By Alex Bunard, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

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What is Reality?

It is impossible to say what Reality is for a very simple reason: there is nothing else. Usually, we define any idea or concept by comparing it to something else. Thus, we establish the boundaries and impose some polarity onto the primordial mass of raw perception.
But when we talk about Reality, we immediately lose this ground, and consequently cannot describe it. There is nothing it could be compared to. There is nothing that is not Reality.
One may decide to challenge this view. For instance, one may feel the urge to "break free" from this vision of Reality, and to conceive the following: "This one Reality vision works fine if we imagine that the coherence of our Universe hangs together neatly. But what if we assume that there is another, totally different Universe that is totally separate from ours, and that is consequently subject to the completely different set of rules and logic?"
In the light of Reality, this argument amounts to nothing. Even if there is such a bizarre occasion (as an existence of a "parallel Universe") it would immediately be included in Reality. Whatever new we may discover, it's going to be included in Reality. Even the exclusion of something from Reality is included in Reality. This is an Absolute, a totalitarian discourse that doesn't sit well with philosophers and clear thinkers. But, that's how things are: it is Reality-as-is.

Reality Check

 In everyday parlance, reality check usually means that someone's overly optimistic attitude is going to be subjected to the stripping down in order to shake things out and bring them to bear the witnessing of the harsh reality. Here, we are intent on providing a very different definition.
Reality check states that there is a difference between seeing the Reality and being deluded. To perform a reality check is to test whether our views are deluded or real. How do we conduct this test?
We start from the understanding that Reality itself is not harmful. We are Reality, we were not brought into the Reality from some other place. It follows that if we are engaged in something that is truly real, we cannot feel excluded, distracted, neglected, abandoned, frustrated, vexed and anguished.
If our own actions make us feel that way, we can be sure that they are not stemming from Reality. We know that anguish only arises from being deluded.
This is actually very simple, and the test itself is absolutely infallible. However, in almost all cases when this reality check is applicable, our minds have the tendency to complain bitterly.

The Terror of Rational Thinking

Rational thinking is an amazing tool. It would appear that only human beings have access to this tool. But, it is very important to keep in mind that it is only a tool, and nothing else. Upon mastering this way of thinking, we invariably display the tendency to get so fascinated with it, that we attach strongly to it. This is something we should not simply gloss over, because it tends to quickly take over and to start ruling our lives from the ground up.
Why would this be necessarily bad? Well, by identifying with our creation (i.e. with our ability to think rationally) we actually submit to it. We let the part become the ruler of the whole. Our rational thinking is smaller than we are; it has originated from us, it is downstream from the source of our being. And yet, we somehow (magically?) always manage to assign to it some supernatural qualities and to fall into the belief that what originated from our mind is actually greater and more important than our mind. We easily fall into an error to believe that the effect is older than the cause.
In practical terms, this is right down harmful, because it makes us do things nobody in their right mind would ever dream of doing. Attempting to lead our lives by relying one hundred percent on our favorite tool (i.e. our capability to think rationally) is like attempting to make love by using our favorite tools (e.g. a hammer). It is equally ridiculous to expect to achieve any meaningful results. This is because with rational thinking, we can't even begin to scratch the surface of our lives. This mental tool, one among many others, is so impoverished and one-dimensional. For some strange reason, though, we still hold on to it thinking that in it lies our ultimate salvation.
This is why we reject the above described 'reality check' with a knee-jerk assuredness. Because the test of 'reality check' does not conform to the world view we've arrived at through our rational thinking, we are adamant that it cannot be valid. As a matter of fact, under our present terror of rational thinking, we believe that the proposition that Reality is harmless is right down preposterous and outrageous. "Only an utter fool would even begin to think such a stupid thought!" is the first thing to come to our minds when we hear about people who have managed to liberate themselves from this terror.
The simple truth is that we are so terrified and harassed by our rational thought patterns, that we flatly refuse to entertain any other possibility. We act in a highly superficial manner, all the while hiding behind the facade of what we proclaim to be the world of reasonable, logical explanations. We are very frightened that this facade is going to crumble any moment now.  That's why we are in such a spasm, holding on to it thinking that our lives depend solely on this lame, phantom world of thinly veiled selfish interests. But that's an illusion.

a. Enlightenment

b. Practice

c. Perfection

d. Deepening
How To Recognize Enlightenment?

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