Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Eyes
Contemplating the Meaning of Presence
We want to inquire into the meaning of presence by contemplating and analyzing the actual experience of presence. Let us examine a familiar situation, the aesthetic experience. My eyes catch the sight of a beautiful red rose. Suddenly, my sight is clearer, my smelling is keener. I seem to be in my seeing, I seem to be in my smelling. There is more of me here, seeing, smelling, and appreciating the rose. This phenomenon is not simply one of increased awareness, so that more of the rose is experienced through my eyes and nostrils, so that more of the rose is experienced through my perceptual system. In the experience of increased presence, it is as if I meet my perceptions midway. It is as if something of me, something more or less palpable, is present in my eyes and in my nose. Something in me besides my perceptual channels is participating in the experience of the rose. And this something is not memory, not past associations with roses. In a sense, my greater awareness actually enhances the presence of the rose, or of any aesthetic object, such as a piece of music or a painting.
Essential Brilliancy Doesn’t Exist in the Physical World
No color can be called brilliance; brilliance is always a quality of a color. The closest experience there is to brilliant light in nature is when we look at the stars at night or look directly into the sun. The light from these bodies is actually composed of many colors, but it is so intense that our eyes can’t discriminate the colors. With brilliant light, however, though the colors are all explicitly present, we cannot discriminate them because they are not differentiated. Thus, the aspect of Brilliancy doesn't exist in the physical world. Neither does clear light. We never see clear light. We never see black light. Black light, clear light, and brilliant light don't exist in nature. But they are all specific dimensions of our true nature that can manifest on their own without characterizing something else.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 405
Helping God Live
This is why spiritual teachers rarely get involved with social reform. They aren’t against it, but they recognize that it will not solve the world’s problems since those problems are based on cognitive distortions. This is why some Buddhists take the vow to forestall personal enlightenment until all sentient beings are enlightened—if all sentient beings are enlightened, it would mean true peace and harmony everywhere on earth. From the standpoint of the Kabbalist path and the Sufi path, working on oneself is not a matter of liberating oneself; rather, it is a matter of helping God live, helping God manifest in the world. Other traditions see working on oneself as helping reduce God’s suffering; since God is the world, its suffering is His suffering. The more we see that the true nature of the world is harmony and love, the less there will be general suffering and the more God will live consciously through everyone. When you see this, you see that the theistic and the Buddhist approaches are working toward the same thing: Whether you talk about the enlightenment of all sentient beings or God existing consciously through all sentient beings, you are talking about all the eyes of the universe seeing the same harmony.
Facets of Unity, pg. 58
Looking with Fresh Eyes
What is this something that we live in? What is it that exists? What is true existence? We need to be careful not to give this something that we are exploring a name right away because then we just turn it into another concept in our mental world. To be able to look with fresh eyes, we need to look without the mind that labels. When you label what your eyes see, the associations come with the label, and from that, all your reactions and emotions and identifications. You want to be able to look without labeling, and thus to be free from having to react in the old ways. To see things without concepts, without the fixed elements of what we call the world, is the only way of knowing what is really here. As long as we see the world through old concepts, we will see our old concepts actualized again.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 239
The First Moment of Knowing that there is Anything
You become a window through which the day breaks. It is like the first moment of knowing there is anything. It is the dawn of consciousness, the daybreak of consciousness. There is just the slightest glimmer of perception, before you know that there is perception, before the mind creeps in with a layer of deadness. This is original reality, our original face. Clearly, there is no way that we can penetrate or open our eyes to that totally fresh, totally virginal, absolutely innocent reality unless we let ourselves be completely defenseless and vulnerable, with no ideas or preconceptions, without even a movement of mind or consciousness. Whatever we are, whatever we see, is spontaneous, the completely uncontrollable wild explosiveness of reality. Every second is a big bang, before anything got formulated yet. That’s what it means not to look through the mind. That’s what it means to be fresh; that’s what it means to regain our original innocence. Your original innocence is a continually exploding freshness, an ever-new innocence that never knows anything, that never lives in time, because there is no time that passes yet. Time is part of your mind. You have to think to be able to have time, and your innocent, original nature precedes that. That’s why I call it explosions: It is just a continual exploding; you do not even have time to realize what happened. What is it even before you ask what it is? The explosion happens and your mind hasn’t even collected itself to ask the question yet. This is our nature, all the time: that much freshness, that much newness.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 149
