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Life (Real Life)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Life (Real Life)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Life (Real Life)

A Real Life is the Work

The help we get from our teachers is secondary to our own honesty and sincerity, is secondary to our own committed practice. We are transformed by our own risk, our own sacrifice. If we want to be real human beings, we have to live like real human beings, regardless of how difficult that may be. Nobody can give you the gift of being a real human being. If you want a real life, a life with truth and integrity, a life with true meaning and significance, you’re going to have to live that way. A real life is not the result of the work —it is the work. We have to take the risks, make the sacrifices, and confront our demons. If we devote our life to security, pleasure, and satisfaction, we won’t be real adult human beings. We will continue being little kids. If we don’t confront the difficulties in our life and our reality, we’re not going to live a real life. It’s as simple as that. We’re not going to become real by having certain experiences. The experiences might give us some direction and guidance, a taste of what is real, but true transformation happens when we learn to live according to the truth. 

Actualization of Essence as the Real Life

And in turn, the realization of emptiness in its various grades contributes to the discovery and development of essence, and ultimately to its actualization as the real life. The dimension of space deepens and opens up as the realm of Being deepens and expands. The ultimate experience of space is beyond all concepts, even the concepts of space and Being. This is the experience of nonconceptual reality, the ground of all existence. It cannot even be called an experience. We can call it the Ultimate Space or the Supreme Reality as long as we remember that such concepts fail to reach it. It is the ultimate mystery, where mind cannot go. This ultimate reality, beyond all concepts, is seen then to be one’s true identity, one’s ultimate self. It is knowing oneself without self-image. It is knowing oneself by being oneself. This is self-realization.  

The Void, pg. 150

At Some Level Ego Knows what a Real Life Would Be

Most people in spiritual work assume that the ego is a problem and consequently miss the truth that the ego can reveal, because they don’t listen to it. We can illustrate this point with the story of Lucifer. Lucifer was the most beautiful of the angels, the Archangel who fell from grace and became the devil, suffering separation from God. The same is true of ego or personality; it has a sublime origin which it remembers, and it longs to return to this origin. The ego tries to bring the divine life to earth and actualize it; but it uses ways which don’t work. The usual result is a personal life which is an imitation of the true one. The ego can imitate only because, at some level, it knows what the real life would be. It is an imitation only because an original exists. It can’t be that we are born to become enlightened and disappear; if we were already pure, why come and suffer, and return to what we were before. What is the point of that? 

Beginning to Live Our Real Life

The embodied human consciousness has four spiritual centers that are necessary for life. They are inborn as potentials for all human beings, but they do not develop or activate without the correct attitude and practices. The first is the belly center, which has to do with the physical body and the embodiment of our presence. It is also the center responsible for action and movement. The second, the heart, in the center of the chest, is the seat of our feelings and the conduit of the love energy, sensitivity, and personal contact. Our mind is the third center, which is the discerning intelligence. The fourth center is located over the head and outside of the physical body. When the first three centers have opened and developed, and they function together in a balanced way, the fourth is ignited, which means that the conduit of the individual consciousness is awake to itself as Living Being manifesting in human form. It is said that when the fourth center opens, our real life has begun to be lived.

Being Real Becomes the Living of Our Real Life

It is a precious moment when we recognize this love, this appreciation—when we know that we are not practicing to accomplish something. I am not meditating, praying, chanting, or working on myself to make myself better. I am not doing this work so that I will be as good as the next person or because I have an idea or some ideal I developed or heard about and decided was a good thing to go after. It is not a matter of going after anything. It is just a matter of settling down with myself. It means learning how to recognize our agitated activity, our noise, and how not to go along with it. Instead we learn to simply settle, relax, and be. And I don’t mean that when you relax and be, you just sit and meditate. Meditation is something we practice, but ultimately, engaging inner practice and living life are not two things. Being real, learning to be real, is our practice in every moment; it becomes the living of our real life. And being real transcends any dimension, any experience, any perception—regardless of the content. It is just the experience of feeling no distance from yourself—no dissociation, no scattering, no dispersion, no distraction. And the more you recognize this collectedness, this presence, this hereness, this settledness, the more you have a sense of being real, of reality. 

Devotion to Living a Real Life

If we want reality to shine its truth, we need to be more open and open-ended in our practice. If we want reality to become luminous, we need to put our all into the practice. To engage with reality completely, so it reveals who we are and what it is, we need to invest the totality of our being in our practice. By practicing with all that we’ve got, it is possible to find out that we are the totality practicing. Being fully engaged with reality does not mean seeking any particular aspect of reality. Fully engaging reality is a process, a ceaseless journey without destination. So from the perspective of realization, we see that true practice is continual and total. Our sincere devotion to living a real life infuses everything we do with the luminosity of reality. When our practice embodies the value of realization, we understand that there are no interruptions to reality revealing itself. Reality does not take breaks. And when we put everything we’ve got into the engagement with life and with reality, the totality of the universe is practicing, and that practice is realization. When we practice with total openness, we are not trying to get someplace, not trying to find anything in particular. We practice, we engage, because that is how reality lives. That is how reality does its thing. That is how reality manifests itself. That is how reality becomes luminous and self-illuminating.  

