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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Allowing?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Allowing

Allowing Any Attitude

To know freedom, you need a certain perception, a certain attitude towards things that will itself bring freedom. If you’re thinking now, “I know what to do about that situation”, you’re not allowing. It is a state of existence, a state of being. It has nothing to do with, “I’m going to do this or that”, none of that! It’s an attitude, a final attitude which is the absence of any attitude, or the allowing of any attitude. You allow even not allowing. Otherwise you’re making a restriction. The moment you take any stance, you are structuring and putting a wall in the allowing space. Even when the stance is allowing everything, the only thing you can do is just to live your life completely. And now the mind does not know what to say. What is left is the purest nature of the mind itself, complete allowingness. The freedom is so free, it allows the boundaries.

Allowing Change in Inner Experience

So, you need to be willing not only to allow your dreams of what you want and your current self-image to change completely to something else, you also need to allow even your inner experience, your inner sensations, to change in kind and in quality. Otherwise you will stop your growth. And you will discover after a while, after a long process of growth that some of the deepest and the most cherished inner sensations that you can have are sensations or experiences of being yourself, the experience of your true identity, or Essence.

Allowing Existential Helplessness

When we first feel it, this helplessness is a very painful state, one of profound vulnerability, fragility, inadequacy, and weakness. Allowing this level of vulnerability can be scary, especially in the harsh world we live in these days. But whether society supports it or not, those of us who are working to realize our true nature have no alternative. In time, the feeling of vulnerability is something that you can handle even in difficult situations, but in the beginning, you might need a particular environment in which you feel that you are not going to be attacked for being helpless. So we need to be intelligent and not expose our vulnerability in situations where it would hurt us rather than help us. This is why groups like those in our School are important. They provide a time and place where you can feel safe to go deeply into these areas within yourself. When you are by yourself, you need to find your own safe time and place to explore yourself. The concern about safety also reflects our early experiences when the environment was not empathic, gentle, and holding, in the face of our helplessness. This existential helplessness does not make sense unless you believe yourself to be a separate doer, or believe you are supposed to be able to do. As we feel this sense of helplessness and accept it, we are no longer trying to uphold the delusion that we can do. If we stay with the experience, we can penetrate this delusion. It may seem difficult to stay with because the state may initially be filled with pain and the fear that no one is going to take care of you and you are helpless. We have to remember not to completely believe these fears because believing them might cause us to react by defending against the sense of helplessness. Although it is painful, at some point we see that feeling the helplessness has a sincerity and truthfulness because we are no longer lying to ourselves. We are being authentic. This realization by itself can bring about an egoless state without our doing anything. The helplessness, then, opens the door to the action of Being itself.

Facets of Unity, pg. 281

Allowing Infantile Structures

All of the manifestations of essence, truth, and reality are needed to deal with this infantile part of us. True nature, with all of its qualities of compassion, love, acceptance, will, strength, and so on, ultimately needs to become the teacher for the immature part of our soul. We understand and accept this ego structure and immature part of the soul by allowing it to feel whatever it feels and think whatever it thinks, without judging its feelings or thoughts or needs. We don’t reject it because it has a bad thought; rather, we look and see what is happening. If it is angry, let it be angry, even if you can’t understand why it is angry. Most likely, there is hurt under the anger. If it is grandiose and proud of itself, find out why, because it probably feels deficient and scared. If it is scared and terrified, it needs your compassion more than anything else. It is important to understand this infantile part emotionally and psychologically, not only epistemologically as a construct, for it to yield to being integrated into our maturity. Allowing this infantile structure to be exactly where it is usually involves dealing with the superego. The superego criticizes and abandons this immature part precisely because it can be affected in this way. Your essence, your true nature, doesn’t feel rejected or judged, nor does it give a damn about these manifestations. Our essential nature doesn’t have an ear for these things. But this immature part of you, the ego-self, has just the ear for these things. And it is this part of you that needs to be educated, to mature little by little, through a gradual and gentle process of learning.

