Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Bliss?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Bliss

A State of Bliss

If reality feels painful to us or if we experience it as negative, these perceptions are layered over it, extrinsic to it, incidental to it, and are therefore transitory rather than abiding. They are the veils of reactivity, of the mind distorting what we see and experience. Suffering, then, is nothing but reality experienced through our subjectivity. When a person is not perceiving the Holy Ideas, he or she is experiencing some degree of suffering. From the perspective of someone who is seeing objectively, that suffering is just in the person’s mind, but as far as that person is concerned, the suffering is very real. So the one seeing objectively will naturally have compassion and a desire to help, not by alleviating the suffering, but by helping the other see correctly, because when we see correctly, our suffering disappears. Even physical pain becomes less painful if you are perceiving Holy Love, which means being in a state of bliss, because the psychological suffering that contributes so profoundly to the pain is gone. It is possible to realize Holy Love so completely that nothing can make it disappear.

Facets of Unity, pg. 213

An effect on Us that is Delight, Bliss Ecstasy and More

The most characteristic quality of the quintessential diamond is the exquisite synthesis of presence and absence, fullness and emptiness. The two are absolutely coemergent, totally coextensive. We can differentiate them from each other, but we are aware of both as one. We feel so empty and light, as if our nature is simply total absence. Yet, in the same perception, there is a sense of full presence, sharp and precise. The result is an exquisiteness beyond mind and imagination, which is a sharpness and intensity of sensation that is inseparable from a heavenly smoothness due to the absence of any sensation. The effect on us is delight, bliss, ecstasy, transport, which is at the same time lightness, freedom, liberation, which is also precision, truth, reality, and significance. The transparency of the quality is due to the presence of clarity; hence, there is the coemergence of awakened sharp clarity and empty stillness and peace. We feel still, deep, empty, and vast; and at the same time we are lucid, clear, and limpid, in a very sharp, precise, and awakened manner. We are awake to our emptiness, present to our absence. This is the general sense of the self-realization of this dimension. More precisely, the ontological nature of this dimension is the total coemergence and synthesis of pure presence and absolute emptiness. So it is clear and colorless presence, pure and independent of qualities, coextensive with the darkness of total absence. The quintessential aspects are simply the same nature manifesting with a particular quality and its color, in the form of a faceted diamond.

Bliss and Delight Beyond Mind and Reflection

This recognition is an explosive insight, a momentous awakening. Pure presence is now revealed, felt, and known as the very presence of awakened awareness, the very reality of awakeness. Soul awakens to her true nature, and experiences her presence as the presence of awakened awareness. She is now awake, bright, clear, lucent, and transparent. She is also full of bliss and delight, beyond mind and reflection. She is drunk with awakeness, delighted with lucidity, and free beyond bounds. The primary awakening is the recognition of her ordinary awareness, which has always been familiar to her, as her true nature. Such recognition intensifies ordinary awareness to a phenomenological and psychological experience of awakeness. Ordinary awareness becomes awakened awareness, which now reveals itself to be the true nature of all phenomenal appearance. She recognizes that her ordinary awareness is actually both presence and openness, fullness and nothingness, inseparable and undifferentiated. She also wakes up to the fact that she has never lost her true nature, that her nature has always been with her, in all her conscious experiences, and that she can never lose it. True nature is so near to her that it does not make sense to lose it, an insight that intensifies her joy and delight, and shows her that she has always been free, always herself. She can lose touch with many of the differentiated qualities of her true nature; but its undifferentiated ground is always what she is. 

Coming to Understand that Bliss is the Inherent Nature of Essence

The Markabah thus discloses to the soul the truth about pleasure, happiness, and enjoyment. It is not only the presence of essence as pleasure but a faceted and precise presence, indicating wisdom inseparable from pleasure. The soul learns firsthand, through direct and immediate taste and touch, the eternal truths about happiness and bliss. She comes to understand that bliss is the inherent nature of essence, and happiness is what the soul feels when she is intimate with her true nature. These truths are not new; they are in fact ancient, but have usually been cast in terms of moralistic teachings, involving reward or punishment, asceticism and renunciation. We find here the objective, exact truth of what pleasure is, how to attain it, and what obscures it. 

