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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Control?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Control

Allowing Increasing Vulnerability to Our Essence

This tells us something about the personality. The personality tries not to be influenceable. It wants to be the influencer, the actor, the doer, the one who’s in control, the one who directs. It wants to do that even in relationship to our Essence. The personality wants to experience Essence, but it also wants to still be in charge. It tries to do this by eliminating its vulnerability, by saying no to it just like it does to everything else. It makes itself opaque. But if the personality understands what vulnerability actually means, then we become receptive to our deeper nature, and it acts on us. We are no longer the actor; we are a permeable membrane. We are acted upon, we are penetrated by our nature, and we allow it to come out. And the work on the personality, which can be seen as refining it, allows that membrane to become increasingly vulnerable to our Essence. The less defended and opaque the personality is, the more it is permeable to Essence. And as Essence manifests through the personality—as it permeates it, as it influences it, as the personality becomes completely one-hundred-percent vulnerable to our truest nature—we begin to see that there is no difference between them. We experience oneness, unity.

Being Controlled by Unconscious Issues

At this point we can see the importance of clarifying your personal issues. It is difficult to see the ego activity as a whole when you are identified with one part of the personality which is engaged in unconscious conflicts. In this condition you are controlled by an unconscious issue that keeps you stuck in ego activity without realizing it. When the issues are clarified, it is easier to become aware of the movement itself, of the wheels in motion—not of what is being churned but of the actual churning itself. When you become aware that you are the machine in action and you are completely convinced that the activity itself is what is churning up problems, only then is it possible for the wheels to stop. When the wheels stop and there is no activity, there is also no defensiveness. You’re not defending yourself in any way because, as we have seen, the very basis of personality activity is defense. When the activity stops, you recognize that most of your thoughts and desires and efforts are resistance and what you have been resisting is the present moment, the now.

Control Mediated by Nine Specific Reactions Identifiable on the Enneagram

Control is only one of nine mechanisms that perpetuate the existence of the ego—the nine specific reactions of each point on the Enneagram. In time, we see that all the reactions are actually part of the same ego activity. Sometimes one of them is more prominent in our awareness, but they are all present in egoic activity, just as each of the Holy Ideas are all present when we see reality objectively. When we see all of these activities that are the expressions of distrust, we see the nine pillars that uphold egoic existence and constitute the structure of your stuckness. We are studying the nuances of the ego in a very minute way, and as we progress through the nine points of the Enneagram, we are considering one side after another. The more we let ourselves explore and question the nine threads holding the ego together in this way, the more it begins to unravel.

Facets of Unity, pg. 201

Controlling that Stops Our Spontaneity

As we have seen, when you are trying to make something happen, you are not trusting the natural order; you don’t trust that essence itself will manifest in the way it is needed. The first point of departure from this trust is always a rejection of the now. To apply the perspective of basic trust, of true will, you must have the complete confidence that staying completely with what you are experiencing in this moment, will result in what needs to happen, without your having to think about a certain outcome. When the confidence is there, your awareness of exactly what is happening in you will allow you to see that your organism will do the best it can in the situation. Your mind, however, doesn’t allow that complete presence in the now; it thinks it knows what is best for you, but of course it knows only what has happened in the past, and can lead you only in ways conditioned by your history. Because you don’t know that you have an innate intelligence that knows what needs to be done, you don’t allow it to operate. You are always trying to direct it this or that way; and this is what we usually call “will.” But when we are directing and controlling ourselves, we are stopping our spontaneity. We are not able to trust, and thus are blocking our true will.

Discovering that the Mind Veils Our Heart

Even when we feel we are following our heart, loving something deeply despite the counsel of the mind, we are actually following the mind in subtle ways, ways we still do not recognize as created by the mind. We might be moved by the inner promptings of the heart, but usually our longing is created by the mind’s concepts. The mind veils our heart to a much larger extent than we know. We are appalled and humbled when we discover how thoroughly our mind controls even what feels like our deepest movement toward truth. This is most obvious when we consider the love objects we pursue in the world of manifestation. But even the inner objects we seek, such as essential states or various subtle dimensions, are forms and concepts constructed by the mind. The Guest is beyond all conceptualization, whether it is forms of the outer world or the inner world. The Guest is prior to all forms and all manifestations. The Guest is their ultimate source.

