Authentic Presence Expressing as Living in Process

Theme of the following quotations: The Self is not a noun, but a verb; not a static entity, but a psychological process. Each instant the process reveals unfolding experience within and without, guided by a dynamic or Will which some call individuation, others self-actualization. The Taoist practice of Wu Wei or nonaction expresses how when we identity with this process, it unfolds naturally and spontaneously according to each moment’s necessity.

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It is through his understanding of the word “process” that the disciple discovers the true meaning of the occult statement that “before a man can tread the path he must become that Path himself.”

~ Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949),
American esotericist,
in The Rays and the Initiations


We are, in our deepest nature, processes, not things. We are humans, be-ing. We are the ing of our doing. We are not what we do, but the do-ing. We are not what we think ,but the think-ing… Life, process, is always moving on, always in process.

~ James T. Bugental (1950-2008),
American existential/humanistic psychotherapist and author,
in The Art of the Psychotherapist


The “self” in Self Acceptance Training is actually a process. You are not the body, not the ego, but the process. You are what exists right now, not what you were a minute ago or what you will be a minute from now, to say nothing of a year ago or a year from now.

~ Dick Olney (1915-1994)
American human potential therapist,
quoted in Walking in Beauty edited by Roslyn Moore


Living in Process is Your Spiritual Path

~ Michael Leunig (1945-)
contemporary Australian cartoonist


It is particularly this experience of the self as a flow of Presence in a dynamic unfoldment that we call the soul, the ancient western term for the self.

~ A.H. Almaas (1944-present),
American psychologist and philosopher,
in The Point of Existence


Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

~ Anais Nin (1903-1977),
American (French-born) author and diarist


Every person must follow her own process. No one else knows what is right for another. There is no goal in living our process, except to live it. Our processes can change. Our lives can change as we participate in the process. Our only requirement is to trust the process and live in faith. Our responsibility is to live out what our Creator asks of us. To live our lives. Living our process demands a deep spiritual commitment of being one with one’s life.

~ Anne Wilson Schaef,
contemporary American writer and lecturer,
in Living in Process


I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.

~ Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983),
American philosopher, systems theorist, architect, and inventory,
in I Seem to be a Verb


Man is a stream whose source is hidden…. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),
American author, poet, and philosopher,
in The Over-Soul


The most fundamental lesson I have learned about life is this: The essence of my being is that i am subjective awareness continually in process…. I am solely the process of my being – as an example, I am the process of writing these words, but I am not the content of the words or the ideas they express. I am the being aware of writing, the choosing ways of expressing thoughts, the hoping for communication, the enjoying of the emergence in thoughts and images of what I have experienced.

~ James F.T. Bugental, Ph.D. (1915-2008)
existential humanistic psychotherapist
in Search for Identity


But he that hath the steerage of my course
Direct my sail.

~ The character of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616),
English playwright


I will tell you of the origin of the controversy between Buddha and Devadadatta.

Devadatta asked; “Wherefrom is each action begun?” The Blessed One answered: “From the most necessary; because each moment contains its necessity and this is called the justice of action.” Devadatta persisted: “How is the evidence of necessity ascertained?” The Blessed One answered: “The thread of necessity crosses all worlds, but whoever has failed to realize this remains within a dangerous chasm, unsheltered from the stones.”

Thus Devadatta could not distinguish the line of necessity, and this obscurity impeded his way.

A spirited steed even with the end of his hoof feels on which stone to step next. So is felt the order of mobility, co-measurement and necessity.

~ Helena Roerich (1879-1955),
Russian mystic and author,
in Leaves from Morya’s Garden II


The mystery is this: there is one right thing and only one right thing to do at every moment.

~ Robert A. Johnson (1921-present),
American Jungian Analyst,
in Balancing Heaven and Earth


Freedom insists that the ego can do anything it wishes. I do not mean to toss the concept of freedom out entirely. Of course we have free will, but I am insisting that in every moment there is one right thing to do; we can choose to follow the will of God or not follow the will of God, and only in this way can we live meaningful lives.

