a mere experience, a Realization of any degree involves
a fundamental and
permanent shift in one's sense of reality
is your sense of Reality right now? Odds are that, in spite of any "spiritual
experiences" you may have had at one time or another in your life, the direct
and tangible awareness of God or a Greater Reality is not your experience in this
moment, and is not your constant or even regular experience.
this is so, then regardless of all those meditation classes, regardless of all
the spiritual reading you've done, it has not amounted to a Spiritual
that is, a fundamental and permanent shift in your sense
of reality, and all your conclusions about it. Every experience has
its limit, because it doesn't fundamentally change the experiencer.
is not to say that most people open to the possibility of growth don't experience
some kind of shift in their sense of reality. For example, thinking of one particular
friend of mine, perhaps one used to feel most people were idiots, and now one
feels much more compassion for people (in part having seen one’s own liabilities,
but perhaps also just because of a general increase in one’s sensitivity to one’s
own suffering and the suffering of others). This is good! And it is a realization
of a kind (a small "r"), if it takes the form of a permanent, positive shift in
one’s relationship to others. But as good and necessary as human maturation is
(and it is indeed a necessity at the beginning of genuine spiritual practice),
why settle for little "r" realization alone? Big "R" Realization is available
to you as well! The shift in sense of Reality that is a Big "R" Realization is
profound. It is literally a shift in Identity. All the realizations associated
with being merely the physical body are still little "r" realizations. But you
are also Spirit (as is everything and everyone). And you are the Consciousness
in which the universe is arising.
is a very useful yardstick by which to measure our current realization, and our
own life goals! Does anything we are engaging in now have the purpose of Realizing
Perfect Happiness? Even close? Probably not.
genuine Spiritual process is all about Spiritual Realizations, permanent
shifts in one's sense of Reality. Such Realizations are the milestones by which
one can mark one's actual progress in the process, and the process culminates
in the Ultimate Realization of Most Perfect God-Realization (which we described
briefly in the last section).
should be said that here are profound cultural and religious taboos against God-Realization.
Simply put, these stem from the misconception of God as "Creator", rather than
God as "Source". In the former view, anyone who says "I Am God" is committing
sacrilege, because built into the viewpoint is an unbridgeable gap between Creator
and creature. Even mystics speaking of "communion with God" has been risky business
throughout the course of the Great Tradition, but most of them survived that confession
without torture or excommunication for heresy, and a few were even officially
recognized as saints.
worth considering for a moment the common uses of the word, "realization". Two
common uses are worth looking at.