Failed Puritanical Controlling of the Animal Soul

Society has learned to civilize the soul not by transforming her animal dimension or harmonizing it with her overall psychic economy, but by disowning, controlling, repressing, and splitting it off; this recognition is among Freud’s most enduring contributions to our knowledge. Our animal qualities are seen as bad, and the superego functions to control the impulses of the libidinal soul, so that they do not penetrate to consciousness or get acted out. This separates the animal dimension of the soul from true learning and civilization, and also from being impacted by spiritual aspects of the soul. Thus in the course of inner work, when we first get in touch with the libidinal soul we find it in this split off and hence distorted and exaggerated animalistic form. We feel then justified to continue our rejection and revulsion; but when we observe it with nonjudgmental awareness, it may transform to its original animal form, with its grace and power. Society has tried puritanical control of the animal soul, but this has failed just as license fails. Only the balanced harmonious integration of the complete human adult can approach it correctly; only by integrating the soul’s full potential, including the spiritual, can we truly civilize the animal soul.

Guide for the Soul Toward Individuation and Maturity

The Diamond Guidance uses the mind, instead of the mind being in control, or in the foreground. It guides the mind, but it is actually the guide for the soul toward individuation and maturity, toward self-realization and the journey home. This is similar to the Sufi view that what is needed for the awakening and transformation of the soul is more the “higher intellect” than anything else. The Diamond Guidance provides the soul with the objective discriminating capacity that she needs to understand more and more deeply what reality is. This discrimination and understanding is not only the process of the work of inquiry, it is the nature of a true life. Inquiry can become the center of our entire life as our life becomes the unfoldment of our soul. If our life is not a continuing inquiry that is always engaging the unfoldment of the soul—if it is not an ongoing transformation—then we are stuck, in a deep sense, we are dead. We will be mired in inertia, repeating the same patterns forever.

Instincts that Drive Us

We share with the animal kingdom a focus on the physical world; we are oriented toward and preoccupied with physical and other external phenomena. Partly as a result of this focus, we also share with animals the instinctual drives toward and passions for survival, food, sex, procreation, company, pleasure, power, dominance, possessiveness, territory, security, safety, comfort, entertainment, and so on. We are primarily driven by our survival, sexual, and social instincts. And these instincts operate in us the same way they operate in the animal kingdom, with drivenness, compulsion, and irrational passion for their gratification. When we experience the animal potential of the soul, what we call the animal soul, we are then full of desires, cravings, uncontrollable impulses, lust, and passion for what the world offers. We want with passion, crave with hunger, and desire with instinctual abandon. We desire instant gratification, but our appetite for such gratification has no bottom and no end. We want and want and want. We want to eat, copulate, possess, dominate, even nourish and nurse ad nauseam. Even when we believe we are being human because we want contact and sharing, our attitude about such fine qualities is animalistic, and worse. We are greedy for contact, and our need for sharing is bottomless. And whoever stands in our way had better beware.

Irrationality of Narcissistic Rage

In narcissistic rage, a person reacts to the perceived failure of the response of another person (a selfobject) with uncontrolled and irrational anger, defensiveness, negativity, devaluation, and meanness. The reaction is more accurately termed rage than anger, because of its uncontrolled and irrational features. It has several characteristics that differentiate it from other kinds of anger and rage:
• It feels and appears irrational, for it is greatly out of proportion to the situations that provoke it. Also, when a person is in its grip, she does not feel any rationale for it and does not feel the need for any. She simply feels justified in her indignation. She simply feels she is in the right, without any interest in questioning what this right is.
• This gives the rage the quality of being uncontrollable or not easy to control. She does not feel the need to control it, for she is irrationally convinced she is justified. This reaction originates from depths of the self-identity structure which are not available to the conscious mind. This is why this rage is frequently acted out verbally and physically.

Physiological Response to Controlling Activity

Here we find that we cannot separate the pea from the activity of control, or to phrase it differently, we cannot separate the ego identity from the actual activity of control. So the loss of control would amount to the loss of self, revealing the underlying absence of the real self which, as we have seen, is the true connection to the Source of everything. Control of one’s inner and outer experience is an attempt, in a sense, to feel connected. Physically, the activity of control is characterized by a contraction in the region of the perineum. Through toilet training, we learn early on to control ourselves through contracting the anus, and every time we control anything as adults, we also contract that region of the body. This contraction creates a sense of center within oneself, which, as we have seen, is missing if we are identified with the ego. In this way, the activity of control gives us a false sense of center, masking the absence of connection with our real center. This reaction of controlling becomes generalized to all stressful situations or experiences, and does not remain limited to the experience of disconnection. Whenever there is any difficulty in life, one’s tendency is to try to control oneself and one’s environment. So rather than connecting us, the attempt at control ends up only supporting our sense of being an ego, someone who is cut off from what is real. This controlling of experience is in sharp contrast with the sense of complete freedom of the Source. This freedom is complete openness and flow, since at the very center of who you are, there is not a hint of control. Here we are again, looking at ego activity, as we did in exploring the specific reaction of Point Seven, but we are considering it from a different perspective. There we saw how inherent in the ego activity is planning, while here, we are seeing it as an attempt at control.

