The Real World, Reality, is Love, Light
For a great deal of our usual experience, we live in a world of illusion. This kind of statement has been said before, especially in eastern thinking, but also Plato gives us an image of a man in a cave with limited light coming in, who falsely believes that shadows on the wall are the reality. This brings us to an esoteric distinction between the Real World and the shadow world.
The Real World, or True Reality, could also be called the fundamental reality. In contrast, the shadow world is often how things appear to be, but in some sense, this appearance is illusional. The True Reality is experienced as a fundamental Unity. This is not to merely say that we are all on the same planet and in the same universe; that would be too obvious and thus not a very significant insight. The experience of Real Unity is much more profound, because one is experiencing the Unity of Being; that everything and everyone is IN the same Being, part of the same Being, and even to some extent, expressions of the same Being. So the Real World, the True Reality, is this One Being, as well as the parts and expressions within It. Within this One Being also includes all the many complexities of interrelations and interdependencies. Real perception and comprehension realizes this, experiences this, knows this.
While in contrast, the ordinary perception and thinking does not realize or experience this, because it is lost in the shadow world; that is, these experiences are fixated on the shadows of reality, on the fleeting things which happen, on the shifting emotions within and around us, and on very limited beliefs about how reality is. The shadow experience sees limitations and also disconnected separations among people. Mentally, one makes all kinds of separations and divisions in the world, especially between oneself and others, and then one believes this is the reality – the way things really are. So then we play a kind of shadow dance with others and the world. We play a shadow game. We play with these shadows of reality, in the shadow world. And we tend to believe this is how life is – that is, we believe this is real, that these shadows are the real world.
And remember as well, that most everyone around us have similar beliefs about these limitations and disconnected separations, and the need to compete and fight with one another. So the people around us are also caught up in the shadow world, thinking and assuming this is the reality. Thus, many people live in the shadow world, which we could also call delusions. Remember also that actions follow from beliefs, and even complex personality patterns derive from such delusionary beliefs, which then results in whole societal patterns (or delusions) and the resulting problems that come with such false assumptions about reality.
Yet from an experience of the Real World and realizing the fundamental Unity of Being, one sees these belief-tendencies of people and societies as being delusionary. One who is stuck in the cave of shadows, and who has never seen the real light of day, will not know they are in a shadow world. Those in delusion do not realize it. And we shouldn’t be simply labeling those other people as distinct from ourselves, because everyone gets caught up in the shadow world, at least for certain amounts of time; except the very advanced adepts or masters. But it is a big helpful step to at least know there is a shadow world, which can be quite delusionary, in contrast to the Real World, which is possible to experience.
The Real World is full of Light and full of Love. We look around the world and probably we don’t see a world that is full of Light and Love. Very probably we see a world with lots of stupidities and many instances of a lack of love. And this perception is true. But it is a perception of appearances and how the world is when caught up in shadows or delusions. We are seeing a world of delusionary people and their actions which follow such delusions. We are seeing the shadow world in action. So it’s not that the shadow world is not there. Rather, it doesn’t have to be there, and it’s based on illusions and delusions.
The Real World, the True Reality is full of Love. We live in One Being, and Light is all around us. But we have to wake up to this. One doesn’t wake up by the intellect or by thinking about what’s real. Instead, one wakes up in the heart. It’s the heart which awakens. All of sudden the shadows clear, and the whole world of reality is perceived to be One Being, filled with Light and Love, all of which was always here in Reality, yet was not realized due to the obstructing shadows of delusionary thoughts and perceptions.
People don’t easily perceive the Real of Unity, because it is less obvious that the manifestation of differences and diversity. It is much easier and obvious to notice differences among bodies or among people, and to also assume there are discrete separations between people, and also between people and nature. It is also easier to notice our differences in desires, especially they clash. Whereas, Unity, Commonality, and Interrelatedness are less obvious.
When teachings speak of Self-Realization this is the same as God-realization, and vice versa. God is the One Self, also called Brahman, and the Self which Advaita speaks about is the same as what Sufis and Christian mystics call Allah or God. Just different terms for the same Reality. Self-Realization is just a term for the Goal, which is to realize the One Self, or say God. But then who is realizing who? First there is a seeker, a self seeking to realize or know the All Self. Then there is a lover, a self in loving relationship with the All Self, the Great Self, Allah. Then finally, through the lover’s surrender of separate selfness, there is only One Self left, for the little self has now melted through love into the All Self. At this point an observer of this alchemy might say that the little self has completed its spiritual journey and reached Self-Realization or has realized God. But from the perspective of the experience itself, there is not two entities involved here, for there is only Self-Realization present. So understand that at this point, Self-Realization is the One Self realizing Itself, though through this particular instrument of awareness which is like a clear mirror for Self-Reflection.
This can also be understood as Remembrance, in the sense that the meditational journey from little self-knowing (ego-knowing) to Self-Realization is like the Self remembering Itself. For each little self is like a little shooting star that originally came out of the Great One Light, the One Self. Or think of each little self as a little spark that wandered away from the original Self-Knowing and so gradually forgot it’s true Selfness. Thus, we could understand its return as a gradual Self-Remembering. Or we could use an analogy from ordinary experience, where at times our consciousness gets so involved in little details or distractions or whatever, and then at some point we re-awaken back to the total person we are, as it were coming back to our self.
The little self, which wandered off or forgot its real total-ness, is returning to the One Self, the Complete Self. We are returning to our Self. We are returning to our Homeland. Or, we are remembering our Homeland, which is our Pure and original Being. Remembering can also be understood as a re/member/ing, as reconnecting separate members back into the Whole.
Self-Realization is also Self-Awareness. Now at some point it is best to disregard most of these terms, in order to find a simple key that is meaningful for us. It is one thing to improve our understanding of all this, by connecting ideas, but the more important purpose is to quantum leap into new experiences or new levels of Realization. Self-Awareness, as a Goal and as an understanding, is a good example to work with.