Darkness that is Pure Bliss and Realization

It is interesting that the more we recognize the indeterminacy of the absolute, the deeper is its darkness, and the more luminous. We go further into its unfathomable depths as we accept its mysteriousness. Such darkness is pure bliss and realization, for even though it is the absence of all being and knowing, it is enlightenment. Its darkness is luminous and brilliant; it is the spiritual midnight sun. This darkness bathes us, caresses us, melts us, dissolves us, annihilates us, until we are all gone; there remains only the majesty of the luminous crystal night. We realize then that this darkness of being and knowledge is God’s knowledge of Himself. It is not normal knowledge, it is pure basic knowledge before any discrimination, before any conceptualization. It is nonconceptual knowledge, which is not what we ordinarily call knowledge. Thus the indeterminacy of the absolute is the same as the divine darkness, the inscrutable nature of the divine, the ultimate essence of Being. It is not an ordinary darkness and lack of knowing and being; it is the majestic and luminous blackness of the divine essence, the absolute essence of Being, the most intimate truth of true nature. It is the core of all existence, the depth of Being, the inner of all. Whenever we find an inner quality and dimension, the luminous night will be its innerness; whenever we find a deep truth the luminous night will be its ultimate depth. It is the inner of all, the essence of everything, the back of all fronts, and the ultimate ground and facticity of all manifest forms. It is indeterminacy, but it is also the ground of all determinations; it is nonbeing but it is also the ground of all being; it is darkness but it is also the ground of all light; it is unknowing but it is also the ground for all knowing. It is the primal darkness before there was light, and the eternal night that highlights the appearance of the day. 

Diamond Body of Pleasure, Bliss, Delight and Celebration

The soul comes up against this deeply entrenched view of reality when she begins to learn to love truth for its own sake, especially when this truth turns out to be inside her, for it is the truth of her nature. She experiences a deep conflict between her love of truth and her love of pleasure and allegiance to its external sources. When the soul learns at some point to make this significant shift, and turns toward the truth, this turn becomes the state or station that invites the descent of the Markabah. This is the diamond body of pleasure, bliss, delight, and celebration, which arises as the soul’s love of truth deepens and becomes a true turning away from the habitual egoic orientation and toward authentic loyalty and allegiance to the truth. The turn of the soul’s heart is not a turn away from pleasure; it is simply the shift of allegiance from the pleasure of gratification and its sources, to the inner truth of the soul and Reality. The soul moves her allegiance toward truth, understanding its centrality and value irrespective of whether the truth is pleasurable or painful. This turn is the necessary condition for the descent of this diamond vehicle, which turns out to be what gives the soul the desire and the capacity to transcend her egoic pleasure orientation. This becomes easier to understand if we remember the nondual unity of soul and essence; when the soul is turning toward truth and developing allegiance to it, she is already being impacted by the approach of this essential form, causing this particular issue to arise. As the soul works with this issue, which is being pushed to the surface in clear relief by the grace of Being in the form of the Markabah, and as she manages to make the turn because of her commitment to the truth which she has developed in her previous work, she finally becomes open to the direct and explicit manifestation of this form of grace.  

Heart, Reconnected with Its Depth, is a Fountain of Bliss

Thus the drive for pleasure can become the energy that opens us up to a new arena in our development. As we discussed earlier, to fully know ourselves as mature beings means that we become individuals who are able to fully be and express our true nature in a pure and simple way. We learned that the pleasure we seek comes from our nature and that we do not have to find it in the physical realm, although we can. We can know pleasure as distinct from the drive for pleasure or from the drive to procreate, and in this way feel the pleasure of being. We are a being of presence with the ability to know ourselves completely in the now, without being defined by our own or someone else’s ideas of who we are. This is deeply blissful. When we are in touch with the depth of our essential heart, we are able to be filled with the presence of sweet nectars. It is possible for us to not only feel the effect of these nectars, as in the usual experience of emotional love, but also to feel the heart in its natural condition as the presence of a loving, fluid richness. The heart that has reconnected with its depth is a fountain of bliss. 

