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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Depth?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Depth

An Infinite Depth So Black it Shines

What she beholds now bedazzles her, enchants her, and fires her passionate love. She beholds a luminous vastness, an infinite depth so black it shines. The depth is so profound that it shatters any possibility of mental comprehension, and the luminosity so magnificent that it ricochets in her heart like brilliant lightning. She feels as if she is looking into the very essence of God, into the absolute purity of Essence, into the very center of the universe. It is the most beautiful sight she has ever beheld, dazzling her with its clarity and radiance. It is so black that its blackness luminates with brilliance. Its black and radiant beauty is so powerful that it annihilates her with an ecstatic, passionate abandon. She loves to give up all self and to totally disappear into its mysterious depths. She feels that nothing else deserves to be seen and loved, and thus she recognizes the deep source of her need for mirroring. The beauty of this depth is majestic, radiant with a crystal brilliance that bedazzles her and makes her forget all else. She feels passionately shattered, lovingly dissolved, and deliciously annihilated.

Essence Penetrates to the Deep Strata of Personality

Here it is not a matter of discovering new aspects of essence. It is a matter of letting go of the ego identity and living from the essence that is already present. In this phase of the work, everything becomes an object of study and understanding. It is no more an inner process. One's life, with all its situations, comes into focus. One's style of life—how one leads one's life in all its aspects—becomes understood and modified accordingly. The individual becomes aware of his environment and ascertains whether it supports or inhibits the life of essence. One's relationships to other people, intimate, sexual, social, and professional, all become clear and objective. Everything, every part of one's life, inner or outer, becomes conscious, no longer under the sway of the unconscious. This is a very deep and involved work. It leads to responsibility and maturity. It would be almost impossible to carry out this deep work if it were not for the presence of essence, with its penetrating power. Most of the unconscious material at this phase relates to the early months of life and even before that. It is material that is considered preverbal and, in fact, pre-personality. The mind cannot function at such depth. Only penetrating intuition and direct perception can be used effectively at such a level of work. Essence does penetrate to these deep strata of the personality. It exposes them to the light of understanding. In fact, essence is the true agent of transformation; it manifests the necessary aspects corresponding to the relevant sectors of the personality, and these aspects make possible the necessary understanding.

Experiencing the Depth of Essential Substance

The quality of aliveness of essence is of a different order from that of the body. The body is alive, but essence is life itself. Essence is like packed, condensed, concentrated, completely pure life. It is 100 percent life. It is like a substance in which each atom is packed with live existence. Here, life and existence are not concepts, not ideas or abstract descriptions; rather, they are the most alive, most intimate, richest, deepest, most moving, and most touching stirrings within us. The experience of essential substance can have such a depth, such a richness, such a realness, such a meaningfulness, and such an impact on our minds that some people actually get dizzy, unable to take the impact directly. It is not experienced as something alien, distant, or neutral, like a physical object or an idea. No, we experience it as that which is most intimately ourselves. It is most deeply our nature, and it is the most precious and most beautiful center of us. It is our significance, our meaning, our nature, our identity. It is what moves our hearts, illuminates our minds, fulfills our lives.

Identifying With the Very Barriers That Prevent the Depth From Emerging and Guiding Us

Unless guidance comes from that source beyond, we keep moving from one place in the conventional dimension to another place in the same dimension. We haven’t got the vaguest idea of what awaits us, of what is possible in our potential. We don’t know the extent, the depth, the infinite possibilities that lie underneath the surface. So we tend to judge everything by our knowledge, attitudes, and feelings that come from that surface. We don’t know that by taking that knowledge to be final knowledge, we identify with the very barriers that prevent the depth from emerging and guiding us. This is why the conventional dimension is a state of spiritual sleep, of being spiritually lost. When we recognize that we are lost and that we cannot move out of our lostness with the conventional knowledge we have, we become aware of the terror of our situation. We recognize just how lost we are and how scary that is. We realize that whatever we try to do—read books, practice this or that technique, attend this or that workshop, try to figure out things ourselves—we do not feel any less lost.

