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Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Realness

All Characteristics of the Personality are Substitutes for the Essential Ones

The personality not only has the memory of the essential aspects but in fact uses this unconscious memory in its attempt to fill the particular hole, by filling it with a fake quality or with hopes of getting it from outside. The final picture is that this sector of the personality takes the place of the essential aspect. It acts as a substitute for it. The servant of the house behaves after a while as the master of the house. All sectors of the personality, all qualities of the personality, all characteristics of the personality are substitutes for the essential ones. The personality, in fact, is an exact replica of the essence, but it is false. It is made up, a reaction, an outcome, and does not have the reality of essence. It is a plastic substitute that lacks the aliveness, freshness, realness, and luminous clarity of the real thing. This is a painful and difficult situation, but in this situation resides the key to its resolution. Because all sectors of the personality are substitutes for and imitations of the aspects of essence, they are really faithful pointers to these aspects. By understanding these sectors we can regain the aspects of essence. Instead of condemning the personality, as most work systems do, we can use it as a guide and a faithful guide at that. The personality contains the keys to its own riddles. Some of the ancient schools realized this fact, and employed it in their work.

At Some Point We See that Spiritual Practice is a Matter of Learning Reality, Learning to Recognize Realness

So at some point, we see that spiritual practice is a matter of learning reality, learning to recognize realness, learning to be real, and learning to be ourselves in our realness. And we see that we are only interested in learning these things if we have the appreciation and love of being real. We have to love being genuine to go through the trouble and the discipline of inner work. It is because we are being authentic, because we are approaching reality, because we are being touched by reality, that we love it and are willing to go through the various processes of acknowledging and seeing the truth—whether painful or scary or pleasurable. Our first step is to recognize the love and appreciation in us that draws us to reality. Regardless of what motivation we start with for doing inner work, our love of reality at some point reveals itself if we are sincere. We recognize that we just like being near reality, we love being comfortable with it and having no conflicts about it, and we like being as intimate with it as possible. We want to become so intimate that we simply are what is real . . . and that is what we love.

Every Moment Holds the Possibility of More Realness and More In-Touchness with the Presence of Essential Being

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. We want to be human and we want to be real. Real humans are magical creatures, but they are rare. In fact, we are magical creatures beyond our wildest imagination. Hameed once said, “We are actually elephants trying to be butterflies.” And right after that, he said, “We are actually butterflies trying to be elephants.” The first statement reflects our belief that our earthbound self is a heavy, solid mass rather than the luminous colorful beauty of the liberated lightness of Being that we long to be. The second describes our forgotten lightness, as we become a worldly creature and take a more substantial form. Sadly, both statements reflect the unsatisfying existence of most human beings.

In the Experience of the Aspect of Truth there is a Definiteness, a Concreteness, a Realness and a Warmth

In the experience of the aspect of Truth, there is a definiteness, a concreteness, a realness, and a warmth, while in the experience of the Clarity aspect there is transparency and coolness. Yet they are both present in the process of understanding. Truth is more of a heart quality, while Clarity is more of a head quality, but they are both manifestations of Essence. Truth brings Clarity, Clarity reveals Truth. And when the mind and the heart operate together in harmony, we call that understanding. As we become clear, we become more objective. When we are totally clear, we are totally objective. Totally clear also means that we are totally transparent. If we are totally transparent, then there is no ego identity, no positions, for any identification with the ego is an obscuration, a dullness. So clarity brings objectivity. In fact, clarity and objectivity are two ways of looking at the same quality. Objectivity means that there is no subjective bias, while clarity means there is no obscuration. Subjectivity and obscuration are related concepts, but they are not exactly the same.

Realness Has Value that is Beyond the Mind, Intrinsic Worth that Cannot be Measured in Worldly Things

This book opened with a discussion of the appreciation for being real. We saw how natural it is that when the heart, the feeling center of the human soul, is touched by realness, when it feels reality, it responds with love, with appreciation, with liking and enjoyment. Now we can see that it also responds by recognizing that realness has value that is beyond the mind; it has an intrinsic worth that cannot be measured in worldly things. This value is beyond words and impacts us at a place that is beyond our worldly life. That is why, after a life of strife and pain and difficulty, many people finally have a glimpse of True Nature and find that one moment of recognition is worth all the suffering that went before. For some reason, this knowing fills our heart with a fullness, a sweetness, a sense of recognition of the inherent value of existence. So you see, the value of existence at each moment is not the result of something else; it is its own nature, its own reality. It is not a matter of cause and effect. We do not value something because of something else. At the beginning stages of our work, we might be unclear or a little deluded and think that the reason we value reality is because it gives us a great experience or it makes us happy or it opens up some new capacities or it gives us some other benefit. It is true that it does all that. But the more clearly we recognize what is manifesting in the moment—what the meaning of the moment is, what teaching is manifesting through any particular form—the more we recognize that the very existence, the factness, the pure, self-existing value of each moment, is not related to a reason. Its value does not come from doing this or that; its value is inherent.

Realness is True for Presence of All Kinds

Presence is our spiritual freedom liquefied, condensed. Presence is an actual sense of here-ness—beyond our emotions, beyond the mind, beyond our ideas. In presence, we can know ourselves in a way that is authentic, which means that we are knowing what is real in us. When we feel presence, we are experiencing our underlying reality. It feels more real than the physical, the emotional, or the mental realms of experience. And it can’t be defined in any of those terms. So when we feel the presence of love—the actual liquid sweetness and its melting nature, or its fullness and richness and softness—we begin to see that the ways we have known love have been limited. Some of you may know this feeling yet never conceptualized it as such. You might be saying inside, “Oh my God, yeah, I have felt that; I know that.” Sometimes another person needs to point to it and say to you, “Yes, that is real, that is true . . . that is you.” The sweetness, the softness, the pooling, the good feeling, the pleasure and enjoyment, are so rich, and feel so real—undeniably real. And the realness is true for presence of all kinds. We can feel presence in many qualities, but love is one that we have access to emotionally—it has a distinct emotional affect, which many essential qualities don’t have (such as clarity and will and strength). And if we find ourselves dipping into the experience of that emotion and feel ourselves, sense ourselves, and let that open up, it will naturally open into that feeling of sweetness, softness, fullness, and richness.