Facets of Unity, pg. 200

Soul’s Fear of Her Vulnerability

For the soul to let go of her rigidity means not only surrendering her defenses and protective strategies, but also the ego structures that give her the sense of self and identity. She feels that she will be naked, unprotected, and vulnerable. To be impressionable means to her to be vulnerable to all external and internal influences, without being able to pick and choose, or to control her life. She believes she will be prey to dangerous or unwholesome influences, influences that do not have her safety and well-being in mind. She is afraid not only of being harmed, but of being manipulated, even destroyed and annihilated. We all have such fears and such distrust. It manifests in many ways, some of which are:
• The need for control of one's life, experience, inner process, relationships, etc.
• Rigidity in structure and character. Rigidity can be a way of not allowing oneself to be influenced, not allowing what one considers external influences to affect one. Rigidity may be evident in inner psychological states, religious convictions, ideological positions, and political opinions, as well as in other attitudes, tastes, and preferences.
• Willfulness, an active way of being rigid and having control. Control can be both passive and aggressive.

The Completely Uncontrollable Wild Explosiveness of Reality

You become a window through which the day breaks. It is like the first moment of knowing there is anything. It is the dawn of consciousness, the daybreak of consciousness. There is just the slightest glimmer of perception, before you know that there is perception, before the mind creeps in with a layer of deadness. This is original reality, our original face. Clearly, there is no way that we can penetrate or open our eyes to that totally fresh, totally virginal, absolutely innocent reality unless we let ourselves be completely defenseless and vulnerable, with no ideas or preconceptions, without even a movement of mind or consciousness. Whatever we are, whatever we see, is spontaneous, the completely uncontrollable wild explosiveness of reality. Every second is a big bang, before anything got formulated yet. That’s what it means not to look through the mind. That’s what it means to be fresh; that’s what it means to regain our original innocence. Your original innocence is a continually exploding freshness, an ever-new innocence that never knows anything, that never lives in time, because there is no time that passes yet. Time is part of your mind. You have to think to be able to have time, and your innocent, original nature precedes that. That’s why I call it explosions: It is just a continual exploding; you do not even have time to realize what happened. What is it even before you ask what it is? The explosion happens and your mind hasn’t even collected itself to ask the question yet. This is our nature, all the time: that much freshness, that much newness.

The Controlling Influence of Childhood Conditioning

It is the developments in psychology that have occurred primarily in the twentieth century that allow us to see how people are stuck in, and controlled by, their childhood conditioning. The approach of psychology and psychotherapy, which has arisen in the West, is a new approach to the problem of emotional suffering. Since the time of Freud, much knowledge has accumulated about the unconscious and the personality. Psychology, the science of the mind, provides a lot of understanding that has been lacking in the Work. But those who developed the knowledge and practice of psychology are not, in general, those who are in the Work. They work to alleviate suffering by trying to resolve conflicts on an emotional level. As a rule, Essence is not recognized in psychology and psychotherapy, so the alienation from Essence is not seen. It is seen that people are not in touch with their emotions and their sensations; it is seen that people are controlled by complex structures of unconscious beliefs, fears, and defenses. But that extra dimension, the existence of the true being, is not generally seen or taken into consideration in psychological theory

The Need to Make the Unconscious Conscious

The other reason psychodynamic work is important is that many of the concepts, especially the main concepts that we believe in, are unconscious. We have unquestioned belief in concepts that we don’t even know about. This is why we need to make the unconscious conscious. We have to be aware of the notions that control our experience before we can make them more transparent. But at some point we have to come to the question of concepts themselves. We need to see how we view ourselves and our reality conceptually. Otherwise, psychodynamic issues will persist forever. There are millions of them. We have to penetrate to a place beyond concepts to really penetrate into reality, because this penetration into nonconceptual reality will expose our conceptualizations.

