The Most Important Thing
New Year's Contemplations on an Adyashanti Teaching
You have one mission in preparation for the new year, should you choose to accept it – discover for yourself: what is the most important thing to you?
Spiritual teacher Adyashanti poses the question in his book The Most Important Thing: Discovering Truth at the Heart of Life like this:
What is the most important thing to you? Not the top ten, not the top five, not the top three, not the top two, but the top. Is it awakening? Is it love? Is it peace? I could go on naming possibilities, but think about your spiritual life, the part of you that deep dives into the discovery of meaning. By “meaning,” I am not referring to the meaning of life – that ends up being theoretical. I am talking about meaning as that which gives us a sense of vitality, aliveness, inspiration, calm, and joy.
Sitting with this question helps you get clear on your north star. All the skillfulness and resource and alacrity in the world is not doing you a damn bit of good if you are navigating by an unexamined north star.
It might seem like an easy question, but it’s one that bears some mulling over, some careful consideration … maybe even some good, old-fashioned navel gazing.
Especially at this time of year when we give ourselves deadlines for our orienting contemplations by assigning names and numbers to the natural, cyclical orders of time – like “January 1, 2022.” At moments like these we often arrive at our plans for the new chunk of time on auto-pilot. Some program that’s been in the old noggin running the show for awhile assumes our ‘most important thing’ and all the resources of our lives rush in to build that reality. At this time of year it is critical to be in the velvety, liminal, sometimes uncomfortable dark, and allow the fertility available in this void-like space to help gestate what is true for us now.
The question is so critical to our human journeys, and possibly even our collective evolution, that the question itself is like a north star.
When I ask people, “What is your spiritual life all about?” you would be surprised by how few have taken the time or imposed the mental discipline to define it. They . . . even do years of meditation or other spiritual practice, yet they are chasing something somebody else defined for them, thinking, That sounds pretty good. I’ll go for that. But they are not discovering the unique orientation that belongs only to them and their life. Nobody can give this to them. No spiritual teacher, no matter how wise, and no teaching, no matter how profound, can be a substitute for discovering what is important to you.
Sit with the question for a bit. Let it make you even more uncomfortable than you already are. The discomfort is a good sign that something meaningful is afoot. Trust this process.
If you’re feeling generous today, consider leaving a comment which gifts everyone who reads it, the light of your reflection on your own north star as you answer the question: “The most important thing to me right now is…”
Your answer may change at different points in your life but do your best to sense the thing that’s been uniquely important to you through all the changes. A good way to glimpse this is to just be honest about what is most important to you at this moment in time. Adyashanti explains:
We all have phases in life during which different things are important. There are aspects of us that sustain their importance throughout a whole lifetime, and there are things that play themselves out, leading us to move on to the next thing. You could apply this concept to any moment and ask, What is the most important thing right now? Not the thing that comes from your head or even your heart, but from deep down in your gut.
May your contemplation of this seed-question yield rich insights! As you contemplate this for yourself, you add momentum to our collective evolution.
Wishing you all a sparkly time through the dazzling dark of these winter days. I treasure the opportunity to write for you. Thank you for reading.