• Acharya Shunya

Enlightened Vulnerability


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Hello dear friends, welcome to my podcast Shadow to Self. This is only episode three and I am so humbled by your comments and your notes to me and how much you are enjoying this content. You have asked and I have listened. You want to know more, more, more and I will be sharing so many more tools. Hang in there I am going to be back. Pretty much every week I am going to drop a new episode and I want to reassure you that I am enjoying this conversation as much. Something you all pointed out is that you loved how transparent I was and how I, you know, joined you in sharing my own shadow and the times when the shadow takes over and how I look at it through the eyes of the self. Well why not?

I think it’s time spiritual teachers stopped only showing their enlightened aspect, I have created this term called “Enlightened Vulnerability” and the vulnerable aspect, the not knowing, the doubts, the confusions, the vacillations come from the shadow and the enlightened aspects, the knowledge, the wisdom, the tools, they can really only present themselves to us when our true self is engaged and each one of us is a human being and we are a little bit enlightened and a little bit vulnerable and probably as a teacher just because i have had this knowledge for some time to work with in my life i can say that the vulnerable parts of me are well taken care of by the enlightened parts of me. So when we come into this comfortable relationship with our shadow instead of dispatching those parts of our self or hating ourselves and demeaning ourselves and criticizing ourselves we just understand that the shadow and the self, the appearance and the truth, the illusion and the reality coexists. That is part of our human package and we don’t have to get spooked by our shadow nor do we have to dislike our shadow nor do we have to be in shame because of our shadow nor do we have to be in permanent guilt because of our shadow. Once we are exposed that yup our shadow exists and under it is enlightened gently and lovingly with wisdom, it tends to perpetuate sorrow for itself, it tends to sell itself terribly cheap, huh price you know for crumbs of love and crumbs of respect.

We then reel in our shadow. It’s almost like this part of ourselves that was just trying too hard and really not coming up with anything substantial is really tired and broken and in fact it is the shadow. Let me tell you that which turns in. It is the shadow that becomes enlightened. So let’s get ready everybody…for a shadow that becomes self realized and self actualized. See there is no other actor. It’s not like that we have this permanent enemy called the shadow and this permanent hero or heroine called the self. It is the same mind I have talked about in episode two and I want to re-stress that again. It’s the same theatre which is the mind. When it is exposed to wisdom, when it has access to practices like i am teaching and talking about which lead to self contemplation which lead to discernment ‘Viveka’ then we can also practice detachment from whatever is shadowy and cultivate a very real choice driven conscious path, not just towards the self, it’s not like self is a distant object in time and space and we are walking towards it. It’s more like we begin to chose those aspects of our self that we had outsourced to the pastor, to the teacher, to the guru, to the gods, to the enlightened beings, to the Buddha ,to Krishna never knowing that right inside us is the portal to absolute knowledge, absolute light, absolute wisdom known as the self and if we only turn in and be quiet with it for a little bit and allow ourselves to be instructed or exposed to wisdom of the Vedas like you are doing now by listening to me by being open minded and keeping your heart wide open, then you might surprise yourself and you have done that before too, way before you came across my podcast, you have been surprising yourself. You have found within you hidden abilities, capacities, even the capacity to tolerate something, to endure and then to bring yourself back on track. Those are not ordinary abilities. Those come from your true self. So right there in the theatre of the mind when you allow for what you are not, those false beliefs, those wrong ideas, those self embraced limitations, when you allow them to fall away, simply by seeing through them.

These are just thoughts. These thoughts that i am not good enough, i am not worthy enough, i am not deserving, i don’t have what it takes. These are only thoughts ever thought about that thought, that these are only thoughts? They don’t have a concrete reality. But as per the Vedas, the Vedas have this beautiful amazing teaching which they give and they say and i am gonna say this short term in Sanskrit and it says, ‘Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati’ which means as you keep thinking so becomes your reality. So if you keep thinking i am a disempowered person, i am a useless person you know success and happiness is and fulfillment is other peoples destiny not mine. Then just this your thoughts have power and you create a life story, a narrative, and a self fulfilling prophecy you see. But then you are listening to this podcast, the Shadow to Self. I am not going to allow you to keep your subscription going for this shadow. It can exist in you, you can reel it in gently and then you can tell it Look i know why you exist. You existed till I saw through you. You existed till I realized that you are not the ultimate reality. you are the shadow of something that’s brilliant and lit within me and that part of me belongs to the Divine mother, to the Divine father, to the goddess, to the stars, to the sun, to this whole universe and all i have to do is close my eyes and which i would like you to do right now, by the way if it's safe for you to close your eyes and if it’s not like you are driving or you know you are doing something while you are listening to me then at least can i ask you to focus on your breathe ,the in breathe and then the out breathe ,the in breathe and the out breathe. Yeah do that and then i would like you to maybe linger a little bit on the out breathe maybe it can be just a little slower ummm..yeah just exhalation and now with each exhalation maybe you can just think i am exhaling out what doesn’t serve me anymore, what is not true about me and as you exhale out there alone the inhalation just happens on its own by the way if you notice that. The deeper you exhale the deeper will be your inhalation and there you go you can inhale back in what you already are the self. See that’s the beauty of the non dual wisdom. You exhale out who you are not and you are inhaling this whole universe now becomes available. You are this whole universe that’s what the Vedas want to tell you.

