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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Cynicism?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Cynicism

Absence of Faith Manifests as Cynicism

Ultimately, this lack of faith is based upon the belief that human beings do not have an inner reality that is true, good, loving, and perfect, and so are inherently selfish, self-centered, and self-seeking. If you don’t have Holy Faith, you have this other kind of faith: the conviction that human beings are entirely made up of ego. Life then becomes a fight for survival, and if any goodness is shown to another, it is purely out of self-interest. This cynicism is the specific delusion of ennea-type Six. The dictionary defines a cynic as someone who believes that all people are entirely motivated in all their actions by selfishness, and a cynical attitude reflects a contemptuous disbelief in human goodness and sincerity. So the absence of faith manifests as cynicism, whether it is related to human beings or to the cosmos. It manifests as a doubting and a questioning of oneself, one’s nature, human nature, Essence, truth, God, or the universe in general. It is a suspiciousness that reflects the underlying cynical attitude, the absence of Holy Faith, and the consequent hopelessness, despair, and frustration. Doubting one’s own or others’ motivations may be implicit or explicit: Are they being loving because they are expressing an inner goodness, or is there some ulterior motive? Such constant questioning indicates the lack of faith in human nature. You don’t believe that it is possible for someone to do something out of the goodness of her heart, or for the universe to present you with something nice—you don’t believe in grace. If something nice happens, the cynic in us wonders, “Is this a test? What’s going to happen if I enjoy it? Am I going to be tricked?” 

Facets of Unity, pg. 239

Cynicism is Doubt Based on a Foregone Conclusion

Cynicism is beyond doubt. You might experience doubt or skepticism because you haven’t experienced something and so don’t know it, and this kind of doubt may be useful and healthy, motivating us to find out what is true about someone or something. Cynicism, on the other hand, is doubt that is based on a foregone conclusion. For example, you doubt another person from the pre-assumption that he lacks goodness and so will not come through for you. Cynicism comes in many degrees and levels. It might take the form of not believing that there is such a thing as Essence, or believing that if it does exist, it is not part of you. Or it might exist as part of you, but it is fickle and unreliable. However it appears, it makes you invalidate your own experience, even of Essence. “Was it really me? Did it really happen, or did I make it up? Was it my experience, or did someone make it seem that way? Was I hypnotized, or the victim of suggestion?” This is not an attitude of exploring one’s experience to find out what is true, but an expression of having already made up one’s mind about what one is going to find. It is not an open questioning that invites exploration to find out the truth for oneself, but an attitude of debunking, of questioning something to eliminate it, to cut it down and cut it away.

Facets of Unity, pg. 240

Defensive Suspiciousness is Based on Cynicism

Defensive suspiciousness manifests not only in individuals, but in society as a whole, and the dialogue between cynicism and faith arises in many areas: in our friendships and intimate relationships, and in our relationship to ourselves, our teachers, and social issues in general. An example of the latter is in the ongoing debate about what to do with criminals: Should we punish them or educate them? If you are fundamentally cynical, you believe that they can’t be rehabilitated and should just be locked away from society. If you have more faith in human nature, you believe that it is wrong to give up on a person because he may have a spark of humanity that can be rekindled through education. Our defensive suspiciousness manifests in suspecting the motivations of those we are in relationship with—our friends, lovers, spouses, bosses, co-workers, even teachers. You might suspect the reason your teachers appears to be there for you, or you might question whether he or she even has the capacity to be there. Defensive suspiciousness is based on cynicism, the belief that either there isn’t anything essential in a person, or if there is, it isn’t available to you. This is not healthy skepticism, in which you don’t know something and want to find out what is true. Healthy skepticism is an openness, not the invalidating, angry, and attacking, doubtful quality of this form of reactivity. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 244

Each of Us Must Deal with Our Cynicism, Our Fearful Insecurity

It is important to remember that each ego has all nine inner complexes, and that each of us must deal with our cynicism, our fearful insecurity, and our defensive suspiciousness. We need to experience this constellation that forms the core barrier against Holy Faith, because if it remains unconscious, it will block the development of faith, regardless of your essential experiences. Because this constellation is present in the unconscious, it needs to be exposed and dissolved, and to do that, we need to experience the specific reaction and the specific difficulty, and then see how both are based upon the specific delusion of cynicism. In this way, we can diffuse the core and clear the way for our essential experiences to give rise to faith.

