Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Teaching
A Living Teaching
What characterizes the aliveness of this teaching is an ongoing stream of realization, enlightenment, and understanding that continues to grow, deepen, expand, and open up to ever further ways of experiencing reality. Another interesting characteristic of the living nature of this teaching, which is really a characteristic of all life, is that the discovery of a new way of experiencing does not displace the old way of experiencing. Living is an evolution from one thing to the next. Life evolves from what went before and always becomes more fully manifest. It develops more capacities, more richness, more variety, and more creativity in the way it manifests itself. The living and evolving nature of the teaching is apparent in the orientation and the view from which the teaching is presented. Each time we meet together as a school, everything we have explored is presented from a new perspective. The understanding of the teaching as we have learned it is simply opened up further. It’s not so much that the understanding of it has changed but that the understanding has expanded. Like life itself, the teaching builds on itself, living and evolving from one form to another.
Runaway Realization, pg. 168
Being Involved with the Logos of a Teaching
In this particular stage of maturation of practice—when we recognize that our process is largely determined by an underlying force that is emerging in various qualities and dimensions—what makes reality emerge in those ways has to do with our involvement with the logos of the teaching. Different traditions have different logoi, which impact how true nature might emerge in experience. Being involved with the logos of a teaching is a complex thing. Part of the involvement is understanding the logos, being attuned and devoted to it, feeling aligned with it, feeling it speaks to us, and, as a result, having our own interest in and commitment to it. But it also requires an active engagement with the particular teaching, in terms of direct involvement with the transmission of the teaching. Receiving transmission means being in the presence of a teacher, whether in a large or small group setting or in one-on-one work. As we interact with the teacher, the teacher’s presence and understanding powerfully impacts what actually arises in us. Even though we might show up because of a challenging life situation or because of certain issues we want to work through, the teacher, simply by being what he or she is, has an impact and an influence on us. In other words, if we go with the same issues to a teacher from another tradition or a therapist or a coach, the result will be different, what we experience will be different.
Runaway Realization, pg. 130
Reality is beyond any teachings that can be formulated and promulgated. Reality simply is. Everything we say about it is extra, a creation of the human mind. We cannot adhere to teachings as if they are reality. We use teachings, benefit from them, but then we discard them, we drop them. To carry teachings with us after we learn to live in reality is to carry an extra load. We need only reality, and the teachings are simply vehicles through which to reach and live in reality. Reality is beyond tools, methods, and helpful perspectives. Reality is innocent of it all.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 58
Each Teaching is an Expression of a Particular Logos
In other words, each genuine teaching is absolute in the sense that it is an objective perception and understanding of reality. But each is absolute relative to its own particular logos, a logos that reveals reality objectively and truly, but differently than other logoi. The principle that explains the differences and similarities in the wisdom teachings is, then, relative absolutism. It is neither absolutism nor relativism. Each teaching is the expression of a particular logos, an authentic way reality manifests itself to individuals. It is not the creation of an individual or a group of individuals, or even a historical or cultural context. These provide the channel, the clearing, or the invitation for a particular authentic way reality can manifest itself, but this way is the creation of the universal logos, the creative dynamism of the ultimate truth. Because each teaching expresses and embodies a particular logos, it is not normally possible, or advisable, to consider that they are talking about the same thing, or that one will experience similar things by traversing their corresponding paths. It is also not possible to translate the experiences and conceptualization of two teachings in a one-to-one manner, for such correlation is frequently not present. Furthermore, it is at best unrealistic to compare two teachings in terms of conceptualizations, experiences, and realizations.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 570
Life is the Teaching
Thus, each moment of our life is the teaching. And each moment has its own value because each moment is really the way that True Nature is manifesting itself, the way it is appearing, the form it is taking. We have seen that when we recognize the truth of our experience, the meaning appears and we can recognize that meaning. When we see the truth and abide in it, we recognize its value. So we look for meaning in our life—what the value of life is—but the fact is that it is not somewhere waiting to be discovered; it is always here. We just need to recognize that it is here.
Brilliancy, pg. 214
Movement Toward the Samadhi Experience
The interesting thing about the aliveness of the teaching is that each step, each new stage, includes what came before it and reveals more. None of the essential experiences and realizations in terms of aspects, dimensions, and vehicles, has, as far as I know, needed to be changed as the teaching evolves. They are simply expanded and attain more meaning or bring different insights, which are more of a refinement of and opening to different ways of experiencing reality. We are the beings that can consciously know reality and can live it more fully in its totality. But we are also reality; we are expressions of reality. In a deep way, the expressions of reality are not only manifestations of reality but also reality itself. In our work, it’s important that we learn about the various aspects and their issues. It’s important that we learn about the various dimensions and realize them. We need to know and have some experience, some taste, of what realization is so that we can be what we experience, so that we can abide in whatever quality or dimension we are experiencing. This can be what is called a samadhi experience, being the presence or the awareness or the emptiness that we are experiencing. I don’t mean that you as an individual become that, but that your awareness, your beingness, shifts from being the individual to being that. That is the experience of realization, and it is very important that we have the experience of realization and have it in the various aspects and dimensions of our work.
