Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Life
A Certain Misunderstanding
People who are oriented toward the impersonal, universal spiritual life have a certain misunderstanding. It’s true that to forget about your personal life, to forget about yourself and become a monk or nun, can lead to liberation and enlightenment. But is that why we have a life? Are we supposed to abandon our life on earth to go somewhere else? The majority of humanity rejects this path, and continues to seek happiness and fulfillment here, in this life. So even though it’s not possible to have a fulfilled life the way most people try to get it, there is something very deep and true in that striving for personal fulfillment. In that yearning there is a seed of understanding that all of this life, including the universal and divine, is for us. Why are we here if the abundance is not our lot in a personal life, if we are not going to enjoy it? The way the ego goes about it doesn’t work, but the original impulse is not false. This is a mystery that is rarely understood.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 197
Adapting to the Actual Conditions of Our Life
What we learn from this ever-expanding experience of time, which is an example of recognizing the subtle implications of realization, is that what is important for realizing freedom is the freedom of view. That is to say, we realize that true nature, in manifesting different views, is not directed toward any ultimate view. The view of totality illustrates this freedom of view. It is open to all views and contains all views, which means that it signals the freedom to have any view. We can have the view of compassion, we can have the view of emptiness, we can have the view of awareness, we can have the view of time or timelessness, and we can also have all these views available at the same time, which is what is most useful for acting in the world. The more we are able to hold multiple views at once, the more we will be able to adapt to the actual conditions of our life. We can’t apply the view of one dimension to all situations and all people at all times and places. The view of totality expresses the freedom to hold any view necessary. But it is not itself a particular view. It can hold just the dual view or just the nondual view when needed, without being fixed as either—which means it holds those views but is free not to. It can also hold two views at once without having to hold all views. Thus, the view of totality allows us to take any view or combination of views, or not take any view at all and simply let Total Being determine which view manifests at each moment, without it being our choice.
Runaway Realization, pg. 236
Creating Life with Precious Attention
Whatever task you’re doing is like an immediate experiment about how your life can be. If you’re washing a window, how can you wash a window and be living? Living is not only when you’re in bed with your husband or when you’re seeing a movie. Living continues when you’re washing a window. How can washing a window be intrinsically valuable? That has to do with the quality of your attention. If you don’t see that you are the preciousness, that your very presence and the quality of care you give the task is what makes it valuable, then the rest of your life will be equally meaningless. Without that sense of precious attention creating your life, most of your activities will be boring and unfulfilling.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 251
Everything that Happens is Guided by Intelligence
When you look at your life from the perspective of the objective view, you realize everything that happens is guided by an intelligence greater than your own. As long as you maintain that you want it to happen a certain way, you are striving toward an egoically determined outcome and you remain entrenched in suffering.
Facets of Unity, pg. 285
Grounding the Work in Our Life
Living a normal life is an important cornerstone of our work because it tends to ground the work in our life instead of making it some kind of mystical, spiritual, other-worldly thing, which exists apart from our daily experiences. This is the other world.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 218
In Time the Attitude of Openness and Allowing Becomes a Part of Your Daily Life
In time, this attitude of openness and allowing becomes a part of your daily life. You acquire an overall understanding of how feelings and events relate to each other, how things work, what makes you feel love at some times and not at other times. This understanding isn’t just in your mind; it becomes part of how you act, part of how you are. You are not identified with your personality; you are open to understanding what your feelings are about, whether they bring you pleasure or pain. This is the implicit understanding: knowing, and acting on the knowledge that essence has a wisdom which can be imparted to the personality and thus transform it, releasing the barriers against the deeper understanding. Essence teaches you in a fundamental way; it provides wisdom that cannot be provided by anything else. If you are totally present for the essential aspect of love, it will be obvious that love is anchored in you, that it has no prejudices, no preference, no selfishness. Gradually, you come to understand that the personality itself, with its characteristics, its tendencies, and its preferences, is the problem. If you relate to essence from the perspective of the personality, of wanting only what makes you feel good and not questioning it, of not wanting what makes you feel bad and not questioning that either, you feed the tendency of the personality for greed; you make your personality more opaque. Lacking some essential quality, not having something like love or value or joy, is not the problem. The continual presence of the personality with its patterns is the problem. And that can change only if you learn from essence, if you allow your personality to be transparent to essence, regardless of what feeling is there.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 41
Life is a Current of Experience, Perception and Impressions
Therefore, we can say that one’s life is a current of experience, a current of perception, a current of impressions. Experience includes all the modalities: vision, hearing, feeling, sensing, thinking, imaging, altogether as one unified current. If you close your eyes, the current continues; only the patterns and colors change.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 155
Life is a Platonic Form Always Inherent and Present in the Soul
We discover that life, or aliveness, is a particular dimension of the soul, a basic property of its presence. It is actually a Platonic form, independent from bodies and from matter in general. It is always inherent and present in the soul, but we can experience it explicitly. In other words, just as we can experience our soul as pure knowledge, we can also experience it as pure life. We are then not only alive; we are life. We are fundamental life, present as life, life that can imbue the body with its vigor and dynamism and empower it to function.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 125
Life is Developing Being Into a Human Being
