R.E.A.L. is an acronym for the four 'force factors' that are used to describe the process underlying the Orientation Function. At its most fundamental level, the Orientation Function is the functionality that lets our brains build a working location and/or time map. In turn, it is these maps which allow us to navigate the world. In fact, much of this function takes place in a 100 million year old brain structure known as the hippocampal complex, a complex that includes the two amygdalae which are regarded by many to be our emotion-triggering system. (See comparison pattern description for more.)
As you might imagine, without the Orientation Function whirling away in our brains, as creatures, we'd be completely lost. But the Orientation Function does more than build emotionally-attuned mental maps. In order to survive over the course of evolution, creatures also had to create largely automatic 'needs assessment' and 'threat assessment' programs. The four force factor REAL system is an attempt to describe how that program works. You could say they represent four assessment tests our mind-brain system sub-consciously uses to position or locate one's self within our physical and social world. Hence the acronym REAL.
'R' reflects one's 'Recognition of needs' test, whether this be food, water, air, physical movement, sex, sleep...
'E' reflects one's 'Environmental assessment' test. Is one's ambient environment capable of meeting those needs? This includes the social environment as well as one's own inner wellness environment.
'A' reflects for the 'Activities or Actions required to meet those needs' test. The involves testing actual behaviors in a given context to see if they succeed in fulfilling the need in question.
'L' reflects one's perceived 'Locus of Control' test. Do you have a sufficient level of control over the situation you find yourself in? In effect, one's sense of control is a power assessment test, one that came in handy when trying to determine whether other creatures or humans represented a threat to life. One's locus of control tends to split into just two variants, internal and external, though an intermediate 'give and take' condition also likely exists.
As the four force factors represent a complex system, each factor exerts a form of 'pressure' on the mind/brain system, ensuring that the meeting of needs as well as survival within an environmental context is assured. Depending on the relative weight of force exerted by each factor, a different program configuration will express itself. Habitual use of one given configuration will help to establish a given mindset of function.
Understanding how this system works, and taking time to mindfully consider one's actions within such a framework, not only allows one to achieve a higher level of self-understanding. It allows you to consciously empower yourself with the very tool that allowed our species to evolve and survive over millions of years. In effect, it's what makes your life real.
This system is more thoroughly explained in Book One.