Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Conflict?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Conflict

A Cycle of Conflict

The correct perspective from which you can do this work is always to be aware of whether you are interested in the truth of what is happening right now, or whether you are trying to achieve something. Are you doing the work now to acquire something, to arrive at a certain goal, or are you doing it because you love the truth? This is a shift in attitude that is needed for us to finally understand the hopelessness of the situation. You are caught and divided because you still have hope that things will be different. That hope creates desire, that desire creates rejection of what is there, the rejection of what is there creates division, the division creates conflict, the conflict creates suffering, the suffering then creates searching. The searching creates more rejection and more conflict and the cycle continues. You may think I’m saying that there’s no point to the work. There is a point: to make it possible for us to understand the situation. Essence is needed because essence is what will help you accept what is there. Many other methods try to understand the situation without the presence of essence, which makes it very difficult. Here it is easy for us to realize and experience essence. Essence is there not so that we will gain some pleasure, or satisfy our desires, or get something. Essence is there so that we learn in time that truth is what matters.

Activation of an Essential Aspect Usually Exposes the Main Conflict Around that Aspect

That an essential aspect has become a station does not mean it is always present. This condition exists after it is just established, but as other aspects emerge they will displace it. In this case, a station means that the aspect is permanently available; it is present whenever the situation requires it. Even in using the Diamond Approach, activating the essential aspects by going through the death of the corresponding sectors of the personality does not necessarily make them into stations. In some instances it does, but usually more work is needed. Sometimes not all relevant parts of the personality are seen and understood. The emerging essence will expose them. Then the inner work is on understanding all the arising parts of the personality associated with this aspect and the effect of the essential aspect on them. The work that leads to the activation of an essential aspect usually exposes the main conflict around that aspect. But then this central conflict has many kinds of ramifications, all kinds of connections to other parts of the personality, and might bring about other central conflicts of the personality, connected to other aspects of essence. For instance, in the example of the merging essence, we saw in Chapters Three and Four that the central conflict is around the symbiotic wish for the mother. But when the merging essence is activated, it might expose another conflict—between its presence and the aspect of will, for instance.

Arising Conflicts, Inner or Outer, Express the Lack of Understanding of Incoming Essential Aspects and Dimensions

The unfolding of essence becomes the process of living. Life is no longer a string of disconnected experiences of pleasure and pain but a flow, a stream of aliveness. One aspect manifests after another, one dimension after another, one capacity after another. There is a constant flow of understanding, insight, knowledge, and states of being. As this unfolding proceeds, it affects the mind, the personality, and the external life. When conflicts arise, inner or outer, it is the expression of the lack of understanding of incoming essential aspects and dimensions. It is part of the creative process of living. Every new insight or knowledge is preceded by its absence. This absence is seen from the perspective of the ego as a conflict or a problem. However, if the individual is interested in the truth, the conflict is seen for what it is, an absence of a certain understanding. The presence of this understanding is the same as the presence of a certain aspect or dimension of essence, with its qualities, capacities, insights, and mode of living. However, the center of all this understanding, insight, knowledge, discovery, creativity, conflict, and tension is the unfolding of essential presence. This flow of essential presence becomes the true experience of time instead of the linear memory time of the personality.

Conflicts Around any Essential State can Make it Difficult for the Individual to Allow its Presence

The incapacity to be present in the objectively-required essential state is due only to the presence of conflicts around the state. The conflicts around any essential aspect make it difficult for the individual to allow its presence. When it does become present in spite of issues, then these issues become apparent to one’s consciousness. The conflicts can be due to the lack of understanding of some dimensions of Being, but this understanding is usually unavailable due to the presence of emotional issues. Some teachings make it sound as if one lets go of ego, and then Being starts unfolding. The implication is that the development that occurs on the Being level requires only existential understanding. This is definitely not accurate; every development or unfoldment of a new dimension of Being involves the understanding of certain emotional issues. So the unfoldment of Being cannot be separated from the progressive understanding of, and detachment from, some ego identification systems. The deepest and most subtle functionings of ego are usually not conscious in the beginning student, and include aspects of his existence that he firmly believes are objective and immutable.

Magnification of the Conflict Between Essence and Personality

As an aspect of essence pushes forward toward consciousness, it acts on the personality. Essence is a force, and the sector of the personality related to the emerging aspect of essence becomes stronger and more forceful in order to be able to resist the emerging essence and to keep it out of consciousness. The very existence of the personality depends on unconsciousness, on maintaining its established patterns and conditioning. The personality does not want to change. As essence emerges, the conflict between essence and personality will be magnified and become more obvious. The conflict between the unconditioned part and the conditioned part becomes the focus of attention. The relevant sector of the personality will manifest more and more strongly now in consciousness, until it becomes imperative for us to look at it and deal with it in a real and effective way. It becomes necessary for us to understand and resolve the issues related to this part of the personality. To avoid or ignore the issues becomes more difficult than to face them. Here, essence acts as a perfect teacher. It does not, like most systems of teaching, try to make us deal with sectors of the personality that we personally experience as syntonic to our wellbeing. It actually disrupts our habitual equilibrium. Forcefully but gently, and in a balanced way, it reveals each sector of the personality as alien and contradictory to our best interests. No human teacher can be so exact, so effective, and so appropriate.

