Someone emailed me with a good question about how to keep the perspective of there being no separate self in the midst of the daily demands of their practical life, and how to live more fully from this bigger perspective. Here is what I wrote back:
Your question goes right to the heart of the matter. Yet, the truth cannot be contained in one perspective or the other. There is no separate self, and it is also true that on the relative level there is a functioning as an apparent separate self that is needed. These are not contradictory truths, but complimentary truths. Often in spiritual teaching there is an emphasis on the nondual truth since this is the aspect of truth that most people have not realized. But before, during and after a realization of this bigger truth, you still need to function in this relative world.
The wonderful thing about recognizing the bigger truth is not that the smaller practical considerations of getting along with your boss and taking care of your family disappear, but that you can hold them more lightly. And you can start to notice that there is much more that is unfolding even your practical life as a human with a job and responsibilities. So even though it is up to you to get up and go to work everyday, there is also a deeper presence that is unfolding all of life and that is what truly knows when you need to stay in a job and when you need to lose a job.
It is also a delicate understanding because seeing the bigger truth does lead to holding all of this more lightly, which can actually make things happen more smoothly. It can allow you to simply be in the flow and respond to what is really happening without all of the extra tension created when we think it is all up to me. But, we can then try to hold onto the this bigger perspective as a way to make our life run more smoothly which actually is just a more subtle way of trying to do it yourself....by not trying to do it yourself!
And almost everyone who experiences a bigger truth and the sense of flow that results tries then to make that happen. Instead, you can simply be curious about all of these dynamics, even the subtlest ways of spiritually efforting and trying to make things work. The real gift is in the discovery of the many levels of truth, not so much in holding onto the biggest truth as a way of making your life turn out great.
You may enjoy the article entitled, What to Do When There Is No Doer?, that gives a sense of the profound mystery of all of these different truths operating simultaneously.