First of all, Self-Awareness and Self-Realization mean exactly the same. Self-Remembrance is also the same. The value of having these different terms is that each is a unique key to the Experience. Yet it is unhelpful if all these terms simply add more ‘places’ or ‘entities’, because in reality they are all descriptions of the same. The different terms also help to see the Diamond from multiple perspectives, but for practical purposes one should simply use one at a time, so pick which ever one feels most meaningful.
Now, coming back to the meaning of Self-Awareness, we want to go beyond a mere intellectual knowing of what this means. We want to enter into a real experience of Self. Self-Awareness gives us a key, because the Self-Experience is Self aware of Itself.
We know (sort of) what it is to be self-aware, or aware of oneself. This is not just being aware of oneself on a physical level, like I’m aware of my body. Rather, what is meant here is to be aware of our subjective self – that selfness which is inside the body, as it were, and the one who is feeling and thinking. Who is feeling and thinking? Who is aware? This is the self. Our body, our feelings and our thoughts are functions of this self – the who is. But those functions are not the self itself. They are not the who of who we are. So what self-awareness means, in its purest essence or purest meaning, is the awareness of just this subjective who of who we are. It’s not objective because it cannot be simply described like an object, nor can it be measured. That’s why it’s subjective, though nonetheless real. Of course many people and philosophers will deny the reality of this subjective self-ness, because they have never experienced pure self-awareness.
Now at this point we want to go even deeper, so the understanding gets more subtle. When we speak about pure self-awareness we are sort of making a confusing mistake by using this term. The term helps us understand and helps us reach deeper, but at some point we have to let of its subtle mistake of usage. The possible confusion is in thinking that self-awareness is awareness of self, because at some point we will realize that this self is merely a thought. For the truly deep experience, which we are calling self-awareness, is just subjective awareness itself, in which there is no self in it.
In other words, it’s not like being aware of a self, like being aware of some-thing. It’s not like the self is an object of awareness. If it is, then this is simply a temporary stage in our mediation, until there is a leap of realization that this self we are aware of is merely a thought about ourself. The truly deep realization is not of anything, nor about some-thing. The realization, or what we really mean by pure self-awareness, is just self-awareness, just awareness. Self is in its purest essence of just being aware, or just being awareness. So in other words, the experience is really just awareness. The self is implied in this meaning, but self is not in the experience, for the experience is simply awareness without any objects of thought, not even oneself.
Understanding this now, what is Self-Awareness? It is essentially just Awareness, just an expansive unbounded Awareness. Yes, it is Awareness of Self, so to speak, but there is no ‘Self’ in the experience. If there is a Self in the experience, it is merely a thought about Self. Just as if there is God in God-Realization, then this is but a thought of God; because God is actually the Realizing Subject, the Who that is realizing. God is the Awareness Itself. So the key to practicing Self-Awareness, or how to be in that experience, is not to attempt being aware of Self or God or anything, but rather to just be Awareness. The word is capitalized in order to emphasize its expansiveness.
Ordinary awareness is most often an awareness focused on something, or on certain tasks or details. This is of course a necessary part of practical existence. Awareness might be focused on the body, or movement, or else focused on feelings, or non ideas. This is all practical and needed in life. But we will call this little awareness, or awareness without capitalization. Yet sometime and somewhere in life we might also practice Awareness in its unbounded, inclusive expansiveness. This pure unbounded expansive Awareness is the meaning of Self-Awareness. It includes All, including all of outer and inner reality, the total outer universe and the total inner universe. Some mystics say it is possible to be in this unbounded Awareness while simultaneously performing practical awareness activities.
Expansive heart and mind
Potentials need to be manifested
Divine Goodness, Love, Wisdom, and Beauty are potentials in this manifesting world. They do not necessarily manifest. They are not already manifesting in full, but rather only partially. There are already some degree of these qualities in our world, but much more will unfold, hopefully. Now let us be clear about the mistaken view. The mistaken view says that every thing and every event in our world is perfectly good and beautiful, because God must be manifesting Divine Will at all times. If God is manifesting Divine Will at all times, and if this must be good and beautiful, then it follows that everything must be good and beautiful. This is the mistaken view of simplistic reductionist monotheism. A similar mistaken view, pan-monotheism, is that there is only One so everything is God, and so everything must be good – since God must be good. Again this is an overly simplistic view of the One.
The spiritual evolutionary view rejects this mistake. We reject the false conclusion that everything is good and that God is manifesting perfectly at every moment. In contrast, we see that the Virtues of God, the Divine Virtues, are as potentials in our world, which may come forth into actualization, more or less. Thus, everything is not all good, but there is always the potential for greater goodness manifesting in the world. Much good and love and beauty is already manifesting, but not everywhere nor in every instance, and more has potential to unfold. Looking at the world in this way gives one a view of unfoldment or evolution of the Divine Virtues. This is what we call the Work, or the Spiritual Unfoldment, which does not merely depend on God’s Will but depends on our own will as well. In order for the Divine Virtues of Goodness to manifest in greater and greater fullness, we must participate in this Work, this Unfoldment. We must participate in bringing forth goodness, love, wisdom, and beauty in the world. It comes from God, we bring it forth from God, but we must work willingly to make this happen.
There are two poles of the Divine Reality, the Source called God and the manifestation called world. We exist in the middle, so to speak. The Source, God, is ever Bountiful and Generous. God does not hold the Goodness back, but rather God is like a well with a constant pressure of giving forth. What is holding all this potential goodness back is our own resistance and negligence, and our lack of receptivity and aspiration. The God-pole is ready Giving, but the receptive pole needs some adjustment.
