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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Coemergence?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Coemergence

All Forms are a Coemergence of Appearance and Nonbeing

From the perspective of the absolute, all manifest forms possess this insubstantiality and lightness, and all in the same degree. It is not as if rocks are insubstantial but more substantial than water. When it comes to the absolute perception they are all equal in their insubstantiality; this insubstantiality is simply our perception of their ontological ground, which is the same absolute everywhere. They are all totally insubstantial, for their ultimate status is nonbeing. More accurately, all forms are a coemergence of two things: appearance and nonbeing. Their appearance is their being, but their ground is nonbeing. Their appearance-presence is always accompanied with their nonbeing. They cannot be without nonbeing, for the nonbeing of the absolute is the ground of their being. Such understanding is totally paradoxical for our thematizing ordinary mind; but it is actually how things are, and how we will perceive them when we are free from all cognitive filters. The absolute demonstrates that there is no ultimate substance, for whatever substance we find will have to possess nonbeing as its final nature and constituency.

Coemergence of Soul and Identity

In the process of inquiry and understanding, the soul first throws away her old garb—all our accumulated images, patterns, and self-concepts. This is a process of purification, part of the overall process of revelation in which inquiry reveals the hidden potentials in our soul. At some point, the purified soul—the soul that has gone through the process of clarification—becomes transparent awareness. What we call true nature becomes the soul’s identity. Self-realization and awareness coincide as a coemergence of soul and identity. Our experience continues as an unfoldment in which the identity stays the same and only the content that presents itself to our awareness changes.

Complete Coemergence of Soul and Absolute

Driving to see my friend Karen, I become aware of my presence evolving to a new state. Again the soul and absolute are integrated as one presence. I am aware of the winding road, and contemplating my sense of presence, awareness reveals the integration of soul and absolute to be complete; it is a total synthesis. Contemplation beholds complete coemergence of soul and absolute. The union is much more complete than I have experienced before. This total coemergence transforms the felt qualities of the presence. The lightness is extreme now; it is as if there is no gravity at all. It is the emptiness of the absolute in its total lightness and transparency. And there is an amazing translucence, a clarity that is itself the lightness. I am aware of soul, aware that I am not experiencing only the purity of the absolute, because there is a subtle perception of a completely clear and translucent bubble of awareness. Along with the indescribable lightness and spaciousness, and inseparable from it, I experience a presence that looks almost like a mirage, an illusory body.

Essential Guidance Can Operate with All the Dimensions of True Nature

In reality, essential guidance can operate with all the dimensions of true nature, for it is the expression of true nature. It can operate with one dimension, or with two or more of the dimensions, in coemergence. Depending on the need of the inquiry, one dimension may dominate, and in the gradual inner unfoldment one dimension after another dominates in its functioning. Thus we see how the dimensions of pure presence and pure awareness function conjointly in the inner guidance. When the soul fully understands and integrates the dimension of pure presence, she becomes open to all knowledge, to all the timeless wisdom of Reality. When she attains the dimension of pure awareness, she goes beyond knowledge, and attains nonconceptual freedom. She is now free from the constraints of knowledge. However, if she has been able to realize both dimensions and integrate them in her realization, she will be free to use knowledge without constraints, and without danger of reification. She will be able to recognize concepts and their reifications, to see the usefulness of conceptual knowledge as well as the dangers of the discriminating mind. She is open to knowledge, but is established beyond it, and hence she is not afraid of it and not constrained by it. She has attained the station of master of knowledge.

