Effect of the Enlightenment Drive on Spiritual Practice
When our motive to practice issues from the enlightenment drive, then it has become our own motivation. We don’t practice because we think it is a good idea. We don’t practice because somebody else seems to be having a good life and we want one like it. We don’t practice because our wife is involved in the work and we want to join her. That may be how we begin but, at some point, the motivation to practice becomes ours—our own enlightenment drive wakes up, or we wake up to it. We recognize then that we have our own true motivation to practice and to engage the work. And, as we’ve seen, practice is not only formal practice like inquiry, prayer, or meditation, but also the general orientation and attitude of continuing to be present, continuing to be real. Practice is the interest and the motivation and the intention and the devotion and the dedication engaged in a continual way. Practice does not become continual practice until the enlightenment drive wakes up in the belly center, which has to do with application and actual functioning. We can have the idea of practice and the love of practice without actually doing it. We might love the truth, but that doesn’t mean we will engage it. We might be interested in enlightenment and think it sounds like a great idea to be enlightened and free and to free other people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we will engage the practices. Our interest in and love of practice won’t automatically mean that we engage practice in a continual way. For that to happen, the soul will need to mature so that the enlightenment drive begins to express itself through the belly center, what is called the Hara or the Kath center. This is the center of grounding in actual life, the center of action, which takes functioning from the realm of idea and feeling to that of action and direct down-to-earth engagement.
Runaway Realization, pg. 29
Engaging with Experience from the Perspective of Truth and Reality
The central manifestation of the enlightenment drive is not simply the feeling of the dynamic force or the feeling of the drive itself. The drive manifests as the actual engagement with the path, the engagement with experience from the perspective of truth and reality—and not only that, but as the continual engagement, the uninterrupted practice. This continual practice is the actual expression of the enlightenment drive. Feeling the dynamism of the enlightenment drive usually will lead us to practice, but it is not the same thing as practice. The practicing itself, the engagement itself, is the action of the enlightenment drive as it functions through the individual soul to actualize the possibilities of Being. When practice is continual, we realize that all the situations of life are occasions for practice, all the activities of life are part of practice. This doesn’t mean that you are supposed to be concentrating on your belly center at every moment. It means that even when you are taking a shower, it is from the perspective of the enlightenment drive, in the sense that it is always a learning and growing experience. You are not just getting clean; even getting clean is an expression of the enlightenment drive. You get clean as an expression of appreciating the beauty of reality, as an expression of being open to the possibilities of Being.
Runaway Realization, pg. 33
Enlightenment Expressing Itself
The enlightenment drive is enlightenment expressing itself as a drive. It is true nature in its freedom expressing itself as the drive to make enlightenment manifest. It is true nature in its freedom arising within us as a particular maturation of our soul. As you see, I am giving a comprehensive idea of practice. True practice means that you are engaged with all of your experience in a way that reveals reality; it means that you have an interest or focus or orientation or alignment that brings in greater clarity, greater depth, greater optimization.
Runaway Realization, pg. 32
Liberating the Enlightenment Drive
To liberate the enlightenment drive we must specifically work with the question of what motivates practice. We can view the enlightenment drive as the source of our motivation to practice, to learn, and to grow. We can think of it as the source of our love and longing for liberation. We can consider the enlightenment drive the source of our engagement with and attitude toward our practices. In particular, we can attribute to the influence of the enlightenment drive our motivation to practice, to engage the path, to long for union, and to desire freedom. However, from the perspective of realization, this way of looking at motivation is inaccurate and limiting. This view hinders our practice by limiting the enlightenment drive from exercising its dynamism.
Runaway Realization, pg. 36
Manifestation of the Enlightenment Drive
So how does the liberated enlightenment drive manifest? How will we experience motivation? How will we experience the practice? What will make us practice? We can begin to unravel these questions from the view of realization. Realization informs not only the practice but also the motivation for practice. We can recognize that anything we can say about motivation only approximates what reality is and how it works. In fact, you practice not because you love anything, not because you have compassion for anybody—practice is irrespective of all of that. You just practice. You simply can’t help it. You move toward reality because that is how things are. Prior to this realization, you practice because of your love, your compassion, your wanting to serve. All of these are appropriations of the enlightenment drive. We try to own the enlightenment drive; we make it our enlightenment drive. The liberation of the enlightenment drive happens when practice becomes motiveless, practice without motivation. We can think that the enlightenment drive, rather than the individual self, is the source of our motivation to practice. But we still don’t recognize things fully when the individual self experiences the action of the enlightenment drive as a selfless motivation. Although that is closer to the truth, it is still not complete. When we see things from the view of realization, the impulse to practice does not appear as a motivation—not only is it not your motivation, it is not a motivation at all. The enlightenment drive itself is not motivated. It is the source of our motivation and, at the same time, it is beyond motivation. When the action of the enlightenment drive is filtered through the individual soul, which is our individual consciousness, we construe it as motivation.