One essential action necessary for the receptivity and actualization of the Divine Virtues is invocation. This has the same basic meaning as prayer; though we need to differentiate various types of prayer, because invocation is not always the kind of prayer where one cries out in desperation. Desperate or emotionally charged prayer has its place and effectiveness; but non-emotional, purely mental prayer/invocation can be even more efficacious. Clear mental invocation of Divine Potential, or Virtues of God, can be most efficacious, when accomplished with clarity and faith.
May God increase my capacity for love and to love.
May I realize the Love manifesting through this world around me – through the people and nature present around me.
May God's Love express through me.
This is a Path to Self-Realization
Realize the Divine as right here.
The Divine World is right here. If we look out into nature, we see the Divine World. If we can see into the underlaying structure of all the external world, we can see the Divine World. But now close your eyes and realize the Divine is right here. This is not saying that it is within. Yes it is within, but this message is not about that. It’s out there in the world around us, and it’s in here within; but the Divine is also right here in the mind or heart realizing it. This understanding is very subtle. The description is not trying to be esoteric; it is simply very difficult to describe. The Divine is right here. Maybe Presence is a good description, but in saying that, it seems to be other than our own heart and mind. The Divine is right here.
The Divine is realized as oneself and is realized through oneself.
Now once this is realized, the next step is surrender. What a shock that is! This is not an easy teaching. Yes the Divine right here. But now one has to surrender into it. That is the way. That’s the path. That is the most esoteric of all practices. What this means is this – one has to disappear into it. Myself has to disappear into the Divine. I, as separate being, need to jump in, surrender, and disappear. Then, there will be only One. Then, there will be only God.
And so then, only Unity. And God will be realized through me. God will be the One living through me, and I will be God living in this world. [this is the meaning of and realization in zikr] -- practice of surrender in Allah.
The sacred life, the divine life, the spiritual life, is right here and now.
But it is possible to be ignorant of this or to ignore it.
Ignorance is a lack of knowing. It is not something in itself. It’s not like there exists something or an energy of ignorance. It is merely a term we use to denote some lack of knowledge. It’s a not knowing. And when we say something is not or that it is missing, then it is certainly not an existing thing. Right? So this is also true about what we might call evil; that evil is a word denoting that goodness is lacking. Evil is a deficiency of good, rather than being something in itself.
So the Sacred is here and now, even though we might not actually know it or experience it. The Divine is here and now. This means it’s always here and always now. Not just a few minutes ago, or not just when we were at that special place the other day. In other words, the Sacred is always right in front of us, whether it be this place, or this person, or these people. And we too are included in this Sacred Moment, in every moment. Therefore, hopefully we will not make the mistake of thinking that we will discover the Sacred or the Divine later on, somewhere else, or in some other moment. Don’t wait for that other moment. Don’t get into the habit of waiting, because then you will always be waiting.
The Real Path is not actually about going anywhere. The Path is a metaphor. The Real Path isn’t really going anywhere. It is merely the steps we have to take in order to realize the Sacred-Divine in this moment, and in every moment there is.
It is true that there are evolutionary steps, steps toward the Depth Itself. But what does the Spiritual Path really mean? It is to realize or experience the Divine Truth, and to experience our own innermost Truth. There are many ways to say what the Spiritual Path is all about, so whatever can be said here is inadequate. Decide for yourself what it is. But however we describe this Spiritual Path, it is not really about going anywhere else or being anyone else. It’s about being here, and in this moment experience the Sacredness or Spirituality of ourselves, where we are, and who we are with. We do not divide the Sacred-Spiritual from everyday life, or from others, or from this Earth. It is all here. The Spiritual has to be experienced right here and now. God needs to experienced right here and now. There is no other time and no other place.
It is true that some circumstances and some places are more supportive of this moment by moment enlightenment-realization. But nonetheless, the potential is still here in every moment and every place and with every person.
This is telling us that we can wake up to the Sacred-Divine that is already here and always here, and always in this moment. Experiencing this is the real Path. So the Path is not to go somewhere else, or to be reached in some other moment. It is to wake up in each moment, to realize that particular quality of the Divine, or insight of the Divine, or guidance of the Divine.
There are times when life, or this particular time-place-circumstance, does not appear to be spiritual. It might seem too chaotic or it might seem too boring, or maybe there is a depressing feeling at this time. But these are actually thoughts and feelings we bring into this moment. It is what is going on with us. But this time and place of life right now has much more spiritual quality to offer than we notice. The sacred and spiritual IS here, but we are not noticing it or feeling it. So the problem is with us. The problem is what is obscuring our experience. So the Path is about clearing what is obscuring our spiritual perception. This clearing can range from hard to easy. Sometimes it takes more time, like the time it takes to clean a mirror. So it may take some inner work, which is basically a surrendering or relinquishing.
One meaning of the Spiritual Path, often overlooked, is that it is a relinquishing. We probably enter into a spiritual search or a path, in order to gain something for our self. But ironically, the Real path is mostly about relinquishing our self-separateness from the Whole and our distance from the Divine.
Once we realize these illusions and relinquish them, then Much is revealed. We realize the Divine, or the Truth, by relinquishing false ideas. Truth is revealed when the veils are removed. Realize the falsity of self-separateness and distance from the Divine. There really is no self-separateness, but even if there is then let it go. And there really is no distance from the Divine. Once again, our apparent distance from the Divine is merely the degree of emotional and thought obscurations that are veiling our natural Divine experience.
This brings us now to the question of depth and quality and discernment
Even though the Sacred-Divine is essentially right here at each moment and in each circumstance, awaiting recognition; there is nonetheless a kind of search. This search is for depth and quality.
