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Reality (Living Reality)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Reality (Living Reality)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Reality (Living Reality)

Experiencing Yourself as the Living Reality

As we have seen, there are different ways of experiencing the individual self. You can experience it as ego self—a separate self that believes it exists on its own. You can experience it as a soul, either as a separate soul (a version of the ego self) or as an organ of reality (a wave in the ocean). When the soul experiences herself as a separate soul, the ego self is still patterning the soul. But when the soul experiences herself without being patterned by the ego self, then she is simply an organ of reality. And the soul can also be present in an implicit way, in the sense that you don’t experience yourself as a soul at all. Instead, you experience yourself as the living reality—your identity, your nature, and your center of perception move from the individual to the formless. In that condition, the soul is not explicit as an individual soul, so it is not an individual experience—there is no experience of individuality. It is the universe experiencing itself through the individual soul without experiencing an individual soul. As reality itself, as Living Being, you can recognize enlightenment as your realization, but as an individual—regardless of how you are experiencing the individual—you cannot recognize it as your enlightenment. The individual is simply an organ through which reality experiences its own purity, which is a condition of realization. As you notice, from the perspective of the individual, you practice. Realization is your responsibility. And from the perspective of true nature, all of what happens, including practice, is reality functioning. However, if you look at both perspectives at once, they are not contradictory. In fact, there is no paradox. As the individual is practicing, reality is practicing and, in true practice, there is no difference between the individual practicing and reality practicing.

Living Reality is Actually what Manifests the Individual Soul

So, which one is it? Is it you practicing and attaining realization or is it Living Being practicing and attaining realization? As you see, they are two sides of the same thing or, more precisely, one thing seen from two views. The individual needs to practice and, at some point, also needs to recognize that when he is practicing, it is living reality—Living Being—practicing, it is living reality applying its intelligence. Living reality is actually what manifests the individual soul. Living reality is what develops the individual soul, what ripens the individual soul. And it is what opens the individual soul to recognize its own realization. By opening the individual soul to recognize realization, Living Being lives its enlightenment consciously, with full awareness. It is your realization and it is not your realization. It is not your realization because it is the realization of Living Being. It is your realization because you are practicing and it is your experience, not someone else’s. But you cannot own it or appropriate it. If you do, you disconnect yourself from the grace that gives you the capacity to practice. This appears as a paradox when you are standing on one end or the other—on the end of the individual or the end of Living Being. But the individual and living reality are two sides of one thing. So the practice moves from being practice that is self-centered and externally motivated, to practice with selfless motivation, to practice without any motivation at all. When you practice without any motivation, you naturally practice when living authentically and when engaging specific formal practices, and you come to recognize that it is not your realization. This is a very subtle and delicate recognition. You do need to acknowledge that it is your realization and, at the same time, you cannot appropriate that realization as the individual self.

Living Reality Loving Its Own Truth and Loving to Reveal It

So recognizing and appreciating the fact that motivation is our own personal interpretation of something much more profound, something much more natural, liberates the enlightenment drive to function innocently and purely, without being clothed in the qualities of compassion, love, and service. The enlightenment drive is liberated when we understand how we appropriate its dynamism as our own motivation. The enlightenment drive is the drive of enlightened awareness to become conscious of itself, to manifest and realize itself. In other words, the enlightenment drive is not that we, as individual selves, selflessly love the truth. It is living reality loving its own truth and loving to reveal it. There are generally three stages of recognizing the movement of the enlightenment drive. Each stage reveals something further about the motivation to practice. In the beginning, we feel motivated and want to practice, to engage the path, to optimize our experience in a way that is self-centered. At some point, the soul begins to be infused by the qualities of true nature, such as love and compassion and generosity, which then appear as selfless motivations for doing the work. The last movement is that of realization itself. Here we see that practice is true nature manifesting its luminosity, its love, and its natural intelligence in a way that spontaneously and without reason, without premeditation, opens itself to greater illumination.

