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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Appreciation?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Appreciation

A Natural Appreciation of Just What Is

But when we really recognize ourselves and let ourselves be in the moment, we come into an amazing freedom that brings in a sense of a natural appreciation of just what is. Then we can accomplish and do all kinds of things, not to achieve value, only to express it. It is the other way around from what we thought, you see? We have the treasures in us, and every moment is a matter of expressing them. And expressing them is a matter of participating with True Nature in revealing itself. We let ourselves be servants, conduits for True Nature to reveal its teaching. So, the more we accept where we are and let ourselves be where we are and the less we fight the moment and recognize it for what it is, then the more effective conduits we are for True Nature to teach us, and teach through us, directly. So the teaching is happening in every way that experience appears. As you may have noticed, when you are inquiring, you discover at some point the meaning of what you are experiencing. Everything has meaning, and meaning is always there. Nothing is haphazard. Everything has a precise order. That is why I tend to agree with Einstein that reality is not probability, that God doesn’t throw dice. Everything has a precise order, every single little thing has a meaning in the order of things—and all of it is revealing the truth of reality.

An Appreciation of the Interconnectedness of Everything

Oneness/Unity: The second characteristic of true reality is that this field of awareness, this field of presence, is pervasive and infinite, and includes everything within it. In fact, it is a oneness, an indivisible unity. This is similar to the Buddhist notion of the “wisdom of equality or evenness.” The fact that there are patterns within the field does not mean there are discrete objects. So in our experience, the fact that there is sadness and pressure and temperature and softness and hardness does not mean that different objects are there. The field is all one consciousness with different patterns in difference places. So the entire soul is unitary as well. When we recognize true nature and we lose the sense of boundaries, we recognize that oneness pervades the whole universe. God has one mind. The primary affect in the unitary consciousness is an appreciation of the interconnectedness of everything. The quality of love is implicit and pervasive in the oneness of true nature; it is the inherent goodness and positivity of reality. When we are no longer conscious of the fact that true nature is a unitary field, the feeling of connectedness—or at least the possibility of connection—is all that remains. In our normal consciousness, we experience this as the feelings we have for other people and objects in our world—including the feelings of disconnection, such as longing, sadness, envy, and hatred. The fact that we can feel, that we are sensitive to what we interact with, is the way the underlying unity appears in our experience. The capacity to feel is ultimately based on the capacity to love; and love unifies—it is an expression of oneness. The basis of the heart is love and love is the expression of the unity of Being.

Appreciating the Other for Whatever He Happens to Be

Love makes us more sensitive to the other because a new element is added: appreciation—appreciating the other for whatever he happens to be. If you appreciate the other for yourself, that is still at the animal level, even though you might feel that you love the person. In fact, you love him solely because he fulfills something for you. The very nature of love is generous, giving, and selfless. It is not territorial; it is not possessive. When the heart is truly integrated, love works for its own survival—that is, the survival of love becomes just as or more important than our physical survival. Physical survival at another’s expense makes no sense because such selfishness is antithetical to the nature of love.

Love Unveiled, pg. 8

Being Without an Appreciation of Our True Nature

We are like the river that doesn’t know it is fundamentally composed of water. It is afraid of expanding because it believes that it might not be a river anymore. But once you know you are water, what difference does it make whether you are a river or a lake? Your Being is what is constantly manifesting as you. It thinks by using your brain. It walks by using your legs. But in your daily experience, you think you are a bundle of arms and legs and thoughts, and do not experience the unity that underlies all of your experience. When we are not in touch with Being, we experience a kind of hollowness. We lack a sense of wholeness, or value, or capacity, or meaning. We might search endlessly for pleasure or contentment, but without an appreciation of our true nature, we are missing most of the pleasure that is possible in our lives. Our nature, our Being, is the most precious thing there is, yet most of us lose touch with it as we dream, wish, hope, scheme, and struggle to have what we think is a good life. We want the right diploma, the best job, the ideal mate. But without some appreciation of our true nature, we end up on the outer fringes of life, always tasting a bland imitation of the nectar of existence.

Having a Healthy Respect and Appreciation for Not-Knowing

This demonstrates another reason to have a healthy respect and appreciation for not-knowing: Not-knowing is the entry to the adventure of discovery. In time, you may recognize that not-knowing is the way Being opens up to its own mysteriousness. In fact, this not-knowing is the direct expression of the Mystery itself. What does “mystery” mean? When you say, “There is mystery” or “I experience mystery,” you are experiencing not-knowing in a palpable form. Mystery is the essence of Being itself, which manifests in inquiry as an openness that appears as a not-knowing. Entering into that openness of not- knowing is the work we do in the Diamond Approach. We question one thing after another—everything we know about ourselves and about reality. And every time we recognize that we don’t know, a new kind of knowledge is revealed. We need to remember that basic knowingness is the field of Being as it manifests in our soul. Inquiry is a dynamic stream that meanders according to its knowingness of what it does and doesn’t know as it flows through the field of the soul. This field, however, exists within a larger field of not-knowing—a boundless field of mystery and the ground of all of our experience, perception, and knowledge. The not-knowing of inquiry is like a spring bubbling up in the stream of knowing from the underlying ground of Being’s mystery, indicating the undiscovered treasure that lies beneath.  

