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Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about World

Death and Resurrection of the World

So the more profound spiritual realization is not the death and resurrection of who you are but the death and resurrection of the world. Not the death and resurrection of the separate individual entity, but the death and resurrection of the entire universe. The whole world as we usually see it is a dead world. Only with the resurrection does the world live. Everything lives. Even the rocks live. As I said, this is a very subtle and profound transformation that takes a tremendous amount of work and sincerity and dedication. If we're lucky, we glimpse the resurrected world once in awhile. When you perceive the oneness, the true unity, the world as it is, you can no longer be happy without it. You know now what you are. The moment that perception fades, the separation from oneness brings longing. What do you long for? To end the separation. You can say you long for God or you long for truth, but fundamentally you long to end that separateness.

Inquiring Into Experience We will Clarify Our Life and We will Clarify the World for Ourselves

The truth reveals itself in all our personal situations, in the world, in everything. Every perception, every experience, has truth in it. So if we simply and sincerely inquire into experience, we will clarify our life, and we will clarify the world for ourselves. But we won’t clarify only what our inner nature is, we will clarify everything, for the whole world is the revelation of this truth. When we discern the world as it is, we recognize that’s it’s really nothing but Being itself manifesting in various forms. But we ordinarily don’t see the world as it is; we see it through what we believe we know. We believe that we know what we are, we know what other people are, we know what we are doing; we think we know what we want, what we don’t want, what we’re going to do. All these convictions solidify and freeze the world into a certain form, a certain perception that we take to be the truth. But as we see through this obscuration—these beliefs, ideas, and positions—the world becomes transparent in the same way that our inner experience does. Then we recognize that everything is actually the revelation of the truth. And we see that since the nature of this truth is self-revealing, a possible realistic modus operandi is to invoke and quicken this self-revelation. This modus operandi is inquiry, and the self-revelation is understanding.

Perceptions of the World Transform

Thus our perception of the world goes through a series of transformations. At the beginning, in the naïve view, the world is a neutral given, a particular reality full of discrete entities, including us. In the next stage, we come to see that given world is ephemeral, an illusion of the mind constructed of concepts. In the perspective we are discussing today, we see that the world is made of concepts, but the concepts are felt and lived and known through our living presence. We now see a world of harmony, a world made of Truth. We see that the forms are variations of the Truth. We understand, for example, that “table” is a concept, but in the redeemed world that concept is filled with Truth. The concept simply carves the Truth into form, which produces a sense of beauty that is not there without the form.

Seeing that the Whole World has the Nature of Peace, Harmony, Goodness and Love

This is Christ’s message. For me, when we celebrate Christianity, this is what we celebrate. We celebrate that the actual world, including our true nature and our concrete lives, is goodness, is love, is harmony, is peace. Christ is not bringing peace from somewhere else to some spot in the world. Understanding Christ’s message, we see that the whole world has the nature of peace, harmony, goodness, and love. We see that the world as a whole is heart. The Buddha saw that the world is mind. Christ saw that mind and said it is made of love. The world is heart. So the whole universe is revealed as the heart of the Absolute. And that whole universe as the heart of the Absolute is Christ. And to see the universe as heart is to see it as harmony, to see it as love, to see it as goodness, to see it as forgiveness, to see it as beauty, to see it as peace. So the revelation of Christ brings back—full of life—the concepts, the forms, that we had to let go of to free ourselves from the world. Through this redemption, through that resurrection, we can see the significance of human life, which is not simply a matter of being free from the world but is actually about living in a real way. This realization can bring harmony between human beings, and between human beings and the rest of reality, because we see that we are all made of one thing. We are all made of joy and love and peace, not only light. Everything is made of that.

Seeing Things Objectively

The way we ordinarily see the world is not the way it really is because we see it from the perspective of our judgments and preferences, our likes and dislikes, our fears and our ideas of how things should be. So to see things as they really are, which is to see things objectively, we have to put these aside -- in other words, we have to let go of our minds. Seeing things objectively means that it doesn't matter whether we think what we're looking at is good or bad -- it means just seeing it as it is. If a scientist is conducting an experiment, he doesn't say, "I don't like this so I'll ignore it." He may not personally care for the results because they don't confirm his theory, but pure science means seeing things the way they really are. If he says he is not going to pay attention to the experiment because he doesn't like it, that is not science. Yet this is the way most of us deal with reality, inwardly and outwardly.

