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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Action?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Action

Action When You Are Not Separate from Your Being

When you are in the moment, being the presence that is unfolding, that unfoldment determines your actions, and your actions will feel just right, right to the point, because you are not separate from your Being and your action is completely unified with the presence itself. Your actions then are nothing but the unfoldment of Being. Since presence is everything and all of you, it is not as though you are moving your hand from here to there: presence is unfolding in this moment and in this moment and in this moment. The presence has unfolded like successive frames in a film. When this is your state, you feel like you are right on the mark, knowing what you are doing and where you are going. What happens within you and through your actions occurs spontaneously, naturally, effortlessly, because you are not separate from who you are. The moment you say "I don't want to go that way," or "It would be better this way," you are separating yourself from the presence that is unfolding. When you do that, your action does not have a sense of exactness or of appropriateness; it does not feel "on."

Facets of Unity, pg. 179

Aligned to the Supreme Will, there is No End to Plenitude

Everyone is in action in Being all the time. That is why it is said that if you are willing to be aligned to the supreme will, there is no end to the plenitude that you can achieve in your life. This is because your action is the most correct action, the action that goes with the rest of existence, and it can only benefit everything and everybody involved including you at all levels. It is the most unifying action. It is hard to know the action of Being, if a person doesn't know Being, is not Being. We have only the personality action, which is reactivity, as a model. But when we know Being, it is possible to know doing. So, the doing presupposes Being, and doing is like the action of a tiger.

Being Does Not Know How to Water Plants

Being knows how to do things with grace, with beauty, with power, with effectiveness, with precision. However, Being does not know about how to fix a window. You’re true self has nothing to do with windows; it does not know about windows. It does not know how to water plants. That is where your consciousness, your personality, comes in. But when you are watering plants, Being certainly knows how to do it in the best way, in terms of the sense, of how to hold yourself, how much effort to exert, how to do things in such a way that you feel integrated within yourself. Being shows you how to manifest the beauty outside.

Creation of All Reality as One Unified Fabric

When we see the unity of action, as in the dimension of dynamic presence we recognize that it is not a doing, but simply the manifesting or creation of all Reality as one unified fabric. This unified fabric is always unfolding, and unfolding in a pattern. We discern some of the dynamic elements of this pattern and call them action, behavior, and so on. In reality, there is no such thing as one person moving her arm, nor even God moving the person's arm. The expression "movement of the arm" is simply a convention that abstracts out a particular subpattern from the universal dynamic pattern and reifies it as such movement.

Disconnection of the Self from its Dynamism

Action based on ambitions and ideals disconnect the self from its innate dynamism. The activity is bound to be somewhat unauthentic, for regardless of how near the ideals and ambitions are to the actual condition of the self, they cannot be identical to its condition in the moment because they are based on structures most likely laid down in early childhood. In fact, activity based on ambitions and ideals is a kind of substitute activity, reflecting our inability to contact the real dynamism at the center of the self.

Doing Nothing to Reality

So I am taking us one step further here toward understanding what is happening—by looking at our language, by looking at our practice, and by considering the practitioner as well. Remember that we also need to investigate what “we” means and what “are” means, when we talk about being where we are. So when we sit and meditate, we don’t come with the idea that there is somebody who is going to sit. We just come to sit. Because being there means not doing anything to reality. We just leave everything alone. Now if we don’t do anything to reality, and we don’t reify not doing, what will we find? Absolutely nothing. And finding absolutely nothing, we will be completely happy. We will discover that we cannot possess nothing, and neither can anybody else. I am not saying that you should believe me about this. I don’t think you can. This is something to be discovered for yourself. I am just giving you a hint. What is left is for you to find out for yourself.

For Integration both Understanding and the Presence of Being Need to Manifest in Your Life in Action

This is when the role of action becomes important. It is not enough to have understanding of yourself. It is not enough to realize the presence of Being. For full integration, these need to manifest in your life in action. They must appear in your actions so that you live your life according to that understanding, and from that state of beingness. Of course, some individuals are satisfied with the mere understanding of things, and continue only to seek insights and realizations. It is absolutely necessary to have this understanding, these insights, realizations, perceptions, and all the knowledge of the different states and conditions of human life. However, there is a need for the actual experience of Being itself, and that has to do with the essential states, ultimately, and with a state of being. Being is really the central part of all those three elements; it is the heart of the matter. In fact, it has to do with the heart. Although Being is primary, it is not enough for living on earth, because life also involves action and doing. To live a mature life means not only to live, but to live according to this state of being. If a person doesn’t live according to the understanding that comes from the realization of beingness, then the realization or development is restricted to certain experiences and does not touch the person’s soul deeply enough to allow the integration necessary for maturity.

Identity is the Center of Initiative

Just as identity is the center of initiative and the source of motivation for action, individual entity is the executor of action. More accurately, it is the total self which acts, but action requires two necessary elements; the first is the motivating center out of which arises the direction for action, and the second is the structure of functional capacities needed for carrying out the action.