Within us is a Depth of spiritual beingness. The first way to understand Depth is in recognizing that we can know ourselves on a surface level or in Depth. We each have a Depth inside, and the deeper we go into our self the more we know ourselves. Primarily, this depends on how deep we can understand our innermost truth or who we most essentially are, which is a deep knowing in the heart. The heart knows, so we understand our own Depth through the heart. Also, the deeper we come into this Depth, the more we are conscious in the Divine. This is a Depth of realization, or Depth of possible spiritual experience. There is possibility to be at the surface or more into the Depth of self-being. As we come more into the Depth, our experience has more divine quality in it. For example, we are more at peace, in love, and clear in our mind and heart. When we are deeper in our Depth of being, our experience of the present moment here, wherever we are, is profoundly more spiritual. From our Depth of being, from being deeper and truer in our heart, our spiritual vision is more open and awake, and there is less obscuration of the mind/heart.
In addition, we can open to and perceive into the Depth of others and of places. We can see into the Depth of their sacredness. If we merely perceive and experience the surface levels of people or of places, then we are not understanding or acknowledging their full truth-reality. When we are able to enter into our Depth of being, then we are more likely to perceive the Depth of others and of life itself.
Besides being in search for Depth, we are also in search for Quality. Quality, in this sense, is about our quality of life. We are not speaking about any particular quality, such as love, truthfulness, peace, or wisdom. We are speaking about what makes a life good or better. In this sense of quality, there is better or worse. If we attend a musical performance, we can roughly discern its quality, or its excellence, Of course in many cases, it is difficult to have any objective certainty whether one performance is better than another. And many spiritual teachings advise to not ever make comparative judgments. But realistically, we can be almost certain that a brand new beginner at the piano will not play with same quality of excellence as that of a master teacher. It is clear to anyone honest, that some performances are better than others, some creations are better than others, just as some housing constructions are better made than others. So just because we cannot always make these quality-judgments with certainty, doesn’t then mean that we should never make quality-judgments.
There are differences in quality in most things, including our own self and also our life. It should be possible to look at our self honestly and realize that we could be a better person or express more quality. And it should be possible to look at our life honestly and realize that our life could be better or have more quality in it. This is what we mean by a search for Quality, in ourselves, in our life, and in our world. For many people in the world, their quality of life is not very good, so they need help to improve this quality. To think that the world is just fine the way it is, or that quality distinctions should be abandoned, is a deluded perspective and also without much compassion. There are real differences in quality of life, and there are real needs in the world, and it’s not all perfect. Yet quality is not just an outer thing; it’s a spiritual essence as well. There are different levels of quality in our human experience and spiritual experience. This is subjective, yet nonetheless real and significant. What we are speaking about here is how one experiences life and the depth of one’s self-realization. Self experience and spiritual experience (consider if these are really different) can have a range of possible quality – which we might also understand as clarity. So we can speak about levels of Quality (Clarity and Depth), regarding self-knowing and spiritual realization.
Lastly, we will briefly consider discernment, in relation to Depth and Quality. But first, let us review some of the present theme. The Sacred-Divine is here and now. It is everywhere and always. We don’t need to travel outside of the here and now to reach the Divine. In fact, it can only be found in the here and now. To realize the Spiritualness of this and every moment, we need to wake up, as it were, to what is already here. The real spiritual path is not leading somewhere other than this very moment. The Path is not to get somewhere else; it is to get right here, or wake up to what is already here. So even though the Sacred-Divine-Spiritual is already here, we still need to wake up to it, or to realize it. One could make the point, then, that there really isn’t any real path or search to any place other than this very moment and place we are now in. So, as the point goes, the way is to simply be in this moment and experience what is presently here. There is no other achievement, no other goal, and nothing really to search for outside of this moment and place we are already in. And furthermore, it might also be argued that the spiritual search itself, as a guiding metaphor or mythos, is a misleading paradigm, because it tends to lead us away from the very moment we are ongoingly in. In other words, it tends to foster a not yet attitude, or that the goal is in some distant future.
These are all ideas we could go over and over, and they have some valid points. We might call this: being in the Zen of the moment, since these are typically Zen or Advaita non-dualistic teachings. And part of the non-dualistic teachings is that we shouldn’t be making distinctions or separations; in other words, not making distinctions of what is spiritual or not spiritual, what is sacred or not sacred.
But what is not being taken into account are these significant ideas of Depth, Quality, and Discernment. For even if we acknowledge the profoundness of being present in the moment, and that every moment and place has a spiritual dimension; it is still also true that each moment and place has a possible Depth to understand, and that we must still ask a question about Depth and surface. That is, what is the Depth of our experience or our realization? How deep is it? Is my experience of this present moment and place a surface perception or a Depth of realization? How deep am I now, and how deep can I go? For if there is no Depth, or no question about Depth, then Reality is merely flat and surface. Spiritual perception is really about Depth. It is also about Quality. For there are real differences in Quality, both in our world and in our self. If this is denied, then the world is flat and just surface. The sacred-spiritual is right here and now; but nonetheless, there are possible differences in the Depth and Quality of this experience, and there are also possible differences in the Quality of this place and circumstance, just as there are real differences in the Quality of life for other people in the world. And we want a better quality of life for our self. There is nothing wrong with that desire. We also might want a better quality of experience in our life; a higher quality of experience is the same as spiritual experience.
So, how does Discernment come into this? Discernment is the faculty in us which knows differences in Quality and also Depth. Discernment is usually understood in regards to good and bad. I discern what is good or bad. Of course remember that bad is essentially a lack of good. There really is no essence of bad. It’s just what we call things when they lack the essence of good. In the same way, there are no real particles of darkness, nor waves of darkness. But there can be shadows of light, where light gets blocked or veiled. Also remember that good and bad are relative to one another. In metaphysical reality and also ethically, there is a Range of goodness, from almost non-existent good (which we call bad or evil) to more fully Good, and along this range-continuum are the comparisons of good and bad. It is really more coherent, in practical life, to speak about better or worse. So discernment is knowing differences in Quality, as to what is better or more excellent than something else. And in terms of Depth, discernment will distinguish between depth and surface, relatively, and also know what is a deeper experience rather than a more surface experience.