Presence and Emptiness Always Underlie Manifestation

Like all the dimensions of descent, the quintessential dimension points to the fact that presence and emptiness always underlie manifestation. This particular dimension more significantly points to the fact that the quintessence of Reality is not simply presence and emptiness, but their coemergence. The ground dimension, for instance, has both emptiness and presence, but the two dimensions are not mixed all the way, not completely coemergent. They are distinctly differentiated from each other, a differentiation that is more clearly delineated in the integrated dimension of descent. In this latter dimension the lack of coemergence appears as a hierarchy of differentiated dimensions. The quintessential dimension reveals the more complete truth, that although the dimensions are functionally hierarchical they are not actually or ultimately differentiated. They are totally mixed, completely coextensive. To understand this coemergence we use an analogy. Let’s say that presence is the front of a coin and emptiness is its back. Now slice this coin into two coins. Again, the front is presence and the back is emptiness. Keep halving its thickness, each time resulting with presence at the front and emptiness at the back. Continue this process indefinitely until we arrive at thickness of zero. Now the front is presence and the back is emptiness; but now the front and the back are the same thing, for there is no more thickness. In other words, we arrive at the condition where presence and emptiness are undifferentiated. They are actually this way throughout the thickness of the original coin. This is their coemergence. We need to remember that the absolute truth is non-spatial, and hence its inseparability from manifestation inevitably means coemergence. It is inseparable from any of its manifestations and therefore absolutely coemergent with all the manifest dimensions.

The Awareness of the Absolute is Totally Inseparable from Its Emptiness

Even though realization of the absolute brings total contentment, its many mysteries continue to fire my curiosity. The coemergence of the soul with the absolute begins the realization of the coemergence of all manifestations. This in turn reveals the subtle relation between awareness and the absolute. My experience of the absolute has involved being a consciousness that apprehends it by touching it. The consciousness can be the clarified soul, or any aspect of essence. In this process the consciousness dissolves into its blackness, as it becomes aware of it as total nonbeing. Another way of experiencing the absolute is to be the absolute totally, aware of manifestation arising within it, an extension of it. In this condition awareness arises within the absolute as the ground of all manifestation, as luminosity or clarity. Coemergence reveals that the awareness of the absolute is totally inseparable from its emptiness. Emptiness and awareness are two sides of the absolute, totally coemergent and inseparable. I cannot say that the absolute is clarity or luminosity, because it is much more. I cannot say it is simply emptiness, for it is so rich and so present. As the absolute I recognize myself as awareness which is presence, which is at the same time a lightness, an emptiness. My emptiness is my presence, and my presence is my awareness.

The Coemergence of Self-Realization and Individuation

Only when the student is able to experience himself as the Personal Essence can we say that individuation narcissism has been transformed. This is a resolution of a spiritual nature. It is not only a matter of developing a sense of individuation with a capacity for relating with others. It is not only a matter of establishing a stable sense of autonomy with realistic self-esteem. It is a matter of fundamentally knowing oneself as an authentic presence of Being, which feels personal and human, and whose self-esteem springs from the fact that this presence is its own value. This realization requires the integration of the Personal Essence, as discussed in The Pearl Beyond Price (Almaas, 1988). As part of the process of integration, one must address the narcissism related to the Personal Essence, until one is able not only to permanently experience it, but is able to be it in a nondual manner. This is the coemergence of self-realization and individuation. It is a very subtle state in which we experience the Essential Identity and the Personal Essence as one manifestation of presence. We are the fullness of the personal presence, but our center is the brilliant preciousness of the Essential Identity. We are capable of living a personal life as a human being, with competence, dignity, and maturity, but our center and source is the timeless preciousness of true nature. We are in the world, but we never leave the transcendent depths of Being.

The Essential Ground, the Coemergence of Nonconceptual Awareness and Basic Knowledge