Allowing is a State of Being

When you understand the space of allowing completely, when you understand that walls and openness are the same thing, then even freedom loses its meaning. You’re free from freedom. You don’t say, “I’ll be free.” You don’t say, “I am free.” You’re free from that. You see, it’s a subtle thing. The moment you say, “There is something that needs to be removed,” there’s already a predisposition, already a direction. It is a restriction. The moment you say, “I want to remove this restriction,” you’re creating a restriction because you’re saying, “I want it this way and not that way.” Who does that but the personality? This is not something to make into rules of conduct. What I’m saying here is to open your mind. To know freedom, you need a certain perception, a certain attitude that will itself bring freedom. If you’re thinking, “I know what to do about that situation,” you’re not allowing. Allowing is a state of being. It has nothing to do with “I’m going to do this or that.” It’s an attitude—a final attitude—which is the absence of any attitude, or the allowing of any attitude. You allow even not allowing. Otherwise you’re making a restriction. The moment you take any stance, you are putting a wall in the allowing space. Even when the stance is allowing everything, the only thing you can do is just live your life completely. The mind does not know what to say. What is left is the purest nature of the mind itself: complete allowingness. The freedom is so free that it allows boundaries.

Allowing is not an Active Doing but is Simply Desisting from Reifying Concepts

Allowing is not an active doing but is simply desisting from reifying concepts. We cease looking at the world through concepts and we stop indulging this discriminating mentality. In the beginning we will of course rebel against such inner silence and stillness, because for so many years we have assumed the created mental world to be reality. We have believed it so thoroughly that no one can now convince us otherwise. We believe, “I am here, I have my feelings, and I am feeling bad today. I don’t care what you say. I have been doing bodywork all these years to learn to feel my feelings and now you tell me I haven’t got feelings. All these years of working for nothing! I’ve been learning to actualize my essence, my true nature, and now you tell me that there isn’t any essence. Why did I do the whole thing?” We fear that it has all been a waste. But we need to do all these things to be able to relax enough to see through the beliefs. In a sense, we do need to play around with the concepts, beliefs, and ideas and, for some time, assume that they are true. We get rid of some old ones and create some new ones, all of which allows more openness and more possibility of relaxation. For some time on the path of inner work we need to believe our concepts. We need to go through this process with awareness in order to develop our knowing capacity and to unfold our potential.

Allowing Ourselves to Experience the Hole of Holding

Allowing ourselves to experience the hole of holding is a crucial step in reclaiming contact with the holding dimension of Being, Living Daylight. Your sense of basic trust is also increased each time you experience the environment responding to you in a supportive way and each time you experience yourself being held in one way or another. In the process of spiritual work, each time you move beyond your usual sense of reality and of who you are—each time you jump into the abyss with its sense of disintegration or fragmentation and accompanying fear—and you experience Being coming through, giving you a sense of support, a sense of relief, of satisfaction, of meaning, your basic trust is strengthened. The more experiences you have that involve dealing with painful states and memories, and resolving them, allowing you to connect with various aspects of your fundamental nature, the more that sense of trust is created. The more your soul is held and the more basic trust is developed, the more you will unfold. Providing this holding for who you really are is one of the functions of a spiritual teaching and a teacher. So the whole of the Work ultimately builds basic trust.

Facets of Unity, pg. 46

Allowing Yourself to Experience the Holes and Deficiencies Associated with Them

In this Work, we know that you can experience your love or will only by allowing yourself to experience the holes and deficiencies associated with them. This is difficult and frightening. A lot of spiritual disciplines use techniques to enable students to stay with these things. When you can finally do that, then the real resolution can happen, the resolution not of simply resolving the emotional conflict but of retrieving the lost quality. It is the presence of the quality of love that will eliminate the problem of love for you, and the presence of will that will eliminate the sense of castration or powerlessness. Nothing else will do. You have seen that you can begin with any emotions, thoughts, or difficulties and work through them, right to the original deficiency. By staying with this process, following each issue all the way, you will finally have the memory of what you lost, as Socrates said. And by remembering it, you will have it. Everything you have lost you can regain by working like this. Everything. We understand that there is no separation between psychological issues and Essence; they are intertwined, woven together. This is why you cannot set to work to eliminate the false personality and, when that’s done, start experiencing and developing Essence. Without the retrieval of that which the personality was created to replace, personality simply cannot be dissolved.

Being Where We Are

So, one thing we can learn from True Nature is to have no preference, no choice; we don't need to choose what to experience. Our experience always simply happens. If we try to choose and say, "This is good, this is bad, this situation should include this and not that," we are already separating ourselves from True Nature; we are already not practicing. True Nature shows us that to be where we are means having an awareness that embraces whatever is – whatever our perceptions are, at whatever level, in whatever condition or state we are in. That awareness embraces our experience completely, with immediate feeling, with as much understanding as possible. The awareness contacts the experience, holds it, embraces it – just by being there, by being with it, in it, around it.