One of the True Purposes of all spiritual teachings and practices is to lead one into an experience with God, or the Divine, or with Truth. Different teachings and systems of language will use a special Term and meaning for the ultimate goal. Here we are using the terms God, the Divine, the Truth, and all of these generally have the same meaning. Hopefully we do not get confused by the terms used.
So the message here, the teaching here, is to experience God, the Divine. This is the Goal. This is the Purpose. All spiritual practices would amount to almost no value, if they do not ultimately lead us to a Divine experience. One could be chanting some mantra a thousand times a day for years, or pray five times a day with perfect form of ritual, or work with beads, or whatever; but what does all this amount to or lead to, if it doesn’t lead one to experience the Divine or the Truth? And if one is continually focused on the mantra, or the beads, or the ritual, or the form of a practice; is there ever any room for a much Larger Experience. Can the heart and mind open up into a Greater Space, to experience the Divine Itself?
First though, our minds have to get over its rationalistic thinking that it’s impossible to experience God. The mind wonders, how is this even possible. And if the mind makes a conclusion that it is impossible, then it will be impossible. So at least keep an open mind about all this. Now we can admit off the bat that it may well be impossible to experience the Absolute Infinity of God, as God might experience in Itself. But we do not have to even worry about this, and it is not important. What is important is that we can have at least some experience of God. Begin with some, and don’t worry about what the Ultimate Experience might be. Any ultimate experience of God would be a great mystery to us from our present perspective, so it’s not worth even considering at this time.
What we do want to consider now, though, is having some experience of God, at this very moment. Because some experience of God is possible right now. First understand that we are already IN God, and God is already pervading our whole existence, both outward and inward. The outer world is already an expression of God’s Qualities and is already made of Divine Substance [the Substance of Divine Being]. And our inner world is already lit up with the Divine Light of Consciousness. God is already Conscious through us, even if we do not realize this in our little mind. God is already at the very core of who we are and is working through our innermost being.
So God is already inside and outside. Thus, if we just awaken to what is already inside us and all around us, we are already experiencing God, at least some. And some is better than none. So awaken to God being already here, The practice, then, is to experience as much of God as is now present to us. Then, more will open up, as we become more present in this. So first begin with some, then more will open up. But the Master’s have no haste in this. They simply accept what is open to them, what is revealed. Though they also know that some amount of effort is needed in the practice.
We experience the Divine by levels. So if one is having an experience of the Divine, either inside or out, this will be on a certain level. Once we realize we are experiencing one level of the Divine [not the whole Divine Itself, nor all levels of the Divine], we can then go deeper, moving into a deeper level of experience.
Note that God is the subject of such experience, and is also the Experiencer.
Experience God within life and within people. Touch into this. Experience the innerness of everyone and everything, the innerness which is Divine. Everyone is a unique expression of the Divine Self, and within everyone are the Divine Qualities of Life, Love, and Consciousness. God is actually smiling through all living things. So as one looks more deeply into life and into others, one sees the Divine Self. Yet one has to use spiritual perception, which is a direct kind of knowing that has a certainty about it.
We can find God in the objective and in the subjective, the outer world and our inner world. Let us consider what it means to find God in the subjective. The first level is finding God in the subjective world of mind. For example, one might close the eyes and meditate. Then, in this meditative experience, God is present. But what we experience are the many possible qualities, images, or ideas of God. This is all good, and we can learn about God in this subjective realm. This is having a view of God or an understanding about God. As well, one might experience a feeling of God in the heart, or a presence of God, which again is in the subjective or inner realm. Yet even in these very profound experiences, there is still some sense of separation between God and oneself. We are having an inward experience of God, yet it’s us perceiving God. In other words, there is I the perceiver and God the known.
At some point, though, we can go even deeper, which is to find God in the subject, not just the subjective, which means to find God as oneself. The subject is within the subjective mind, yet the subject is you. The subject is your very self. This is different from I knowing God, or I having a vision of God, as discussed above. The difference is subtle. Now, God becomes a newer understanding of who I am. I am no longer experiencing God as like a knowable item separate from myself. So to find God in the subject, myself, is to know how God is through myself and as myself. Or it is to experience God through and as oneself. This God-experience has a distinct sense of being I, or who I am. It is not an experience of God as outside of oneself, nor is it simply like viewing God - even when this is an inner view.
A view of God is when we see God, or have a thought of God, or when we remember God in some kind of conceptual way. These are views. A vision of God, a thought of God, even an understanding about God, are views of God. These are good to have. These are good experiences. But they are like projections onto the screen of mind, and thus they have a separation from the self-experiencer, or subject itself. They are not experiences of God being as self; rather, they are understandings about God.
So in summary, the first level is experiencing God as a view or understanding, or sometimes as a vision. Yet the deeper dimension is experiencing God as oneself, as our True Being, which is deeply a self-realization or self-knowingness. This is experienced very deeply as who I am. And the usual difference between myself and God disappears, in this mystical abandonment. The usual personal self has surrendered into the Greater Self, so that only the Greater Self remains.
Spiritual enlightenment and realization is all about experience; how one is experiencing self and world. It is about experiencing more of God in life and in the world. The spiritual experiencer hears the sound of Presence and feels Love permeating the world. This Presence and Love may sometimes be hiding or suppressed underneath outward circumstances and human expressions. Yet nonetheless, it is possible to hear and feel this underneath the outward appearances. This ability is what makes the spiritual seer different than an ordinary person; for the ordinary experience only apprehends the surface appearances and the louder level of circumstance, while spiritual experience apprehends the deeper levels of Presence underneath and more subtly permeating the outward surfaces of life. The spiritual seer is able to avoid the ordinary tendency to get caught up in the snares or forces of surface appearances and the sometimes coarse actions of others. The coarse might still remain and also be acknowledged, just as we cannot simply avoid hearing a firework; but the spiritual seer sees, hears and feels the deeper spiritual reality that is hiding or suppressed underneath the sometimes coarse world.
