Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom (excerpts)

By Rita Marie Robinson, M.A.

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Dorothy: . . .
That inquiry of “Who am I?” doesn’t ever give us an answer. It stops the mind. When the mind stops even for a few seconds, our true nature reveals itself because it’s always been right here; it’s never been anywhere else. It’s the mind’s continual thought of separation, the thought called “me” that makes it seem harder to taste it, to really know in your own experience this is who you are, this incredible mystery. It’s right here, just right here prior to the mind’s thoughts.

After about three years of the inquiry, “Who am I?” the moment came leaving no doubt whatsoever. I happened to be looking up in a circle of trees when there was an overwhelming sense of recognition of who I am and who I had always been. I needed no one to confirm that experience. There was no doubt whatsoever that I was what I was looking for, and I was everything else as well—the trees, the earth, the sky, all of life, nature in its fullness—which isn’t all good and bliss. It is everything, dark and light, every set of opposites.

Rita: You use the word “recognition.” Sometimes I have heard the word “awakening” for this moment of awareness. Is there any difference?


Some people have bells and whistles experiences, and some people are awakened to their nature in a much quieter way, without this kind of experience. Maybe they just came in that way. But to recognize our true nature is the same as awakening to it. It’s recognizing, “This has been here all along. I just never noticed before. I was busy doing other things.”

For me, the initial moment of recognition was more like bells and whistles. It was one of those experiences filled with tears and laughter and dancing and lying on the ground for such gratitude for the moment, feeling like if I died the next day, I would die complete. That was the power and profundity for me of that experience. After that, I never could forget. But what it clearly, clearly showed is there was no [separate] one to enlighten.

 

There was no one to awaken. There was a sense of everything being fine as it is. For me at that point, there was a detachment that had not yet turned intimate. That’s where Adyashanti comes into the story.

R: It seems like many people I have spoken with have described this one moment as a reference point, but that is not the end of the story.

D: It’s just the beginning as it turns out. What we would call the awakening experience is just the beginning of learning to live from the felt sense of understanding more consciously, the beginning of what we might call the embodiment process. Usually, for most people, awakening is waking up out of the relative, out of the personal, into the Absolute. The sense is I am not my body, not my mind. I am That which is really an eternal mystery that cannot be defined.

The embodiment process is being able to come back into the relative world and to see the whole of existence, including the very movement of one’s body and mind, is really the same essence. We go from “I am That” to “I am This” and of course, it’s the same thing, but the flavor is different.