In the Unutterable Bliss of Nonconceptuality, Dichotomies Disappear

Experientially, the notions of good and bad are connected mostly to pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, gain and loss, expansion and contraction, and so on. In the unutterable bliss of nonconceptuality, these dichotomies disappear. An important part of this process for the soul is the development of nonattachment. The understanding that arises with the help of the crystal vehicles is that attachment depends on the dichotomy of good and bad. These vehicles teach the soul that nonattachment is nothing but the effect of the nonconceptual presence on the consciousness of the soul. They teach her this wisdom by challenging this dichotomy, which she has adhered to as long as she can remember, and showing her how it is not a fundamental truth, not a timeless truth of Reality. The soul has the opportunity at this point to perceive the development of attachment. It starts with the differentiation of nonconceptual presence. As long as these stay simply as differentiations no attachment is possible, but the differentiations become discriminations, knowable concepts. As long as they remain simply knowable concepts, noetic forms, attachment is still not present. But the concepts become labeled and eventually reified. They become discrete forms, which obscures the unifying ground. The labeling and reification make it possible for the first time to compare the forms, resulting in judgment. This judgment is the beginning of the dichotomy of good and bad. This judgment leads to preference, generally of the good over the bad. Preference based on the entrenched belief in the ultimate truth of this dichotomy becomes a rigid and fixed preference. Such fixed preference easily becomes attachment, which is holding on to what one so prefers, or rejecting what one does not.

Realization of Pure Presence is Undiluted Bliss and Freedom

The transition from divine love, with its rich and fulfilling qualities, to pure presence, with its transparent simplicity, generally activates many issues and resistances in the soul. Although the realization of pure presence is undiluted bliss and freedom, it is a momentous loss for the soul that has become accustomed to the richness of divine love. The soul is not familiar with such simplicity and emptiness, and may resist it regardless of how wonderful and free it actually is. She has been attached to richness, color, quality, abundance, texture, flavor, and so on; these attachments now become obvious. Since the beginning of her essential development, and even before that, she has loved such rich textures and colors, the fluffiness and softness that goes with them. She loved and enjoyed all the sweet intimacies and juicy pleasures of life, and her essential development has magnified those pleasures a great deal. To the soul who has been enjoying this blessing, the transition to pure presence seems to mean losing love and all its wonderful qualities: sweetness, intimacy, richness, fullness, warmth, depth, texture, variety, color, and so on. Hence the soul resists the state of simple presence, resulting in contraction and disconnection from Being.

Soul Becoming Spontaneously Wedded to Bliss and Fulfillment

The wisdom of the Markabah is a body of teaching centered around true nature as pleasure and delight; each diamond here is a viscous, faceted fullness that is presence but also pleasure. The teaching reveals that pleasure is our own nature, and that we attain pleasure and become eternally happy by turning toward the truth of this nature. Learning to be loyal to the truth, the soul is developing allegiance to her true nature, and thus the soul becomes spontaneously wedded to bliss and fulfillment. To find pleasure and happiness is to turn toward the truth of our nature, which is the ground of our interiority. In other words, pleasure is not to be sought, let alone sought outside us. We find it by simply being ourselves, by simply being. 

Your Very Nature, By Itself, is Pure Pleasure, Pure Bliss

So we see that true understanding is not a matter of searching; to seek understanding is the same thing as trying to seek wealth or love or anything external. It is just a different arena, a different place. The attitude that you are deficient, that you need to get something in order to have peace and fulfillment, reveals that you are not seeing yourself. You are not seeing that who you are is not someone who needs to get something. Your very nature, by itself, is pure pleasure, pure bliss, pure peace. Only the activity of searching cuts you off from this peace. If you look within your mind or at your life, you notice that you are so busy I don’t mean busy doing physical things, but mentally and emotionally busy. Your mind never stops, never rests, except perhaps in deep sleep. There is always something going on; the mind keeps busy with whether this is the right thing or the wrong thing, whether I’m bad or I’m good, or it worries about what’s going to happen, plans for the future, tells stories about the past, and so on. You do not let yourself simply rest. You do not stop arguing with yourself or entertaining yourself. Then you ask why you are not happy. This fuels a new flurry of mental activity: “Maybe I should do therapy, maybe join a group.” You get involved with some new external activity that seems promising. When it does not work the way you had hoped, the activity or group or person seems wrong or bad. When things are frustrating, you might say: “They didn’t love me or like me.” Then you look elsewhere for someone or some group that loves you the right way. Always you seek more and more activity, never stopping and settling into your present experience without having judgments about it. The simplest thing is just to relax and be there, to live without ideas about it, to drop the judgments, the ambitions, the seeking. That is what most people do not do.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach

See past editions of the Diamond Approach newsletter