The Understanding and Certainty that We are Not in Control of Our Process

At the beginning of practice, we are usually identified with the individual self and are not yet aware of the force of Living Being that is responsible for realization and for spiritual experience. At the beginning of the path, the enlightenment drive appears to us as our commitment to and interest in practice, as our devotion to and love for the truth and for reality. As our practice matures, not only do we have various openings, insights, and experiences but also we begin to recognize that the arising of the experiences of true nature is what undergirds our practice—not only what motivates it, but also what guides it, and even generates it. We begin experientially to deconstruct the notion of causality. We see that our work doesn’t lead to the arising of aspects and dimensions of true nature, but that the aspects and dimensions themselves lead us to the questions and the issues and the focus that arise in our spiritual process. It is realization that actualizes itself—usually through our practice. So when we are established in the understanding and the certainty that we are not in control of our process, that Being or true nature is actually in charge, then our unfoldment becomes a runaway unfoldment, which means that everything happens on its own. When we recognize that everything happens on its own, reality begins to unfold consciously on its own, which further intensifies the process. Our process flows from one quality to another, one dimension to another, one insight to another, intensifying and deepening all the time. This is an important juncture in the Diamond Approach. We call it runaway unfoldment, meaning that unfoldment is unstoppable. Our unfoldment is no longer dependent on our practice—rather, it makes our practice happen.

Twisting Reality’s Arm

We are trying to understand what it is to live life, not the way our parents said it should be, or the way the books say it should be, not according to our ideas or other people’s ideas, but the way it is—how things are according to reality. We want to learn how to let the rose bush produce roses, how to let it be a rose bush rather than trying to change it into something else. We haven’t yet explored the extent to which we try to control things, how much we try to twist reality’s arm. We need to see the situation as completely and as accurately as possible. The problem is not that we want to be happy, but that we are going about it in the wrong way. When we really see that we are going about it in the wrong way, we quit. And then life can unfold on its own. We cannot make it unfold. We can quit our rejection, our judgment, our intolerance, but we will quit these patterns only when we completely and totally see what they are doing—that they are hurting us.

Unconscious Resistances Impact Our Commitment to the Work

Of course, to commit yourself to the Work so that you can find yourself does not make sense to most people because of their unconscious beliefs about commitment. “What do you mean, commit myself?” asks the unconscious. “If I commit myself, what will be left of me?” We know from our Work how acute and compelling these anxieties are. We recognize that many of these anxieties are unconscious; at first we don’t even know they exist. They just influence us. We can see this in relationships. We know how hard it is to commit ourselves in relationships even when we feel that we have found the person we’ve been looking for and our troubles should now be over. The unconscious says, “Wait a minute! What’s going to happen to me now?” These same unconscious conflicts surface when you want to commit yourself to the Work. So we see that it has been difficult to do the Work because the commitment, the will, the understanding are generally not available due to repressed fears and resistances that are completely unconscious, that control our behavior, and that get stronger if we push against them.

Uncontrollable Desire Expressing Life

Usually, we think of excitement as similar to electric energy, but think here of electricity that has been liquefied so that it is more palpable, more substantial. The substantiality is a more condensed excitement. It is the presence of aliveness. It is life in its purest quality. Our consciousness attains a vigorous quality, as a pure sense of excitation, of aliveness. This pure sense of vital presence can infuse the love, can infuse the desire, and we can then feel that our Being is ablaze. We become a big flame, a fluid flame, a flame of liquid, a liquid that is so excited that it combusts into consciousness ablaze. It shines and radiates but the heat is comfortable; it feels wonderful. You feel that you are alive with an excitement that doesn’t agitate you; instead, it makes you feel good and happy. This type of strong energy, this intensity of aliveness, this fiery quality, is a quality of our Being that needs to be liberated so that we can experience a desire that is powerful, uncontrollable, and that expresses life instead of expressing need. That is when the divine and the instinctual become one. This quality makes it possible for the divine—which is selfless, which is pure—and the instinctual—which is animal, powerful, and more sensuous—to combine and become completely inseparable. You can no longer distinguish between “Do I love?” and “Do I want?” They are the same thing. “Do I want to give pleasure or do I want to receive pleasure?” The mind can’t even think about it. That is divine eros.

When Surrendering Control Brings Uncontrollable Sweetness

In the realm of the heart, there is no separation. That’s why attachment and enmeshment are actually fake; they substitute for and imitate the real love situation. In the real love situation, all the windows are opened— there are no protections, no attempt at protection, there is no holding back. It is not a question of being fully present; you’re so present that you’re gone. You are just a sweetness. The windows and the doors are so opened that there is no you and other. There is just one; the one is sweetness, love and appreciation. There’s a playfulness; two hearts are singing in one voice. With your beloved you are truthful, you are completely truthful, not by being objective, but by being completely surrendered. You’re not trying to pretend anything, present anything, hold back anything, protect anything, control anything. You’re a song, an uncontrollable sweetness—a fragrance.

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