Living Realization: A direct discovery within your own life, right here, right now!
To the best of your ability, just put everything you have ever learned about human freedom or happiness aside long enough to hear the message of Living Realization. Start anew!
Let’s get to the crux of the Living Realization method itself, which is a constant reminder that only you hold the key to this indestructible contentment that we call “the Living Realization.” No one can give it to you, not even the clearest path, method, or teaching in the world.
Let every word you read in this text disappear as soon as you read it. Let the words be like breezes that blow through your mind only long enough to remind you to recognize awareness in all situations.
The main invitation in Living Realization is this:
Let all appearances be as they are
See that appearances are inseparable.
There are many other pointers, tools, inquiries, and words in this text, but these simple points above are really all you need to recognize freedom in the midst of your life.
You will often read that Living Realization is about recognizing freedom, love, peace, compassion, and wisdom. But what does that mean? Those are just ideas.
We must start with something much more basic than these esoteric words. We must start with basic, everyday awareness. What is awareness? Right now, before you entertain your story of who you are and before any other thought arises, there is a basic awake, non-conceptual presence that is here.
Stop for one moment and bring your full attention on this basic awareness. It is what allows the present moment to effortlessly be as it is. Notice that when you are not thinking, this basic awareness simply allows, for example, the wall to be as it is. It naturally allows a table to be as it is. It naturally allows the air in the room to be as it is. It takes no effort to let everything be as it is. Discover this for yourself. Stop thinking long enough to get one glimpse of the fact that there is a basic awareness already here. All you have to do is notice that it is here. Then notice that when a thought arises, this basic awareness allows even that thought to be as it is.
The more we return to this basic awareness, over and over, throughout the day, the more we see that it is always and already present. We discover for ourselves exactly what the words freedom, love, peace, compassion, and wisdom are really referring to. They are referring to our own, innate experience in the here and now. These words have nothing to do with something we find later in our story. Our only job is to start looking into the present moment and recognize that awareness is inherent in our experience no matter what is appearing to awareness.
At first, this awareness may not seem like a big deal at all. Perhaps thoughts rush right back in very quickly, one after the other, and take over your attention. But that one glimpse of life without thought is actually monumental. It is nothing short of a doorway to this inherent freedom, love, peace, compassion, and wisdom.
Chapter One is devoted only to recognizing this basic, everyday awareness in your own direct experience. We encourage you to take your time with Chapter One. Reread it several times, if necessary. Look to where the words are pointing in your experience. Do not try to understand awareness intellectually. It cannot be grasped intellectually. Just follow the pointers in Chapter One.
The remaining Chapters direct us to seeing that our entire experience, in every moment, is inseparable. This means that life is nondual in nature. Nonduality is the realization that, despite appearances to the contrary, separation on every level, in every way we experience it, is not real.
Separation appears only because thought appears. And because we process life almost exclusively through thinking, a belief in separation has formed in humanity. This is a deeply held belief. It is very persistent.
Chapters Two through Seven discuss “appearances.” An appearance is anything that temporarily comes and goes to basic everyday awareness. Through straightforward talk throughout this text, we come to see that all appearances come and go inseparably within awareness. This reveals the natural inseparability inherent in our experience.
Inseparability just means the realization that separation is nothing more than a belief system. And every belief is thought-based. In allowing all thoughts to be as they are, and recognizing awareness as the basic space in which thoughts come and go, we rely less and less on thinking. We rely more and more on simple, basic, everyday awareness. In Living Realization, we come to see through the belief in separation embedded in the thought stream. We live in the direct experience that there are no real divisions in life. This releases us from the three faces of human misery: suffering, seeking, and conflict.
If you are having trouble “getting” what these words are saying, just relax. This is an entire text and method designed to help you relax naturally into this realization. Some may recognize awareness and inseparability very quickly. For others, the unfolding may be more gradual. But everyone comes to see that Living Realization is a present, lived experience. You will know it when it is realized. No one will have to verify it for you. Living Realization is self-authenticating. It leaves your firmly convinced—not intellectually—but experientially that you are fundamentally free at the core of your experience. Welcome to your freedom!
The Middle Way
Living Realization is also called “The Middle Way.” The Middle Way is freedom from dualistic extremes.
The belief in separation is an extreme view. Living Realization is a nondual message, designed to awaken us from this belief in separation into an experiential recognition of inseparability. This recognition, having freed us from the false belief in separation, allows us to move and act in the world in a new way, free from the sense of limitation in our lives. If, however, through the process of being involved with the Living Realization, we begin emphasizing viewpoints at the other end of the spectrum, such as “nothing exists,” we have gone too far. We have denied conventional existence completely. Living Realization is the lived experience of being free from these dualistic mental positions of “everything exists separately” and “nothing exists.”