This is the thing about The Vedas. The Vedas don’t want to work with; you know diminished and ridiculously pathetic narratives about existence because none of it is true. That’s why we have people who are setting records, who are competing with themselves, who are rising from the ashes like phoenix, who are reinventing themselves, remorphing their whole being. I am constantly surprised by what I have hidden inside me. I can be thinking about something not have the answer and i can go to bed and when i wake up i have everything i ever needed to know about something and you can say, ‘Yeah Shunya you are a guru kind of figure you know the Sanskrit language you know how to chant mantras and you can completely separate yourself from me and you can go sit in the shadowy corner and put me in the bright light corner’ but that’s just your shadow wanting to play the game of haves and have nots.

The reality is and that is why i have this podcast to tell you that i too once was a self declared and self convinced have not. I have seen challenges before I came out in the world as a teacher. Between my education and between my ability to give education there was a period when I was lost. That was my most transmitted period by the way. That was the dark night of the soul and i don’t know but i really believe that every teacher needs to go through that we need to come face to face with the shadow and see how deeply rotten it can get there when there is no room to breathe and you are suffocating in your own negativity and false beliefs, illusions and delusions and i have been there and that is what qualifies me to teach you about the light because i was there in a room that had no exit and then i found the exit inside me in my heart and once i started walking in there, let me tell you it’s an infinite space that i find there. I can be or become anything I want, I can endure any suffering.

pain and i can give and receive any amount of love and joy i feel that expanded inside me. How is it even possible that someone who had cornered themselves into their own shadowy recesses of the mind locked themselves up and thrown away their key is now telling you that is not true and if you have just tuning in and you don’t know who i am ?.Then look me up I am Acharya Shunya ,look up my bio look up whatever you need to do, i am on the world stage people and not just today or yesterday i have been there i am changing lives because you know why? Because my life changed you know why? Because I connected with true life you know why? Because I dared to face my darkness. So in this episode all i am trying to tell you is if right now you are suffering, if right now you feel broken, i just want to give you hope that’s all; that’s the bottom line of this episode.

This episode is about hope amidst stark hopelessness. And i want to be that voice and i know something will get stirred within you because i am not speaking because i wrote a script. I am not even thinking before I am speaking my next words. This is how I talk to the world. Now i don’t have to plan this. My truth comes first, the words come next. And this podcast is about the journey inside the mind. From our identification with the shadow and the shadow comes with its own luggage, it comes with its own padlocks, it comes with its own belief systems that diminish us and make us estranged from the rest of the world, to shifting our identity, Its only a cognitive shift we don’t change our clothes, we don’t change our hairstyle we don’t have to become acidics, acetic or celibate or even vegetarian or vegan, i mean it’s a great thing to do that but it’s not necessary.

What is necessary is the willingness to know that there is a greater identity waiting for you. If that’s all you can believe, through this podcast, then i would feel that i have accomplished something through this conversation. I am not having a podcast just to have a podcast. I have too much going on. I am making room for the podcast ,but i wanted to make the room for the podcast because i want to share with the world that where i was, was not fun but maybe it was necessary .Maybe we need to explore where we can head with the shadow driving our car and how in an instant, things can begin changing, when we realize wait, no matter how far we have gone away and how kidnapped we feel by our own shadow, this shadow is ultimately in this beautiful universe, helping us because sooner or later because of the shadow we are going to start groping and looking around for the light switch .And we will know because of the shadow because everybody would have betrayed us by now ,everybody would have stabbed us in the back by now, everybody would have become no longer our friend but our enemy, when you have gone that far in the shadow and you would know ,that the switch only lies within you and then you would shift your attitude and the number one attitude that i would suggest that you entertained, is if there is oneself or many selves. That’s all. That was the only one contemplation, the non dual core teaching of the Vedas that brought me home to me. If i don’t like somebody, if i don’t like my former partner, if i don’t like a former friend who let me down etc. etc. making it up because at this point i don’t know if i dislike anybody. But if i don’t like someone a thought can be ‘Okay they are different bodies and they definitely have critical belligerent hurtful scheming minds but if they have the same self because non duality is the truth Acharya Shunya has been telling me about and if it is the same self then why am i doing this to me?