The Need to be Seen
The normal need for mirroring becomes exaggerated at this point. This need is one element of the overall functioning of the normal self, but at this point it takes center stage, revealing its importance for our sense of identity. We become more aware of our fundamental need to be seen, recognized, admired, appreciated, and so on. This need has two elements: The first is the need for someone outside us to see us accurately, understand what we are about, how we feel, what we think, and so on. It is a matter of another person functioning like a mirror for us, thus shoring up our sense of identity. The second need is that the mirroring feedback has to be not only accurate, but extremely positive. We need to be seen with admiring and appreciative, even idolizing, eyes. The need for mirroring reflects the insecurity and instability of the sense of identity. The individual expects the positive empathic feedback to shore up this self-structure. However, because this insecurity reflects the fundamental weakness of the ego identity, which is due to the alienation from the Essential Identity, it is an expression of a deeper need. This deeper need is for our true self to be seen and appreciated, simply because it is not seen, by anyone—ourselves or others.
The Point of Existence, pg. 160
The Real Substance of Life
Our usual ego perspective is that satisfaction comes from having what we believe we should have. In my experience, it doesn't work that way. I could have the whole world, but if I am not the person I can be, it doesn't mean anything. Comfort or pleasure, a home, a mate, work: these are external ornaments for a real human being. They are not life itself, not the stuff of life. They are the husk of life, the package, at best the manifest expression of life. The real substance of life is who and what we are. We tend to get lost in the container, in the packaging, in the things our eyes can see. We forget that if we live from that perspective, we are bound to be husks or shells ourselves. We are imprisoned in a fake world. When we take the packaging to be what is real, we're going to be like the packaging. If we want our life to be real, to have true substance, we have to be a human being of substance. We have to put ourselves on the line. We have to live with courage, boldness, integrity, and self-respect. These qualities depend on us being honest and sincere.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 231
The Soul is the Recipient of Perception
We also normally think of ourselves as the perceiver of outer objects and events. Once we recognize the soul as the inner field that contains inner experience and events it becomes easy to see that the soul is also the perceiver of all events, outer as well as inner. Outer manifestations can be seen to be outside the soul but our perception of them occurs within us, within our sensitive interiority, our soul. The soul is the recipient of perception; these perceptions might arise through the windows of the senses, but it is the soul that is the subject that actually perceives and recognizes such perceptions. The soul in this functions similarly to the eyes that receive the light, also similarly to the brain that deciphers the light signals, but most primarily it is the consciousness that finally sees and recognizes, the consciousness that becomes impacted by what it sees, and responds accordingly.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 23
Veils of Our History Obscure Our Seeing
When we look at something, we do not see with fresh eyes, we see through the veil of the totality of our past. When you look at a table or at a person you know, at yourself, at your life, at your future, you do not see them with fresh eyes. You do not see anything with openness. You look at things with all the ideas and feelings and knowledge and memories of the past. So you are looking at reality through layers of dead matter. So you see darkly, as if through many heavy veils. You do not see reality at all; you see that deadness, and after a while you take that deadness to be reality. You believe it so completely that that deadness becomes even more solid and real. So what you wake up to every morning is deadness again. Once you can see reality, when you wake up in the morning you won’t see anything you’ve ever seen before. When you can truly see, perceive, and taste something, you will see that you have never actually seen it before. Then you know you are looking without your mind. But as long as you recognize something, in the sense of remembering it, in the sense of giving it names and labels, then it is not reality yet and you are not yet truly seeing. To penetrate to reality involves a process of unlearning, a shedding or a dropping-away of mind, getting rid of all that we know.