Runaway Realization, pg. 39
Need for the Heart to be Involved in the Drive Toward Truth
For most people, the enlightenment drive awakens first through the head center, as what I call the “thought of enlightenment.” This is the usual entrance—the idea that there is such a thing as enlightenment, that there is the possibility of a spiritual life or experience and, simultaneously, the interest and motivation to pursue some kind of practice or teaching. The idea of enlightenment and the interest in enlightenment moves us toward the freedom and the experience of the quality of life with its higher values. For most people that is how it begins, that is how the enlightenment drive wakes up. However, if the heart is not involved in the drive toward truth, then the enlightenment drive doesn’t have adequate juice or fuel. When the drive wakes up in the heart center, it appears as love, compassion, and the irresistible passion for the truth of inner life. We experience this as love for truth, love for God, love for reality, or as compassion for the suffering of ourselves and others and the desire to do something about it, the recognition of the need to wake up, to be real, to make a difference. All of these are different manifestations of service.
Runaway Realization, pg. 28
Recognizing the Enlightenment Drive
The particular maturation of the soul that fosters true practice involves the awakening of a fourth drive, the enlightenment drive. Although similar to the instinctual drives, with similar energies and intelligence, the enlightenment drive is not completely biological. Its aim is not a physical one; rather, it is about the quality of inner experience. We may recognize the enlightenment drive as the religious drive, the longing for God or divine union, the desire for enlightenment or truth, or the love to discover the secrets of existence, what life is all about. In the Diamond Approach, by recognizing the truth of this drive, we learn to work on the instinctual drives and harmonize them into the enlightenment drive. True nature, our inherent beingness, has its own dynamic force. As the soul matures, this dynamic force appears as the drive within us to go toward greater actualization of that nature, to bring that nature forward and display it in full consciousness, in full awareness. True nature has inherent in it the drive to reveal itself in our experience. We call that dynamic force the enlightenment drive—the drive toward enlightenment, toward freedom, toward liberation, toward awakening, toward reality, toward truth, toward the genuineness and authenticity that is the truth of Being.
Runaway Realization, pg. 27
The Drive of Enlightened Awareness to Become Conscious of Itself
So recognizing and appreciating the fact that motivation is our own personal interpretation of something much more profound, something much more natural, liberates the enlightenment drive to function innocently and purely, without being clothed in the qualities of compassion, love, and service. The enlightenment drive is liberated when we understand how we appropriate its dynamism as our own motivation. The enlightenment drive is the drive of enlightened awareness to become conscious of itself, to manifest and realize itself. In other words, the enlightenment drive is not that we, as individual selves, selflessly love the truth. It is living reality loving its own truth and loving to reveal it. There are generally three stages of recognizing the movement of the enlightenment drive. Each stage reveals something further about the motivation to practice. In the beginning, we feel motivated and want to practice, to engage the path, to optimize our experience in a way that is self-centered. At some point, the soul begins to be infused by the qualities of True Nature, such as love and compassion and generosity, which then appear as selfless motivations for doing the work. The last movement is that of realization itself. Here we see that practice is True Nature manifesting its luminosity, its love, and its natural intelligence in a way that spontaneously and without reason, without premeditation, opens itself to greater illumination.
Runaway Realization, pg. 41
The Drive of True Nature to Reveal Itself
As we recognize the truth of this drive, we learn to work on the instinctual drives and harmonize them into the enlightenment drive. True nature, our inherent beingness, has its own dynamic force. As the soul matures, this dynamic force appears as the drive within us to go toward greater actualization of that nature, to bring that nature forward and display it in full consciousness, in full awareness. True nature has inherent in it the drive to reveal itself in our experience. We call that dynamic force the enlightenment drive—the drive toward enlightenment, toward freedom, toward liberation, toward awakening, toward reality, toward truth, toward the genuineness and authenticity that is the truth of Being. This is a natural drive that we all have that can wake up at some point. For many people, it hasn’t awakened. Mostly, it functions unconsciously insofar as everybody wants to be happy and everybody wants to improve their life. When this drive toward freedom functions consciously, it appears as the recognition that what is at stake in our lives is the quality of our inner experience, the realization of our inherent beingness, the awakening of our spiritual nature. When we recognize this truth, the enlightenment drive has awakened. The true motivation for practice is the direct expression of this drive.
Runaway Realization, pg. 28
When Enlightenment Becomes Runaway Realization
So from the view of reality, what we consider a stage or aspect or dimension is how reality is manifesting itself at that time, and it is as real as any other stage or aspect or dimension. In other words, each manifestation has its own inherent value. That is what is presenting itself. It doesn’t need to be compared to something else. All we need to do is experience it fully and appreciate it for what it is. From the perspective of reality, we think of enlightenment differently than we think of it from the perspective of the journey of ascent and descent. Enlightenment here is runaway realization—with the capacity to experience things from the perspective of true nature, not only from the perspective of the individual self. Runaway realization means that each condition of realization leads to another condition of realization and then another, and each realization is free to realize itself in ever deeper ways, changing and transforming itself to other conditions of realization. Realization begets further realization. Furthermore, the conditions of realization are not always going from one dimension to another, which is the way it is in the journey of ascent and descent. After a while, that model of progressive realization breaks down. The view of totality includes a way of experiencing that is not in terms of the progressive realization of dimensions.