What do i have to learn from this draw better boundaries, speak up, learn to reinstate my nose and my yeses, mean them, keep my word, walk my talk, listen to more podcast, read Acharya’s book. I really hope you do, because everything I am touching upon in the podcast goes really; really deep in my book ‘Sovereign Self’ and it's available, I hear on pre-order and it could be the book of other teachers too. Wherever you feel held, enlightened and supported to bring your vulnerable self into the shelter of your enlightened self without guilt, without shame and without this hopelessness, this takes over. Then you are in good company. Keep the company of those teachers, those books .Go back to them frequently. You know the path that I expound is known as ‘Gyana Yoga’ in Sanskrit, it’s the path of knowledge and you have to cultivate knowledge and one of the ways you are doing it is by coming back again and again to this podcast and sending me your questions. You have been, some of you have begun doing that and that really helps me to curate future topics to do that. Right me your comments, right me your questions tell me how this knowledge is changing your life because it will. This I can tell you. This i can tell you not only on my experience but the experience of countless lives that have been changing because i have been telling them the exact same thing and what’s really more important than what i tell you, is what i think about you and what i think about you is that you and i share the same self period. And you know it’s an amazing whole. We are bound by a radical wholeness and if one part of that wholeness feels uplifted, the all gets affected it’s a rippling effect. So i pull you all up when i get pulled up and i pull you all down when i get pulled down. So there is this power as well as responsibility as well as this, this sense of a splendid wow!! We are so radically connected and that is why in the Vedas there was this concept not just of freedom of one person known as Mukti but the collective liberation from the shadow of all beings and teachers working towards it, leaving their writings, leaving their teachings ,for the world, even when they discarded a given body because there is this concept of collective liberation from the shadow known as Sarva Mukti.

Now that i have accomplished this sense of freedom from my own shadow it’s there it’s never going to go away till my last moment in this body that’s just how it is. If any human being tells you that I am free of the shadow hundred percent and all I am light then just listen to them yadi-yadi-yah and move on, there is no such thing. The only difference between a person with knowledge and without knowledge is the person with self knowledge does not allow their shadow to drive their car. Their shadow does not make their key decisions; their shadow does not even go to the refrigerator at two am at night to eat ice-cream. It eats it in the right season because they have studied Ayurveda with me and they know when to eat what. See that’s the difference. But to say i am shadow free i am perfect i am blemish-less, oh! I never have the darkness in me that’s setting up yourself for a big oops moment.

We have all caught the Rinpoches and the Swamis and the Lamas and who not with their pants down, haven’t we? Might as well say that i am a sexual being and might as well create a wisdom context around your sexuality, around your sensual needs and even be true and open about your shadow because it might come up, why make such a big deal and hide it and pretend, it doesn’t exist and try to walk around with a halo. I don’t and most real teachers don’t and I belong to that legacy and I invite you to my legacy of open truthful bearing, of our own divine allness. All parts of us, I call it the good, the bad, the ugly, the lovely .All parts of us are there and they are all divine. How can the darkness be not divine, when this whole universe and every particle of it is divine and it has divine intelligence orchestrating it. So then this darkness exists for a reason and the only reason is for you to see through it. You don’t have to live there, you don’t have to fall in love with it, you don’t have to justify it, but nor do you have to be hanging yourself for it because you have it in less or more degrees. That is why from time to time whenever an opportunity comes up and I can illuminate you any part of my shadow where it comes up for a millisecond or a minute. I am gonna tell you about it, I promise. Will you tell me about your shadow or are you really interested in telling me how, how every part of you is just lit up? Okay i really hope it got lit up through real inner work. Didn’t just wake up one day enlightened because that story doesn’t, you know it’s old now. The true stories of enlightenment happen through wrestling with your own unconsciousness, making conscious choices even though they were difficult in that moment or you were not supported in the moment but you made them anyway. True enlightenment happens through connecting with teachers with light, books of light, communities of light and choosing to make every twenty four hour day, a day to cultivate light. That is what i am doing, by recording this podcast with all my love and all my light.

I will see you the next time. In the meantime keep those comments coming. I love it and thank each one of you, those of you who are sharing my podcast, you are becoming a light bearer with me. I really appreciate it. I love having all of you with me on this journey, from shadow to self and before i sign off for those of you who are hearing my podcast for the first time, just a little bit about myself, hi! There I am Acharya Shunya but you can call me Shunya because Acharya is my title, it means a Vedic master teacher which I am. I have studied at the feet of my master, a great Vedic teacher from Ayodhya in India. It’s a holy city. Our family goes back several generations two thousand years of a legacy bringing Vedic wisdom to the world. I am happy that you decided to join me. I hope you enjoyed my podcast. Until next time see you.

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Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Vedanta and Yoga. She is the driving force behind an online wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month. Study Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya in her online course, Alchemy through Ayurveda.


Hayward, California, USA