Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Being (Living)
Inquiring Because it is Natural to Inquire
For a long time we say that we are inquiring because we love the truth for its own sake. But at some point, we are inquiring not because we love the truth but because it is natural to inquire, it is natural to practice—inquiry is simply what Being does. Being practices. Living Being naturally lives and manifests without motivation or goal, without point of origin or point of destination. Being lives, and lives its possibilities, and lives its possibilities consciously as practice—practice that is ceaseless and goalless. Practice simply expresses realization and continues to express realization, where realization is the self-revelation of true nature. The practice that is realization becomes the action of realization, becomes the way we live and express the possibilities of realization. And the practice that is realization is free from the need to end in any particular condition.
Runaway Realization, pg. 57
Living Being Constantly Evolves Its Experience of Itself
We have already explored the individual soul and how it is an organ of perception, action, and realization for Living Being to manifest its possibilities. Living Being is a dynamic, intelligent, alive, and totally pure enlightenment. It is because the enlightenment drive embodies and expresses the dynamism of Living Being that it reveals endless illumination and enlightenment. When we recognize this, we can see that Living Being is constantly evolving—not in the sense of what it is, but in terms of how it experiences itself. In other words, Living Being is constantly evolving its organs of perception in order to perceive itself more completely. You are, as an individual, its organ of perception and realization. And we are all, as individuals, the organs through which Living Being gets to know itself, gets to perceive itself, and gets to recognize its enlightenment
Runaway Realization, pg. 153
Living Being is Not a Being
Living Being is not a being, not a separate entity. It is the all-inclusive and all-pervasive beingness, essence, and aliveness of everything. If you can understand practice from the perspective of Living Being, you recognize that practice is realization because you recognize what you really are. However, even before you become aware that practice is realization, when your practice is true practice it is already expressing the enlightenment drive. Practice reveals itself as realization once you recognize that when you are practicing, it is Living Being practicing. Then it becomes explicit that your practice is realization. When it is Living Being practicing, then your practice is realization realizing further realization.
Runaway Realization, pg. 76
Living Being is Reality Living Its Life
The entirety of all and everything is practicing as the individual is practicing. As the individual meditates, we learn that it is the Living Being in its totality that is actually meditating. Living Being is the beingness and aliveness and dynamism of everything and everyone; it is reality living its life. We will further elaborate on Living Being throughout the book. For now, the expression simply signals that reality is unified in ways that are not apparent except in realization. Living Being is practicing in the sense that it is experiencing, revealing, and expressing itself. Although this is always the case, for a long time it is not apparent to us. Our practice manifests various difficulties, which we will explore in subsequent chapters, because we don’t see that it is always Living Being that practices. Once we recognize that this is true, then when we practice, the mountains and the oceans and the stars are practicing.
Runaway Realization, pg. 20
Living Being Manifests as a Self in the World
But Living Being manifests in more ways than as one indivisible unity in our experience. It manifests that way in nondual realization, but it also manifests as a self in the world. When we perceive more deeply and have a more comprehensive understanding of this mysterious reality, we realize that Living Being is behind the evolution of the universe, the evolution of life, the evolution of consciousness. This evolution appears at some point as the enlightenment drive in our individual souls. And Living Being progressively reveals more of its truth as it evolves our experience. In its evolution, we discover how our understanding is not complete and how our perception is only an approximation of how things can be. And as it evolves our experience, Living Being further illuminates the wisdom of surrender, nondoing, and realization in enlightenment.
