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Inside and Outside

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Inside and Outside

At Some Point We Reach a Dimension in Which our Experience is not Limited by the Boundary of the Body

In the realm of Essence, in addition to the many essential aspects which manifest in the soul, there are also many levels or dimensions. We call these the Diamond Dimensions. Essence manifests in many dimensions. Reality becomes deeper and more refined as you penetrate further into it. At the beginning, and for some time in our process, as we experience Essence and its various aspects and dimensions, our experience remains an inner experience, meaning that it is experienced inside the body. You feel Joy in your heart, or Will in your belly, or Clarity in your head. Your experience remains within the usual framework of the body; it seems to happen to an individual person who is having a spiritual experience. At some point we reach a dimension in which our experience is not limited by the boundary of the body. We experience Essence as continuous, inside and outside. This is the dimension that’s usually called “unity.” In unity we are one. There is no separation between people and things. We are experiencing Essence or Being, not as an inner experience, but as a total experience, a universal, cosmic reality. This level also has various dimensions and refinements. The general gradation from inner to unified boundless experience is a typical pattern in those who pursue effective long-term spiritual work

Being too Busy Inside and Outside to have a Chance to See What is Really Here

There is nothing new in what I am saying. It has been said for thousands of years. But usually it goes in one ear and out the other because we continue to believe in our activity. “If I don’t do such-and-such, I will never be happy.” We are not talking about activity like driving a car or buying food; of course, you need to do these things. I am talking about inner activity, and the expression of that inner activity in external activity. You could be engaged in very intense outer activity while inside you are still, but most of the time external activity is an outer reflection of the activity of the mind. We are busy externally because our minds are busy. We are not being present in our activity. That is why many teachings say to slow down, to be a little quieter, to make your life simpler. You need to slow down, just to see the process and understand. This is so that you will see the difference. It is not because external activity is bad, it is more that you are too busy inside and outside to have the chance to see what is really here. When you are really being, it doesn’t matter how fast you go outside. But if you are not being, no matter what speed you are going, you are still going farther away from yourself. This world we live in, the world of appearance and everything that is in it, has nothing wrong with it. In a sense, it is neutral in that things are neither good nor bad. What makes it a place of suffering is that we are not present in it; what makes it a place of fulfillment is that we are present in it. For fulfillment is nothing but the fullness of our presence.

Each Sector of the Personality Manifests as Certain Conflicts, Issues etc that are Reflected in the Individual’s Inner and Outer Experience

It is true that the personality as a whole acts as a barrier to essence as a whole. But this is the general picture. Although most teachings adhere to this picture, if we look more closely, with finer lenses, so to speak, we find that this is a blurred picture of a more complex reality.
We find that each of the essential aspects—such as will, love, truth, compassion—is related to a certain part of the personality, to a definite sector. We will also find that each aspect of essence is not only related to a certain sector of the personality, but also that that sector functions as a specific barrier against the particular aspect of essence in question. So, a certain sector of the personality which consists of specific beliefs, habits and conflicts will act as a barrier against emptiness, for instance. A different sector will act as a barrier against cosmic consciousness, and so on. Each sector of the personality manifests as certain conflicts, issues, difficulties, prejudices, traits, preferences, and so on. These will be reflected in the individual's personal experience, both inner and outer. It determines, among other things, thoughts, feelings, actions, relationships, and life-styles. We call this perspective on reality, on both essence and personality, the “diamond perspective.” We call it such because it is exact, precise and definite, and it takes the many facets, the details, of both essence and personality into consideration. The elegance and beauty of its workings will become apparent as we go on in our discussion.

If You Don’t Have Basic Trust You are Constantly Fighting Reality, Inner and Outer

Without feeling the loving holding of the universe, we can have no basic trust. How can you really let go and let yourself be if there isn’t trust that things are fundamentally okay, that whatever happens is appropriate? If you don’t have this trust, you are constantly scared, constantly tense, constantly fighting reality—inner and outer. So we need to reclaim our basic trust. All work on oneself is necessary because one’s basic trust is not complete. If it were, you would feel completely relaxed and you would spontaneously grow to become what you are supposed to be. Since our basic trust is not complete, we fight, resist, and struggle; and then we need practices and teachings to see that our struggle is fruitless and is actually the problem. We all want to be at peace with ourselves, with our lives, with whatever situation we find ourselves in. We don’t know how to do that, so we are always struggling and fighting with our reality, trying to bring about some harmony and relaxation, some lessening of worry and fear. But all we need to do is to quit struggling with ourselves and with reality. When it is said that suffering ceases when one is realized or enlightened, what is meant is that the struggling ceases. Enlightenment is not a matter of not feeling pain, but of not fighting it.