Realness Turns Out to be a Concept

Normally we have a continuous subjective feeling of the realness of things, a feeling that gives our ego-self a sense of security, the sense that its supports ultimately exist. By perceiving the absolute nature of things this feeling ceases, for it turns out to be a psychological outcome of the belief in the ultimate self-existence of things. But this does not mean that objectively things are not real in the sense that they do not manifest independent of our thoughts. Things are noetic forms, even prenoetic, but they simply do not possess the kind of reality we have been accustomed to giving them. In fact, in such perception we see true Reality; we see how things actually are. We are truly in Reality, but it does not have the same psychological sense to which we are accustomed. Realness turns out to be a concept, and our perception has now gone beyond concepts, to the core of things. We experience freedom and liberation, and are finally released from the need to support our ego-self with the sense of solidity, substance, and reality. We do not need any supports, for reality has no supports; it is all a magical display of colors and shapes, of presence that is simultaneously insubstantial and rich. We are beyond the conceptual mind, and the dichotomy of being and nonbeing.

The Most Precious Thing in Existence

The quality of aliveness of essence is of a different order from that of the body. The body is alive, but essence is life itself. Essence is like packed, condensed, concentrated, completely pure life. It is 100 percent life. It is like a substance in which each atom is packed with live existence. Here, life and existence are not concepts, not ideas or abstract descriptions; rather, they are the most alive, most intimate, richest, deepest, most moving, and most touching stirrings within us. The experience of essential substance can have such a depth, such a richness, such a realness, such a meaningfulness, and such an impact on our minds that some people actually get dizzy, unable to take the impact directly. It is not experienced as something alien, distant, or neutral, like a physical object or an idea. No, we experience it as that which is most intimately ourselves. It is most deeply our nature, and it is the most precious and most beautiful center of us. It is our significance, our meaning, our nature, our identity. It is what moves our hearts, illuminates our minds, fulfills our lives. It is so near a thing to our hearts that only the heart can taste it. It is so near a thing to us that it is actually the very substance of our identity. It is so significant a thing for us that it is the only true nutrient for our life. It is the reality of us, the truth of us. It is the very substance of truth and the innermost secret of all truths. It is the most precious thing in existence.

This Heart Attitude Toward Realness

Wanting to be real indicates having a measure of self-love, some kind of love of what we are. So when we want to move toward being real, we are already expressing a lovingness and an appreciation that is essential to spiritual work. If that lovingness is not there, our practice is done for the wrong reason; it is part of the noise. What I’m pointing to is not a selfish kind of self-love; it is not possessiveness or self-centeredness. This heart attitude toward realness—this feeling that our consciousness, our soul, our awareness, has about being real—is very subtle and difficult to explain. To recognize this appreciation for the real in ourselves indicates that we have already developed a certain level of maturity and a specific guidance for our practice. 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.

We Like Being Real

As we go along, you will see that we can learn to be real, to connect with and become aware of our realness. And you will notice that something about this attracts us. We are attracted to the condition of being real. We like being real. And this is because we know the difference between being real and so much of what our usual experience is. Most of these things are not what is real; they are just reflections and distortions. Many people get caught up in spiritual experiences and perceptions and all kinds of interesting, subtle impressions, some of which can be exciting and uplifting. But there is nothing like the simplicity of being oneself—settling into yourself, just being there, recognizing what you are, and feeling the sense of intimacy and realness of that. All of the inner journey, all of spiritual practice, ultimately comes down to this: that we are able to be genuinely what we are. If you want to do inner practice in order to develop certain powers or go to other dimensions or have special experiences, you still don’t know what spiritual work is. And this is because you are not yet recognizing what reality is or what being real means. On the other hand, you already appreciate being real if you genuinely want to do inner work for its own sake. Being real means being the way you are when you are by yourself and quiet: “I know this is me and I know what that is like and I am comfortable being it. I have no conflict about it. And when I am interacting with someone, it is that reality of who I am that is interacting.” People don’t generally make the effort to do inner work if they don’t want to be real, if they don’t feel that being real is something good, something they want, something they appreciate. There is something precious about being real in an interaction, something that cannot be analyzed. Being real has nothing to do with getting something or giving something, being seen or making the other feel seen—none of that. It is just me, as what I am, actually being the one who is doing or saying something.

Without Ultimate Substance Things Lose their Sense of Realness

The absolute demonstrates that there is no ultimate substance, for whatever substance we find will have to possess nonbeing as its final nature and constituency. The other concept we lose in our experience of manifest forms, besides that of substance, is that of realness. We normally have a subjective sense of reality in our perception of objects and people. We tend to believe that this feeling of reality is objective, and not simply our inner and subjective feeling. However, when we finally realize the insubstantial nature of things, we wake up to the fact that we do not possess this old feeling of realness in relation to these things. It is not that we realize these things are not real in the sense that they are not actually there or that we are mentally hallucinating them. No, it is clear to us that they actually and truly appear in perception, that they are not just the content of our personal minds. What we realize is that the customary sense of realness to which we are habituated is concomitant to the sense of substantiality and solidity we tend to perceive in these objects. When we recognize their ultimate insubstantiality they lose their sense of realness, for this sense is caused by the belief and perception of substance. Without ultimate substance they lose their sense of realness.

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