Facets of Unity, pg. 244

Giving the Other Person a Chance

What ultimately needs to happen is for each of us to develop faith in ourselves, which means having faith in human nature. When we have that, we can’t help but have faith in all human beings. This does not mean blind trust. It means that you know for sure that every human being has an essential nature, even though it might be buried and a person might be acting out of ignorance or cynicism. It means that you give the other person a chance, that you allow the possibility that she can be kind and selfless, even though she doesn’t always act that way. It means that you know that such a quality exists in her and in you. The real battle is not with other people but within yourself. You don’t need to trust other people as much as you need to trust yourself. The meaning of faith is the certainty that your innate nature is good and supportive—it does not imply trusting other people or even trusting yourself all the time. It means that you know that there is a quality within yourself that is fundamentally trustworthy. That faith will help you persevere in the Work so as to make that quality more available and more permanent. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 245

How You Experience the Lack of Holding from the Perspective of Cynicism

This cynicism, then, is the specific delusion that forms the core and then develops into the whole ennea-type. The specific difficulty of ennea-type Six is the experience of the inadequacy of the holding environment as reflected through the filter of cynicism. In other words, it is how you experience the lack of holding from the perspective of cynicism. The lack of a sense of holding, or the holding being negative or inadequate in some way, plus the lack of belief that there is real goodness within oneself and in the environment, leads to a lack of trust that reality is supportive. So the sense of not being held adequately, seen from the cynical perspective, makes you feel that it is not possible to be held adequately. No one is going to be there for you out of selfless and caring goodness, and real loving and true support and nurturing are not possible. So not only do you feel that holding is not present, you also come to believe that it is not possible to obtain. The loss of the Holy Idea, the loss of the holding, and the development of distrust are all components of the same process, and they happen simultaneously over the course of the first five years or so of life. The sense may be that my mother is there for me only because she’s my mother and it is her duty and responsibility—not because she loves me. Or the cynicism might be more extreme—that she’s not there at all. In either case, the feeling-state that results, the specific difficulty, is a fearful kind of insecurity. You feel insecure and scared at the same time. There is an underlying and intrinsic sort of insecurity that is constantly present because you don’t feel held, and since you don’t feel that you’re going to be, you feel constantly edgy and scared. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 241

The Real Difficulty that Results from Cynicism

Many people believe that they are not worthy of love. This is an expression of cynicism, because they are saying that there is nothing within them deserving of love. When you dig deeply, you see that all the delusions are connected and are just different expressions of the basic disconnection from Being. Cynicism is a delusion; it is not intrinsic to our consciousness. It is the product of a particular ignorance, and the insight that will resolve it is the perception we call Holy Strength and Holy Faith. Many people adopt cynicism as a philosophy and base their approach to life on it; this becomes especially prevalent during periods of physical, social, or economic catastrophe. If you were born during a war, for example, it might be very easy for you to become cynical because your soul developed in an atmosphere of danger and was surrounded by people motivated predominantly by their survival instincts. A person who is really cynical has given up on humanness. Having faith means that you have not given up on the possibility of yourself and others having humanity. It is understandable that if you grew up in an inadequate or, worse, an abusive environment, you would tend to be more cynical, since your experience was that human beings are dangerous. The real difficulty that results from cynicism, however, arises not only from believing that your parents or the environment are not human, but from believing that you, yourself, don’t have the human qualities of intrinsic goodness, strength, and intelligence.

We are discussing these difficult and painful states at the core of the fixations because they are in all of us, and we need to become aware of them in order to be free from them. As I have said, if you do not deal with this core, faith will not develop even though you have essential experiences, or if it begins to develop, the core will surface and you will have to deal with it then.

Facets of Unity, pg. 245

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