Facets of Unity, pg. 29

In the Freedom of the Fourth Turning there Isn’t a Subject that Experiences Things Inside itself in Relation to Other Things Outside Itself

When I consider my experience and learning over the past forty or so years, I see that the life that is lived now is not owned by the individual me; it is reality living its possibilities. I can remember that many years ago, I experienced myself as an individual with a subjectivity, as the subject of various kinds of inner and outer experiences. What I recognized in the freedom of the fourth turning is that there isn’t a subjectivity; there isn’t a subject that experiences things inside itself in relation to other things that are outside itself. The terrain changes completely. There is still self-reflection and thinking and feeling, but when that happens, it is at the periphery of experience. The dominant experience, the dominant center, is simply true nature itself, and everything else appears as manifestations of true nature. In an attempt to refer here to a kind of freedom, the term “true nature” is still an approximation; I am still using language in a conventional manner. There is nothing out of the ordinary in this condition of simple freedom. Even to call it “a condition of realization” is an approximation.

Layering of Self-Representations

So we see here that the sense of self has in it two kinds of self-image (two kinds of self-representations) and two kinds of body-image, forming the nuclei of the self-images. We have seen that this multiplicity is a result of the body having two sets of boundaries, inner and outer. Another factor leading to this multiplicity or layering of self-representations is the process by which this sense of self is developed. We have seen that the ego-identity develops as a result of the separation-individuation process, and also that this process has two distinct lines of development—separation and individuation. The line of development of separation is mainly related to the external body-image and its corresponding self-image. The line of individuation is connected primarily to the internal body-image and its corresponding self-image. Of course there is no clear-cut distinction between the various images, and no clear linear and causal connection. This whole picture of the personality is general and approximate. It is however, sufficient for our understanding of the various grades of emptiness.

The Void, pg. 145

Life Seen as the Life of Essence, both Inner and Outer

Essential substance is so beautiful and magnificent that no imagination can conceive of its beauty, and no poetry can convey its magnificence. The way it moves us and teaches us is beyond the wildest dreams and imaginations of humanity. Its potentialities are staggering, its creativity is boundless, its depth is endless, and its intelligence is limitless. It is a wonder—a wonder beyond all miracles. It is our true nature, our most intimate identity. This wonder is not just for stories or poetry. It is not just to dream about or long for. It is not just to give us flashes of its magnificence, or fleeting tastes of its significance. It is actually our human essence. It is who we are: our very beingness. We are to be this essence, to exist and live as essence. It is our potential to be our essence, not just in occasional experiences but always and permanently. It is our essence that can and should be what lives, and what should be the center of our life. It can and should be inseparable from us. The work of inner development is not aimed only at having an experience of essence. It is aimed at the complete realization of essence and the permanent existence of us as essence. It is aimed at the eradication of our separation from essence. To be free is simply to be. And to be is simply to live as essence. In fact, when we are not consciously essence, we are not existing. The life of the personality is nonexistence, a wasted and useless life. There is life only when there is existence, and existence is essence. To be a genuine human being, a complete human being, is to be essence. To be essence is then not just an inner experience, but a total experience—a complete life. Life is then the life of essence, both inner and outer, in the privacy of our hearts and in the shared experience with others. Essence is then what dictates our actions, what determines our way of life, and what shapes our environment. This is real harmony.

Superego Attacks Come from both Without and Within

In superego attacks. Frequently a student will make some strides towards individuation, but find himself right away under a barrage of attacks from his superego. He finds himself judging himself harshly, berating himself, belittling himself, etc., or expecting similar attacks from others. In fact he believes that others are emotionally attacking him. At these times it is difficult to see whether he is attacking himself or the attack is coming from the outside. When one observes more closely, one realizes that there is no difference, the attacks come from both without and within. What is more, not only does he feel attacked and feel badly about himself, he also believes the attacks. He cannot differentiate between inside and outside sources, or between ego and superego. So there is no differentiation and there is negativity. This is exactly the experience of negative merging. And when this issue is worked through, it becomes obvious that the whole thing is a defense, because when it is recognized anxiety manifests, and then a state of separation emerges.

The Field of the Soul is a Field of Discriminated Forms, Inner and Outer

The experience of the soul, then, is not only a field of awareness, not only a field of differentiated but not conceptualized forms; it is also a field of discriminated forms. This is so for both inner and outer events. If we look around and see people, that is knowledge arising in our field of awareness. There is knowledge that I see, there is knowledge that I see something, there is knowledge that what I see are people, and there is knowledge of a nose, of an eye, knowledge of red, knowledge of green, and so on. All this is knowledge. We ordinarily do not recognize the forms we are aware of as forms of knowledge, because we take the naïve positivist position that they are objects that we can know. We believe that we are simply perceiving and recognizing objects that are actually there physically, or are passing through our consciousness. From this perspective, for example, an emotion, like fear, is something which is arising and I recognize it, the end result being the cognition of fear. From the perspective we are presenting here, the fear is a form manifesting within the field of consciousness, made out of consciousness. It is an extension of the consciousness, a form that the consciousness presences itself as. This form is not only a form of consciousness, but because the consciousness is also characterized by knowingness it is a form of knowledge, a manifestation of knowledge.

