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Who Hears This Sound?

Adyashanti On Waking Up From The Dream Of “Me”

One day, when I was thirty-three, something happened without any emotion, which, for me, was absolutely necessary: I heard the call of a bird outside, and a thought came up from my gut, not from my head: Who hears this sound? The next thing I knew, I was the bird, and I was the sound, and I was the person listening; I was everything. I thought, I’ll be damned. I had tasted this at twenty-five, but there had been so much energy and spiritual byproduct. This time I didn’t get elated. It was just factual. I got up and went into the kitchen to see if I was the stove, too. Yeah, I was the stove. Looking for something more mundane, I went into the bathroom. What do you know: I was the toilet, too. Paradoxically I also realized that I am nothing, less than nothing. I am what is before nothingness. And in the next moment even that disappeared. The “I” disappeared completely. All of this — the oneness, the nothingness, and beyond both oneness and nothingness — was realized in quick succession. It all exists simultaneously.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Wizard In The Closet

To Jerry, everything was potentially interesting. When parents say, “Pay attention,” they mean, “Know in advance when danger will occur” — which, of course, is impossible. But Jerry showed me how to pay attention; how to look and then say what I had seen, precisely, accurately, truly. Jerry embodied attentiveness. His gift to his students was to pass on this process of attending to the world.

The Whiskey Robe

On the screened-in porch of my in-laws’ house in central Massachusetts, I am reading a book. Sipping from the tumbler in my hand helps fight the unseasonable chill in the June air. The ice cubes are shrinking, diluting the alcohol, and clinking every time I raise the glass to my lips.

Lessons In Dying

Nothing lives forever, but it seemed wrong that a child should have to face death. Death was for people who had lived their lives, tasted happiness, made mistakes, and had a chance to make amends; it was not for babies.

My Marital Status

I tried to appear strong in the face of Wanda’s weakening condition and, to some extent, my own. I visited her, ran errands for her, and sometimes cooked for her while the earth tilted us into summer and then fall.

Before She Sends It

I dreamt that I was in London, offering my business card to English women in exchange for a hug. They seemed pleased to hug an American; I was satisfied with the arrangement, too. Then I met a woman who was visiting from North Carolina. I didn’t come all this way to hug someone from North Carolina, I thought. But I gave her my card, too.

Fiction

The Swing

Catch lit a joint and smoked it as he drove past the Gulf Coast Pak & Ship, which still had its sun-faded WE SHIP FOR THE HOLIDAYS sign up from last year. It was Friday, Christmas Eve, and he was going to fetch his holiday bonus from Mr. Zimmer in the big yellow house, his last paycheck for the week.

Readers Write

Getting Ready

A pregnancy test, a hope chest, a nitrous-oxide machine

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Douglas Adams

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