Runaway Realization, pg. 170
Seeing All Teachings and Wisdom Traditions as Useful Stories
Under normal circumstances, an individual in serious spiritual work follows a particular teaching, a certain path that involves a perspective, a detailed knowledge of Reality and the path to it, along with various attitudes and methods. He needs to faithfully follow the teaching, for a real teaching is the objective manifestation of true and essential knowledge, the nous of true nature. Yet to be fully liberated he must go beyond any knowing, and his realization must be independent of his discriminating mind. This will only be possible only if he does not adhere to his path as the final description of reality -- not because the description is necessarily wrong or inaccurate, but because true nature is ultimately beyond any description, any system or teaching. This possibility of detachment from the path he has faithfully followed is granted when true nature manifests its nonconceptual presence. It appears as nonattachment in his heart, and as total openness in his mind. He is open to see that the teaching he has been following has been, at least partially, conceptual. He can now see all teachings, and all systems and wisdom traditions, simply as useful stories that explain Reality and the path of liberation, but that liberation itself is beyond any and all stories, any and all teachings, any and all knowing.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 342
Teachings Are Not Reality
Furthermore, a teaching points toward reality, but it is not reality and will not give you reality. No teaching, on its own, gives you certainty about what reality is. The final and ultimate judge is you. Who decides ultimately what is real and what is not real? Is any teacher, philosophy, or religion going to decide for you? All of these teachers, religions, and work systems will be happy for you to find out for yourself what life is all about and how to live according to the truth. You cannot be certain of reality in any other way. A teaching points toward the truth, but you need to experience it and find out for yourself that it is reality. You have to find your own certainty; you cannot borrow it, not even from the highest teachings.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 59
The Task of the Wisdom Traditions is to Guide the Soul to Learn to Shed Her Constraining Retained Impressions and Influences
The soul normally grows with a mixture of limited and wholesome impressions in various proportions, depending on the circumstances and environment in which she grows. The result is various degrees of actualization of potential, and various degrees of openness to such potential. Therefore, when a soul begins to feel the desire for expanded and truer experience, it becomes the task of the wisdom teachings to guide the soul to learn to shed her constraining retained impressions and influences, and to know her true nature and basic properties in a way that allows her to be open to the fullness of her potential. Real, effective teachings can help the soul to unfold in a manner that liberates her morphogenic dynamism to unveil and manifest the deeper and essential dimensions of this potential, which are necessary for enlightenment and maturity. Since the maturation and potential liberation of the soul requires her open receptivity to the fullness of her potential, and particularly to her essential and ultimate nature, we recognize the need for her to regain her original inherent malleability and impressionability. But because of the limitations of the soul that has been conditioned and limited, this is an inherently difficult process fraught with conflicts, resistances, and fears. Part of the difficulty is that there is a close relationship between conditioning and learning. Conditioning is the establishment of rigid and fixed structuralizing impressions in the soul, while learning means greater actualization of potential in response to experiences of internal and external environments.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 101
Ultimately, Teachings Have no Objective Validity
The point is not to be enlightened or to be God-realized. Rather, we are to live the way we are supposed to live. That is all, and simply so. We are to live reality the way reality actually is. Teachings approximate, and at best express, what that means and suggest how to go about it. Ultimately, teachings have no objective validity but are conceptual tools created by well-meaning individuals to help us live our life in the most natural and complete way possible. Once they have served their function, teachings are to be dropped. Otherwise, they will remain addendums to reality, a weight for us to carry. I am not saying that teachings are inaccurate, or are empty fabrications. The real ones are accurate and express reality faithfully, but they are still an addition to simply living reality. Understanding this dynamic allows us to recognize that reality is beyond any formulation and vaster than any teaching. We learn to be natural, simple, and truly autonomous. We live our lives without concepts and ideas. Otherwise, we end up becoming primarily Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and so on, which is extraneous to being simply true human beings. Concepts and beliefs bind us, whereas reality itself is beyond any framework and experience. Reality is natural and totally true when we live without any ideas about it, when we spontaneously live without any self-reflection.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 58
Understanding the Dynamics of Being Reveals a Trap that Many People Fall Into
So understanding the dynamics of Being reveals a trap that many people fall into: attempting to twist God’s arm or second-guessing Being, trying to help it along by pushing its current in a particular direction. This tendency to orient our experience toward a particular state reveals more than anything else the identifications and positions we have learned from various teachings. Most teachings actually say, “This is where you’re headed, so let’s go straight there.” This is especially a danger when we become attracted to teachings referred to as sudden, direct, or fast methods. Such approaches might seduce you into believing that you can jump into the final realization without going along with the dynamism itself. The possibility definitely exists that this jump will be successful, but it is a minuscule possibility, and whether it can happen depends on where you are in your journey. Approaches based on the belief that you can bypass Being’s dynamism—or more specifically, that you should go toward a particular state—tend to create a big problem and a painful conflict for most individuals. You will always be comparing where you are to this place you’re supposed to get to. You will always be pushing yourself to get there. Then you will develop a superego, or inner critic, that is always looking over your shoulder and telling you: “The goal is over there; how come you’re still here? When are you ever going to get there? You know you’re not doing very well. “These teachings apparently have their logic and their own context, and their methods obviously work in some situations. Nevertheless, the work we’re doing here has to do with cooperating with the natural intelligence of the dynamism of our Being. Our approach is to piggyback on the natural wave of Being’s optimizing force by harmonizing ourselves with its flow.