Feeling Love for the Truth Will Not Actualize a Real Life

Sincerity is an attitude or a capacity of the heart that orients us toward recognizing the truth and loving the truth for its own sake. But loving the truth for its own sake does not simply mean feeling love for the truth. Although that is part of it, feeling love for the truth will not actualize a real life. To love the truth for its own sake means also to live according to the truth. If we really love the truth, we gladly live according to the truth regardless of how difficult the situation might get. We actively choose truth as our priority, not in terms of what we experience but in terms of what we do. Our love of the truth determines how we interact with people, how we run our life, how we conduct ourselves, how we maintain our living environment.

Having a Real Life Might Not Feel Comfortable a Lot of the Time

If you want the truth, if you want to be real, if you want to live a real life, then the work can speak to you. Being real and having a real life might not feel comfortable and ideal a lot of the time. But then you need to make your choice. What do you want, truth or comfort? Although the truth is not intrinsically contrary to feeling good or being comfortable, sometimes, because of our personal history, the truth comes with pain and difficulty. The work is for someone who wants to live a life that’s not vacuous, that’s not part of the common tide. We don’t do the work to be special or better than other people, but because we want to be genuine, because we want to be real, because we feel a deep longing for living a genuine life. If we are truly pulled toward living a real life, then even if we suffer and feel miserable for a long time, we wouldn’t want to exchange our life for an easier one, because what we value most is the truth. To live a genuine life, we have to dedicate ourselves to the truth. 

Personality is Trying to Imitate the Real Life

The perception of balance and harmony is simple, common sense, very practical, down to earth. It is the truth behind the falsehood. In other words, it is the truth that the falsehood is trying to imitate. The personality is trying to imitate the real life but doing it wrongly because it is disconnected from Being. But the personality is trying to do the real thing. It is trying to live a certain life, have a certain kind of work, certain accomplishments, certain relationships—that is part of the real life. But the personality cannot go about it correctly because it is missing an element. The balanced life is a life that involves human interactions, human relationships, work, creativity, all kinds of activity and enjoyment. All that the personality has developed like sports, arts, literature, recreation, philosophy and science: all these are true human activities but they need to be filled with the human Essence for them to be real. A true human life is not a life devoid of these things. If we are living, what we do can be done in a real way. 

Real Life is an Endless Manifestation and Unfoldment of Surprises

The real cannot be expected, cannot be planned for. It will be a continual surprise. If you work for something and you get it, that something is something you already know. It’s already old. Real life is an endless manifestation and unfoldment of surprises. I am surprised a lot by the things I see. Life is full of surprises when you really don’t know how things are going to be. We need to allow ourselves to be surprised by our experience and by ourselves. Unfoldment involves continual change and transformation. If you try to hold on to something, even happiness or love, and keep it a certain way, it will stagnate and become sour or bitter. This is not an easy lesson to learn, but it is possible to learn it. 

Real Life is Presence in the Present

To live according to this understanding is Holy Wisdom. The central implication of this perspective is that real life is presence in the present, and that this reality is unfolding according to its own inner laws and harmony. We are truly living if we are embodying this presence as it unfolds according to the Holy Plan, knowing ourselves to be an integral part of the universe in its unfoldment. So true life means being in unity with the unfoldment: You are the unfoldment. Holy Work is allowing this unfoldment and cooperating with it. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 177

Real Living is the Unfoldment of Understanding

We have discussed the fact that in the Diamond Approach, understanding is not a matter of mentally connecting concepts; it’s a matter of being clear about what’s happening in our experience by being intimately in touch with it. In other words, understanding is the process of true living. It is realized life. Real living is the unfoldment of understanding, and inquiry is the way that unfoldment happens. As we inquire, understanding manifests, develops, expands, and deepens. Understanding is ultimately a precise, clear, objective awareness of our true nature, for as we understand ourselves, our soul keeps unfolding and manifesting her hidden potentials until we are just our true nature, our real self. Ultimately, understanding coincides with the total realization of our true nature. In other words, understanding is the vehicle for the integration of the soul—which is our normal consciousness—with its source and nature beyond time and space. 

The Work is Your Lifeline to the Real Life

For thousands of years it has been recognized that an individual who is connected to any system of the Work should make the Work the most important thing in his life. Otherwise it will not be beneficial, and it would be better that the individual not attempt to do the Work. Most people do not like to hear this. They might have all kinds of thoughts and opinions about the Work, but they don’t want to see this fundamental fact. It is frightening because acknowledging the true importance of the Work threatens your whole life. It threatens the false life by leading you to your real life. The Work is the lifeline to your real life because the Work is actually the lifeline to your essence, your being, your true nature. Not only is the Work the lifeline to your essence, the Work and your essence cannot be separated. So your relationship to the Work, to the teaching, must be the same as your relationship to your essence because the teaching and Essence are the same as the Work. 

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