Love and Appreciation of Truth for Its Own Sake is an Absolute Requirement for Objectivity

What we are seeing here is that the love and appreciation of truth for its own sake is an absolute requirement for objectivity, which in turn is required for complete metabolism. If one is not interested in the truth, or is interested in it for other purposes, which amounts to the same thing, then one might get what one wants, but not the truth. Even if one wants complete metabolism, development, or enlightenment, then one is looking for a certain result or end, not for truth. Thus, in the Diamond Approach, the age-old spiritual dictum that desire leads away from truth and towards suffering, becomes a specific understanding of the requirement for objectivity, and hence for metabolism and transformation. This objectivity is not easy to attain, or even to understand. Love of truth for its own sake is actually the expression of essential heart. When one perceives the heart on the Being level, one can recognize that love is the expression of truth. Seeing that a necessary requirement for objectivity, which is usually considered a mental quality, is pure love of truth, which is a heart quality, we observe the organic interrelation between the various aspects of Essence. It is interesting to remember that the beginning of ego has a defensive character, and defense is nothing but hiding a certain truth of experience. So the requirement for inner realization is the converse of the most basic characteristic of the ego; defense and resistance are the enemies of truth, and love is its ally.

Moving Toward Being Real

Wanting to be real indicates having a measure of self-love, some kind of love of what we are. So when we want to move toward being real, we are already expressing a lovingness and an appreciation that is essential to spiritual work. If that lovingness is not there, our practice is done for the wrong reason; it is part of the noise. What I’m pointing to is not a selfish kind of self-love; it is not possessiveness or self-centeredness. This heart attitude toward realness—this feeling that our consciousness, our soul, our awareness, has about being real—is very subtle and difficult to explain. To recognize this appreciation for the real in ourselves indicates that we have already developed a certain level of maturity and a specific guidance for our practice. It is a precious moment when we recognize this love, this appreciation—when we know that we are not practicing to accomplish something. I am not meditating, praying, chanting, or working on myself to make myself better. I am not doing this work so that I will be as good as the next person or because I have an idea or some ideal I developed or heard about and decided was a good thing to go after. It is not a matter of going after anything. It is just a matter of settling down with myself. It means learning how to recognize our agitated activity, our noise, and how not to go along with it. Instead we learn to simply settle, relax, and be. And I don’t mean that when you relax and be, you just sit and meditate. Meditation is something we practice, but ultimately, engaging inner practice and living life are not two things. Being real, learning to be real, is our practice in every moment; it becomes the living of our real life. And being real transcends any dimension, any experience, any perception—regardless of the content. It is just the experience of feeling no distance from yourself—no dissociation, no scattering, no dispersion, no distraction. And the more you recognize this collectedness, this presence, this hereness, this settledness, the more you have a sense of being real, of reality.  

Opening Up a New Appreciation for the Individual

So the individual and Living Being are not two things and, at the same time, they are not one thing. Reality is more mysterious than simply saying that everything is one. Seeing this opens up a new appreciation of the individual. Not only is the individual necessary for any form of realization—including the nondual, which says that the individual is a delusion or an ephemeral form—but also the individual has an intrinsic significance that is fundamentally mysterious. There is a dialectic interaction between the individual—the practitioner or the experiencer—and Being, in its manifestation and in its wholeness. Understanding this dynamic interaction—between individual and whole, between practice and grace, between dual and nondual—begins to reveal a deeper understanding of how things really happen. Reality is far more nonlinear and indeterminate than the boundlessness or the nonduality that true nature reveals. The indeterminacy of true nature allows realization to behold reality in many ways. Yet that perception always happens through the individual consciousness—a consciousness that is always present, whether explicitly or implicitly, in any condition of realization.

Our Need to be Seen

We do not simply need to be seen; we need to be seen with admiration, kindness, appreciation, love, precision, clarity, joy, excitement, and so on. These needs are totally met when we start seeing ourselves with these qualities, reflecting the presence of these essential qualities in the mirroring awareness. The clear medium then appears with the beautiful yellow of Joy, reflecting seeing ourselves happily; or with the soft pink of Love, reflecting seeing ourselves with sweetness and love; or with the emerald green of Loving Kindness, reflecting seeing ourselves with kindness and sensitivity; or with the deep amber of Value, as we see ourselves with appreciation and esteem; or with the brilliant ruby red of Strength, reflecting seeing ourselves with excitement and aliveness; or with the rich apricot color of Fulfillment, reflecting being fulfilled by seeing ourselves; and so on. The crystalline medium of the presence continues to be clear, transparent, and sharply-faceted, at the center of which is the brilliant point of existence, pervaded by the varying colors reflecting the various qualities of Essence. Only the realization of this dimension of Being will completely resolve the need for mirroring. This dimension also clarifies why we need to be seen with appreciation, sensitivity, love, and so on, for we need to realize this richness of our Being. It is our potential and our human inheritance, and it is our unconsciously-felt right, which we usually experience as entitlement. Our potential beckons to us, and at the beginning this beckoning appears as our need and our sense of entitlement.

