Note: This post is epic. Sadly, not in that the content is superb, but rather in length. With close to 3000 words, the average read time is 15 minutes. You’ve been warned.
I’ve recently returned from my first silent retreat with Adyashanti. I’ll just refer to him as Adya from now on, as that’s what his friends call him… so I hear.
Although the majority of his retreats seem to take place in his home state of California, I was fortunate to catch him on an east coast stop at The Omega Institute. The Omega Institute is a lovely property close to the Hudson River in upstate New York. It’s a non-profit organization that has an almost unbelievable number of events (seemingly every week) with topics ranging from spirituality to holistic health to personal empowerment, to name just a few.
Let’s be clear, Omega is much more of a “retreat center” or maybe “retreat camp” than any type of resort. It bears little resemblance to a place like the Canyon Ranch Resorts.
It’s a more crunchy or hippie scene than those types of resorts. Let’s just say that there were a lot of “Birkenstocks and Socks”.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s actually my personal preference.
Correlation and causation aren’t the same thing, no matter how inviting it is to act otherwise. Our quick attempt to equate them is a fool’s game. Take it from a fool who’s played this game like a drum.
What the hell am I talking about and what does this correlation/causation distinction have to do your spiritual practice?
And more importantly, how does bullshit spirituality work its way into this messy mix?
Well I’m not talking about the bullshit fact that most tantric practitioners realize they’ve contracted crabs about 7-10 days after a practicing session on their “path”.
That’s bullshit spirituality for a different post (note to self).
Almost 20 years ago now, I received a call from Hairy Yogurt Das. We hadn’t talked in a while and after some introductory chit chat, shit-giving and banter, HYD said, “From a dualistic perspective, I’ve got some bad news.”
“What’s that?” I replied.
“Michael’s dead.” he responded.
“Crashed his Harley.”
So, the most unusual thing about this interaction isn’t that Michael (one of HYD’s closest friends) was killed. It was that HYD clearly knew that in the bigger scope of things, there is no such thing as “bad” or “good” news. It’s just the manifestation unfolding.
However, if you want to get relative, something like this could be considered pretty fucking bad compared to Michael winning the lottery or even having a bad cup of coffee. With the intention not to insult me by assuming I wasn’t operating at a state where anything was other than what is was, he qualified that he had some bad news from a “dualistic” perspective. His parents raised him with proper manners, I’d say.