Just Falling Into One’s Nature

You will see that your very nature is that grace, pure, unoriginated preciousness, which you don’t see by looking but by being. There is no sense of separateness between the looking and the being; they are one act. To be yourself means you are Essence, you are Being, you are the significance, you are the meaning. We have seen that we are always looking for the preciousness that was lost, thinking we can get it from the outside. But it is the innermost. It is so private, so deep, so inner, that there is nothing more inner than this. Who you are is so inner, so private, so precious, that when it is experienced at its depth it is felt as an absolute sacredness. To really be oneself is to eliminate the chasm, to unify the two sides of oneself, to fully become one. It is not as if you are someone who has a body, someone who does this or that, someone who has an Essence. You are it! You are the whole thing. Meaning is not something we can get to with our minds; it is not an answer found in the mind. It is not an ideal or an image we’re fulfilling. It is not a result of anything. It is just falling into one’s nature. To be able to simply fall into one’s nature, is, however, not easy. It is the most difficult thing there is. It takes perseverance, patience, sincerity, and compassion for oneself. And it may take a long time.

Our Home Turns Out to be Our Depth

We realize that our beloved is in the most absolute depth of our soul. We discover that our beloved is not only in the depth, but is the depth of our soul. We learn that the absolute is pure depth, depth with no end. The darker it gets the deeper we feel, and the more profound is the truth. The deeper and darker it becomes the more empty, the more free, and the more intimate. The absolute turns out to be the principle of depth, and all manifestation is surface. We tend to think of depth in terms of feeling, thought, and knowledge. In the inner journey home we find out that these are actually part of the surface, for they are an expression of the horizontal world of everyday life. We discover that, in fact, true nature in all of its qualities and dimensions stands for depth in our experience and life. We experience the unfoldment of our soul as taking our experience deeper because we are following the dimension of depth. When we arrive at the realization of the absolute we understand depth most clearly and distinctly, for it is the dimension where we know depth most specifically. The absolute, we can say, is pure depth. It is absolute depth because it is the source of all. So our home turns out to be our depth, and our depth turns out to be our beloved. And it is absolute depth because it is nothing at all, complete absence, total nonbeing, which is the ground of all being. We discover that to be at home is to be home. To be in the depth is to be depth. To unite with our beloved is to be the beloved. To be at home as an autonomous self is a contradiction; for by becoming an autonomous self we got lost, and became estranged. To be at home is for the soul to recognize that the absolute, her home, her beloved, which is her depth, is also her nature and identity.

Our Identity is Ultimately Depth

So this is one of the basic functions of the Essential Identity when it comes to the Diamond Guidance. It guides the inquiry to the Point by guiding us to see the point of all and any experience. That is easy to understand when we remember that the Point is true identity. What is our identity? It is who and what we are. And what are we but our true nature, which goes deeper and deeper and deeper until it gets to the ultimate identity, which is the Absolute? This means that getting to the point of any situation is the same thing as penetrating deeper. The moment we get to the point of any situation, we go deeper. Why? Because the point of the situation always has to do with the Point, which has to do with identity—and identity is depth, is penetration inward into ourselves. The ultimate identity is pure depth; that is why the Absolute is depth itself. In inquiry, we notice that if we fully understand what we experience, the inquiry naturally sinks inward, goes deeper, becomes more fundamental. Why does this happen? Have you ever wondered why, when you understand something, your understanding doesn’t get more superficial and diffuse but rather more focused and deeper? The reason is that understanding means getting to the point. Getting to the point means orienting ourselves toward the essential Point. And orienting ourselves to the Point means getting closer to our true identity. Because our identity is ultimately depth, when we get to the depth, that’s intimacy. The Absolute is both depth and intimacy at the same time.