Additionally, the spiritual seer has experiences of the reality of their self that is different than ordinary experience. Within, the seer experiences God Essence, Presence and Love, as well as other spiritual qualities subsisting underneath the ordinary surface of self personality and usual behavioral patterns. The seer discovers a deeper inner self-reality underneath the surface thoughts and emotions. For deeper within is a deeper Love, a more purified Consciousness, and a greater Presence. The Sufis and other mystics say that Allah, or God, can be found deep within oneself, but only if there is sufficient subsidence and surrender of the ordinary thoughts and emotions. Buddhists say that you cannot see deep down into the lake unless the lake is at peace. If there is turmoil, or even too much trying to swim deeper, the potentially peaceful lake gets muddled, so you cannot see what is hiding down there.
Also, if you fear what is down there, then you will continually suppress any possible recognition or emergence of what is deeply real and true inside you. There may in fact be some old scary or ugly stuff down there, stuff that was suppressed or thrown underneath consciousness. But until we let the contents of our fears re-emerge in consciousness, there can be no clearing nor peace in the lake of our self. So let the whole of oneself be seen and acknowledged, including both the feared and the hopeful, for then there can be a clearing and openness within. Remember that in the final struggle, love heals fear.
So the spiritual path is ultimately about how we experience life and ourselves. This is the experiential side of the true path. The other side of the path, balancing, is how we manifest or express the inner emerging spiritual reality. This aspect of expression will be discussed in another section.
We can distinguish two kinds of experience, that of form and that of spirit. We experience form in the outer world, the world of manifestation. Here we look around and see particular forms, people and things. This is the expressive aspect of God, the manifest plurality and diversity of God. This has also been called the world of limitation, the world of appearances, and the world of effects. This is the world of limitation because every particular form is a limited expression of the power of life and intelligence, in contrast to the unlimited power of spirit or life itself. This is the world of appearances because what we find here are appearances of God, rather than God-Itself. This is the world of effects because all we see or sense in this world are effects; we do not really perceive powers and causes. Think about it; you never really see powers or causes, but only the effects of unsensed mysterious causes. Modern physics knows this; no physicist has ever empirically experienced a power or a cause, for these can only be inferred by evidences of effects. So here we experience the visible world of form, limitation, appearances and effects.
The other kind of experience is about spirit, or sometimes we will call this presence, which is an invisible reality. Spirit is also known as spiritual presence; for like any living being this Spirit has presence, though the spiritual presence is unlimited in its omnipresence and omnipotence. People cannot see this reality of Spirit, at least not normally, yet many people can feel this reality, so it is still a tangible experience rather than a mere idea. And this Spirit, or Presence, can be called the reality of God. Though because the outer visible world is really God as well but in limited manifest form, it is better for clarity that we call this invisible reality the Spirit (of God). Thus we distinguish the Spirit of God from the manifest limited forms of God constituting the world of form. And unlike the world of forms, the Spirit of God is unlimited. It is also omnipresent everywhere.
Even more significant is that this Spirit can be tangibly experienced. We cannot normally see it, but we can certainly feel it and know it. We find that it is present whenever and wherever we open our mind and heart to this presence. And however we experience this Spirit/Presence, its real power is always greater than our limited receptive awareness of it. Another important point to remember is that this Spirit/Presence, permeating the space of our world of form, is the Spirit of God in this world, and it is possible for us to experience God as this Spirit/Presence. We cannot get any closer to God than this, and the God-Presence is right here. It is always right here, but so often we are not conscious of it, because we are preoccupied by various thoughts and emotions, or we are focused on specific forms or matters immediate to us.
This Presence is the Spirit of Life, the Power of Life.
This Presence is the Spirit of Love, the Power of Love.
This Presence is the Spirit of Consciousness, the Power of Consciousness.
This Presence is the Spirit of Intelligence, the Power of Intelligence.
This Presence is the Spirit of Unity, the Power of Unity.
Open the mind and heart to this Presence, in all of its aspects.
Be awake to the all-pervading Spirit/Presence,
And be so empty of selfness that this Spirit/Presence fills experience.
This is the experience of God, how God can best be experienced.
It is an experience of God without an object. Many people have wondered how to experience or know God. Many have imagined a particular being-form, or represented God by some object or image. But these are impeding limitations on God. We can find various limited forms of God in the world, even in human beings. But we are searching for a much greater experience of God, which can be found in the experience of pervading Spirit, or Presence. This Spirit/Presence is known in either the space around us or the space inside us. Both ways of knowing the Presence are valid and significant. So close your eyes and fee/sense/know the Spirit/Presence within; or open your eyes and feel/sense/know the Spirit/Presence all around.
In the midst of Nature one is in the Presence of the Divine. The Divine Presence is in Nature. The Divine Presence is the Spirit of Nature. There isn’t any difference. The Divine Presence is the Spirit of Life, this Life that is all around us and all within us. God-Spirit is the Life. In other words, one of the great Qualities of God is Life. God is Life, and Life is God. Once we understand this, maybe we will treat and respect Life much better. Each particular life, or living being, is not equal to God but it is part of God because it is part of Life. God is Life Itself, and from Life beget the many living things. God is more than Life; for God is the Whole Intelligence even prior to Life. Yet we can still think of God as Life, or Life as God. God is the Bio-Spirit, the Power and Intelligence of Life. And from this we are born. This is the Mother-God. When we speak of God as Life, God is best represented as the Mother-God or Great-Mother. But this is still the same reality as Divine Presence or God-Spirit. The special value of realizing that God is Life is to know the very importance of Life. People have been worshiping God in religious rituals, but we just as well ought to be worshiping Life. For we are in Life, and Life is from where we come.