Experiencing and Realizing Reality in a Holographic Way

The fourth turning introduces other possibilities of experiencing reality, including other ways of experiencing unity and oneness. True nature manifests itself in ways that reveal more of its secrets, allowing us to perceive reality in new ways. For example, we can experience and realize reality in a holographic way. Although science has understood some things about the holographic universe as a projection of information, I am talking about an actual experience of reality that is different from both the dual and the nondual views. Modern science understands that any part of a hologram contains the information about all other parts of the hologram. But the present cosmological theories of the holographic universe do not use this property directly. Instead, they propose that our three-dimensional reality is a projection of a two-dimensional surface that contains all the information of the three dimensions. Although this actually approximates some possible perceptions in nondual realization, where all manifestations are surface phenomena of a fathomless nothingness, it is different from what I mean by the holographic view. The view of realization that I am calling holographic is an experience, perception, and understanding that directly uses the property of holograms. It is the realization that any part of reality—whether our individual location, an object, or a form—contains all the rest of reality, all other forms and dimensions of reality. Parts are connected, but in a way that is different from that of nondual realization. They are connected as they are in a hologram, in the sense that each discrete point of time and space contains all other discrete points of time and space. This experience of unity is quite different from the nondual perception of sameness, which has a sense of unity that extends through space.

In Time this Attitude of Openness and Allowing Becomes a Part of Your Daily Life

In time, this attitude of openness and allowing becomes a part of your daily life. You acquire an overall understanding of how feelings and events relate to each other, how things work, what makes you feel love at some times and not at other times. This understanding isn’t just in your mind; it becomes part of how you act, part of how you are. You are not identified with your personality; you are open to understanding what your feelings are about, whether they bring you pleasure or pain. This is the implicit understanding: knowing, and acting on the knowledge that essence has a wisdom which can be imparted to the personality and thus transform it, releasing the barriers against the deeper understanding. Essence teaches you in a fundamental way; it provides wisdom that cannot be provided by anything else. If you are totally present for the essential aspect of love, it will be obvious that love is anchored in you, that it has no prejudices, no preference, no selfishness. Gradually, you come to understand that the personality itself, with its characteristics, its tendencies, and its preferences, is the problem. If you relate to essence from the perspective of the personality, of wanting only what makes you feel good and not questioning it, of not wanting what makes you feel bad and not questioning that either, you feed the tendency of the personality for greed; you make your personality more opaque. Lacking some essential quality, not having something like love or value or joy, is not the problem. The continual presence of the personality with its patterns is the problem. And that can change only if you learn from essence, if you allow your personality to be transparent to essence, regardless of what feeling is there.

Learning this “Allowing” Attitude is in Itself a Loosening of the Ego’s Constraints

The work that is being done in the group setting is primarily verbal, directing the attention of the student to his feelings, thoughts, body sensations and more subtle states. Sometimes emotional catharsis of one sort or another occurs as the conflicts that are blocking the student’s experience of himself are brought to consciousness. Unconscious material arises and is investigated, and this generally allows an expansion, or spaciousness, in the student which in turn allows the more subtle qualities to manifest. The fundamental attitude which governs how we work with students is what we call “allowing.” That is, the teacher refrains from judgment and pushing the student, instead using skillful questioning and compassionate presence to allow the student to investigate what is happening. Also the student is encouraged to experience his emotions, thoughts, sensations and conflicts without rejecting them, but rather gently investigating them. When this attitude of allowing is learned, the student can then confront amazingly deep and terrifying material. And the process of learning this “allowing” attitude is in itself a loosening of the ego’s constraints, since as we have discussed, it is in the nature of ego to reject present reality and focus on its fears or desires.

Learning to Trust the Attitude of Allowing

Part of the process of development and growth is learning to trust the attitude of allowing. The final development is not trying to have your essence in a particular state, but allowing whatever is there to happen. So, the final development of allowing everything to happen is nothing but the final dissolution of the personality, because the walls are the personality. They are made by the personality and fueled by the personality. The personality is nothing but these boundaries. So to take this attitude means not taking the side of the personality. It is not even taking the side of Essence. It is not taking sides, not having prejudice. The process of development is a continuous unfolding, very intricate, very vulnerable. It goes up and down, in and out, sideways, all directions, all ways. That allowing quality is the very freedom you seek. This allowing position is an alternative that your mind doesn’t usually see. Your mind can see that there is this way and that way, but there might be hundreds of other ways. Which way is broader, more expansive—to be free while your environment is the way it is now or to be free only when it changes? The perspective of allowing is to see that these are walls that can be removed. The perspective of allowing is so big that it can see the walls and allow them to be there. It is so big that it transcends even the issue of whether there are walls or not. Either way, you allow.

