, our consumer culture tells us the opposite, that getting will make us feel better. These messages run counter to the spiritual and scientific wisdom showing health and happiness come more through giving than getting. Just imagine if our society received just as many messages urging us to give than get, if people camped outside stores for days just to donate to the latest charity.

Among the many benefits, generosity also builds trust between people. Studies show that the giver’s brain regions associated with trust and connection light up, fostering optimism, reducing depression, and creating healthy attachments, showing us why cultures develop practices related to gift-giving. The benefits even extend to just witnessing an act of generosity.

 

So how can we encourage generosity our families? Here are a few ideas to consider.

  • Involve your kids in the decision for charitable giving, taking into account what your family’s values are: Social justice, the environment, health issues that have impacted your family, presents for children or families in need, and so on.
  • Follow the lead of my friend’s grandmother who gave the grandkids $100 each year, with $50 to spend on themselves and $50 she would donate to a charity of their choice.
  • Remember that giving can also include your time or your support. Volunteer as a family, a practice shown to boost happiness, empathy, and build closeness.
  • Give experiences; the happiness will last longer than the lifespan of a toy. Perhaps travel, theater tickets, or museum passes.
  • Donate toys to make space for the new. Notice together which toys are getting lonely and would be happier in a new home, saying thank you and goodbye to old toys, and imagining the happiness they will bring after they’ve been donated.

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

 

Excerpted from Raising Resilience by Christopher Willard, Pysd.

Christopher Willard, Psyd, is a clinical psychologist and consultant specializing in bringing mindfulness into education and psychotherapy. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, teaches at Harvard Medical Schools, and leads workshops worldwide. For more, visit drchristopherwillard.com.

Recommended Reads on Restoration

Embark on the Journey to Restoration

 

Daring to Rest by Karen Brody 

What if you could reboot your health, tap into your creative self, reclaim your wild nature, lead from your heart—and still feel well rested?

As modern women, we’re taught that we can do it all, have it all, and be it all. While this freedom is beautiful, it’s also exhausting. Being a “worn-out woman” is now so common that we think feeling tired all the time is normal. According to Karen Brody, feeling this exhausted is not normal—and it’s holding us back. In Daring to Rest, Brody comes to the rescue with a 40-day program to help you reclaim rest and access your most powerful, authentic self through yoga nidra, a meditative practice that guides you into one of the deepest states of relaxation imaginable.

It’s time to lie down and begin the journey to waking up.

 

 

 

 

Sabbath by Wayne Muller

The Sacred Rhythm of the Sabbath and How to Restore It in Your Own Life

Toward the end of his life, Thomas Merton warned of a “pervasive form of contemporary violence” that is unique to our times: overwork and overactivity. In his work as a minister and caregiver, Wayne Muller has observed the effects of this violence on our communities, our families, and our people. On Sabbath, he responds to this escalating “war on our spirits,” and guides us to a sanctuary open to everyone.

Muller immerses us in the sacred tradition of the shabbat (the day of rest) a tradition, Muller says, that is all but forgotten in an age where consumption, speed, and productivity have become the most valued human commodities. Inviting us to drink from this “fountain of rest and delight,” he offers practices and exercises that reflect the sabbath as recognized in Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. Through this way of nourishment and repose, Muller teaches, we welcome insights and blessings that arise only with stillness and time.

Rich with meditations, poems, and inspiring true stories, Sabbath asks us to remember this most simple and gracious of all spiritual practices.

 

 

iRest Meditation by Richard Miller, PhD

A Proven Meditation Program for Profound Relaxation and Healing

Deep rest and relaxation are critical elements in healing—yet we rarely experience truly profound rest. Even with proper exercise and sleep, we continue to hold stress, tension, and trauma in the body. Over the past 45 years, Dr. Richard Miller has developed a program for deep relaxation, healing, and rejuvenation called iRest (Integrative Restoration). In iRest Meditation, he offers a complete training in this proven method, which is being used by the military to treat PTSD and has been shown through research to reduce depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain—as well as improve sleep, resiliency and well-being.

Based on a modern evolution of the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, the easy-to-learn iRest program provides a flexible toolbox of meditation practices that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to carry you through adversity. In these six audio sessions, Dr. Miller takes you step-by-step through a progressive series of guided exercises for managing stress utilizing the breath and body, decoding and balancing your emotional state, connecting you with deep inner resources that replenish your vital energy and sustain you regardless of your circumstances.

 

Recovering Joy by Kevin Griffin

Addiction recovery requires a serious commitment, yet that doesn’t mean it has to be a bleak, never-ending struggle. “Recovering takes us through many difficult steps of discipline, humility, and self-realization,” says Kevin Griffin. “In doing so, many of us forget that we are capable and deserving of basic happiness.” With Recovering Joy, Kevin Griffin fills in what is often the missing piece in addiction recovery programs: how to regain our ability to live happier lives. Whether you’re in recovery or know someone who is, this book is a resource of valuable guidance and self-reflection practices for:

  • Rediscovering a sense of purpose and our own value through our work, relationships, and contribution to the world
  • Developing personal integrity by living up to our own moral and ethical beliefs
  • Using our intelligence and creativity to their fullest extent—at work and at home
  • Cultivating a rich inner life that includes a sense of connection—whether expressed in our spirituality, our interactions with others, or our relationship to the natural world
  • Bringing an element of fun into our lives—learning to embrace our own sense of humor as a resource for healing

 

The Force of Kindness by Sharon Salzberg

Distill the great spiritual teachings from around the world down to their most basic principles, and one thread emerges to unite them all: kindness. In The Force of KindnessSharon Salzberg, one of the nation’s most respected Buddhist authors and meditation teachers, offers practical instruction on how we can cultivate this essential trait within ourselves.

