Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Reverence
A Mix of Love, Joy, Delight, Respect and Awe
Our sense of awe is not only full of wonder, appreciation, and love but is also imbued with a deep respect for the truth and power of true nature. This respect can develop naturally into a profound reverence for true nature; in this way it becomes a factor useful for essential activation. This reverence—a mix of love, joy, delight, respect, and awe—is both a feature and an expression of that activation. It is a natural response to the fullness of our encounters with true nature and to the completeness of our realizations of true nature. We can’t help it; it simply happens. We fall in love with true nature, but not in the sense that we like it or enjoy it or value it. It is not that kind of love. It’s more as if true nature is the central thing in our life, in our death, in the existence and meaning of everything—there is no getting away from it. True nature is the very heart of the universe in such a way that all we can do is to kneel in complete humility before its amazing power and beauty and goodness.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 75
A Natural Response to the Recognition of the Majesty of True Nature
The more that we have this attitude of love, respect, and reverence, the more possible it is for essential activation to occur. And as essential activation happens, this reverence only intensifies. This kind of reverence is a certain attitude of the heart, a certain attitude of the soul—humble, prayerful, and offering up whatever is left of our individual consciousness. In kneeling before true nature, what we are giving over is ourselves. This is something that happens as a natural response to the recognition of the majesty of true nature. When we realize that this amazing exquisite reality is also what we are, we feel even more grateful. And although all of us might feel this reverence to some degree, it can grow and become an abiding attitude that gets more intense as we learn more of the secrets of reality. Many issues and beliefs can limit our experience of this kind of prayerful reverence and profound devotion, dedication, and commitment to true nature. It might be that we have not yet had a full encounter with true nature, or that we have still not completely understood it, or that we are taking it for granted in some way. The attitude of reverence means that we recognize the immeasurable significance and the infinite importance of true nature for our life and for our consciousness—throughout this life and whatever occurs next.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 76
Recognizing True Nature in Any of Its Forms We Can’t Help but Feel a Deep Respect
This kind of reverence can infuse all of our life. We can express it in our formal practices, in the way we conduct our everyday life as practice, and in our relationship with teachings, whether our own or all others. The reverence of true nature also appears when we recognize that somebody—whether our teacher, our friend, or a stranger—has realized and is embodying the magnificence of truth in whatever limited or limitless way it is appearing. When we recognize true nature in any of its forms, we can’t help but feel a deep respect. It is important for us to realize that this kind of reverence needs to happen at some point. This doesn’t mean that true nature has a need to be revered, or that the teaching or the teachers need it. It is you who needs this kind of reverence for your ongoing realization and awakening. If the teacher needs your reverence and devotion, then that teacher is not fully realized, which sometimes does happen. They have issues that they still need to work through. What is important is that you need to experience reverence and respect for your teacher in order to receive their transmission. Your heart needs to be open to receive the teaching, and this openness expresses itself as respect and appreciation for your teacher. I’m not saying you have to be devoted in the way that some people are devoted to their gurus—always doting on them and serving them sweets and drinking their saliva and all that sort of thing. Many teachings have developed intricate spiritual rituals to express this kind of devotion. In our work, we don’t ritualize the attitude of reverence. We simply need to recognize and experience it in our attitude and in our conduct, in the way we feel and in the way we practice.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 80
The Attitude of Reverence is for What We are Beyond the Individual
So the attitude of reverence is for what we are and is much bigger than the individual that we are. It is what we are beyond the individual. And we are also always the individual while we are the totality. Because we are at once the totality and an individual—inseparably but distinctly—it is possible for true nature to feel reverence toward itself without resorting to the dual view. But usually we can express this only in a relational way, which makes it appear dualistic. Although in the beginning it is important to recognize the radical otherness of true nature, part of the challenge here is not to become dualistic in the attitude of reverence, not to think of true nature as something other but to realize it as what we are. We could say that true nature transforms our individual consciousness and our heart and mind so that we learn the correct relationship to true nature. But true nature is actually transforming and revealing itself. And part of the revelation of itself is the arising of this humility, this reverence, and this prayerful attitude acknowledging a mystery so fathomless that regardless of how much we realize and understand it, it is still new and there is always more to learn.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 78
When it Appears Relationally True Nature can Manifest Itself in a Way that Looks Dualistic
It is true, of course, that we can realize true nature as a nondual truth, but when it appears relationally, it can manifest itself in a way that looks dualistic. We feel reverence toward true nature, and this reverence is for what we truly are and what everybody and everything truly is. So even though we realize that we are everything, the impact of that on the individual consciousness is awe and reverence for true nature. When we explore it further, we might see that it is the reverence of true nature itself, that it is true nature waking up to itself and being awestruck by its own magnificence. It reveres and adores the truth. It rejoices in its own majesty without taking ownership of it. As individuals, we often take ownership when we feel “this magnificence is me.” But, in reality, it is only true nature that can say that. And this attitude of wonder, love, dedication, commitment, and prayerful reverence is vital for the continual practice that makes it possible for realization to keep proceeding to further realizations, to realizations other than only dual and nondual. This can become runaway realization, which means that realization keeps changing, unfolding, and presenting new faces of reality.