Facets of Unity, pg. 141

Seeing this World as the Face of Our Beloved

The polarity of heaven and earth come together in the heart as the birth of divine eros—a living, breathing, pulsating, exuberant, aliveness that develops in us the personal beingness that has the capacity to be everything or nothing at all; we awaken to the whole, wide range of all possibilities. What seem to be polarity and opposites in the world of duality are, in the world of divine expression, only different expressions of the same thing. There is one love, one desire, one world, one home; and when we know this, we see this world as the face of our Beloved. The world becomes the expression and the body of our Beloved. That is just the appearance, of course, but if we really look, we see the Beloved shining through. It is that too, in all its majestic radiance.

The Physical World We See is Without It's Ground and True Nature

The physical world as we ordinarily see it is basically empty, and populated only by material objects. It is a material reduction of manifestation, with forms that are visible, but without their ground and true nature. This world produces the worldview of the ego, the ground for greed and aggression, possessiveness of material objects, and adulation of power. The emergence of divine love challenges this view and highlights the ego structures that embody it.

The Real World

We are here to live in a real world, in a real way. The redemption is our recognizing that the world, including all of humanity, is life; the world itself is alive. We recognize that the whole world is made of living consciousness. And we realize also that the nature of the consciousness is love. When we come to a realization of the nature of your soul, we see that it is infused with potential, with all the essential aspects and all the dimensions. We realize that the soul is the cohesion, the integration, and the totality of all of essence. From this perspective, we realize that the Universe is like a universal soul that contains all of the essential qualities. We look around and see the redeemed world, the actual resurrected Universe, which means the world is one and indivisible. The world is not illusory, not a construct, and not a dream. It is a real world that shines with truth, that overflows with love, that transforms with limitless intelligence.

The Spiritual World is the Light of this World

Ideally, spiritual life is all of our life. Nothing is excluded. If something is excluded, that means I am misunderstanding what spiritual life is. Spiritual life is not just going to church, not just meditating, not just having some wonderful inner experiences. It is living in reality—being what I truly am and living in the world as it is. This is possible for us. It is our potential. Of course we want to recognize the spiritual world, but the greater potential is to recognize that the spiritual world is not separate from this physical world. The spiritual world is the light of this world, the true nature of this world, the true existence of this world—which means that it is your true existence. When you experience yourself right now, when you feel yourself right now—if you feel yourself completely—you will feel yourself as wonderful, amazing, a luminous presence. If you are not feeling that, there are barriers inside, tensions and beliefs and ideas and obstacles in your perception, in your consciousness, and these obscurations are allowing reality to reach you only in the conventional way. Our fixed positions limit reality to the world as we normally know it.

The World Experienced as Deliciousness

The more we allow the pure perception of consciousness to happen, the more all the tensions, difficulties, and hardness begin to soften and dissolve. The different categories merge into each other, melt, lose their separateness. Love merges into hatred, the good merges into the bad, you merge into the other, the rug merges into the air, the air merges into you. The world becomes one big, patterned medium, luminous and beautiful. If you allow the various contents of this medium to keep melting into each other, little by little the medium obtains a blissful quality, a deliciousness. It is not a chaotic mass, but a luminous and blissful field of consciousness. You can’t say it’s physical, mental, or spiritual; it is simply a deliciousness. Visually, it is a luminous field of conscious presence. In terms of feeling, it is like an ocean of sensation, where sensation becomes more and more relaxed. Because sensation is relaxed it is more blissful. Whether you’re feeling your arm or a chair that you’re sitting on or the body of your lover, it is all one blissful type of consciousness.

The World is Inseparable from the Absolute

All the dimensions of the journey of descent reveal the absolute to be immanent in manifestation, but the quintessential divulges perfect and complete immanence. The manifest world is the crystal radiance of the absolute that is perfectly coemergent with its emptiness, with no distance to separate them. Yet it leaves transcendence untouched; for even though the world is inseparable from the absolute, it cannot and does not contaminate its simplicity and emptiness. The absolute remains in its absolute purity, unmixed and undefiled, even though it is completely mixed with manifestation … The quintessence is the complete immanence of the absolute, yet it is transcendence. We can say that in the quintessence transcendence and immanence meet. Or alternately, the concepts of transcendence and immanence lose their differentiating boundaries at the culmination of the journey of descent.