Seeing Life from the Perspective of Living Reality, of Living Being

We can think of reality as a living, dynamic beingness that has infinite possibilities of revealing itself, of revealing its nature and its manifestations. And it reveals those manifestations in time and space. Time and space are the projection screen that reality uses to reveal all the possibilities of experience. We ordinarily consider our experience of time and space to be normal life. However, in our ordinary experience, and in the history of the species, we have gotten accustomed to a particular way that reality manifests itself, a particular mode in which Being can present its possibilities. And that is the mode of an individual self—a self that is in the world and perceives other things. This is called the dual perspective, the dualistic view. Instead of a dynamic living reality that plays with time and space in a fluid open-ended manner, time and space are frozen in segments and partitions, constituting selves and objects, experiences and events. That is the reality to which humanity has gotten accustomed. There is a self, a human being among others, and there is the world of many things—life becomes a matter of perceiving objects and having experiences. When we see life from the perspective of living reality, of Living Being, we see that the ordinary view takes one possible manifestation of reality and freezes it, fixes it in place so that reality continues to present itself in that particular way. But that particular mode becomes a recycling of the history and the characteristics of the individual self. At the same time, we can see that freezing or fixation can never be absolutely complete. Light always comes through. Life breaks out and novel things happen.

We Can Experience and Know Reality Independent of Concepts and History

To be truly a mature human being you have to go beyond all content of mind, yours and others’. Reality is what is, not what we call it, not what we think about it, not what we say about it. Reality is beyond all creations of mind, regardless how sublime and spiritual. There will be more creations in the future. Our mind will not stop creating concepts, and we will never stop hearing stories. But we can now, with maturity, know how things work, and take stories and thoughts as such, for we are directly living reality as it is. One thing I am implying here is that we can experience and know reality beyond concepts and history, independent of concepts and history. Recognition of this radical maturity indicates that it is possible for us to live with absolute fearless spontaneity. The fearless spontaneity will manifest as love, truth, confidence, and goodness. We are usually afraid that if we are spontaneous and fearless we will do bad things, we will make mistakes. But we need to learn why we think this way. What are you afraid of doing? What do you think is going to happen? All these doubts need to be thoroughly looked into and understood, for such fear and uncertainty only point to some undigested material in our mind. We probably have not seen and understood something about our motivation even though we might dimly intuit it. This lack of understanding appears as uncertainty, as fear of spontaneity. As I’ve said, we need both to learn and to mature on the path. There is no end to it.

We Can Never Know Everything About Living Reality Because Living Reality is Alive and Creative

The ignorance that is implicit, innate ignorance, is not a constructed ignorance. It is not anything that we have experienced, learned, and then adopted as true. Innate ignorance refers to what we have never known. It is the ignorance of not knowing living reality in its completeness. And we can never know everything about living reality because living reality is alive and creative. But we don’t simply stop inquiring because it is impossible to know everything about reality. Rather, realization continues to practice and continues to inquire, revealing further possibilities, revealing a runaway realization. Living realization is a continuing illumination, not only continuing to be aware of the ground of Being but also continuing to reveal further ignorance and delusion. This continuing illumination transforms, deepens, and expands realization in various ways. We begin to discern the true implications of various realizations, which have been occluded by our innate ignorance. Seeing the full truth of any realization gives rise to further realizations. So if we continue to investigate our desire to help others, rather than taking it for granted as an enlightened inclination, we might encounter various delusions. Even though we might be experiencing ourselves as the vastness of Being, as we move to help someone else, we become identified with an organ of experience relating to another organ of experience. We say to ourselves, “I’m going to help that person. I’m responsible for him. I love and care for him.” We believe that one organ of experience is going to help another organ of experience—one human being is going to help another human being. But in reality, we are each, as individuals, simply organs. So who or what is actually helping the other person? If we are in the enlightened condition and recognize Living Being, we understand that we never help another person—it is always Living Being that helps others—and us. Even to say that Living Being helps is an approximation because, from the perspective of Living Being, there is no such thing as helping.

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