The Substratum of Divine Presence
And experiencing God
Divine Presence is always present, but it is often underneath our ‘normal’ everyday awareness. Just as we are often unaware of the pervading life force or living energy running through each life, we are also unaware of the Divine Presence at the substratum of every segment of our reality, at every moment and place. This substratum is here. We just have to become aware of it. Wherever we are, and whatever space we are in, there is the substratum of Divine Presence. This is like an undercurrent of all reality, and it is something we can come in contact with or experientially feel.
Experiencing the Divine Presence is the same as experiencing God. For the way we can experience God in this world and in our own subjective life is as the Divine Presence. For Presence can be felt. It can be known tangibly and empirically. This is not merely an idea, nor a faith, and it doesn’t even require mind at all. If one has to think about God, or if one has to have a faith about God, then this is only at the level of thought. God then might be something we rationalize as true, or it might be something we simply have a faith about. Yet this is not experiential, and thus it is inadequate or certainly it is incomplete.
Unless you have real experiences of God, you are really just on the edge of what is possible. Don’t content yourself with being on the edge. It’s like traveling through a desert and almost reaching paradise, but stopping by a little shade and never going on further, and then also never realizing that paradise is just a few more miles away. So if you have not experienced God, really and very tangibly, then don’t just settle for a small shade in the desert. Faith in God without any real experience of God is like this little shade. You would be settling for a small puddle of water from the spilt canteen of someone hundreds of years ago, when you could persevere a bit further and reach the very Source from which that little water came. Moses, Jesus and Muhammad each experienced God directly. Why should they have any more privilege than you. Doesn’t God welcome us all into his love, into his Presence?
So the Divine Presence is how we can experience God, feel God in our hearts, and know God directly. When this real, we are in Paradise. Otherwise, we are on the outskirts and may not even realize that an experience of God is possible.
also: Divine Presence is the Immanence of God.
God has to be experienced, and this experience is usually one of the following qualities: energy, presence, love, peace, or Will to Good.
Mostly what we can experience of God in our world is one of the three primary Qualities – Power, Love, and Intelligence. Other related spiritual Qualities to experience are Peace, Beauty, Creativity, and Unity. We can find any of these seven Qualities in the world or in ourselves. They are in the mirror of manifestation and in the mirror of our own being. They are here in the world already, and also here in ourselves, yet mostly in small degrees of manifestation and realization. Mostly, these Qualities are hidden, unrealized, unactualized and unexpressed. So our role as human beings is to uncover, realize, actualize and express these spiritual qualities latent in the world and in ourselves.
Presence, Spirit, Essence, Love, and Consciousness Energy are all really the same. Beyond thought and beyond reaction is the transcending spaciousness of Spirit-Presence-Love, realized in the heart. This is our closest experience of God, and in meditational worship (zikr for the Sufis) the seeker keeps dissolving into this spaciousness; until there is nothing in consciousness but Spirit-Presence-Love, which also produces a transmutation of our vehicle-bodies.
is the following already said somewhere above?
The truest descriptions of God, from an experiential angle, are those in reference to the pervading and ever-present Presence-Essence-Spirit-Light-Love that is beyond all forms or images. This Presence, subtler than even the air, is about as close to God as can be experienced. Though this Presence-Spirit-Essence-Light-Love can be experienced as the true inner Self, as I Am, as well as be experienced surrounding and around oneself. In the pervasive Presence-Spirit sense of God, God is not a distant creator-being.
The other truest description of God is Open Mind, Open Heart. At first this simply seems a way for us to be, in order to be open to God-Presence. But also it describes an essential Being-Quality of God, which is Open Mind Open Heart; for this is How God is. It describes the Being-Experience of God, from God’s perspective. God is Open Mind and Open Heart; though from the God-experience these two are One. Only at our human level are Mind and Heart distinguished. They really are One at the core. So the implications of this are quite profound, because when we become Open Mind Open Heart, we can immediately know the God experience. Or in other words, we enter into God experience; which is nothing less than entering into God Itself. One would be a walking God; relative to the purity, clarity and intensity of this experience-state of Open Mind Open Heart. There is of course more to God than just this, but this is a very profound state of God-Being; which we can accomplish to a very high purity if we keep working at being this way. It is the goal and the practice.
How we experience the Divine will often change. One moment it is this way and another moment it is different. One reason is that the Divine reveals in diverse ways. The Divine is not static, nor is it monotone. Instead, the Divine is multifaceted and kaleidoscopic. So never falsely think that the Divine will only be revealed the same way. Any revelation is part of a wider diversity of revelation. Also, God Self-reveals according to what we need at the time. Each Self-revelation or disclosure is a guidance for us, a teaching, a wisdom. And in addition, divine experiences change over time because our own receptive capacities change. All of these are factors in different kinds of spiritual experience and different levels of experience. If we up our own level of receptive capacity and eliminate what obscures our knowing, we can then experience God at a higher deeper level than before.
The rain of Grace is upon us, the Grace which cleanses and loves us.
The practice of Deep Feeling
Go underneath the realm of thinking to an inner experience of Deep Feeling. This is a deep experience of Being-Presence-Feeling. Feeling is the key to really knowing God by direct experience. Western philosophies placed so much emphasis on knowing by way of the mind that knowing by feeling was almost completely neglected. Many mystical teachings suggest that one can know God. But too often a knowing by way of feeling is forgotten. Knowledge by feeling is considered a feminine approach in some esoteric models, but of course it is way for both men and women. We tend to think that knowledge is only acquired with the mind, yet we forget that many aspects of life are experienced by way of feeling. Real knowledge comes from experience, and we can have very profound experiences by way of deep feeling. We can experience our own self more deeply with feeling, and thereby we know ourselves more truthfully. But we can also experience God more deeply with feeling. Deep within is the Feeling of God. In other words, feel God inside. It’s different than thinking about God. It’s a direct experience and knowledge, but without words or thought. Or maybe just find Love inside; for this is God.