The World We See is Not the Real World

It is true that the world we see every day is not the real world. From the perspective that is more fundamental than our mental constructs, the world we have been seeing is revealed as an empty illusion. Just as our individuality is revealed on the inner path to be an empty illusion, not ultimately real, only a mental construct, so the world that we see is revealed to be a mental construct. We define through the mind not only ourselves but the world. In the course of our realization, as we go beyond ourselves to discover our true essence, we need also to go beyond the image of the world to discover the true nature of the world. Just as the soul is reborn with its essential qualities when the ego dissolves, the world too is reborn as an oversoul, a universal soul with essential qualities, when the world construct dies. This is what Christ represents. So what I see in Christ is not the rebirth of an individual but the rebirth of the totality of all existence as reality.

Through the Absolute Descending into the World We See that the World is Grounded in Emptiness and Hence is Always Insubstantial and Lacks Any Ultimate Existence

The insight that emptiness is the ground of all forms is specifically significant for the inner journey, especially for the journey of descent. Through the absolute descending into the world, we see that the world is grounded in emptiness, and hence is always insubstantial and lacks any ultimate existence. The soul learns that to live in the world from the perspective of the absolute is to never forget that the world is ultimately insubstantial, that it is groundless; for the absolute ground is simply absence. More precisely, its groundlessness is its truth and freedom and the liberation of the soul is in remembering that she can rely ultimately only on the absolute: it is the groundless ground. She can trust emptiness, for it is the ultimate unchanging ground that is certain to be found at the depth of everything. In other words, the ground of all manifest forms is that when we try to find their ultimate essence they disappear. The unfindability of their ultimate existence is their ground.

What the World Is

In truth, however, the world is simply consciousness that arises from absence, from nothing whatsoever. But this is a radical experience that arises as part of the culmination of one's work. One way to realize this truth is to understand consciousness. As long as you make discriminations in consciousness and take these to be true, self-existing realities, it is difficult to realize absence. Going from one state of consciousness to another, you're simply trapped within consciousness. You go from the painful to the pleasurable, from hate to love, from love to clarity, from this to that, through all of the various kinds of states and objects of consciousness.

What We Call Our World is Nothing but the Content of Our Knowledge

Finally, we end up living in a world that is itself our own mind. What we call our world is nothing but the content of our knowledge. And our world becomes as fixed as the content of our knowledge. If that content is definite and set, then what you are is definite and set, people are definite and set, and life is definite and set. The more it is like that, the more your experience is fixed and unchangeable. And the more that happens, the more the world that you live in is the world of yesterday. It’s no longer a fresh world. Life is not fresh. You are not fresh. The world is not fresh. You don’t learn anything new. You don’t grow or develop. There is no expansion, no deepening. Your world becomes more narrow, and increasing complexity is further narrowing, adding to the rigidity of the world you inhabit. So what we call increasing knowledge is nothing but fixing the world, making it more rigid and making ourselves, our lives, increasingly fixed. Unchangeableness becomes our security then. To challenge the reality of these concepts makes us feel very insecure. It’s all right to arrange them in different juxtapositions, in different relationships and categories. In fact, this gives us more security. As the weaving of our concepts becomes thicker and denser, so the fabric of our world becomes even more set, which gives us a firmer sense of security. At the same time, we lose the dynamic quality of who we are, and of what the world is.

What We Call the World is the Reification of the Forms of Reality

What we normally call the world is nothing but Reality seen with obscurations veiling its underlying ground and substance. The conventional world is nothing but Reality shorn of its true nature. Only the differentiating outlines of the forms of Reality are then left for our conventional perception. Since we perceive these outlines without the ground that manifests them we believe they are separate and autonomously existing objects. The ground that is their source of manifestation is what unifies them, and so without it in our experience we simply perceive objects in physical space. This is the essence of reification, taking a manifest and inseparable form and holding it in the mind as a separate self-existing object. In other words, what we call the world is nothing but the reification of the forms of Reality.

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