The Paradox of Unity and Spiritual Autonomy

The Paradox of Unity and Spiritual Autonomy

Adya @ SAND17

Adyashanti gave an excellent talk @ SAND17 called The Paradox of Unity and Spiritual Autonomy. I heard this live. A friend sent me the link as it’s now on-line.

In the first part, he goes over the early stages of enlightenment (head, heart, gut) and the importance of the awakening heart. He then uses this as the platform to talk about how our old drivers fall away with awakening. How it’s important to go deeper and open the heart so higher drivers can come on-line. Then he talks about some of the paradoxes of Unity – how we can be both deeply awake and unique both. It’s not that our personality disappears, it’s that we stop thinking that’s who we are.

On YouTube


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  1. A reader pointed out that Adya’s reference to the “gut” was the lower gut, more like the second chakra. Here, I associate the core identity with the solar plexus or 3rd chakra. Apparently, there is some variation in where our existential identity grips. Or it’s the same place but there is subjective variation in where we experience it.

    There’s a lot more variation in this than I expected. I used to consider this release a requirement for Unity but some have gone further without letting it go yet.

    I should note the gut release is nothing to be concerned about. It’s simply a milestone on the journey. For Adya, it was a big one. Here, it wouldn’t have registered as anything more than a short, odd experience except that I’d seen Adya talking about it. Not everyone even notices it. But I’ve also seen people go further that clearly have not let it go yet.

    Essentially, its about the energetic embodiment of the process in consciousness. The more dense we go, the longer it can take to catch up to deeper changes. Mind adapts in a few days. Body takes decades… 🙂

    1. Hi Lorey
      Oh yeah – mine went way back through prior lives.

      To be clear for other readers, there can be lots of stuff cleared from this or that chakra. The big stuff often comes off in layers until the core is reached. The topic here though is a very specific release of a core grip associated with our existential identity. It is the root of our sense of egoic separateness. That can seem to be released with awakening but there are deeper layers to it typically.

      The origin of this grip is our historical loss of connection with the divine. This led to a grasping at what was still here. Ironically, this grip keeps us separate.

  2. Celeste

    Thank you for posting this. I love his references to Cynthia. It clarifies to me what she is teaching. I need to listen to this several times.

    I just had a friend who had a Unity experience. I think this will help her.

    Much Love,

    1. Hi Celeste
      Yes, Adya covers the waking to Unity territory well.

      Just as there’s a difference between witnessing and such experiences and waking, so too is there a difference between Unity experiences and the actual shift. Time will tell if its abiding, an opening, or a passing experience. Of course, waking up in a necessary first step. 🙂

      See you soon! Hugs!

  3. Lorey Hobbs

    Just a note: the “Universal Love” and devotional phase arose here with GC and prior to UC; however, there were what I would refer to as Unity experiences prior to establishment of CC and even as a child. Now of a different value, but still Unity. Unity realizing Unity. (Not the whole Unity enchilada, however).

    Have noticed that some teachers seem to be going from CC to UC; skipping the GC. I do remember your (David) writing that some have GC post UC, and not before.

    1. Yes – Adya had a bunch of Unity experiences with his awakening too. But the Unity shift happened some years later.

      And yes, if there is less refinement, less of the Shakti side of the process, there can be the Unity shift before the GC process. Even Brahman. I know someone who had their GC process post-Brahman. This especially happens if the process in consciousness is very rapid. I’ve seen a couple of people have Self Realization (CC), Unity and Brahman in less than 6 months. But then there is a lot of catching up to do. (integration, embodiment, etc)

      This is why I’ve come to talk about the process in consciousness and the process of refinement as parallel but distinct processes. The ideal is to have them intertwining as you have but that’s not everyone’s process.

    1. Adya was about 7 years. Here, 2 mo to GC, then 2 mo to UC (probably due to long witnessing). Then it slowed down. Fastest I’ve seen is 3 days. Others have not shifted after decades. It varies widely.

      Traditionally, its said to take 12 years to fully integrate a shift. 🙂

  4. K

    David – I know you reassured people above, but boy, I am not looking forward to the gut release or gut awakening, based on what I heard. I think I am clearing stuff somewhere but not awakening. So all this is probably moot for me. Maybe I will be all cleared up but have no where to go :-). I think that just being cleared up could be quite pleasant.

    1. Hi K
      It’s really nothing at all to be concerned about. In my case, for example, I would not even have noticed it if I’d not just heard Adya talking about it and put the pieces together afterward.

      Secondly once waking up is well established, all sorts of baggage can clear as we’re now the detached observer. It’s no longer experienced as happening to me. Its like passing weather.

      There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about here.

      It’s the same with “losing” the ego with awakening. Nothing is lost except attachment. It’s a relief, not a difficulty.

      And yes, once you move past a lot of this stuff, it is quite nice. Burdens lifted, quality of life better, etc etc. Zippo to be concerned about.

      Thats just mind making reasons to avoid what it fears. You stop taking that seriously too. 🙂

  5. Thank you Dji,

    Finally got around to diving into this sweet pool.

    So many gems singing in this that deeply resonate here.
    Always fascinating to hear Awareness speaking its universal nature through a new unique instrument.

    The experience here was that the initial Unity shift came from the solar plexus, shifting Presence into a “This-ness” or a solid intimacy.

    Although, of course, it didn’t come from anywhere. The most natural, obvious, normal, ever-present reality.


    Who knew?

    1. Right, Sness, who knew? 🙂

      Lorne was joking about that today on the last day of the “test” retreat at the other place. It is very nice – very settled place and a dedicated retreat setting. A few things to work out but good overall. Food was good too. 🙂

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