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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Delusions?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Delusions

Appropriating Realization is a Delusion

We are exploring the view of totality by seeing the dual and the nondual from different angles and directions, because it is not sufficient simply to have an intellectual understanding. It is important to have an experiential appreciation of how this dynamic works. This view will not completely make sense to the mind unless we know it directly, unless we recognize it with our own perception. We are making our way step by step so that as many of us as possible can come along and see how reality works, see what the dynamic of its realization is. From the beginning of spiritual practice, it is your own enlightenment and your own realization. You cannot, however, appropriate it as an individual self. Although it is your own realization because you are Living Being, by believing that it is your realization as an individual, you appropriate it in a way that disconnects you from what you truly are. The appropriation is neither a sin nor a moral mistake, but simply a delusion. Basically, it is a cognitive error that creates discord, that shows you how Being manifests when it is not revealing its enlightenment and its freedom. Having as complete an understanding and appreciation of the dynamic of realization as possible helps liberate the creative, living dynamism of Being. And as the dynamism of Being is liberated, we recognize that dynamism is always free and always enlightened, but only recognizes its freedom through the mature soul.

Delusions of Practice

From the conventional perspective, from the perspective of nonrealization, the one who inquires and the truth that is revealed are separate and have a certain relationship. As we go on, we will deconstruct this relationship and the various delusions of practice because they stand in the way of living our realization, of integrating our realization in life, of bringing our realization into our everyday circumstances. Understanding the true relationship between practice and realization allows us to express and to embody the totality of the realized condition. It also orients and empowers our practice from its beginnings. We will explore this relationship in great detail in order to disclose its true potential.

Human Enmeshment in Intertwined Issues, Delusions and Illusions

Without the philosophers’ stone, human beings have no chance of seeing through and understanding the delusions and the structures that form our conventional experience. We do not have the intelligence. We do not have the heart. We do not have the will. From the conventional point of view, when we embark on the spiritual path, we are so enmeshed and so obscured—with so many issues, delusions, and illusions that are all intertwined and overlapping—that it requires a miraculous, illuminating light to discern, reveal, and penetrate all that obscuration. Human beings in ordinary experience simply do not have the kind of intelligence that can decipher the delusions of our everyday life, nor the kind of capacity that can transform our consciousness.

Nine Delusions that are Principles Inherent in All Egoic Structures

While it is useful to know and to have explored one’s ennea-type, this is not the basic orientation of this study. Our orientation is that the nine Holy Ideas are representations of one reality, each highlighting a different facet of its direct perception. The nine delusions are principles inherent in all egoic structures; they underlie the totality of egoic existence. Understanding the delusions inherent in one’s experience is useful not only to penetrate and understand one’s own fixation, but more importantly, it is useful for understanding the principles that form the foundation of egoic experience. Regardless of one’s particular ennea-type, it is important to observe all the nine cores in one’s experience, and to penetrate experientially into all nine delusions which keep one’s egoic experience going. In our experience, this is more important than recognizing one’s particular delusion, because the deeper we penetrate into what determines our experience, the more the universal principles and the barriers to realizing them are recognized in their entirety. At that point, one’s particular ennea-type becomes less significant. (Ed: See Enneagram of Specific Delusions entry herein)

Facets of Unity, pg. 16

One of the Basic Delusions of the Ego Life

As we begin to understand this perspective, we may learn that one’s helplessness is based on a delusion: the belief that there is something we need to do in order to be ourselves and the resulting conviction that we can know what it is. This is one of the basic delusions of the ego life of the self. It is inherent in narcissism that we will attempt to do things to support our sense of identity. So the self is always engaged in inner activities of remembering, imaging, identifying, repressing, projecting, idealizing, and various self-manipulations to shore up our insecure sense of identity.

Persistence of Subtle Delusions

Many chapters of the books in this series address particular states or facets of reality that reveal specific ways in which reality manifests to us. Throughout the books, there is a natural progression of subtlety and depth in the facets described. This is not, however, due to any attempt on my part to follow a gradual path, but because reality’s inherent intelligence expresses itself in my teaching in the most appropriate and digestible form of spiritual purity for those individuals receiving it at the time. We cannot receive subtle and profound truths of reality all at once, due to the many delusions that constitute our ignorance—both learned and innate—and the natural limitation based on the degree of maturity of our individual consciousness. Even when we are realized or enlightened, the aliveness of reality will at some point reveal, if given freedom of expression, that some subtle delusions still remain that have been unconsciously taken to be permanent features of reality. Some might take this to mean that one’s liberation is limited, but the Diamond Approach sees it as a sign that reality is alive and dynamic, and hence never settles permanently on one particular condition as being the state of enlightenment. Every delusion that we discover simply points to a deeper and more inclusive enlightenment, thus moving enlightenment toward the freedom to unfold from realization to further realization.

Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. x: Introduction

Reality Sometimes Presents Itself by Deluding Itself

Reality is always realizing itself, always living itself, always manifesting itself in one way or another. Reality can manifest itself as you in a dual experience with the world, and it can also reveal to itself the worldview—what we call the ego view or the dualistic view—that underlies the ego’s experience of the world. We can think of the ego view as deluded—and it is deluded. Nonetheless, that is one way that reality shows itself. Reality sometimes presents itself by deluding itself in a certain way. It can also reveal other possibilities by liberating itself from those delusions and showing itself without those delusions. We could call those other possibilities realization and enlightenment. By liberating itself from those delusions, reality begins to reveal the ground, the underlying nature of all these manifestations. Seeing the fixations and unfreezing them, thawing them, and melting them can begin to reveal their nature and ground as transcendent, as pure luminosity, clarity, and emptiness. For some time now, that is how we have been working in the school. We have been looking at this thawing, this melting, this liberation, and experiencing the opening of this realm of time and space. But, in a subtle way, we continue to see this process from the perspective of the individual self, from the view with which we began. From this view, the process feels like a progression or development, seems like a liberation from one condition and the arising of a freer condition. What is truly difficult is to see reality or experience reality from its own perspective, totally free from the view of the individual self.

