Absolute Reality – A Starting Place For Learning

Posted by Bonnie Rose on Jan 5, 2021
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As human beings, making our way in a complex world, we naturally want to make sense of life. We do this by unconsciously picking one perspective and clinging to it. We say, “This is Truth,” when really it is just true for us.

Your “truth” depends on your perspective. Perspective influences our seeing and our relationship with what is.

It’s not wrong to have a perspective. We don’t have to labor to eliminate them. We all have perspectives that help us navigate. But we can apply skillfulness to our relative perspectives. When we refrain from clinging to our perspectives, this creates room for others.

In back of all perspectives, all relative truth is Absolute Reality. Absolute Reality, or pure awareness is the Truth that encompasses all perspectives, all possibilities. It is the consciousness that says “yes – and.”

Mystics use words like Absolute Reality, Awareness, Consciousness, Source, or in my case “Rumi’s Field” as a synonym for God. Please feel free to translate spiritual terms into words that work for you. Your expanding awareness is far more important than terminology.

Expanding Awareness. Yes. The small self, captivated by relative illusion, struggles to embrace the concept of Absolute Reality. In fact, Heisenberg says “Reality is not only stranger than we think; it is stranger than we can think;" but the embrace of the Absolute will help us invoke the Third Force. So here we have provided 4 questions to begin an embodied understanding of the Infinite Divine that simultaneously is nothing and everything.

1. Is the glass half full or half empty?
Imagine that you have a glass in front of you. Pour liquid into it so that the glass is half full. Or is it? The glass is also half empty. Sit with this imagery; then consider the contents of the glass.

If the glass is filled with a drink that you crave, the glass may seem to be half empty. There is not enough. But if the glass is filled with something that you will not enjoy, say Castor Oil, the glass may feel half full. There is too much.

The answer to the question is the glass half full or half empty is always yes in terms of the Absolute. The Absolute holds all realities. But our relative perceptions, opinions, and identifications shape our experience of the glass.

2. Is it a Cloudy or a Sunny Day?
Imagine that you are at the nearest airport, waiting for a plane. There are clouds in the sky. You board the plane and take off. The plane climbs above the clouds and the sun shines. In your city, is it a cloudy or a sunny day? The answer is yes. It depends on your perspective, your position in Reality.

Metaphorically, we do not need to identify with the clouds or the sun. Rather we identify with the Source of all weather conditions, which is Absolute. Our over-identification with our own perspective, mistakenly calling it Absolute Truth, limits our availability to the source of all.

3. Are you a drop in the ocean or the ocean in a drop?
Mother Teresa says, “what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.” Rumi says, “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” Who is correct? Are you a drop in the ocean or the ocean in a drop? The answer is yes.

The mystical teacher Rupert Spira offers this exercise to make the same point. He suggests that we take a piece of 8 x 11 paper and cut a hole in the center of it. There is a space in the paper. We can hold it up to our eye and see through the space. But if we step back and soften our gaze, we can see that while there is a space in the paper, the paper is also in space – infinite space that extends beyond our capacity to perceive.

Is there a space in the paper or is the paper in space? Yes.

4. Is it too big or too small?
We don’t have to take Reality all that seriously. I include this example because it is both personal and comical.

My husband and I once lived in New York City. I loved being there, because of the culture and diversity of experiences. We moved to a small town, Santa Paula and I was perplexed by what I perceived as lack. Santa Paula was too small because there was no opera, no fancy boutiques, and I couldn’t get take-out cold sesame noodles at 2 am.

Then we rescued a goat named Blondie. Blondie butted her way out of our backyard one day and went on a rampage through Santa Paula. When I discovered that she was missing, as my husband and I prepared to go on a goat hunt, Santa Paula flipped on me. Suddenly what was once too small was too big. There were so many opportunities there for a goat – yards, foliage, a football field – everywhere. I was afraid we would never find our sweet holy goat.

We did find Blondie, through determination and intuition, asking “what would a goat do?” Blondie had wandered several blocks away and set up an impromptu petting zoo in someone’s backyard. We took her home and secured our fence. Blondie lives on a farm now, but I think of her often. I ask, “Is it too big or too small.” The answer is always yes.

Strangely, once I stopped judging Santa Paula, a new perspective opened for me. It was no longer “too small,” or “too big.” The relative size of Santa Paula was always “just right” for the circumstances of the evolving consciousness at hand. This spaciousness rippled out to release life from the burden of other judgments I was holding. The release of the relative and the willingness to “touch the hem of the garment of the Infinite Absolute” brought abundant gifts and possibilities.

Why are these stories important?

Anything that loosens our “death-grip” on relative truth helps us navigate differences as it opens us to Truth beyond truth. Ajahn Amaro tells a story about a gathering at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Fundamentalist Christians picketed the gathering, hoping to convert perceived others to their religion. Rather than drive them away, the master teacher, Hsuan Hua invited them in. Once inside, the hosts offered their guests the finest hospitality. They invited the Christians to participate in the last talk of the day.

During this talk, the master asked this question: “Which religion is the best religion?” I’m sure both the monks and visiting Christians waited with bated breath to hear the “right” answer, the answer that matched their reality. The master asked the question again and this time he gave the answer: “Which religion is the best religion?.... Why yours, of course.”

May we remember that Reality is too great for one-size-fits-all. And so it is.

(Blondie, the Holy Goat)

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Comments (4)

  • Victoria Crawford wrote ...

    Love this piece Bonnie. Such clear, simple and lovely examples. I was thinking of my grandson as I read this. At 8 years old he is already finding situations where holding so firmly to one perspective is not helpful....ie...what a friend said on the playground and how he perceived it. This piece and your examples, esp. Blonie's story will be most helpful...thank you!

  • Beth Brown wrote ...

    Thank you for the concrete examples, very helpful in understanding the concept better. As I apply these thoughts to the polarities I am struggling with in life currently, I can feel the resistance to step outside my side of the polarity. I think the resistance comes from the disconnection I feel from others when I step outside polarity - everyone wants to me to take a stand or choose a side, and when I do not or pose questions for them to consider stepping outside the polarity, they back away from me and the discussion. And then I feel alone. What to do about this, I wonder?

  • Jean Debrosse wrote ...

    Don't we choose naturally the easiest way? Wy then to consider a second thought if the first one satisfies us?....Until... I realise that it's uncomplete or “wrong”...By the way: None of the models, theories we are using are complete or true.From a scientific point of view, considering the context is dialectical (there is much more absence than dots)and emerges only when rational thinking is completed.

  • Patty Smitherman wrote ...

    Lovely writing, Bonnie! I think that we cling to our perspective out of fear of the unknown. We prefer safety which preference in the extreme can lead us to violence against the other. How to acknowledge and hold 'both and' is a challenge.