The path of reality is not a path, for it is an exploration of life in all that it is, an exploration where we dare to act spontaneously, without hiding behind known and comfortable patterns. It is not a path, for it always takes place in the here and now. We become aware, in the moment, of how we negotiate with reality, how we cling to our beliefs or to our need for control, and how this limited perspective prevents us from being fully available to the moment and creates our suffering.
The path of reality doesn’t require us to conform to any model, for it doesn’t care about what we do, think, or feel. It invites us to witness how we act, how we behave with our opinions, with our emotions, and with other living creatures.
Are we aware? Are we present? Are we true to ourselves?
The path of the real is first and foremost a path of knowledge of oneself, not in a psychological sense, but in the most essential and deepest sense there is. It helps us find our absolute dimension while integrating it with our most human aspect, until no conflict is left between the two. It brings us back to the root of our being, thus allowing us to become a complete human being.
The Foundations of the Teachings
We dare to be authentic in every situation, even if it is confronting, or if we might lose face. We regularly ask ourselves if we are self-protecting by playing a role or by pretending to be anyone other than who we are. We dare to look into what is happening inside, what we feel, what we think. Honesty is the simplest practice but it’s also the most difficult, for it requires us to face reality, without disguising it to serve our self-interest.
Honesty has to become the main orientation of our life, for without it, it isn’t possible to find oneness with the real.
Oneness in Daily Life
Reality is One. We endeavor to not create any split between our spiritual aspirations and our daily life. We experience non-separation in nature, in the city, in the kitchen, in the office or on our meditation cushion. We do not neglect our relationships with our relatives, our neighbors or our colleagues, for it is in this often confronting environment that our practice deepens and acquires stability.
Spirituality isn’t limited to ecstatic or intense energetic experiences, which tend to make us addicts, to hijack our quest for truth and to turn it into a slave to the ego’s insatiable desire for uncommon experiences. Our deepest spiritual realizations thus need to pervade every aspect of life.
We practice doing, walking and speaking while staying connected with a full body sensation. In every position, we fully inhabit our body, and we try to keep its vertical axis, from the pelvis to the top of the head, flexible and alive. We let our attention, too often hyper-focused and grasping, become more open and relaxed, so that it can find its stable home at the root of our being.
We develop the mind of the beginner—the one who doesn’t know and who is always available to discover and to receive life’s lessons. It is an inner quality of innocence and curiosity in which we are interested in all aspects of the real, with no preconceived notion. In this attitude, we listen most of all. We are open and available to everything that presents itself, externally or internally, for we have no self-image to protect. The beginner doesn’t overlook any detail, for he knows that the most profound lessons are sometimes found in the simplest or most trivial situations. Keeping the mind in the openness and the lightness of not-knowing allows us to not take ourselves seriously, while still being fully involved in everything we do, think or feel.
If we feel a resonance with the path and the teachings, we commit to practice them in every gesture, every word, every thought, as best we can, without turning this into a performance or self-criticizing when we cannot. We acknowledge our resistance and we dare to face it. We do not try to get rid of it, but to get to know it down to its most intimate core. We commit not to allow any dark or difficult parts to keep us from getting deeper down inside of ourselves. We feel ready to not let any egoic trickery distract us from the Truth.
It is essential to not make the teachings into a new belief system to conform to, or to reduce them to mere conceptual understanding, for that would be missing the point altogether. It is necessary to experiment with the statements, and to never renounce one’s own authority, even though we must also give ourselves fully for real transformation to occur. Intuition is a crucial ingredient for a path of return towards oneself; it can easily be distorted or clouded by any ideology, even the least dogmatic one, therefore it is vital to protect it from any such deviation.
Nathalie realized from earliest childhood that the experience of beauty opens the way to unfathomable depth. Moved by the intuition that a fundamental truth existed at the heart of reality, she became a passionate searcher. Her burning desire to live by what she instinctively knew brought her to the Kashmir Shaivite tradition when she was 26.
This article is an excerpt from her website https://www.nathaliedelay.com/en/
Translated by Jeanric Meller