The Personality, both Inside and Outside Works on all Levels to Solidify its Position as the Master and the Center

The tremendous and omnipresent forces and influences that suppress essence are the same ones that work against retrieving it. Thus it is extremely difficult for most people to extricate themselves enough to taste essence or to know life from its perspective. In childhood, the forces were all external. But for the adult, these external forces have extended inward and have taken over the mind and the body. The individual in the process of ego development actually has imbibed his personality from the environment, and now he is the personality. The enemy of the essence is no more only in the environment. The greatest adversary now is one's own personality. Now the personality, both inside and outside, works on all levels to solidify its position as the master and the center. The life becomes its life. This happens in all of the gross ways visible to us and in more subtle ways than can be seen by most people. Hence, the work on retrieving essence is primarily wrestling with the personality until it relinquishes its hold and surrenders its position to the true master, the human essence. This endeavor, called the Work by most teachings oriented toward essence, becomes for the people who understand it the most worthy undertaking for man because without it man remains a potential, and the true human life is not realized. Without the realization of essence, every other undertaking is bound to be pointless, a waste. It is like an apple tree that is not allowed to bear apples. In fact, it is worse—it is like a larva that never becomes a butterfly.

Unity of Emptiness and Appearance

When this sense of unification is complete and there is no duality in your experience, physical reality itself is experienced as the ultimate reality. Then all of physical reality, including all its objects and all of its manifestations, is seen as that beautiful, substantial, and fundamental reality. It is not separate from it, it doesn’t come out of it, nor is it filled by it—it is it. Grace doesn’t happen to physical reality; physical reality itself is the grace, is the beauty, is God. This is what Buddhists refer to as the Great Seal, the Mahamudra, in which all that you feel and see are unified with true nature. It is the unity of appearance and emptiness. This is one way of understanding what I mean by unity without duality. There is no separation at all, no division at all, no distance between the surface and the depth—in fact, there is no surface and no depth. There is no inside and no outside. They are the same thing. The unity is the complete interpenetration, the complete intermixing of inner and outer. It becomes all of one quality, all of the same thing.

Facets of Unity, pg. 88

We Need to Question our Assumptions about Inside and Outside. We Need to Wake up at a More Fundamental Level

Your own soul, your consciousness, is the organ of truth, the window to reality, and that’s why you look inside. This does not mean that the truth of reality is inside; but for a long time the way we experience it is through the reality that’s inside. We tend to believe that that’s how things are—that essence is inside, spirit is inside, truth is inside. At some point, we need to begin to see things more objectively. We need to question our assumptions about inside and outside. We need to wake up at a more fundamental level. We need to stop running after the illusion that truth is inside, and start waking up to the objective truth that is everywhere. For a long time, for many levels and dimensions, the Work of the truth has to do with experiencing things within you—Essence, essential aspects, spiritual experiences that are transforming, exciting, intriguing, and fulfilling. These experiences can bring a lot of excitement and joy into your life, which is very good. If we allow this process to continue, and if we are truly interested in the truth, whatever the truth is, it won’t stop there. Unfoldment won’t just stop at any realization that remains internal, because internal experiences are limited. They take place within the mind, as part of your knowledge. Thus your experience remains governed by the perspective of personal mind, rather than by the perspective of the truth. So even though our inner experience might become more full and rich, without the perspective we are working on now, the world we look upon, our reality, will remain plain, ordinary, drab.

When You do not Treasure Your Existence Your Life Becomes a Matter of Merely Surviving

So the unconscious denial of Being or of its value, which is characteristic of Point Nine, may remain, regardless of your experience and understanding. When you continue to think, feel, and behave as if Being were not present all the time, you are expressing the distrustful belief that love is not your very nature and the nature of everything. If there is no love inside or outside, why stay awake to reality? So the resignation, the apathy, the indifference, the laziness about facing the truth (especially one’s inner truth), arise in response to the perception of a lack of love, to the lack of awareness of the beauty, wonder, bliss, and lovableness of reality, both inner and outer. When you do not treasure your existence, your life becomes a matter of merely surviving and subsisting. Life, then, is dead, superficial, mechanical, and boring because the magic of truth is not present.

Facets of Unity, pg. 224

Whenever We Engage in an External Activity, an Inner Activity Usually Goes Along With It

We have seen that this inner activity, which is the primary obstacle to being our True Nature, has many manifestations, which are various forms of resistance, control, and defensiveness. And we have also looked at various behaviors that are aimed specifically at changing our experience—attempts to conform to an ideal—rather than just letting ourselves be. All these behaviors imply self-rejection. All of them work against the natural revelation of our True Nature in all its luminosity. We have also seen how inner and outer activity are related. Remember the peach? When you discover that it is rotten, you can either just put it away or you can put it away with a lot of internal activity going on. You may already recognize from your own experience that whenever we engage in an external activity, an inner activity usually goes along with it. Even when we are just sitting, continuous activity is almost always going on. We experience this mostly as incessant thinking, planning, trying to figure things out. But what we are doing is more fundamental than just being immersed in thoughts; we are in an energetic movement in which the dynamism of Being becomes contracted and dissociated. There is hesitation and a kind of inner stuttering. This inner busyness is what we mean by ego activity—an inner activity with a mental flavor and an agitated energetic quality. It lacks the smooth, spontaneous, effortless flow that is the manifestation of Being.

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