That is the task we have in this life: to learn how to live on earth in physical bodies, do things and enjoy things that the inner being is usually not concerned with. In other words, how can essential Being manifest as a human being? What we are doing – the task of life – is developing Being into a human being. That is the stage of evolution we are engaged in. Being is already here; you come as Being. It is true that you forget, and you forget because you still are learning how to bring this Being into life.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 85
Life is the Experience of What We Experience
Our life is not what we experience, but the experience of what we experience. It is the vision of the ocean, the sensation of coolness and wetness when I am swimming, the taste of the bitter saltiness of the water. All of these are what actually constitutes my life. My life is my experience of both inner and outer events.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 114
Life, a Property of the Soul
Various wisdom traditions have detailed teachings about what happens after death. Here we are concerned with the recognition that life is a basic property of the soul, and that the presence of the soul in the body is what animates it and imbues it with life. It becomes very clear for us, in beholding a corpse and especially if we can perceive the departing soul, that death is the departing of the soul, and hence, life is not a property of the body. Life is not a property that a self-organizing system develops as it attains a certain degree of complexity and self-organization. Life is immanent in the universe; it appears as its self-organizing property, and as it reaches a certain maturity of self-organization it manifests explicitly and fully as biological life.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 125
Living a Life of Truth, Love, Strength and Impeccability
There is no reason why a human being cannot live a life of truth, love, strength, impeccability, dignity, and self-respect. You do not need any special situation. You do not need any unusual occasion. Any interaction, any transaction, is a place for you to be that way, and that is when you see the grace and the beauty of life.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 82
Living to Reflect the Reality of What We Truly Are
As a part of life and earthly existence, we also value relationships and are interested in being able to be with another in a way that expresses the preciousness of Being. But if we continue to relate in our usual patterns and habits, expecting to experience divine eros, we will find ourselves in an exercise of frustration. The marriage of heaven and earth is the experience of knowing who we are as being both beyond time and within the world. Our ordinary sense of self has no such capacity. Only the truth of our nature can encompass the transcendent and the immanent. This nature is what is real. To be real means that we need to be able to live in a way that reflects the reality of what we truly are. It is important to recognize, however, that being real doesn’t happen in a moment. Learning what it means to be a real person is a process of unfoldment and transformation. It is not something you fall into or recognize all of a sudden, as it sometimes can be in the discovery of or awakening to true nature. It is a maturational process. And it begins with being honest, truthful, and real about where you are and investigating that. Every moment holds the possibility of more realness and more in-touchness with the presence of essential Being.
The Power of Divine Eros, pg. 108
Our Life is Actually the Transformations and Unfoldment of the Soul
This line of thought demonstrates that in some fundamental and literal sense our life is our soul. Our life is constituted by the various forms that arise in our consciousness, which is our soul. Our life is actually the transformations and unfoldment of the soul. This is the Essence of our life, the felt core of our experiences. To put it differently, our life is the life of the soul, where the life of the soul is her flow and unfoldment.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 114
The Discovery of Essence is the Beginning of the True Life
The discovery of essence is the beginning of the true life. Essence, as we have seen, is not a state experienced once and then always experienced in the same way afterward. Essence is rich and endless in its aspects, qualities, dimensions, capacities, and possibilities. All of this richness starts unfolding, bringing surprise, delight, beauty, value, and fulfillment. Life stops being the life of strife and frustration, the wish for success and the fear of failure. More than anything else, life becomes a process of creative discovery. Discovery itself becomes the heart of life. Life becomes a continual creation because essence is the creative element in us. Suffering and problems become less important, and creative discovery becomes the actual process of living.
The Universe is Both Alive and Growing
In our view, life is inherent to the universe, rather than merely being a potential that arises when self-organization reaches a high level of complexity … the universe is not only alive; it is growing. This growth is what we see as cosmic evolution …
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 120
This is a true life, then: instead of trying to get satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness, love, we allow ourselves to have basic trust. Then all that we do, our relationships and all our activities, are an expression of the satisfaction, fulfillment and love. The true life is a spontaneous activity that arises out of our Essence, and there is no need for the efforting kind of will. You've got everything. You simply need to see the truth, and what needs to happen just happens. You don't need to do anything about it. The functioning of true will causes you to do what is needed.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 122
When the Life of the World Feels Incomplete
If we explore our relationship to the world, we recognize that we have a tremendous love for it. We have a deep love for the world even though many of us have difficulty with it. We have fears and conflicts about the world, and there is much suffering, pain, aggression, and disappointment. Some of us sometimes hate the world. But when we explore very deeply, we usually recognize that we feel love for it as well. At the same time, we have another love. Many people in the world are not aware of this other love. They are only living out their love, their attraction to, and their need for the world. But when somebody becomes more mature or sensitive, the conventional world is no longer enough. The life of the world, regardless of how much we love it, feels incomplete at some point. Every aspect of it, regardless of how beautiful, how wonderful, it is, has something about it that is not completely satisfying. Even with people we love, in our intimate love relationships, and in our connection with nature, we hunger for something else, something more invisible. We can’t even define at first what that is. We become aware of this love in different ways. Some of us feel discontented, incomplete, or we become aware of a sense of meaninglessness. Some of us have a lot of pain and suffering and want to end that; so we seek happiness or freedom. That is why many spiritual teachings see as the motivation for enlightenment and spirituality the need to develop compassion, or to free people from suffering, or to have love for God or for truth. But if we explore all of these, we begin to recognize this other love, the love for what is beyond this world. Anyone who becomes interested in inner work, spiritual work, starts to be aware of this love.