Reflections on Reality
Reality flows through each and every one of us in a tidal wave of infinite expression. We often miss the miracle of this manifestation because we somehow expect “It” to be something other than who and what we already are.
Reality is not an abstract, theoretical construct. It is nothing more or other than the totality of our experience within the Infinite present. Every experience we have can serve as unique and miraculous windows into understanding the nature of the Infinite.
The value of this reflection and its exploration lies in the discovery of Essence and Presence—within the present moment—and in the gradual realization of our fullest human potential. It is an opportunity to discover more of who we are, at the truest and most fundamental level.
When we allow ourselves to experience the deep levels of knowing that are inherent within us, the door opens for experiencing broader and deeper levels of Reality. It is this underlying Reality that is inviting all of us to a more perceptive and profound relationship with All That Is. The fact that we do not recognize this simply means we haven’t yet perceived or realized the immanence and immediacy of the Real.
Reality cannot be avoided, simply because it is All That Is. This includes our untapped potentiality, as well as our unperceived and unrecognized dimensions of being. Allowing ourselves the freedom to intuit this understanding, and to feel our way into the immediacy of the Real, is the greatest act of faith and insight we can muster. It is a courageous step that will be richly rewarded with nothing less than the Essence and totality of All That Is.
If I see myself connected to and participating within a larger, broader, multidimensional reality, I begin to recognize the power of my own choosing within the present moment. Additionally, a door opens to the possibility of discovering a much grander and inherent potential, both within myself and within my experience of reality.
The reality we experience is the one we define and shape through our beliefs and our perceptual filters. When these beliefs and perceptual filters change, our experience of reality is inevitably transformed.
Within each of us, there is a larger Reality of which we are usually not aware. However, in moments of heightened consciousness, this Reality reveals itself as our intrinsic Awareness, in profound experiences of pure and inexpressible grace. From that point forward, our lives are powerfully and forever transformed.
We usually think of “reality” as something substantial and tangible “out there,” something theoretically “objective” to which we must ultimately be accountable. However, I would maintain that reality includes the totality of our experience—including all the insubstantial, “subjective,” subtle, and intuitive promptings of which we are usually unaware. In reflecting upon the nature of Reality, we must be careful not to ignore and overlook these subtle levels of experience, by focusing our attention solely on the more obvious, “outer” levels of the human condition.
The ultimate test of any theoretical position or conceptual framework is how well it holds up in the face of our own subjective experience in the “real” world. This approach makes a case for using our subjective experience (at least a partial measure) to confirm the validity of any conceptual theory concerning the nature of reality.
Reality is much more inclusive than we can ever imagine it to be. Reality, as we experience it in the present moment, is our doorway into the Infinite.
“Awareness is all.” —Sunyata
Understanding that “Awareness is all” is one of the keys to dis-cerning the nature of Realization. Recognizing that Awareness is the fundamental Essence of who we are, and of Reality, allows us to place our individualized experience and consciousness within a larger context and broader perspective.
Awareness is the backdrop against which all of our individual consciousness and experience arises. As such, it is the unmoved, ever present Essence of All That Is. Though we become involved with, or even distracted by, that which appears within the field of individualized consciousness or human experience, yet within the midst of all this mental and physical activity, our inherent, Natural Awareness remains the undisturbed constant.
At the most essential and fundamental level, we are not separate from this pure, unconditioned Awareness. It is our root identity, manifesting within the present moment. It is who and what we are, and it is from within this level of Natural Awareness that a recognition of the completeness and perfection of our fundamental and Essential nature can arise.
In contrast, consciousness (as I prefer to use the term) is the active dimension of mind and emotion—busy, restless and wandering. Consciousness is naturally characterized by movement and activity; Awareness transcends the distinction between movement and stillness.
Consciousness is inherently personal and individualized, while Awareness is comprehensively nondual. The field of consciousness and its content constitutes the “foreground” of our individual experience, while Awareness is the fundamental “background,” manifesting through and within All That Is.
The key to recognizing our fundamental and essential nature is the experiential Realization that human consciousness has no separate existence independent or apart from this fundamental Background of Awareness. We are never separate from the Natural Awareness we experience within the present moment.
Since Infinite Awareness is the backdrop for all individual human experience, the conscious mind has “access” to this inherent Awareness within every moment. In fact, the individual identity—the personality or ego—cannot exist in the absence of this fundamental, essential Awareness. Wherever the individual “I” appears, it is as a reflection of our inherent, Natural Awareness. In fact, the “I,” or individual identity, is nothing other than a reflection of our natural, unitive Awareness within the limits of human consciousness. Recognizing this is simply a matter of focusing our attention (individual consciousness) upon our innate Essence (Awareness).
The Open Secret
Namkhai Norbu has described Natural Awareness as the “open secret”:
“This is the open secret, which all can discover for themselves. We live our lives, as it were ‘inside out,’ projecting the existence of an ‘I’ as separate from an external world, which we try to manipulate to gain satisfaction. But as long as one remains in the dualistic state, one’s experience has always underlying it a sense of loss, of fear, of anxiety, and dissatisfaction. When, on the other hand, one goes beyond the dualistic level, anything is possible.”
—The Crystal and the Way of Light, by Namkai Norbu (page 68)
The key, then, is to recognize the limitations inherent within dualistic perception, and begin to identify with the larger part of who we are—i.e., with the essential, fundamental, underlying background of Awareness, which is the field within which all consciousness and multiplicity appear.
As long as our self-identification is limited to the individual personality, mind, or ego (i.e., as long as it is limited by the dualism inherent in maintaining an individual perspective), we remain frustrated by the inevitable limitations inherent within an individualized identity.
However, when we begin to shift our attention and identification toward that larger dimension of who we are, i.e., toward our fundamental and essential nature (pure, unconditioned, Natural Awareness), much of our individualized anxiety and restlessness will begin to fall away. Then, we gradually begin to realize that the essence of Reality is not separate from who/what we are at the most fundamental and essential level. And, we recognize the freedom inherent within pure Awareness: the innate freedom to flow through our experience, exactly as it is, without resisting whatever arises.
Acknowledging the absolute completeness and perfection of Reality, as it manifests within our own innate Awareness, enables us to see the frustrations and limitations of individual experience within their larger context. We see that they are not separate from Reality (All That Is), and as such, they, too, are a manifestation of this vast and infinite wholeness. Even personal, individual desires and the choices we make to change “unacceptable” circumstances ultimately can be accepted and recognized as part of the essential and fundamental perfection and completeness of All That Is.
From a talk by Metta Zetty. Metta shares her insights on the “Awakening into Awareness” website