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Perceiving the Transcendent In All Things


In spiritual theory, there are two primary aspects of the world: the Absolute and the Relative. The Absolute is the Transcendent, the Divine Reality and groundless ground of being. It doesn't look like anything we've seen or can conceive of because it is the source and ground of everything we've seen and can conceive of. No idea can conceive of it and no tongue has soiled it. The Transcendent is truly Transcendent. The Relative world, on the other hand, is the world of things and rocks and people. It is creation, as well as the place where all things exist in a co-dependent, relational way. For this reason it is also called the world of duality: the world of up and down, alive and dead, tall and short. There can be no dead without alive, no tall without short, no up without down. All things in the Relative world exist as a product of relationships, that is why it is called the Relative.

One of the most important meditations in spiritual practice is to recognize the Divine in everything, or in other words, recognize the Absolute in the Relative. In the rocks and trees, in the ocean and mountains, in the sunset, and in every single person. But how do we do so if we can't ever know what the Absolute, or the Transcendent truly is?

The only way we can know about the Transcendent is by starting with relative qualities, things we can feel and see and know. One thing that is certain about our relationship with the Transcendent is that is not just the ground of being, and that which all things have in common, but it is the ground of our own being, the heart of our own hearts, and therefore its qualities become apparent when we meditate on the most fundamental part of our mind and heart. When we do so, we come to know that the Transcendent expresses itself to us in two primary qualities: Transcendent Awareness or Knowing, and Transcendent Love or Radiance and Bliss. Transcendent Awareness, or Knowing, or Understanding, is not a knowing of something or someone, but rather pure consciousness itself, the most fundamental quality of receptivity to experience. Just like a pure and clear mirror, this Awareness is the mere quality of reflecting in understanding anything that comes to our awareness. The other aspect is Transcendent Love, Radiance, or Bliss. This is the expressive quality of the Divine, that which radiates in all directions from our heart and in all things, as the spontaneous creative act. And these two, Transcendent Awareness and Transcendent Love, are totally One. When you truly find one you are not without the other. They are two aspects of the same Transcendent truth that is Transcendent of even those two. In this way we find a gateway to knowing the Absolute that is beyond all knowing. This is the nature of the Transcendent as we experience it within ourselves as the ground of our very being and the heart of hearts.

Now, in order to recognize the way in which we understand the Transcendent in all things, we first recognize it as an experience of either Transcendent Awareness, Transcendent Love, or a mixture of the two. Maybe we simply have a notion or intuition of these qualities being attributed to some idea of God we were taught when we were little. Next, to reflect on and cultivate a familiarity with these qualities as being the nature of our own mind, and heart, and depth, as well as the fundamental nature of everything around us, is the next step. It is especially easy to recognize the Divine in all things in nature, since we are receptive to the feeling of harmony nature gives us, which is itself an expression of the Transcendent. Slowly over time, and also at times maybe through sudden insight or awakening, you will realize the Divine nature of reality and the very bliss of existence itself.

There are also three aspects or dimensions to describe the experience of knowing the Transcendent. The first is the Absolute, that which is no-thing, Utterly Beyond, Transcendent, Beyond all Concepts and Thoughts. From this perspective there is no Relative world at all! There is no real Relative world from this perspective, since the Absolute is the only thing that is Truly Real. The next step is to recognize the Transcendent as the Relative. Since all things are grounded in the Absolute, everything is literally an expression of the Absolute. Like waves on an ocean, every wave is a tree or a house or a person, and the ocean is the Absolute. In this way we know the Absolute in the Relative through the qualities of Transcendent Awareness and Love. In this place all things are One, all things are the same ultimately. The Third Dimension is the Mere Relative, which is the fact that a ball of lint is just a ball of lint and your mom is your mom. There is difference, both physically as well as emotionally and meaningfully. You love you mom more than a ball of lint, even though both the ball of lint and your mom are equally the Transcendent, ultimately speaking, equally waves in the ocean of the Transcendent. In this way not all things are equal, but some things are more important than others, more meaningful than others. In this perspective or dimension the undifferentiated, equal, universal meaning of the Transcendent becomes differentiated into specific things and meanings and the dramas of our lives.

The final thing to realize is that these three dimensions or perspectives, that of the Absolute, The Absolute as the Relative, and the Mere Relative, are all One Reality. All three are true, all three are seeing the True Reality from different perspectives. Some tend to emphasize the Mere Relative without having any notion of the Transcendent. Others emphasize the Transcendent and disregard creation. But all three compose the world we live in. The Absolute does not achieve its greatest fulfillment without creation, and creation does not achieve its greatest fulfillment without the Transcendent. Spirituality is the celebration of this fundamental relationship. May you come to know the Transcendent and the Relative worlds as being always in union, and may you therefore come to recognize the Divinity of all things in your world.

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