In the Experience of Primordial Nondual Presence the Flow of Presence is Completely Coemergent with Action

In the deeper stages of self-realization, and especially in the experience of primordial nondual presence, the flow of presence is completely coemergent with action. Action flows out completely inseparable from presence, for the body and mind are inseparable manifestations of presence. In some sense, there is no such thing on this dimension as action, for there is only the continuity of presence, as a discriminated and patterned flow. Some of these patterns we ordinarily call actions, some we call feelings, and some we call states, but they are all nothing but presence, the expression of the never-ending creativity of presence. In other words, action here is ontological creativity. The notion of presence as a center of initiative and action breaks down on this level of experience, for the center is completely inseparable from, and in fact totally coemergent with, the totality of the self.

The Majority of Our Actions are Done by Being

Usually the action of the personality separates our mind from our Being, and then we want to figure out what to do and what not to do. So we are not allowing Being to actually act. Yet it is acting all the time. The majority of our actions are done by Being. If you allow your identity to be Being, you'll see that Being is not separate from the body or even from the mind, instead it is a very nature of the body, the very nature of the body, even the very nature of the personality. In Being there is no boundary, no separation. That means the action is coming from the ground, the source, Being, so it is real doing and involves all levels at once, from the bottom up. It's as if Being radiates from the bottom of a lake and creates a wave that radiates throughout the whole thing. Everything is involved -- mind, body, spirit, emotion -- and is happening in one direction. And that direction, when Being is focused in one place, is what we call essential identity, the essential self.

There is No Such Thing as Individual Action

In the same act true nature generates forms and perceives them. It is the creator, the created, and the process of creation. Creation is simply generation, a continuous unfolding of forms and experiences. One way this appears to us in the inner journey is the recognition that there is no such thing as individual action. When we realize that there is ultimately no separate and autonomous soul we see that there is no such thing as independent action, personal choice, or volition. We began to understand this in working with the previously discussed boundless dimensions, in the form of questions about action and functioning. In fact, one of the primary difficulties in integrating these boundless dimensions of Being is the question of functioning, of how expression, action, and behavior happen. We understand functioning completely when we realize the dimension of dynamic presence, for we see how all change and movement occur. Since change and movement are limited ways of perceiving universal transformation, we see that individual action is a way of viewing a particular transformation of a certain region in the field of presence. Since an individual is only a form taken by a particular region of the field, one’s action is actually the action of the field. One’s behavior is nothing but the manifestation of the dynamism of Being, just as one’s choices are made by the same dynamic presence. Volition becomes a concept that we cannot apply in this experience, for there are no autonomous entities that can have volition. All is done by the dynamism of Being, all chosen by the dynamic presence, and there is only one will, the dynamic will of true nature.

Understanding What Action Is

To really understand what action is, the best place to begin is with your inner experience. You neither accept nor reject it; you don't push it away, you don't hold onto it. It is what is happening, and that's it. You take no position, nor do you hold any attitude about it. Since you are not making it happen and it is not your choice, the best approach to your inner life is not to try to change it. The ego is always trying to change things, and if you observe your inner experience, you will see that you are in constant turmoil trying to change one thing or another. You try to relax, you try to quiet your mind, you try to make yourself feel better or make yourself feel worse. You are always interfering, trying to make something happen other than what is actually happening. You can only do this if you believe you have your own separate world and you can make things happen the way you want, while really, it is not your choice at all. You are alive today not because you want to be, but because the universe wants you to be. If you experience anger today, it's because the universe chooses to. If you experience love today, it's because the universe decides to.

Facets of Unity, pg. 121

We Do What We Believe to be Good

That's the first thing I want to establish: everyone does what he believes at that moment to be the good.

When the Soul is Reacting She Loses Her Continuity of Being

When the environment is not taking care of her adequately, the soul tries to take things into her own hands, going into a sort of emergency overdrive. She manifests forms of behavior that aim to bring about the needed responses from the environment; when she grows up these become forms of behavior aimed at changing the environment directly or attempts to deal with her inner condition on her own. Now the soul is no longer simply being, she is reacting. Her experience is no longer a continuity of being. When the soul loses her inner balance and tries to take things into her own hands, especially at times when such attempts are futile, she has to leave her place of abiding. Reacting is specifically not being, and so the continuity of being is lost. When the soul moves or acts from a relaxed and trusting place, her presence flows into the appropriate forms and shapes effortlessly and easily. Her actions and movements are then a continuity of being, for she moves while abiding in her nature. There is smoothness, a sense of grace and harmony, and her presence exudes radiance and well-being. But when she reacts, she screams and screeches, flails about disharmoniously, and exudes anxiety, discomfort, and irritating energy. The former is a manifestation of the continuity of being, and the latter of the reactivity that disrupts this continuity.

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