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Dynamism

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Dynamism

The dynamism of our being cannot be liberated fully without freedom from the conventional view; the liberated condition is not possible without freedom from the self, which is the center of the conventional view. So for our inquiry to come into its own, for our life to come to greater maturation, which means for being to exercise its possibilities in an open way, we need to have a thoroughgoing understanding of the self. Most of our work here is an investigation and exploration of the self, its dynamics, its structures, its history, its manifestation and underlying forces. So attaining flexibility from the fixation of the self and freedom from the self are the same thing.

Change is Due to a Transformative and Creative Power

Being’s dynamism implies more than the fact that experience and perception change; it also implies that the change is due to a transformative and creative inherent power. It’s not solely a matter of cause and effect, although cause and effect is part of it. When I say “dynamism,” I mean a living force similar to the biological evolutionary force: it doesn’t always respond in the same way or in predictable ways. It is intelligent, and therefore its manifestations keep shifting around, moving toward more optimization of life. This is why I say that Being inherently possesses the optimizing force, or the optimizing thrust.

Dynamism of Being

The dynamism of Being, as experienced in the deeper stages of self-realization, is a spontaneous and natural flow of Presence. In the human soul the Presence functions as the inspiring and motivating center of initiative, action, and creativity, and its intrinsic patterning functions as the guidance that directs that activity. This activity is totally spontaneous and free from the constricting influence of psychic structure. The self is intrinsically intelligent, and this intelligence is part of the inherent intelligent structure of Being.

Inter-relatedness of Inquiry and Dynamism

We see here how inquiry and dynamism are quite interrelated. In some deep sense, inquiry is the expression of the dynamism, the expression of unfoldment. The moment your experience is static, the dynamism is not creative and there is no questioning. Often you live in a rut without ever
questioning it. You are not interested, you are not curious, you have no reason to inquire. What does that mean? It means that your experience is so static that nothing is moving. The moment there is inquiry, we know that the unfoldment is happening again. Something new is emerging, and you find yourself wondering what it is. Or you start to see the old and familiar in a new way: “How come I’m living in such a rut?” However the newness appears, the dynamism has to be presenting something for the inquiry to begin. So as we see, questioning, which is the essence of inquiry, is actually an expression or a reflection of the dynamism. Inquiry is basically a challenge to what we think we know. We ordinarily believe that we know who we are, what we are, what we are going to do, what life is about, what should happen. Inquiry means challenging all these things. Do we really know? Through inquiry, you learn how to navigate through your not-knowing. You will find out where you are going through the unfoldment of your own dynamism: “Where is it taking me? Am I going to become a monk? Am I going to become a householder? Am I going to be a computer analyst, a soldier, a teacher, a lover, a husband or a wife?” The more any inquiry is open ended, the more its power is released. That power is the power of the dynamism of Being itself.

Liberating the Dynamism of Our Being

The dynamism of our being cannot be liberated fully without freedom from the conventional view; the liberated condition is not possible without freedom from the self, which is the center of the conventional view. So for our inquiry to come into its own, for our life to come to greater maturation, which means for being to exercise its possibilities in an open way, we need to have a thoroughgoing understanding of the self. Most of our work here is an investigation and exploration of the self, its dynamics, its structures, its history, its manifestation and underlying forces. So attaining flexibility from the fixation of the self and freedom from the self are the same thing.

Love is the Creative Energy that Disposes the Dynamism to Move in an Optimizing Way

However, when we are open to the creativity of Being, the dynamism engages its optimizing, enhancing, evolutionary force. Then there is not just a movement that is dynamic, but the dynamism moves in an evolutionary, expanding, deepening, life-enhancing, optimizing way. It’s a movement from the inside out. If we inquire into the energy of the optimizing force, we find that it is love. Love is the creative energy that disposes the dynamism to move in an optimizing way. This makes love the fuel of inquiry—and points to a very clear relationship between love and the revelation of truth: When we love truth for its own sake, we truly love. When our love is selfless and genuine, it is the love of what is real. This shows more specifically why it is the energy for the optimizing, energizing, evolutionary force. Love, by its very nature, is a matter of revelation, of unfoldment. It is a manifestation of Being whose very nature is a matter of opening up and unfolding, like the unfolding of a rose. Rumi once said in a poem, “This is love: to fly heavenward. To rend, every instant, a hundred veils.” To love is to rend the veils. What does it mean to rend the veils? To reveal. So love is Being in the process of revealing its truth. It is the dynamic, revealing energy of Being.