Respect, Valuing and Appreciation Needs to Manifest Towards Each Other

The kinds of understanding, the kinds of perceptions, the kinds of experiences, and the kinds of realizations you have to go through are many, and involve many levels and dimensions. You move from one stage to another, back and forth, and that takes patience, and compassion for yourself. It takes the generous, realistic, and mature attitude towards life that if you want something, you have to work for it. Nobody can do it for you and nobody can give it to you, because it is you. We should consider ourselves lucky if we find someone who knows something about how to go about this process, and who is genuinely interested in the development of our human potential. Such a person is rare in human society, and should be looked upon with the utmost appreciation and gratitude. Any work that helps you with this process should be held with the deepest respect and value, because to do so is to respect and value your own potential and the potential of humanity in general. Such work should be held above everything else because it is ultimately above everything. It should first of all be put above one’s childish values, principles, and influences. That is what it takes. This is not a moralistic point of view, but a practical one. The Work must be done this way because otherwise it will not work. This kind of respect, valuing, and appreciation needs to manifest not just towards the Work or just towards me as a teacher, but it must also manifest towards each other. If we are learning to be genuine human beings, we should behave maturely towards each other instead of treating each other as rivals, enemies, or sources of gratification, which are the usual ways people relate to each other. If we are going to learn to be human, it will have to begin right here.

Seeing the Soul of the Other Person

We see, then, that the heart develops as the soul increases its capacity to appreciate. This appreciation of life itself, its beauty, and all that is valuable in life—including the values that are important to another human being—allows you to see beyond your own nose, beyond your own body. Appreciation means that you can see the soul of the other person—what is important to him, what makes him happy, what makes him hurt. You can see his aliveness, his heart, his beauty, and his essential nature. The seeing is the same thing as the loving. The feeling of love and that seeing go together—they are not separate but two sides of the same coin.

Love Unveiled, pg. 8

Seeing Through Your “Heart’s Eye”

The appreciation intrinsic to love is based on truth, perception, and sensitivity. It is directly related to the refinement of the soul, through which the soul develops its heart—and the eye of its heart as well. You then start to see not only through your physical eye but also through your “heart’s eye.” This means that the very substance, the very consciousness, of who you are, of your soul, is transparent enough that you can really see the other. Without the heart’s eye, there is no real love—love becomes simply a projection or a matter of the other person fulfilling a function for you. For love to be real, the soul has to develop a heart, which means that the soul can know through its heart.

Love Unveiled, pg. 8

Stepping Stones Towards Reality

Issues and difficulties are not the only stepping stones towards reality. You need also your interest, your curiosity, your appreciation of, and love for, the truth. Your essential experience will help counteract your emotional identifications. However, such experience is not an end in itself. It is not something you get. It is a tool you use to keep seeing deeper truth. Essence is the direct expression of the fundamental truth; it is what is between appearance and fundamental reality. Essence crosses the boundary between the two truths, the two worlds. The qualities of Essence are the first words. The aspects are the first concepts; they are universal concepts, the archetypal states of being. They are more connected to fundamental reality than the world of appearance, but they are part of the world of appearance; Essence appears to us. Or, more accurately, experiences of Essence are glimpses of fundamental reality, viewed from the world of appearance. The work on the personality and the realization of essential aspects is the method of the Diamond Approach, whose purpose is to take us to the fundamental reality. The life of Essence becomes the beauty of that reality, as it appears in and through human beings. It is the fulfillment of the human life.

When There is Sincerity About Understanding the Truth

When there is sincerity about understanding the truth, there is beauty and appreciation in the process for both the teacher and the student. My own essence does not respond when someone is only interested in getting rid of discomfort. The session becomes boring and not aesthetically appealing to me. When the student is interested in a mature way in the process, and is sincere and curious, then there is some kind of dance, an exchange that is real and intimate. The real world becomes more the center than the world of personality. Even when concerns of the personality arise, they are viewed from the perspective of the truth. Even personality stops being a source of irritation. There arises an appreciation of the intricacy and complexity that is the process of understanding, loving the dance and process, rather than wanting to be rid of something. This appreciation results in true dignity and integrity by being aware of the personality without going along with it. There is a beauty to the human being who experiences his or her suffering without indulging, and getting lost in it. Truth sometimes leads to the elimination of suffering, but it can also lead to pain. Whichever results, if the student allows the perspective of love and appreciation for reality, for truth—whether it brings joy or pain—a feeling of deep intimacy within will result. You could be intimate with yourself, which is satisfying and fulfilling, regardless of whether the outcome of the problem results in pain or pleasure. Either pain or pleasure, grumbling that you didn’t get what you wanted or being elated that you got your way, could distract you from the deeper significance of working on yourself. This is the deeper satisfaction of inner intimacy.

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