Living Realization is not merely a conceptual viewpoint. It is an experiential recognition. It is a lived realization that changes us at the very core of our being. We come to know and live life free from dualistic extremes of every kind. Although Living Realization is not merely a conceptual viewpoint, in the beginning it is helpful to get a conceptual understanding of it. This introduction into the Middle Way is a way of conceptualizing Living Realization so that we know what the purpose of this text really is. By being introduced early to the concept of the Middle Way, the subsequent chapters will make more sense and will resonate more deeply. Conventional existence just means conceptual existence. We only experience separation when we believe our thoughts are pointing to separate things. In Living Realization, we come to see through that belief in separation, yet we see that thought still arises. And thought continues to be useful for purposes of communication. So we continue thinking but without the belief that thoughts are pointing to truly separate objects. In seeing through the belief in separation, we do not deny, dismiss, or repress thinking and duality. We see the illusory nature of duality. We see through it. We do not deny the mind. When we try to suppress thought, we are pretending that thought is a separate object, separate from awareness itself. As we will come to see, this is not the case. Thought is none other than awareness.
Therefore, in Living Realization, we are not making the mind into an enemy. We are seeing through a belief system, while continuing to use thinking for practical purposes. We continue speaking about I, me, self, other, we, the mind, the moon, England, and all other things, knowing that these things have no separate existence. They arise because thoughts arise. Simply stated, things are thoughts.
In Living Realization, we come to see that we are not of the world but are still in the world. We continue experiencing, in a conventional sense, people, places, bodies, relationships, communities, countries, religions and other things. Yet we see that none of these things exist separately. Nothing in the universe has the ability to split itself apart from the rest of the universe and exist on its own, in a vacuum. This is what we discover in Living Realization.
We find freedom in the midst of life, not freedom from life. We see through the sense of being separate selves. We do not deny being conventional selves. We do not deny our stories. We see that they are just stories.
We see through the notion that America exists as a separate thing. We do not stop referring to it as “America.” We are not denying or dismissing life and its radical diversity. This is critical. We see that we cannot deny the world because the world is nothing more than a play of appearances arising inseparably within awareness. Awareness and these appearances (i.e., the world) are inseparable. One cannot deny or split itself apart from the other.
An initial question might be, “If we are seeing through the belief in separation, how can we also embrace all duality? Aren’t those inconsistent statements?” At first glance, these statements do seem inconsistent. This is exactly why Living Realization cannot be kept as an intellectual discussion only. This realization is experiential. Once we get involved in Living Realization, we begin to recognize awareness as ever-present. We find that it is completely available and accessible within our own, direct experience. We find less and less need to emphasize conceptual viewpoints as “truth.” In this natural relaxation of viewpoints, thinking becomes more pliable and open. We find less and less need to stick to extreme viewpoints. Yet we find that we do not need to stop thinking or censor ourselves. We can speak openly and discriminate freely, knowing that we are speaking of conventional existence, not separate existence. As this text reveals, separate existence cannot be found. The moment we go looking for separate things, we find only thoughts, emotions, and sensations appearing inseparably to awareness.
How do we discover the Middle Way? In being involved in Living Realization, the Middle Way just shows up for us automatically and naturally. It becomes an effortless way of living. Getting involved with Living Realization is like jumping into a boat that feels very natural and comfortable from the start, yet not knowing where it is leading exactly. This section of the text is like a river map, allowing us to see the overall purpose of the Living Realization method before we start. At some point in this boat ride, we find that we are living the Middle Way, quite naturally. We do not seek the Middle Way as a future event. We find that the Middle Way is our present experience once the belief in separation is seen through, and as long as we do not deny thought and conventional existence. It is this experiential recognition that is necessary. Simply parroting ideas about the Middle Way or believing in Living Realization is not enough. The point is never to emphasize the concepts in Living Realization as ultimate truth. The truth of this text is not in the words. It lies in the freedom experienced by actually taking up the invitations in this book.
Once you are finished reading all the chapters in this text, or being involved in the course, come back to this section and re-read it. At that point, you will have more of an experiential recognition of the freedom to which the words “Middle Way” are pointing. Until then…
Here is a basic map revealing how we come to the Middle Way through this method:
1. We start out with the belief that we are separately existing selves in a world of other, separately existing things. Everyone who comes to Living Realization has this belief operating in one form or the other. In this belief, we heavily privilege separation because that is all we see—separate existence. The entire text is designed to help us see through this belief.
2. In Chapter One, we start with a very basic invitation to recognize awareness in all situations. This invitation becomes the entry point into seeing through the belief in separation.
3. Throughout the text, we come to see that things are mainly thoughts (although sensations and emotions also play a role). We only experience what appears as a separate object when a thought arises to label something, apparently dividing it off from everything else. In seeing that separation does not exist except in thought, the belief in separation starts being seen through.
4. Chapters Two through Eleven are a deep and specific look into our present experience. We discover that every object is inseparable from the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that “make it up.” And all thoughts, emotions, and sensations appear and disappear inseparably within awareness. This inseparability or seamless experiencing becomes the way in which we experience life in every moment.
5. In seeing through the belief in separation, while continuing to honor and refer to conventional existence, we experience the Middle Way, which is freedom from dualistic extremes. We see that the world is an inseparable appearance within awareness. We do not privilege the world over awareness or awareness over the world. We see that they are completely dependent upon one another.