Most of Our Discontent, Pain and Discomfort is the Result of Losing a Part of Ourselves

We have lost that confidence, that basic trust. And we see that the way to have it is actually to start doing it. It’s not something you gain; you actually practice it. You practice it by staying with what is there, by not going along with the usual tendency to reject what is there and try to get something else. Most of our discontent, pain and discomfort is the result of losing a part of ourselves. It’s not because of the economy; it’s not because we are ugly or fat or this or that. These are not the real reasons. So trying to get fulfillment by solving these supposed problems doesn’t work. The dissatisfaction comes from not allowing ourselves to experience a part of us. We are full of holes, and the only way we can be fulfilled and complete is to stay with those holes so that part of us is allowed to manifest and function. This cannot happen as long as we try to fill our holes with something else. We are beings who exist or were created a certain way; when we allow ourselves to be the way we are, then everything goes well. That’s what we will learn in time, and it may take time: our lack of trust is habitual. We keep believing in the wrong perspective, in our deficiency. But in time we might see that there is no need to believe in it. We are full. We can be complete; that is our natural state. If we allow ourselves to be, naturally, everything will circulate and will happen as it is meant to happen.

Need for an Attitude of Allowing, Allowing things to Emerge, to Change, to Transform

So, we’re seeing here that the most elementary requirement for growth is the willingness to let go of what you believe will make you happy. Because when you do change, you are no longer the person who thought you knew what you would change into. You will be a different person. The needs of a larva are not the same as the needs of the butterfly it turns into. Maybe a larva needs two cats and a dog, and a butterfly does not. So there is a need for an attitude of allowing, allowing things to emerge, to change, to transform, without anticipating how this should happen. You can direct things only according to the way you are now. You can conceive of the future only according to the blueprints you already know. But real change means that the blueprint will change. The only thing you can do is to be open and allow things to happen, allow the butterfly to emerge out of the larva and be a different being. You might be amazed, saying, “All this time I thought I had to crawl faster! I didn’t know it was possible to fly.” It is possible to fly, but if you just want to remain a larva, you can learn to crawl a little faster. You can even learn to crawl sideways. But it will never occur to you that you can fly. You see things flying around you, but don’t think of flying because you haven’t got wings. If you allow things to happen, you might find that you do have wings and you are flying around.

The Space or Attitude of Allowing

The allowing position is an alternative that your mind doesn’t usually see. Your mind could see there is this way or that way. But there might be hundreds of other ways. Which way is broader, more expansive – to be free while your environment is the way it is now, or to be free only when it changes? The first perspective of allowing is to see that these are walls that can be removed. But, the allowing perspective is so big that it can even see the walls are there, and still allow them to be there. The perspective of allowing is so big that it transcends even the issue of whether there are walls or not. You allow – when there are walls, when there are no walls. The walls themselves can be seen and allowed; and in the middle of the wall, in the thickness of the wall there can be an open space, openness can be there. So allowing can enable you to tolerate stuckness when you are working through a belief or feeling and identifying with it – the whole process of dealing with an issue happens within the space or attitude of allowing.

Trusting that there is Such a Thing as Transformation

What I’m doing is opening your mind so you can allow and perceive a certain attitude, a certain way of being. The freest attitude for the process of growth is the attitude of complete allowing. You are not passive, and you are not active. You are allowing. We will see that the process unfolds from one thing to the next. The process emerges if you give it the space to emerge. Your most important work is to understand the barriers you have against the unfolding. Wherever you are, you look at yourself and understand what your barriers are, what the things are that are stopping you from fully experiencing what is there. When you do experience fully, you don’t try to hold on to the experience or determine what direction it will take. You just experience it fully and that’s it. Your mind is open for anything to happen. This requires a certain trust in the process, a trust that there is such a thing as transformation, and that it will be good, that it will be the best thing. The attitude of trusting without knowing what will happen, of allowing things to emerge, is needed at all levels and stages of the process of inner development. It applies to the external level, the emotional level, the subtle levels, essential levels, all of them. Any idea of how things are going to be will only work as a boundary. The moment you have an idea of how things should be, you’re creating walls and sitting inside them. There is no trust in yourself, there is no trust in reality, and there is no trust in the process of transformation and growth. What is there is restriction, and you’ll suffer and complain as usual. When we allow the natural process of growth, there is expansion, happiness, and joy.

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