A.H. Almaas

Living Realization a Conversation with Adyashanti and A.H. Almaas

Many people have experienced some form of realization, such as dissolution of or dis-identification with body or ego and are beginning to recognize themselves as awareness. However, a fully embodied, lived, and expressed realization is another step altogether, and many seekers experience difficulties bridging this gap. What does it take for our understanding to fully penetrate body and mind and to be lived as a permanent reality wholly expressed in the world? How do our ideas of what it means to live life from one’s deepest realization get in the way of actually living it? Which difficulties do we encounter, which delusions and misunderstood ideas, and how do they limit realization itself? Are there useful descriptions of stages to realization, or do they actually hinder the spontaneous unfolding of presence?
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For most people, the enlightenment drive


awakens first through the head center, as what I call the “thought of enlightenment.” This is the usual entrance—the idea that there is such a thing as enlightenment, that there is the possibility of a spiritual life or experience and, simultaneously, the interest and motivation to pursue some kind of practice or seek some kind of teaching. The idea of enlightenment and the interest in enlightenment moves us toward the freedom and the experience of the quality of life with its higher values. For most people, that is how it begins, that is how the enlightenment drive wakes up.

However, if the heart is not involved in the drive toward truth, then the enlightenment drive doesn’t have adequate juice or fuel. When the drive wakes up in the heart center, it appears as love, compassion, and the irresistible passion for the truth of inner life. We experience this as love for truth, love for God, love for reality, or as compassion for the suffering of ourselves and others and the desire to do something about it, the recognition of the need to wake up, to be real, to make a difference. All these are different manifestations of service.


We are looking at two points of view here


a universal one and a personal one. On one side are the spiritual traditions which speak of a divine, universal life of freedom and enlightenment; on the other side is the rest of humanity who wants a certain kind of life—to be married, find satisfying work, have sex and to fulfill myriad other desires and wishes. Why can’t we do both? Why can’t we have this personal life and still be free? When you look at your deepest longing, isn’t that what you want? You want a normal life, and still to be happy and free; not just free on a mountain retreat, but free in your normal life.