Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Essential Activation
Each Manifestation of True Nature is all of True Nature Creating Itself as that Manifestation
Recognizing these truths—that each manifestation of true nature is all of true nature, that each manifestation of true nature is all of true nature creating itself as that manifestation, that each manifestation of true nature can spark endless realization—is another factor involved in essential activation. What’s important for us to see is that red sulfur conveys a particular property of the philosophers’ stone when it is combusted and activated, when our being is so activated that it recognizes the truth of nonhierarchy, it recognizes that any experience of true nature can ignite the life of realization. When this kind of combustion occurs, it means that essential activation has happened. Inner activation means that realization is alive and that the philosophers’ stone can keep revealing new ways of experiencing and understanding true nature. One of these is the wisdom of nonhierarchy, which generates different kinds of realizations that are not possible without it. This shows us that another element needed for activation is the experience and recognition that each form of true nature—every spiritual experience—is a manifestation of one truth and that each of them is all of them and contains all of them. This means that if we are truly practicing inquiry, if we are really letting ourselves be where we are and we understand the implications of our experience, reality itself will naturally reveal whatever is possible for us to see.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 58
Living Our Realization Changes Our Realization
We might become aware of essential activation as we begin to work on living our realization. When we move in that direction, we see that living our realization changes our realization. In the beginning, we think we have realization and need to work out how to express it in our lives. But as we go on, we realize that realization itself changes in order to express itself. Realization expressing itself, living itself, brings a dynamism that moves realization from one degree to another, from one kind to another. This is one of the features of essential activation: The enlightenment drive is in a different gear, where it is revealing reality spontaneously and naturally. The enlightenment drive no longer appears—as it does in the beginning of the spiritual path—as our seeking and searching, as our wanting and longing. Instead, essential activation means that the unfoldment is happening and that realization is occurring in a way that is free and unstoppable. Seeking has ceased, has come to an end, and further revelations are simply the expression of realization.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 36
The Ripening of the Enlightenment Drive that Animates the Life of Spirit
Here we are focusing on essential activation, the ripening of the enlightenment drive that animates the life of spirit. Although I don’t know all the factors that are involved in essential activation, there are some things that are clearly necessary and helpful. We’ve discussed necessary awakening, one factor that is needed for activation. This is the full encounter of the third kind with true nature, where we recognize through direct, immediate encounter that there is such a thing as spirit. We know spirit not only through faith, belief, hearsay, intuition, or flashes of experience but by full, continuous encounter. We come to know true nature directly—that it is, that it is not constructed, that it is not part of our mind or heart or body or nervous system, and not part of some body’s concept or idea. We come to know true nature is its own thing. We come to know that this is what spirit means.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 37
The Spontaneous Freedom of Spirit to Reveal its Treasures
What matters most on the path is not any particular experience or realization, but more the recognition and experiencing of spiritual activation, the lived experience that our being is activated, is set aflame, is turned on. The essence of consciousness is awakened, and the soul of being is afire, turned on in such a way that life becomes a continual revelation, a continual awakening, a continual enlightenment—moving from one realization to another, one illumination to another, one discovery to another. This is the spontaneous freedom of spirit to reveal its treasures.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 17
The Unstoppable Combustion of the Self-Creating Dynamism of True Nature
It is difficult to experience and comprehend the view of totality without essential activation, which makes it possible for awakening or enlightenment to be released from having to be in any particular condition. We cannot grasp the view of totality intellectually. We have to embody it; we have to live it. Our realization has to impact our consciousness in such a way that the view of totality naturally arises. Because the view of totality does not require any particular view and is open to all views, it heralds freedom in many senses of the word. So far, we have been focusing on essential activation and on the alchemical red sulfur, the unstoppable combustion of the self-creating dynamism of true nature. Essential activation is not simply a matter of the enlightenment drive being awakened or activated. It means, specifically, that the enlightenment drive is functioning in such a way that it is not only leading us to realization and enlightenment, but it is also leading us from one realization to another.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 62
There is no Single Experience that Makes Spiritual Activation Happen
So when someone asks me what my enlightenment experience was like, I often respond, “Which one?” What I mean is that there are many enlightenment experiences and, although they are all important and significant and sometimes even necessary, the truth is not any one of those enlightenment experiences. None of them is the freedom and simplicity of reality living its life. It’s true that there are conditions or experiences that are necessary for spiritual activation to happen. We have been working with and exploring some of them for some time in our teaching. But there is no single experience that makes this activation happen. In fact, even though we will explore some of the elements necessary for this spiritual activation, I don’t know all the factors that are needed for it to occur.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 19
We Need to Truly Recognize the Miraculous Otherness of True Nature
This direct encounter with the purity of true nature is one important factor that seems always to be present in spiritual activation. There are also other elements that we will explore as we go on. And some elements of spiritual activation remain mysterious. Why does it happen in one experience and not another? Why does it happen to one person and not another? Different traditions talk about experiences of spirit or God or true nature as necessary for awakening, but we need to encounter these directly and fully. We need to truly recognize the miraculous otherness of true nature, even if later we realize that it is not actually separate from anything else. Before we can see how it is the same, we need to recognize its radical difference, its otherworldly purity. The spiritual aspirants who are working on themselves, the monks and nuns and sadhus—what are they all after? They know that there is something that is unique, that is precious, that is other than their everyday experience. You can have an intuition of this, and you can know it directly. And if you encounter it truly, if you recognize its purity and its otherness, you cannot forget it. It leaves an indelible and living impression, an impact that is necessary for the essential activation of the life of being.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 25
When Spirit is Loose Nothing Can Constrain or Stop It
Many traditions have been trying to find out what the necessary factors are (Ed: spiritual activation factors), but I don’t think anybody knows all of them. Different teachers know various ways to invite this possibility, to dispose us for its happening. What we know for sure is that this kind of essential activation is possible and sometimes can happen, and that there is a continuum of how dynamic and intense the activation is. But it is a rare occurrence. You can have experiences of awakening and even enlightenment—you might not even think of them as experiences but as reality itself—but the kind of spiritual activation I am talking about is a whole other matter. When spirit is loose, nothing can constrain or stop it. This is very different from having an experience of a certain condition that persists or is always there. When spirit is loose, reality is continuing to reveal more, continuing to transform, continuing to surprise itself because, basically, at some point, you are not there.