Spiritual practice is primarily the cultivation of Presence, understanding, awareness and surrender. These are the capacities needed for the later stages of psychic metabolism. Awareness and understanding are needed for the purification of ego identification. The Presence and surrender are needed for the process of absorption itself. One learns to be open, vulnerable and present to one's experience, in order to allow effective metabolism. This means that one learns to be in direct contact with one's experience, which in turn requires the presence of the Personal Essence, which is the aspect which can make such direct contact without defensiveness. Thus, when one is realized as the Personal Essence, metabolism becomes a natural, spontaneously occurring process. Effective metabolism leads to the realization of the Personal Essence, and the Personal Essence, in its turn, makes metabolism a natural process of living. The life of the Personal Essence is a continuing, ever-expanding process of integration and individuation.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 168
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So at some point, we see that spiritual practice is a matter of learning reality, learning to recognize realness, learning to be real, and learning to be ourselves in our realness. And we see that we are only interested in learning these things if we have the appreciation and love of being real. We have to love being genuine to go through the trouble and the discipline of inner work. It is because we are being authentic, because we are approaching reality, because we are being touched by reality, that we love it and are willing to go through the various processes of acknowledging and seeing the truth—whether painful or scary or pleasurable.
The Unfolding Now, p. 7
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That is the trap, the paradox, of spiritual practice. You are trying to learn not to do anything, but the very fact that you are sitting implies that you are striving to accomplish something, to reach some kind of spiritual state, or maybe attain an enlightened condition. The moment we go in with that attitude, we are already pushing in our consciousness, in our soul; we are trying to make things go in a certain direction. An operation has been set in motion to achieve a certain result.
So even though our spiritual teachings tell us that there is nothing to accomplish, that isn’t real for us, so we keep manipulating our experience. We can’t help but feel that we need to accomplish being ourselves in some way. Now there is nothing new about that self-manipulation; even before we learned anything about spiritual work, we were always trying to change our everyday experience. We judged it and devalued it and tweaked it and squeezed it. We pushed it and pulled it and held on to it. We have always tried to make ourselves feel something that is different from how we actually feel, because we have it in our minds that however things are in our experience is not the way they should be.
The Unfolding Now, p. 22
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Inner practice is not boot camp. Boldness doesn’t mean pushing ourselves. It doesn’t demand that we jam ourselves into a particular place. The balanced combination of strength and kindness that we have been describing shows us that what we want to develop over time in our practice is a kind of bold vulnerability in which we’re kind and strong and courageous. Sometimes the kindness is more in the foreground. Sometimes the boldness is in the foreground. The boldness continues to be a courageous strength and adventurousness without becoming foolhardy, without becoming harsh. We’re not pushing ourselves, saying, “Okay, you wimp, why don’t you just move into this?” That’s not what I mean by being courageous. So that’s when the kindness is important. Kindness has attunement, a recognition of exactly where we are. And if we have strength as well, we will naturally allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be open to what’s arising and allow ourselves to be there and in the moment—whatever it is.
The Unfolding Now, p. 71
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To truly be where we are combines having the awareness of where we are, being the presence of where we are, and understanding the truth of where we are. When we bring those three elements together, being where we are becomes a practice that is necessary to become aware of the flow of being. You see, we are always someplace—one way or another, we are where we are—but we’re usually not aware of what that place is. We don’t get it; we don’t see it. Our attention, our awareness is scattered and distracted, involved with all kinds of peripheral, secondary manifestations.
However, once we can focus and recognize our primary manifestation, we locate ourselves. And, if we pay attention, we find that the primary manifestation of where we are continuously changes—it is a continuity, a flow. It is not static.
The Unfolding Now, p. 180
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