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Cosmic Shell / Cosmic Hole

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Cosmic Shell / Cosmic Hole?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Cosmic Shell / Cosmic Hole

Experience of the World Devoid of Its True Nature

The narcissistic wound that arises here is for not being seen as the source of everything, of all knowledge, understanding, love, value, preciousness, meaning, and existence. We are hurt about not being recognized as this supreme manifestation of Being, the one most worthy of love and admiration. It also reflects our own incapacity to see our true pure nature, as we are not yet realized at this level. At this juncture, we understand that believing that we are separate individuals, or autonomous entities, rather than recognizing ourselves as the oneness of all existence, creates alienation from pure Being. To take oneself as ultimately a separate and autonomous person creates the supreme wound, which appears as an abyss, an abysmal chasm, that alienates us not only from our true nature, but also from everybody and everything. This is the supreme betrayal, and the beginning of endless suffering. We also understand, here, the cosmic shell as the experience of the world devoid of its true nature, the infinite pure Being. Looking through the representational world, we see only a world devoid of Being. The quality of infinity and omnipresence of the identity at this level of experience eliminates duality. We experience Being not only as our true nature, but as the nature of everything. This means it is also the true nature of the ego-self. The pure presence of Being is the underlying ground both for aspects of Essence, and for structures of the ego-self. Both become seen as particular formations within the presence of pure Being.

Seeing the Whole Physical World and Universe as an Empty Shell with Nothing Inside It

So the central relationship of the individual to the world is that of greedy Jabba lusting after the physical world. More fundamentally, it is the empty shell of Jabba relating to what I call the cosmic shell. We see that the ego’s world is as empty as the ego. It’s a world devoid of God, devoid of being, and when you recognize this, the personal shell expands to become the cosmic shell. You see the whole physical world and universe as an empty shell, with nothing inside it. You begin to recognize that there’s nothing there for you—what had been the source of everything isn’t there any longer. And that is actually the way it is, but this truth is normally covered up in the experience of the individual by trying to fill the emptiness through extracting things from the physical world. It never works, you’re never satisfied—so you keep wanting more and more and more.

This is true even in relation to the natural world. Every time you’re in touch with yourself your perception of nature changes. However, most people, even people who are nature lovers, still think a tree is a tree and a rock is a rock. After all, they’re still separate objects. They just appreciate the beauty, the vitality, and the interconnectedness that exists in nature. However, it’s coming from the same viewpoint as the most superficial level—just with some light coming through. The whole cosmic show is not challenged. When it is challenged, you recognize the whole universe, not just nature, to be an empty shell. We’ll continue to explore why it’s experienced that way. All I’m saying here is that just as you experience your personality as empty because it doesn’t have essential nature, the world of this personality turns out to be empty as well, because it doesn’t have essential nature either.

The Filling of Cosmic Emptiness with Cosmic Consciousness

In terms of the individual, when a deficient emptiness is accepted it usually becomes displaced by the essential aspect lost, as we have discussed. This applies to the cosmic emptiness as well. If and when one remains with this universal deficient emptiness it slowly starts filling out with the beautiful loving softness of Cosmic Consciousness. The whole universe becomes filled with this aspect of Being. The universe regains its soul. Both oneself and the rest of the world are in one unified existence now, and its beingness is the Conscious Presence. One realizes here that the cosmic hole is due to the loss of the boundless conscious Presence.

The Personality Hole is Part of the Cosmic Hole, the Hole in Cosmic Existence

Now I see more clearly the connection between this true perspective and the state of Jabba the Hutt and the unreal universe. Just as the personality feels itself to be real, full and existing, so it sees the physical universe as full, real and existing. The sense of significance of the personality is continuous with the significance and absolute reality of the physical universe. When the soul takes itself to be a separate individual, it projects onto the world all its object relations from the past, and that projection is what makes it feel as if the world has some reality. It believes in the projection, just as it believes in the image of itself. Seeing the state of Jabba the Hutt means that there is now a perception of the truth about the personality: that it is an empty shell of fat, that it is full of greed, lust, and desire for physical pleasure, comfort, security, and power, and is motivated by instinctual responses to a feeling of deficient emptiness, which is the lack of an essential nature.

Because this state of emptiness is continuous with that of the physical universe, both are now experienced as empty, flat and lacking in significance or value. This realization comes when the fake filling of the emptiness is no longer present, which reveals the hole we have been covering up. The personality hole is part of what I call the cosmic hole, the hole in cosmic existence. This is the perception of the universe as deeply lacking after the projections of the personality onto it have stopped. When those projections are dissolved—just as your belief in who you are is dissolved—everything appears empty. The world, and the whole cosmos, appears empty. This is the cosmic hole and because we’re dealing with a boundless dimension here, this hole is boundless. We are seeing the personality hole as continuous with the hole in the universe. And when we experience and accept this cosmic hole, it can begin to fill with what we have been disconnected from.

The Representational World Exposed as a "Cosmic Shell" Covering a "Cosmic Hole"

But now one experiences the ego personality as an empty shell, full of greed, lust and desire for physical pleasure, comfort, security and power. And this state is continuous with that of the world, including the physical universe, as empty, flat and lacking any real significance and value. The material which has filled this shell in the past, all the past object relations, is no longer there. And the representational world is revealed in its true nature, as empty, as a shell covering a huge, infinite deficient emptiness. Just as the experience of Being finally exposes the self as a shell covering a hole, it now exposes the representational world as a big “cosmic shell,” covering a huge “cosmic hole.” This means that without the connection to Being the world we usually see is really empty, a cosmic deficient emptiness, covered by a shell, which is the content of the representational world. It is this experience that many mystics refer to when they say the world is an illusion.

Universal Narcissistic Emptiness

When this experience of the cosmic shell—or universal narcissistic emptiness—arises, some individuals conclude that the world is inherently empty and life is meaningless. This experience is also the origin of some beliefs that the world is illusory, does not have a true existence, or is only a dream. These are mistaken interpretations of this experience, which is simply a deep experience of the ego-self. It is a mistake to think of the experience of the emptiness of everything as the same thing the Buddhists are referring to when they say that everything is empty, or as what the Hindus mean when they say that everything is maya, illusion. They are not referring to this experience. The emptiness that is revealed in Buddhist practice is a clear space, without the sense of deficiency that characterizes the emptiness of the cosmic shell. Having the cosmic shell experience with its sense of deficiency indicates that one is experiencing the mental structure of a self that is still not differentiated from the world. Both the self and the world are experienced in this way as a result of a mental structure, a structure that patterns experience to be the normal self living in the conventional dimension of experience. We recognize now that this experience of universal emptiness is the experience of this structure, so it is empty. That the world the ego-self experiences is the result of the development of a psychic structure has been formulated by object relations theorist Joseph Sandler as the concept of the representational world.

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