~ Robert A. Johnson (1921-present),
American Jungian Analyst,
in Balancing Heaven and Earth


The only difference between Adamic man and the man of today is that the one was born to paradise and the other has to create it. And that brings me back to the question of choice. A man can only prove that he is free by electing to be so. And he can only do so when he realizes that he himself made himself unfree. And that to me means that he must wrest from God the powers he has given God. The more of God he recognizes in himself the freer he becomes. And the freer he becomes the fewer decisions he has to make, the less choice is presented to him. Freedom is a misnomer. Certitude is more like it. Unerringness. Because truthfully there is always only one way to act in any situation, not two, nor three. Freedom implies choice and choice exists only to the extent that we are aware of our ineptitude. The adept takes no thought, one might say. He is one with thought, the path.

~ Henry Miller (1891-1980),
American author,
in Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch


One who has reached full maturity, who knows himself in consciousness will not necessarily conform with social convention. Such a one will act at the right moment as the situation dictates, without anybody being hindered in any way. If your acts are dictated by your desires, you have no freedom whatsoever. On the other hand, if you do what the situation calls for, you do what is right and you and your surroundings are free.

~ Jean Klein (1916-1998),
French Advaita Vedanta master,
in I Am


Problems cannot be solved through choosing and deciding. Opinions arise from the fractional mind. When the I is absent the situation presents itself to you as a collection of facts. When there is no one involved in these facts right action appears spontaneously. Seeing all the facts calls for acceptance. Where there is no longer psychological involvement there are no opposing factors and therefore no choices of some facts, some elements over others. Acceptance does not come from the body-mind, it comes from our wholeness. Once all the elements of the situation are welcomed in our acceptance free from qualifying, the situation itself calls for action, but we do not go to it already armed.

~ Jean Klein (1916-1998),
French Advaita Vedanta master,
in I Am


So instead of intention one experiences a spontaneous flow of intelligent and purposeful action, realizing that Being flows through one, as one, and it is the flow that determines one’s life, action, interests, creativity and so on….

As the Personal Essence, one becomes the spearhead of reality. Reality acts through one by one being the individual manifestation of it. In religious language this is called surrender to God’s will, or flowing with the Tao.

~ A.H. Almaas (1944-present),
American psychologist and philosopher,
in The Pearl Beyond Price


When there is a need for action, Being responds, it does not react. Being responds by manifesting a state, a quality that is needed objectively at the moment.

~ A.H. Almaas (1944-present),
Kuwait-born American psychologist and philosopher,
in Diamond Heart: Book Three


One who lives in silence is purposeless. He accomplishes whatever must be accomplished. One could say there is spontaneous purposeless activity.

~ Jean Klein (1916-1998),
French Advaita Vedanta master,
in Ease of Being


The actions of the Taoist sage thus arise out of his intuitive wisdom, spontaneously and in harmony with his environment. He does not need to force himself, or anything around him, but merely adapts his actions to the movements of the Tao. In the words of Huai Nan Tzu,

Those who follow the natural order flow in the current of the Tao.

Such a way of acting is called wu-wei in Taoist philosophy; a term which means literally ‘non-action’, and which Joseph Needham translates as ‘refraining from activity contrary to nature,’ justifying this interpretation with a quotation from the Chuang-tzu,

Non-action does not mean doing nothing and keeping silent. Let
everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its
nature will be satisfied.

If one refrains from acting contrary to nature or, as Needham says, ‘from going against the grain of things,’ one is in harmony with the Tao and thus one’s action will be successful. This is the meaning of Lao Tzu’s seemingly so puzzling words, “By non-action, everything can be done.”

~ Fritjof Capra (1939-present),
American physicist,
in The Tao of Physics


Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the present moment.

~ Eckhart Tolle (1948-present),
German-born spiritual teacher,
in A New Earth


Situations are the voice of my guru, the presence of my guru.

~ Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987),
Tibetan meditation master, scholar, and artist,
in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism


This very moment is the perfect teacher.

~ Pema Chodron (1936-present),
America Tibetan Buddhist nun,
in When Things Fall Apart


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do…. Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),
American author, poet, and philosopher,
in Self-Reliance


When you’re doing the work, you’re doing the work. When you’re not doing the work, you’re doing the work.

~ G. I. Gurdjieff (1866?-1949),
Greek-Armenian mystic


~ Note: If you have found these quotes to be supportive, you may be interested in my book How to Be Yourself: A Guide to Living an Authentic Life which contains more than 300 quotations such as these which are organized into different topics related to authenticity. The book is available on Amazon in print and ebook format. (See top right cover image for a link to more info). ~

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