The Conventional World View is a Big Mistake

All the philosophies, all the ideological, political, and economic systems designed to do something about this trouble, are based on the same assumption that causes the trouble, the assumption that we are bounded by our skin. So these philosophies cannot resolve human problems. There might be improvements or transitory changes, but only realizing and resolving the fundamental problem can lead to any fundamental change. This is why people who know the fundamental reality generally do not care about ideology and political systems. The conventional world view is a big mistake, and it is a mistake that creates trouble. We take things to be completely different from what they are, and this happens in a way that creates opposition, separateness, conflict, and war. The moment “me” and “you” are created, conflict begins, even if there is love there as well. The only way that conflict will cease is to see that “me” and “you” are part of the appearance of the total reality. We are fundamentally not separate; we are the same thing. We are so deeply the same thing that our oneness is much more of a unity than my arm and my leg. The arms and legs have different structures, different appearances. But when we know reality, we know that you and I are completely the same thing: We are made out of the same substance, we are the same consciousness exactly. No difference at all! The difference is only what appears on the surface, and to see this is to see that the difference is good; it is beautiful to see that appearance is a multifaceted expression of reality, of love and joy.

The Deepest Cause of all Conflicts of the Personality is the Loss of Essence

Psychotherapy's goal is to resolve the conflicts only on the psychological level. It attempts this by working on understanding the conflicts and their origins in childhood. It believes that through this understanding and the discharge of repressed emotions, the conflicts will be resolved. But how can that be, when the most fundamental point in the conflict is the loss of the essence? The individual knows, although unconsciously, what he has lost. His personality is always subtly irritated by the hole in his chest. He will feel complete, he will be completely contented about this conflict, only if he regains what he has lost. There is no other way. Understanding or no understanding, completion and contentment will happen only when there is a hole no more, only when essence is there, experienced and acknowledged. The deepest cause of all conflicts of the personality is the loss of essence. It is not childhood programming; childhood programming leads to the loss of essence. It is this loss that is the greatest deficiency. From this perspective, we see that depth psychology itself has a hole, a deficiency. This deficiency is the absence of essence in its understanding. The essence here is not only one element of the personality's conflicts, it is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Without this biggest piece, without this missing element, the puzzle can never be solved and completed.

There is No Conflict Between Living the Essential Life and Getting What You Want in the World

One reason we don’t want to see this truth is that we often believe that if we choose to live in accordance with the truth of Essence, we will lose all the goodies of life that we’re attached to. We are so accustomed to looking at our lives from the perspective of getting things from the outside, we believe that if we cease to count on this pattern, we will lose them all. This is not so. In fact, if all your actions and desires, all the aspects of your life are subordinated to the truth of Essence, you can have what you want in your life. You can be famous, rich, sexy, have a family, a career, all these things. And you can enjoy them in the fullness of Essence, rather than always trying to get more and fearing the loss of what you have. There is no conflict between living the essential life and getting what you want in the world. In fact, when we are living according to our essence, it is possible finally to love our lives and the things in our lives. But if we value external things over our essence, then we shut off the part that can enjoy these things. The heart of joy, what we call the yellow heart or the bright sun, becomes sunny when it is turned toward Essence. When it is turned somewhere else, it is dark. It’s that simple. This doesn’t mean that we should feel bad because we don’t always turn our hearts toward Essence. That will close our hearts even more. What we can do is to see the truth of how we turn away from ourselves. We can see what makes us turn away from the truth. We can see that unconsciously we believe something else will work. We can then understand that belief and see why we believe it. When we see that completely, we don’t need to do it any more. It’s not a matter of whipping ourselves into line. It’s a matter of seeing and understanding how we are not in line, how we are not in harmony with the truth. The more we understand, the more we are aligned with the truth. The more we are aligned with the truth, the more joy we will find, the more happiness, love, fulfillment, and satisfaction. We can become deeply content simply by being in harmony with the truth.

We Have Emotional Conflict Because We Don’t Know Our True Nature

Psychological theories and therapeutic approaches are proliferating these days, but none of them seems complete, and they have different rates of success. From the perspective of the Work, it is clear that these approaches cannot be completely successful in eliminating suffering if they don’t take into consideration the fact of Essence and of our alienation from it. The most basic cause of our suffering is not emotional conflict. We have emotional conflict because we don’t know our true nature. This is different from the view of psychology which sees emotional conflicts as the cause of suffering. Problems in childhood with the environment create conflicts in our unconscious minds which, in turn, cause difficulties in our day-to-day life. What is not seen is that these conflicts create alienation from the essential parts of ourselves that are the source of our happiness, joy, and fulfillment.

Your Essence Has a Way of Throwing a Conflict in Front of You

Your essence is very intelligent, very generous. It has a way of throwing a conflict in front of you so that by looking at that conflict, you’ll find out something you need to know. The situation that you are given is perfect in terms of timing, place, the people involved, your capacities, the capacities of the people around you, every detail. The situation is such that if you actually try to understand it, you’ll understand something about your essence. The situation is not there to give you a hard time. You’ll have a hard time if you look only at the manifestation, seeing the conflict itself as a difficulty. If you look at it from the perspective of ego, of identification, you’ll suffer and continue to suffer. But if you see that you fell on your face and you’re suffering because you tripped over something that was in your way, then you’ll want to find out more about what that was, more about that barrier. What we do here is look at the barriers that you bring to work on in this group. We dismantle them, analyze them, examine where they come from in terms of your childhood and your relationships and your life in the world now. From that material, we eventually get the real and precious metal—or the gems hidden inside it. That’s why all that stuff was there. You think that by working on your issue of independence you’ll finally be independent, you’ll be able to support yourself, earn a lot of money, do what you want and all of that. That’s all true, but it’s not the most important factor. The most important aspect of working on any issue is for something inside you to develop. The rest will follow almost effortlessly.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach