The first real breakthrough which brought lasting relief and peace into my life happened in 2010 after about a year of living full-time in meditation centers and meditating 3-8 hours every day. This time was paramount, as sitting quietly I was able to see many repeating and emotionally charged thought-patterns which totally occupied my inner space, see their illusory and artificial nature. After being seen, they gradually stopped, and I was able to enjoy longer and longer periods of inner silence and clear focus.
I came to Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) in spring, a lovely green oasis of peace in the middle of a crazy big city. One warm evening I was sitting by the window in a zendo, trying to meditate while bombarded by loud sounds of city life. There was a cricket right behind the window singing it’s gentle repetitive song, and very annoying music of an ice-cream truck, cars, birds, helicopters, voices… Suddenly I remembered how Adyashanti said that his awakening came with a question “Who is hearing the bird?” …. and who was hearing all these sounds?
I looked for a listener inside, not as an idea or abstraction, but in my immediate experience, right on razor sharp border of my reality, the very moment of now. Somehow, everything came into the sharpest and clearest focus that I’ve ever experienced in my life. All distractions dropped, and it became apparent that there is simply no division between the sound and the listener! It all was just ONE.
At that moment, IT just unfolded itself, quietly, as if someone just opened the curtain, so simply, without any drama, heavenly lights or anything like it. It was so easy and natural, to be without any “me”, to be the infinite empty nothingness, so pure and joyful, peaceful beyond the very idea of “peace” and clear beyond the idea of “clarity”! IT knew nothing of the beginning and the end, the very notions of death and fear were simply not relevant. The whole idea of any “meaning” was simply not there! Whatever looked paradoxical before was totally natural. IT looked through these very eyes at itself, and it was exactly as it was supposed to be. The mind could only say “Wow! How could I be so mistaken?”, and the only desire was to laugh!