What is the Real World?
Our special theme speaks of two phases of awakening. The first is “quiet eyes” and “a mind at peace.” This is the mind that sees the real world, which “is a symbol, like the rest of what perception offers.”
The second phase of awakening occurs when God takes “His final step, and time has disappeared, taking perception with it as it goes, and leaving but the truth to be itself.”
Contemplate the teaching in our special theme alongside this description from a Catholic contemplative, Bernadette Roberts. It is from her book, The Experience of No-Self:
Within the traditional framework, the Christian notion of loss-of-self is generally regarded as the transformation or loss of the ego (lower self) as it attains to the higher or true self in its union with God. … Thus there is no longer any sense of “my” life, but rather “our” life—God and self. In this abiding state, God, the “still-point” at the center of being, is ever accessible to the contemplative gaze—a point from which the life of self arises and into which it sometimes disappears. But this latter experience of loss-of-self is only transient; it does not constitute a permanent state …
Because this was the limit of my expectations, I was all the more surprised and bewildered when many years later I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, no higher self, true self or anything that could be called a self. … In main, I am convinced that the contemplative life is composed of two distinct and separate movements…
The first movement is toward self’s union with God … wherein the emphasis is on interior trials and dark nights by which the self is established in a permanent union with God, the still-point and axis of its being. In this process we discover that self is not lost; rather, a new self is revealed that functions from the deepest, innermost divine center.
Following this first movement is an interval during which this union is tested by a variety of exterior (not interior) trials whereby this oneness is revealed in all its enduring depths of stability and toughness against all forces that would move, fragment, or disturb its center… [It is] actually the preparation for a great explosion—a quiet one, however—that ushers in another major turning-point. … [A] point is reached where the self is so completely aligned with the still-point that it can no longer be moved, even in its first movements, from this center. It can no longer be tested by any force or trial, nor moved by the winds of change, and at this point the self has obviously outworn its function; it is no longer needed or useful, and life can go on without it. …
The onset of this second movement is characterized by the falling away of self and coming upon “that” which remains when it is gone. … The immediate, inevitable result is an emergence into a new dimension of knowing and being that entails a difficult and prolonged readjustment. The reflexive mechanism of the mind—or whatever it is that allows us to be self-conscious—is cut off or permanently suspended so the mind is ever after held in a fixed now-moment out of which it cannot move in its uninterrupted gaze upon the Unknown.
Eternal holiness abides in me.
Today’s lesson speaks of our holiness, “which is far beyond my own ability to understand or know.” The lesson says, “Illusions can obscure it, but can not put out its radiance, nor dim its light. It stands forever perfect and untouched. … And I can know my holiness.”
Today, contemplate where you are in the process of coming to know the eternal holiness that abides in you.
- Are you in the purification stage, which is primarily involved with noticing false thinking, beliefs and conditioning and letting them go?
- Are you in the stage of merging, which is primarily involved with perfecting your abidance with the right-mind (spiritual intuition)?
- Are you in the stage of true perception, where merging has been perfected, and now you wait quietly for God to take His final step?
Also, based on where you are in this process, what is your primary function now?
If you have 30 minutes for meditation, I recommend this meditation today: