The purpose of life is to become radiantly aware. Once there is a sufficient depth of self-reflection and purification, awareness reveals its divine nature and penetrates the confusions of the human mind. Awareness then becomes wisdom, love and vitality all at once.
AN INTEGRAL AND PRACTICAL APPROACH
In this teaching, a human being is understood as an integral spiritual being that has several aspects, which cannot be separated from each other. Although our essential nature is consciousness, it is consciousness expressing itself in and through a human psyche or soul, along with a body.
It is vital, in our spiritual awakening, to realize the transcendent nature of the spirit or pure consciousness. This sets us free of the solely material and mental sense of self. But it remains the case that this transcendent consciousness is simultaneously manifesting as a human psyche (mind) and body.
Therefore, when we speak of spiritual peace, wisdom, love and sanity, we are speaking not only of the essential qualities of consciousness, but also of these qualities as being demonstrably manifest (or not) in our own psychology and experience. For example, it is of no use for me to claim that consciousness, or the spirit, is always in pure peace and acceptance, unless I, myself, am enjoying this peace. In other words, claims about absolute truth, on their own, are relatively irrelevant. We are aiming to directly know our spiritual nature to have our psychology by transformed by it. The fruits of this knowing are wisdom, love, sanity, meaning and vitality in action.
REAL SELF AND NATURE
In this teaching there is no getting rid of your real self, which is made of pure consciousness or eternal spirit. The spiritual self is indeed far more expansive, radiant and intelligent than our false, mental notion of ourselves. It is certainly not nothing.
In this teaching I make a clear distinction between the false, mental idea of self and the real, spiritual, conscious self or essence. Our real self can be called pure consciousness, awareness, conscious presence or spirit. I consider these terms entirely synonymous. There are no levels or layers of the self. Our self is the universal conscious principle (I Am) that gives each of us the sense of absolute existence, intelligence and awareness. Contrary to certain very abstract spiritual approaches, there is no such thing as going beyond the I Am into a yet more absolute nothingness. Such ideas only keep people chasing an illusory notion of freedom. The real I Am is not a concept or image we hold to. It is our directly known reality.
Our problem is not that we exist as conscious beings. The problem is only that we do not know, live and understand our real nature. We therefore live in a state of unconsciousness, inauthenticity, emotional reactivity and alienation from others. We tend to imagine ourselves as tragically broken or flawed. Awakening means to reverse all of this by using the light of observing -- the aware, subtle, intelligent nature of our consciousness. This brings stillness, love and authenticity to our being.
OBSERVING & ACTION
Observing is our nature. Observing is not done by the mind; it is done by awareness. When we first get in touch with our conscious, observing nature, our awareness seems to be wavering and a bit unclear. Yet even at the beginning, recognizing our observing awareness can bring a great influx of peace as the sense of inner space opens up in self-recognition. From then on our attention will be naturally brought back again and again to the fact of inner observing. Over time, our sense of awareness will become more lucid and powerful.
The purpose of observing is to realize the transcendent, unitive, conscious nature of the observer. We do this by reflecting on our nature and by using awareness to see through delusions.
We have to use inner observing to stop identifying exclusively with thoughts and feelings. As we gain liberating insight into the mind, we are also more able to act courageously in our lives. Insight clarifies action. But sometimes, we must take action even if we do not feel entirely clear. We must act on our best insight and then learn from the results.
By practicing observing and taking action, we gradually learn to act from clarity rather than from reactive emotion or fear. Eventually, wisdom becomes so deep that right action becomes quite effortless and spontaneous.
The emphasis on taking courageous action in our lives ensures that Life will put our wisdom to the test. As we learn to come from the clarity and stillness of conscious presence, we will embody real love instead of reactive emotions. This love is simply the natural well-being, stillness and energetic radiance of conscious presence.