Ordinary Knowledge Limits Our Openness to the Dynamism of Being

In other words, our openness to the dynamism is limited when we adhere to what we call ordinary knowledge, especially when we take that ordinary knowledge to be ultimate truth, truth that should continue forever. When we take our ordinary knowledge as a faithful description of reality, we erect walls around our inherent openness. Our past experience as a whole, which includes both pleasurable and painful impressions, becomes the content of ordinary knowledge that ends up patterning our experience. It is true that Being always unfolds—dynamism cannot be stopped or completely thwarted. However, it unfolds either freely or in a distorted way. When rigidity patterns our experience in a fixed way, this distorts the manifestation of the dynamism, and the creativity of our Being comes out in a darkened, dull, and disordered way. Understanding these distortions reveals the qualities of Being that are being blocked by the distortions, and thus helps us to see how the creativity of Being itself is distorted and constrained. Whatever arises is the manifestation of Being and always has a meaning, whether it is distorted and constrained or free and open. The distortions, including emotional pain and difficulties, are nothing but the presentations of the dynamism of Being happening through the filter of our ordinary knowledge. Fixed beliefs, attitudes, and positions, mostly based on ego structures and defenses, impede and distort the flow. What you end up with is a painful, constricted, and dark repetition of old knowledge.

Structured Dynamism of the Presence of Being

As we have seen, the Presence of Being, which is the Essence of the self, manifests as a structured dynamism in which Presence arises in various forms. We call these manifestations aspects of Essence. Each of these pure forms of being possesses phenomenological qualities along with specific functions in relation to the self. The Essential Identity is one of those forms.

The Dynamism of Being Guides the Self

Recognizing that presence manifests itself in various qualities and forms which are constantly changing, reveals that Essence is not static, but is in constant transformation. Being is dynamic. This dynamism manifests the richness of Being, inherent in us as the potentialities of ourselves, and because this nature is our nature, it moves our experience towards greater optimization. In other words, the dynamism of Being impels and guides the self towards a greater revelation of its potentialities, towards manifesting its primordial wholeness. So it is an evolutionary force that moves the self towards greater clarity, luminosity, creativity, depth, expansion, individuation, richness, and so on.

The Dynamism of Being is what Underlies all Change and Movement in the Universe

The human experience, or the experience of the soul, is in constant flow and change and transformation. When we see this characteristic on the level of true reality, we recognize it to be a creative, dynamic force, always creating the forms that we see. Ibn Arabi, the primary mystic thinker of Sufism, called it “new creation” or “continual creation.” That is how God creates—by transforming reality. In our normal life, we see the dynamism as the changes and movements we go through, the flow of thoughts, of emotions and actions. Then the experience of change is not characterized by creativity and transformation, but more determined by cause and effect. We see this dynamism as more linear, and experience it as change in time. The dynamism of Being is creative; it is what underlies all change and movement in the universe. At the same time, since Being is essentially true nature, free and open, this dynamism possesses an inherent tendency to reveal true nature, with all its purity, beauty, and subtlety. This revelation appears as an inherent direction of the dynamism in the human soul. In other words, when the dynamism functions freely and spontaneously, without the cramping and distorting influence of our conventional minds, it tends to transform our experience and perception toward greater clarity, knowledge, openness, truth, and freedom. We call this evolutionary tendency the optimizing force of the dynamism of Being.

The Indefinable Truth of True Nature is that It is Self-Creative

But the fourth turning of the wheel reveals more about the creative dynamism of true nature. We see that it is not as if there is a true nature, one of whose properties is creative dynamism. We come close to understanding the indefinable truth of true nature when we understand that it is self-creative. So, for example, when essential strength arises, essential strength is creating itself. Something else is not creating it. It is not as if there is a Godhead someplace that is creating essential strength in the moment. Rather, the quality is self-creating. It does not have a source outside of itself. There is no true nature separate from essential strength that is creating this quality. Essential strength is true nature creating itself as essential strength. This goes for all spiritual manifestations. When pure awareness arises as the luminosity that makes up everything, true nature is creating itself as that. It is not as if true nature is over here and is creating pure awareness over there. Pure awareness is self-creating; pure awareness is true nature creating itself as pure awareness.