Thus the essential ground, the coemergence of nonconceptual awareness and basic knowledge, possesses implicit qualities that we refer to as its perfections. In its nondifferentiated and fundamental mode it implicitly possesses peace, love, compassion, truth, authentic existence, pleasure, joy, strength, will, clarity, intelligence, impeccability, purity, contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, spaciousness, and so on. They are not explicitly recognizable, but the presence feels complete and does not lack any of these qualities that the soul always needs. These implicit perfections can and do manifest in a differentiated and explicit way in the inner experience of the soul. In other words, the soul can experience her essence in one of these differentiated qualities. Alternately stated, essence can manifest itself within as these perfect spiritual qualities, when the fundamental ground and nondifferentiated presence of the soul transforms a region of its field into this particular quality. The form that appears may have a shape but it might not; it may be bounded and limited or boundless and infinite. But it will have recognizable characteristics in all the dimensions of the Riemannian manifold of the soul. In other words, these noetic forms will be presence characterized not only by the three spatial dimensions, but also by color, texture, taste, smell, sound, viscosity, luminosity, density, and affect. They are noetic forms because each possesses a distinguishing cognitive component, which we call a universal concept.

The Paradoxical Coemergence of Emptiness and Presence

When we precisely understand the nature of the absolute, the paradoxical coemergence of emptiness and presence, we understand how emptiness appears in manifestation. Emptiness is simply the insubstantiality, the nonbeing, of manifest forms. This nonbeing is what makes the absolute so light, so empty, so spacious and open. We begin to see that this absence appears at more superficial ontological dimensions as the experience of inner space, with its various degrees of subtlety. Since it is nothing at all, it appears as the total openness for anything to arise and as the allowing necessary for anything to be. Such openness and allowingness are the properties of empty space, which we experience inwardly as inner spaciousness and openness, and outwardly as the space where all manifestation occurs. In other words, space is the reflection of nonbeing in manifestation. Because we do not understand the paradoxical nature of true nature, as a coemergence of being and nonbeing, we conceptualize nonbeing as space and being as manifesting forms. Just as our ignorance of the timeless flow and unfoldment of the logos leads to our conceptualizing time to account for the changes brought about by this unfoldment, our ignorance of the spaceless nonbeingness of true nature leads to our conceptualizing space to account for the accommodating openness made possible by the emptiness of the absolute.

Total Coemergence of Essence and Soul

In reality, soul and essence are two aspects of the same thing, just as the body and protoplasm are two aspects of the same thing. For us, for our experience, which is all we have, they are nondual, they are our nonduality. Because they are nondual it is not possible to differentiate them completely. More accurately, we can differentiate them but we cannot dissociate them, we cannot make them two separate and independent realities. How we see their relationship is bound to be somewhat arbitrary, depending on how we differentiate them in thought or experience. We can see essence as a potential of the soul, as its most primordial potential; but we can also see the soul as one of the aspects of essence, as the aspect of life. We can see essence as the ground of the soul, but we can also see the soul as the wholeness whose very fabric is essence. Both possibilities arise in direct experience and in advanced stages of the inner journey the difference between the two gradually dissolves. At this point we experience an essential soul, or a dynamic essence, indicating a complete and total coemergence of essence and soul, reflecting the primordial nonduality of Reality. (See chapter 23 for further discussion on this point.)

When We Experience the Coemergence of Emptiness and Clarity We Recognize it as Pure Awareness

A question may arise here about the relation of pure consciousness to awareness, and whether the ultimate truth of the self is emptiness, as Buddhism teaches. This is a matter of subtlety in the experience of the presence of consciousness. Emptiness is the ultimate truth of the soul not in the sense that a soul does not appear to awareness, but that her mode of existence is beyond our normal concept and feeling of existence. This mode is called emptiness, and feels like spacious absence of any substance. Yet this emptiness is also inseparable from a transparent clarity—as formulated by Buddhist schools—both constituting a unity that characterizes both soul and universe. When we experience the coemergence of emptiness and clarity we recognize it as pure awareness, and feel it phenomenologically as presence. Awareness is then consciousness, but consciousness experienced inseparable from emptiness. Therefore, we are at this point discussing consciousness and not awareness, not because we do not think that the ground of the soul is awareness, but because to discuss awareness accurately we need to first understand emptiness. We will do this later in chapters 19 and 21, but continue our discussion here without explicitly differentiating consciousness from awareness. This subtle differentiation is not material at this point of the discussion.</p>

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