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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Activity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Activity

Activity and the Impact of Essence

Once you know yourself to be the Personal Essence, what you do doesn't matter much. You choose what will enlarge and enhance your real self. There can never be a sense of lasting fulfillment unless you have realized that essential part of yourself. Nothing else can take its place.

All Functioning is the Functioning of Being

When we say that you are not an independent doer, this does not mean that in the objective view, there is no feeling of functioning happening through you -- it is not that you don't feel you are moving your arms or talking, nor is it the sense that someone or something else is moving you. It is a different perception in which you see that all functioning, all doing, all activity is happening as one thing. What you are doing and what everyone else is doing is all part of the same movement, so there is no isolated functioning separate from that one flow of activity. When you are driving your car and you see others are driving their cars, instead of perceiving that each of you is engaged in a separate activity, from this perspective, you would see that you and everyone else you pass on the road are all manifestations of the same thing. There are not separate individuals at this level. At a still deeper level, you realize that not only are you and everyone else manifestations of the same reality, but the cars are also manifestations of that reality, and the road itself. The car and you and the driving itself are all the functioning of Being, and so in reality there is no one driving a car. Then you realize that you have never driven from one place to another, that reality has simply manifested in such a way that it appears as if you have driven a car on a road.

Facets of Unity, pg. 271

An Energetic Movement in which the Dynamism of Being Becomes Contracted and Dissociated

We have seen that this inner activity, which is the primary obstacle to being our True Nature, has many manifestations, which are various forms of resistance, control, and defensiveness. And we have also looked at various behaviors that are aimed specifically at changing our experience—attempts to conform to an ideal—rather than just letting ourselves be. All these behaviors imply self-rejection. All of them work against the natural revelation of our True Nature in all its luminosity. We have also seen how inner and outer activity are related. Remember the peach? When you discover that it is rotten, you can either just put it away or you can put it away with a lot of internal activity going on. You may already recognize from your own experience that whenever we engage in an external activity, an inner activity usually goes along with it. Even when we are just sitting, continuous activity is almost always going on. We experience this mostly as incessant thinking, planning, trying to figure things out. But what we are doing is more fundamental than just being immersed in thoughts; we are in an energetic movement in which the dynamism of Being becomes contracted and dissociated. There is hesitation and a kind of inner stuttering. This inner busyness is what we mean by ego activity—an inner activity with a mental flavor and an agitated energetic quality. It lacks the smooth, spontaneous, effortless flow that is the manifestation of Being.

As the Activity of the Mind Comes to a Stop, All the Feelings Dependent on the Internalized Memories Disappear

When I felt the sense of familiar identity disappear I did not see that this also meant the disappearance of all impressions of others. In other words, as the activity of the mind comes to a stop, all the feelings dependent on the internalized memories disappear. This understanding shows me that the sense of familiar identity always includes, explicitly or implicitly, the feeling of others. The feeling of self swims in an atmosphere of internalized relationships. This normally ever-present atmosphere of an interpersonal world ceases in the experience of the simplicity of presence, allowing presence to be alone. This aloneness of presence is its simplicity. Recently I have been experiencing it as simplicity, but this experience shows me that I have unconsciously reacted to it as total aloneness. Here, the feeling of emptiness deepens into a dark abyss, and the loneliness disappears into a singular state of aloneness, existential and fundamental. A hint of sadness remains, in the form of a subtle, warm feeling pervading the deepening emptiness. The throbbing presence at the forehead again scintillates brightly; this time emerald green outshines its other living colors. The sadness reveals associations with the state of aloneness: times in childhood when I was left alone. In the emptiness of the mind float memories of a sad and lonely child, left alone, sometimes forgotten. Recognizing that the source of the feeling of loneliness is my association of the painful loneliness of the past with the state of aloneness of presence in the present, liberates the sadness, allowing it to evaporate, leaving a sense of transparent depth to the dark abyss, a spacious depth.

Different Activity in Different Body Centers

The past exists in us as activity, and the content of personality is an activity, a movement. Ego activity is the substance of suffering; it is contraction itself. You can see this more specifically if you look at the activity in the centers of the body. If you look at the activity in the head, you’ll see concern and worry. In heart, it’s a sense of guilt and frustration. Looking at activity in the belly, you’ll see it as attachment and desire. But it is all the same thing: ego activity. And ego activity is always concerned with issues from your past. It is what is called personal karma, or the wheel of life and death. It is the movement of your mind, your personality, your choices, preferences, judgments, resistances – anything you do actively.

Don’t You Spend Most of Your Life Either Protecting or Collecting?

The activity of protection and acquisition depends on the point of view that you are one isolated island that needs to be perpetuated and enhanced. Don’t you spend most of your life either protecting or collecting? Even if you become spiritually oriented, you start collecting spiritual experiences! Collecting money or collecting essence is the same thing. You have the same attitude: you’re afraid of losing it and you work at getting more. If you have an attitude of anxiety and fear of loss, the greed and the suffering will continue. Let’s look at the implications of this attitude more closely. Something happens and you get angry. What makes you get angry? Would you get angry if you didn’t believe there was a self there to support and protect? What’s the point of getting angry? You get angry only if you feel hurt, insulted, or you didn’t get what you want. Someone is there who believes certain things about himself and has a particular self-image. If that self-image is frustrated, hurt or insulted, there is anger. Would there be anger if there were no self which thinks of itself in a certain way? Look at any suffering you’ve experienced: jealousy, anger, hatred, fear. Isn’t that suffering dependent on the point of view that somebody is there being hurt? Doesn’t the feeling of insult or humiliation mean there’s someone there who has pride? Doesn’t the feeling of frustration mean there is someone there who wants something and is not getting it?

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