Runaway Realization, pg. 70
Living Being Practices as We Practice
The involvement with the logos, the involvement with a particular path or a particular teacher, is one of the ways that Living Being manifests in our life. Living Being manifests the influences that are necessary for us to be open to realization. This is how Living Being naturally moves toward realization. When our realization matures to the point of recognizing that it is Living Being practicing as we practice, then we are beyond the question of what causes what. This is more a stage of realization than simply an unfoldment of experience. The more that develops, the more we naturally and spontaneously begin to gain the wisdom of nondoing and noninterference with our experience. Practice becomes recognizing that realization is a matter of our getting out of the way
Runaway Realization, pg. 130
Reality is More Mysterious than Simply Saying that Everything is One
So the individual and Living Being are not two things and, at the same time, they are not one thing. Reality is more mysterious than simply saying that everything is one. Seeing this opens up a new appreciation of the individual. Not only is the individual necessary for any form of realization—including the nondual, which says that the individual is a delusion or an ephemeral form—but also the individual has an intrinsic significance that is fundamentally mysterious. There is a dialectic interaction between the individual—the practitioner or the experiencer—and Being, in its manifestation and in its wholeness. Understanding this dynamic interaction—between individual and whole, between practice and grace, between dual and nondual—begins to reveal a deeper understanding of how things really happen. Reality is far more nonlinear and indeterminate than the boundlessness or the nonduality that true nature reveals. The indeterminacy of true nature allows realization to behold reality in many ways. Yet that perception always happens through the individual consciousness—a consciousness that is always present, whether explicitly or implicitly, in any condition of realization.
Runaway Realization, pg. 111
The Dialectic that Allows Living Being to Recognize Its Nature More Deeply
The process of Living Being developing us as its various organs of perception has many stages, including the ego stages, the stages of delusion. So saying that delusion is a manifestation of Living Being recognizes this process of Living Being developing its organs. And one of the ways that we as the organs of perception develop is through the process of seeing through our delusions. Many traditions say that enlightenment is the experience of and the transition to recognizing ourselves as this totality and wholeness, rather than as a separate individual. But the view of totality, although it recognizes the truth of that perspective, also sees the truth of the suffering individual identified with the ego self. And the process of illumination becomes an interplay between ignorance, delusion, and sleep on the one side, and enlightenment, realization, and awakening on the other side. Between the two sides there is a dialectic that allows Living Being to recognize its nature more deeply and completely and to manifest more of its possibilities.
Runaway Realization, pg. 155
The Profound Question of Ignorance and Delusion
The question of ignorance and delusion is a profound one. Just as it manifests beauty and luminosity and love and goodness, Living Being also manifests ignorance and delusion, which are the bases of suffering, violence, and insensitivity. As we have seen, living our realization requires continual practice. Because of the persistence of our ignorance, practice continues not only before realization, but also after realization. And we have seen how, at some point, practice is not at all separate from realization. Our continual practice illuminates the ignorance and delusion that endure beyond realization. When we investigate our delusions, we can recognize two kinds of ignorance: learned ignorance and innate ignorance. Learned ignorance accumulates throughout our lives, experiences, and developments. All of the self-images, constructs, and precognitive impressions that we explored in the last chapter are the content of learned ignorance. Innate ignorance, on the other hand, is independent of our learning. We come into the world with various forms of innate ignorance. For example, the individual soul is born innately ignorant of the view that Living Being is manifesting through the individual soul.
Runaway Realization, pg. 157
True Nature is the Essence of Living Being
Recognizing the importance of the relationship between the particular and the whole—the reality of the individual on one side and the ground of true nature on the other side—can show us that Living Being is not simply true nature. True nature is the essence of Living Being, the true nature of Living Being, but Living Being is reality however we happen to be experiencing it. In the condition that reveals the inherent purity of Living Being, its true nature is apparent: luminous, spacious, and brilliant. In this condition, Total Being is pure goodness and total beauty, grace, and elegance. But Living Being is free to recognize its nature in its true condition or not. It can experience itself in myriad ways, including the dualistic or conventional way. And it is Living Being regardless of how it experiences or manifests itself. This understanding is inherent in the nondual view, but it is usually not stated explicitly. If we thoroughly understand nonduality, we realize that the dual cannot be separate from the nondual. That is, after all, what nonduality means—there is nothing but it, and it is one. That is to say, there is no other place; there is not another separate reality that is dual. It is all one reality experienced differently.