Through her stories, teachings, and guided meditations, Sharon Salzberg takes readers on an exploration of what kindness truly means and the simple steps to realize its effects immediately. She reveals that kindness is not the sweet, naive sentiment that many of us assume it is, but rather an immensely powerful force that can transform individual lives and ripple out, changing and improving relationships, the environment, our communities, and ultimately the world. Readers will learn specific techniques for cultivating forgiveness; turning compassion into action; practicing speech that is truthful, helpful, and loving; and much more.

James Finley: The Axial Moment of Healing

James Finley is a clinical psychologist and the author of books such as Christian Meditation and The Contemplative Heart. With Sounds True, James has created several audio learning programs including Meister Eckhart’s Living Wisdom and Transforming Trauma (with Caroline Myss). In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and James discuss the concept, history, and direct experience of “the dark night of the soul.” They also speak on the possibility of healing trauma through spiritual practice. (54 minutes)

When Art Inspires Art

I recently I came across a word I hadn’t heard since grad school: ekphrasis, a term used to describe writing (or other art) inspired by another work of art. Think Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The list goes on (and perhaps it should even include such Quirk Classics as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters…).

I find it fascinating that inspiration and creativity can dance in this way across cultures and ages. I think it’s beautiful when an artist can transcend time and space to commune with the spirit of another artist and with his or her creations. When done well, ekphrasis can serve to both honor, sustain, or even deepen an original vision but it can also take us in a completely different, perhaps contradictory or even comical, direction. It’s a cycle of sorts wherein art begets art, recognizes itself, and becomes expressed again in a unique way. Not to improve upon but simply to say, “and this too!”

I suppose one could make the argument that ekphrasis has a place on the spiritual path as well. (In fact, in ancient Greece the word was originally used as a device to call out or give name to the inanimate…check out Plato’s Republic if you’re bored some time…) When we come across an individual who we deem a master of living, so to speak, they can become a source of inspiration for our own artful expression of who and what we are as we go about our days. When we identify ourselves as a Buddhist, Christian, Jew, and so on, perhaps that’s a type of ekphrasis as well.

What are some of your favorite instances of ekphrasis, in art or in other arenas? Have you ever created art inspired by art? I’d love to hear about it!

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Resurrecting Jesus: Adyashanti on the True Meaning of ...

Until this spring, the last time I’d read the New Testament was a quarter-century ago, when I was in college studying comparative religion and literature.  Back then, I spent all my time reading the mystics—not just the Christian mystics, but Sufis and kabbalists too. Though I loved the desert fathers and Meister Eckhart and St. John of the Cross, I eventually read less and less of the Christian mystics.

I didn’t grow up in a church-going family, so I didn’t have a lot of baggage around my personal experience of Christianity.  Still, I had a problem with Jesus—or rather, all the things that the church had done in Jesus’ name.  I couldn’t separate my feelings about the centuries of crusades and witch hunts, about the church’s institutionalized drive for worldly power, about the repression and small-mindedness of the Christian right, from my feeling about Christianity’s ‘founder’.

Christian theology got in my way, too; as someone with a mystical bent, I couldn’t accept that my own relationship with the divine required an intermediary, and the whole doctrine of the Trinity seemed needlessly complicated.  Finally, on those few occasions when I did go to church, I found the Jesus portrayed in the pulpit to be simplistic, even insipid.

Yet, in spite of all these blocks to the predominant religion of my culture, I also sensed an immense transmission of love right at the core of Jesus’ teachings, prior to any of the trappings of doctrine and theology. I  sensed it, but I couldn’t access it.

Then, a few years ago, I stumbled upon one of Adyashanti’s Christmas satsangs, and a whole new view of Jesus opened up for me.  The Jesus he portrayed was a spiritual revolutionary, one whose life could be read as a map of the awakening journey.  This view of Jesus didn’t so much resolve my earlier issues with “church Jesus” as render them pointless.  After all, if there’s only one truth and it’s only found now, all historical perspectives are moot.

The more I listened, the deeper Adya’s message on Jesus resonated for me.  When it came time to brainstorm new projects with Adya, I suggested that we ask if he’d be willing to teach on Jesus.  As it turned out, he was already preparing for a weeklong retreat on that very topic, and was happy to take on these new projects. That was the genesis of Adya’s current online course—and upcoming book and audio program—Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic.

This spring, I traveled with Tami Simon and Hayden Peltier (one of our audio engineers) to record Adya at a studio in the mountains above Santa Cruz. I was excited to be part of the recording, but didn’t realize just what a profound impact listening to Adya talk about the Jesus story for four days would have on me.   As those who have attended satsangs or intensives with Adyashanti already know, his presence is a teaching, and his talks carry a powerful transmission.

At the end of the recording, I found myself energized and excited to work on editing the video, audio and book projects that we’d captured.  In the months since, I’ve read the gospels over and over—especially the Gospel of Mark, which is the primary text Adya refers to in Resurrecting Jesus.  I see clearly now how the Jesus story maps out the journey of awakening.  But for me, the most exciting aspect of the project has been discovering what a fantastic story Mark tells in his gospel.  The Jesus who comes through in Mark—now that I’ve heard Adya’s take on the gospel’s deeper meanings—is engaged, compelling, and totally unexpected.

I know how many people have grown disillusioned with the Christian tradition, even as they seek deeper spiritual insight through other practices and traditions.  My hope is that Resurrecting Jesus will invite others to reconnect—or connect for the first time—with the deep wisdom of the Jesus story.

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