The Optimizing Force of Being's Dynamism

The optimizing force of Being’s dynamism is a will and movement within the manifestation of Being that guides the dynamism to move toward more openness, greater illumination, greater maximization of reality, awareness, light, and truth. This is exactly identical to the core of a question, which means that the dynamism of Being can and does operate as the dynamic essence of a question. That is why we have often said that inquiry activates and engages the optimizing force of Beings dynamism. Inquiry engages the optimizing force because the essence of a question is this unknowingness that is full of love for knowing.

The Perspective of the Dimension of Dynamism Reveals that there is No Such Thing as Movement

From the perspective of the dimension of dynamism, it turns out that there is no such thing as movement. Since there exist no separate objects there are no objects that move. There is only the appearance of movement. We have discussed this in terms of inner objects in chapter 6, when we were exploring the changes of inner experience. But in the boundless dimension of dynamic presence we experience Being not only as a boundless field of presence, and see all manifest forms—both inner and outer—as expressions of this presence, but, furthermore, this presence is dynamic and mutable, perpetually changing its appearance. The various manifest forms are nothing but the patterns and shapes that this infinite fabric of presence takes. There is no such thing as a separate object that moves in space from past to future. What has been seen as a moving object is seen here as a manifestation of a particular location in the field of presence, a shape that keeps appearing but in different locations, giving the impression of a moving object. We go back to our example of the cinema screen from chapter 6. We see a man moving across the screen, but in fact there is no movement. The totality of the picture changes from one frame to the next. Because this change of the frames happens gradually, and because the change occurs faster than our eyes can discern, we see a continuous picture of a man walking. Yet, we know it is a picture that is simply changing from one instant to the next.

The Potential of the Soul is a Dynamic Potential

We refer to this property as dynamism, meaning that the soul is inherently dynamic, rather than static. This dynamism implies an energetic, vital, active, forceful dimension of the soul, a dimension that intersects all of her other dimensions. This dynamism is an active power, an inherent pressure toward manifestation, an implicit impulse towards unfoldment, a basic will toward revelation, and a fundamental love of display and self-expression. Our perception of the soul’s changeability and unfoldment helps us to recognize this dynamic dimension of the soul. All these manifestations of dynamism are nothing but the various ways it expresses itself. In other words, the pure conscious presence that constitutes the field of the soul is a dynamic presence, where dynamism is completely pervasive of, and absolutely inseparable from this presence. The essential ground of the soul is not only her ontological dimension but also this pressure to manifest her potential. The potential of the soul, in other words, is a dynamic potential.

The Pulsating, Teeming Aliveness of the Soul

We can also experience our dynamism as the very substance of the soul being made out of a medium that is scintillating, exploding with life and consciousness. It feels like a pulsating, breathing, medium, glowing with life and energy. It actually feels it is breathing, even though there is no oxygen exchange or anything like that. It is the sense of pulsation, of teeming aliveness. This dynamic fundamental dimension of the soul is the basic property, the inherent force that impels her toward manifestation. This dynamic pulsating quality to our consciousness appears to us as a flow, as the unfoldment of our potential. This dynamism is the intrinsic energy and power that makes it possible for our soul to manifest her potential, to create her forms. It is the creative dynamism, literally generating her forms of experience by metamorphosing her very presence. It manifests the forms of our experiences through a morphogenic transformation of her very substance. In this morphogenic transubstantiation she expresses her excitatory pulsation, her motile dynamism. This dynamism generates forms through morphing.

Two Basic Ways Our Soul Reveals Its Possibilities

As we have seen, our soul reveals its possibilities through its creative dynamism in two basic ways. The first is in an open and free manner, the second through a distorted and constricted process. In the former case, the soul manifests itself in a real and authentic way, while in the latter case, the soul becomes diminished, distorted, and disconnected from its true nature. Both of these experiences (authenticity and distortion) are inherent in the potential of our human soul. It is important to understand specifically and clearly the difference between these two major ways that our experience reveals itself. The most salient feature of this difference is central to our exploration in this book: When our experience is free, and hence authentic, we discover that our soul is in touch with—in fact, inseparable from—true nature. The distorted experience, on the other hand, is characterized primarily by a lack of awareness of this true nature.

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