Below are excerpts from an interview with Adyashanti, who imho is a wise meditation teacher.
First, an insight into how awakened / awakening people can confidently proclaim that everything is perfect, even when we often find ourselves & our world in a sorry mess.
“Look at the people that we all admire (I presume he's referring to people like Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad). They are people that have assumed immense responsibility for the well-being of all of us, because they don’t see themselves as being separate from the rest of life. And they may see the innate bottom-line perfection of existence.
But it’s a tricky thing, once you see that (Here I presume he's referring to those of us on the awakening journey). It’s really seductive to get attached to it. Because you can go ‘I see that life’s just perfect, even when it’s a mess. It’s perfect. It’s all an expression of love.’ At the deepest dimension of being, that’s true. You see and you feel that, and it feels very, very real. And it’s seductive just to hold up in there. And if somebody is in pain you just stay with ‘It’s just perfect.’ Every state of realization has its own built-in illusions. They’re very easy to miss. They’re very easy to miss. You can see the perfection of everything. And it’s not that that’s not true and that’s not real. But that’s not the only thing that’s true and real. Existence is unimaginably paradoxical. It’s absolutely perfect and beautiful AND it’s a total disaster – it’s a bloody mess, at the same time, occupying the exact same space. And that’s why, at least historically, at least as far as I see it, the greatest realizers that have ever walked around this place, haven’t taken their realization, hidden in a cave, and gone ‘Well good for me. I’m in heaven and that’s what I’ll do.’ They’ve generally completely dedicated themselves to the well-being of the world that they see as perfect. But I think it’s because their vision is big enough that it can hold this paradoxical vision, that it’s perfect and complete AND it’s a bloody mess, with a lot of potential. Our minds don’t like those kinds of things. They want to know ‘Which is it?’ ‘Is it this or that?’ Both!"
Many of us at times become enthused, excited, energized after discovering something, and we just have to tell everyone about it ("missionary zeal"). Our message can be as lofty as an insight into the meaning of life. More often, it's something like finding a decent toaster. Enlightenment or awakening belongs in the former category, but even this is a work in progress, among ordinary, easily deluded human beings, with very human limitations.
"Even enlightenment itself is part of the game. Enlightenment doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re going to be good in intimate relationships; it doesn’t mean you’re not going to delude yourself; it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not going to be seduced by power or desire. It doesn’t guarantee that. The more everybody admits that, then you can get on with business.
Spiritual awakening is very, very transformative – it’s foundational, freedom stuff. But, that’s one of the high-level illusions, because you start to feel like everything’s totally OK eternally. Even to screw everything up is all OK, it’s all forgiven. And that’s true but if you attach to that, that truth starts to delude you. Because then you’re in unconscious denial of other parts or dimensions of your humanity which might be very underdeveloped. And to call it perfection, isn’t going to do it.
The funny thing about bumping into these, what we often call ‘realizations of reality’ - it’s like the image of a diamond with many facets. One of the facets is everything is totally perfect. Another one is nothing exists, the world is an illusion. There are lots of these facets, they’re like perspectives of the deepest dimensions of consciousness. But each one feels 100% complete, each one. Because it’s a facet of a totality, you’re kind of experiencing a totality through that facet. But that’s the key. You’re experiencing the totality through a given facet of perception and the trick is, the danger is, that you will conclude because everything in you will feel that it’s complete, because you’re touching upon completeness. But there may be 50 other facets. Each facet has a high level of delusion. And one of the delusions, because it feels totally complete and all-encompassing, is that it is complete and all-encompassing. No, it just feels complete and all-encompassing.
Like the metaphor of the blind men, feeling different parts of an elephant and from that, concluding the whole animal's appearance: (leg) like the trunk of a tree, (ear) like a huge leaf, (stomach) like a mountainside, etc. (Likewise), the world’s different enlightenment teachings are far from saying the same thing. One has this facet, or two or three facets, another one has another. And people get all confused about which is the right one. And then they usually decide based on their own biases. Nobody’s going to hold the whole diamond. I’ve never read it, I’ve never heard of it, I’ve never seen it.
But the more of those facets we can touch upon, the bigger our view is. And then, quite apart from the facets of the diamond of reality, don’t let those facets delude you into thinking that you’ve got your entire human act together, or that if you don’t, that it doesn’t matter. Because it does matter. It does matter, because it’s going to affect the next person you meet. And of course if your life starts to play out on a bigger scale, it affects more, and more, and more, and more people. That’s the tricky thing, because enlightenment fills you with a kind of confidence. But that confidence can slip over into overconfidence, into a kind of delusion.
When we have parts that are underdeveloped, we attract people around our incompleteness. And when you’re playing life out on a bigger scale, everything gets amplified. Those same things happen in a smaller, unamplified version in people’s lives all the time. Every once in a while, I try to scare people a little bit. I’ll say, ‘Well, you know this enlightenment thing comes with immense responsibility. It’s not just a freebee gift. You better realize that you become more and more and more and more responsible. And the consequences for not taking it on become greater and greater, not less and less.’ That’s why you can have these immense falls from grace, because the consequences go up for you as well as for others. I keep that in mind all the time. I don’t get nervous about it at all, because I don’t intentionally pretend to have every facet of the diamond, or that I’m totally perfect … If I did, then you’re darned well right I’d be nervous. One of the best protectors for any of us, forget about spirituality or enlightenment or all the rest, one of the best ways we can protect ourselves and each other is just be honest – just be a real human being. It’s boots on the ground simple.”
Adyashanti interview: https://play.acast.com/s/advaita/http%3A%2F%2Fpatrick.fm%2Fadvaita%2FAdyashanti.mp3 The ENTIRE 74min interview is well worth a listen!