The Delusion of Helping

So the condition of realization challenges the orientation of the helping professions and the teaching professions. Any kind of helping. The moment that we feel we are going to help somebody, we have all kinds of reasons to feel motivated. As we examine these reasons, many subtle structures and delusions are challenged and clarified. Some of us are compulsive helpers—we can’t stop helping. Before we were realized, we were helping by saying nice things, cooking for people, giving them money, massaging them, and so on. And after we are illuminated, we want to give them teachings, presence, and transmission. But it is the same impulse. We are still helping, still trying to be useful. Many of us are attached to this helping object relation, and this can actually limit further realization without our knowing it. And seeing through the delusion of helping challenges the basic assumption that there is one person helping another person, or one person motivated to help another person. We have already established that motivation is an approximation of reality. Although, for some time, it is a useful approximation, we eventually need to see through it. We need to see that reality naturally manifests true nature, that it is its nature to do that.

The Delusion of Motivation

It might be easier to see through the delusion of motivation in our own inner process than to consider it in relationship to other people. “Well, of course, there is compassion and love toward other people. Of course, it’s natural to help others.” Yes, there is compassion and love for other people. But whose compassion and love? And compassion and love for whom? Because if we don’t see the other person as Living Being itself evolving in some way, if we see them as some kind of a person, as a sentient being, then we are deluded. There is no such thing. Rather, we could say that it is an approximation, that it is one way that Being manifests itself when it doesn’t recognize its true nature and doesn’t recognize the true nature of the other. Given this awareness, what happens to helping? How do we actually help somebody else?

The Paradox of Practice and Spontaneous Realization

This delusion of being motivated to practice and to seek the truth is instigated by reality itself stirring within us. Although it is a better delusion, a lighter or less obstructive delusion than that of the conventional self, it is nonetheless a delusion—it is simply not true. If we have some contact, some in-touchness, some realization of True Nature—of its immensity or spaciousness or vastness or luminosity or love—then when we live our realization, that naturally expresses itself as practicing, as the engagement with life from the perspective of reality. Realization expresses itself in life. I am not suggesting that there is no love and no compassion, or that love and compassion and service are not true. They are true, and they are not yours. You have not developed love and compassion and service; you are not their source. This is the beginning of understanding the paradox of practice and spontaneous realization. We recognize that even the interest in realization is already realization itself practicing, and by realization practicing, realization is simply realizing realization. We could say that True Nature is stirring and motivating us, and that is true in some sense. However, it is true from the limited perspective of the individual soul. From a larger perspective, True Nature is simply manifesting its possibilities, spontaneously and naturally, through the individual soul.

The Philosophers' Stone will Expose and Shatter all Our Delusions

Even though it is not an object, we might be tempted to objectify the philosophers’ stone. In my experience, as long as we feel it and are in touch with it, as long as we are devoted to it and respect it, it doesn’t matter what the mind does in terms of its delusions. The stone will expose and shatter all our delusions. The human mind cannot think precisely enough, the human heart cannot be courageous enough, the human belly cannot persevere enough. It is true nature that does everything. It is the true guide, the real self, and the no self; it is the enlightenment, the nonconceptuality, and the freedom. The more we recognize this truth and are devoted to it, the more true nature will impact and transform us.

To Be Real We Have to Bring Forth What is Real in Us

To live according to the truth, we need to be able to allow the truth. We need to have the integrity and the self-respect to confront ourselves. We must be willing to see things about ourselves that are problematic, selfish, or reactive. We need to acknowledge and confront difficulties and delusions, and learn to deal with them instead of doing everything to run away from them. We need to learn to confront not only the beautiful truth of essential states, but also our fears and vulnerabilities and inadequacies. That’s how we become real. We don’t become real by running away from difficulties; we become real by understanding them. Fulfillment, love, and satisfaction happen as a side effect, a by-product of being real. To be real, we have to bring forth what is real in us. We have to start doing it, being it, acting according to it, expressing it, saying it, and living it.

We Can Experience True Nature Fully Without Necessarily Being Free of All Delusion and Ignorance

<p>We might think that nondual experience is the real thing because it seems to have no conditions, and is free. We can experience the nondual condition as one field that is manifesting everything, as one field that is being aware of everything, as a pure awareness or presence that experiences everything as its own luminosity and presence. The nondual condition, also called the enlightened condition, is free in terms of being free of suffering, but it is not free, as we have already seen, of certain positions or concepts. In other words, we can experience true nature fully without necessarily being free of all delusion and ignorance. We can experience the nondual condition and, at the same time, ignorance or delusions can persist as concepts we do not recognize that are patterning the experience. And the primary concept that patterns the nondual condition and makes us think that the nondual condition is the true condition of reality is the concept of nonduality itself.</p>

When Delusion Turns Into a Window

So when you encounter a delusion, reality says, “In this moment, reality is appearing as a delusion.” And the delusion turns into a window, into another way of experiencing reality and enlightenment. Each of you is a big window, but this window, you will notice, has a frame around it. The fourth turning of the wheel removes the frame. Every time a frame is removed, reality exposes another way that it can be. That is what I mean by saying that by challenging positions and beliefs in our view of understanding reality, we allow other possibilities to emerge—new possibilities and also familiar possibilities seen anew. All the qualities and dimensions of being that we have explored can become more accessible and gain a different meaning and a different kind of utility as we behold them from this more total view.

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