We can also experience God as the highest vibration of being – the highest vibration of our own being and the highest vibration of the space we are in. Tuning into the highest vibration is the best we can do in any moment. In any particular place it is possible to experience any range of vibrations, though in some places there are very high vibrations while in other places there are mostly lower vibrations. Still, each place or circumstance often offers a range of vibrations from higher to lower; so it is our choice as to which vibrations we will tune into. It is a good practice to intentionally tune into the highest. Sense what is the highest, feel what is the highest, then tune into this. For if we do not intentionally and consciously tune into the highest, the lower vibrations may tune into us and subconsciously we will fall into these lower vibrations. So in any place and in any circumstance we need to be awake to the highest vibration, or at least the highest potential. This protects us from the lower, and it also helps us ascend to higher levels of being and experience. So as we experience the higher, we are coming closer to God, since God is the highest of all vibration.
This can also be said of ourselves. In ourselves we should be tuning into the highest vibration as well. Too much time is spent in lower vibrations of oneself, lower levels of consciousness and experience. But to get out of these lower levels, or lower vibrations, requires a good amount of effort and commitment. One needs to stop wallowing in the lower, then re-focus the mind and re-orient the heart to that which is higher in oneself. This will feel like moving up a notch or two along the ladder of being. It also relates to moving up the chakras in the Yoga system. The very highest vibration and experience of oneself can rightly be called the soul. Yet once we reach this highest level of self, there is actually an ocean more of greater being to explore, which is the greater potential of self even beyond the level of soul. Our soul is the highest of being-vibration for this sphere called oneself; yet there is always greater in the realm of spiritual potential. Thus, once we move out from the lower into the highest of self, and our consciousness is at one with our soul, we are then soul-conscious; yet from here there are vast possibilities for further expansion of consciousness – all the way to experiencing God, the highest of all possibilities. This is why… when we search for the highest vibration and experience, in ourselves and in any circumstance, we are already approaching God – the highest of all possible experience. To seek the highest in ourselves or in the world, we can seek highest love, or the highest knowing, or the highest vibration. These are different approaches to reach the same goal.
There is a further note to this discourse, as one its themes has been how to experience God the Divine. We must note that there are different senses for experiencing the Divine. One is vision, whereby the Divine is experienced as Light, or sometimes one has visionary dreams or clairvoyant sight or meditative perceptions. Another sense is hearing, whereby one may hear fundamental universal sounds such as Hu or Om or Ah as primary sounds of God. One may also hear music, melodies or harmonies or rhythms, as experiences of Divine Qualities. One may also hear inner discourses or truths from the Divine Intelligence, just as Mohammad heard truths from God through an Angel. Other senses can also be involved with experiencing the Divine. Many have spoken about having a taste the Divine. Many say that the Divine is sweet. Many say that goodness tastes much different from badness. This seems very close to how vibration might be experienced. Another vibrational sense would be spiritual smell. Smell along with taste are often applied metaphorically as senses of spiritual discernment, such as tasting or smelling what is good rather than bad. The good always smells good; so God must have the finest, best smell. And we associate certain flower and fruit smells with divine qualities. The fifth spiritual sense is sentient feeling. God and the Divine can be felt. One can feel God, especially in the heart. One can feel love, and love is truly Divine, truly God. One can feel vibration and feel love, so through feeling we can experience God.
knowing God with heart
The non-dimensional Source, which is everywhere and particularly at the center of every being, is one way of knowing God. It’s the center point within the heart of each person. When seeking to know our self we circumambulate this center, and we listen to what is revealed through it. Yet we can also go into this Source Point. Or, we might realize ourself in it, rather than just being an effect of it or a petal of it. So once we are inside this most central Point, a vast spaciousness of heart consciousness opens up. And we may realize our Divine Identity, or that God is the One Who IS consciousness and Who IS the Experiencer. So there is a vast spaciousness of consciousness within the non-dimensional Source Point, God, (from Whom dimension arises), and this IS Oneself, True Beingness.
This heart consciousness has also been called the Eye of the Heart, which is the True Seer in life. Yet our regular mind very seldom recognizes this as oneself, because mind is normally wrapped up in more surface level thoughts.
I am the eye of my heart, the inner consciousness of my heart, and the Eye of my heart is God.
When inside the non-dimensional Point of the Heart, an unbounded spaciousness opens up. It then ceases to be a Point, as it were, but is now an unbounded spaciousness of Light. One has ceased to journey inside towards the innermost centre, because now our self-consciousness (the self or I that is meditating) is not outside of the innermost heart centre. I am now Light-filled Spaciousness Itself, or the unbounded Love Consciousness Itself, or Infinite Heart-Mind, depending on how we describe this.
First be in the experience and allow it to be; before moving back to the mental thought level of describing it. Our analytic mind seeks to describe such experiences with ideas and language, and this is natural for that level of mind. Descriptions are useful to help us understand these experiences in a larger Model of metaphysics and psychology, which can then also be shared as it is here. But in order to actually reach these deeper levels of experience and remain there for an extended time, the mind has to be willing to surrender its usual tendency to think about, describe, or internally verbalize about the experiences. People who tend to be thinkers, with that thinking function more dominate, have a more difficult chasm to leap over, because they will often want to describe or internally verbalize about what’s going on. Whereas more simple people can more easily sit for hours in these deep meditational states, without any thought or any inner attempts to explain the experience. One key for the thinking type of person is that once certain kinds of experiences are sufficiently explained by the analytic mind or put adequately into a descriptive model, then the mind can let go of itself because it has already done its job and knows where it is.
meditation: being a clear mirror so that there is only presence and vibration of place in experience.