Our Inner Depth is the Experience of Our Consciousness and Presence is the Nature of this Consciousness

When we apprehend consciousness in itself, independently of the function of consciousness of objects, we experience presence. The term field of consciousness is an attempt to describe the ontological presence of the soul, her being. Furthermore, as we recognize that consciousness is fundamentally presence, the knowledge of our depth begins to open up. This is because our inner depth is nothing but the experience of our consciousness, and presence is nothing but the nature of this consciousness. Recognizing presence teaches us a great deal about consciousness, soul, and essence of soul. In this recognition, we can know ourselves in our fundamental mode of existence. We begin to see, perhaps for the first time, that what we are is more fundamental than all the content of our experience. We are more fundamental than our sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, images, symbols, ideas, concepts, and so on. We awaken to our essential nature, which is more fundamental and more basic than our body, heart, and mind. We experience the fabric that is ontologically fundamental, necessary for the existence of all that we have taken to be ourselves. We begin to recognize our real self, our soul. More precisely, by recognizing presence we become aware of the fundamental ground of our soul; we discover the inner fabric that holds all of our experience; we are enlightened to what we are beyond time and space.

Phenomena Manifesting as Appearance on the Surface of Blackness

I do not discuss this newly arising dimension of Being with the group I am working with. I discuss with students only knowledge I have worked with and studied for some time. The work in the group focuses on the process of one of the students, as my inner experience unfolds to depths I have never envisioned. All phenomena, all that perception beholds, including the teaching situation in the room, manifest as appearance on the surface of blackness. The visual effect is similar to the glimmering reflections on the surface of a clear pool of water, but an infinitely deep pool. Phenomena are perceived somewhat differently from how they appear in the dimension of the clear nonconceptual presence. I, the person teaching the group, and everything else in awareness, seem real and three dimensional, and at the same time only an appearance in the blackness. As the state continues, I become more distant from the appearance, as if receding backward or inward from the surface. After a while I see phenomena as an image floating in me, the crystal black absolute. I am blackness, vastness, depth and mystery, and everything is a luminous image floating on the surface.

Pure Being Seen as a Formless, Boundless Real Existence That is Not Contained by any Boundary

So we have moved from the fact of what is happening to what truly exists within you, and from there to what truly exists beyond your body—what exists in the whole cosmos. In the boundless dimensions, Essence still has the quality of being a presence, a fullness, and a richness. As our experience deepens, the boundless dimensions keep revealing themselves in continuing depth, one after the other, as we penetrate deeper and deeper concepts within our mind, and these dimensions will lead us eventually to the deepest, innermost truth—absolute truth. This dimension of the Absolute is beyond all concepts, including that of existence or non-existence. It is not that there is a formless or boundless dimension that pervades everything or is the essence or everything, since seeing it this way creates a dichotomy that does not exist. It is not as though there is me and there is my essential nature. The formless dimensions bring in another kind of perception, which is of Being as a formless, boundless, real existence, a substantial presence that is not contained by any boundary. When you experience pure, translucent, self-existing boundless presence, you see that it is not only the fundamental nature of Essence itself, but also of everything that exists. It exists in everything, and everything exists in it. We see here that the universe is ultimately pure Being, and that this pure Being not only supports us, infuses us, and is our nature, but more fundamentally, that it constitutes us. It is completely inseparable from what we are.

Facets of Unity, pg. 77

Recognizing That the Absolute is Both Knowable and Unknowable

This inherent clarity of the absolute is its own intrinsic knowingness. Its facticity is inherently knowing. I experience this knowing as an implicit clear light, not differentiated as clear light, but which can plumb the depths of the absolute. It is a clear consciousness completely inseparable from the absolute. I experience the absolute as both knowable and unknowable. I can plumb its depths, and gain a great deal of experience and insight. I can describe what I experience in increasing detail, with more and more precision. But it is clear that the nature of this inexhaustible vastness allows no final or definitive knowledge. The absolute is knowable in that we can become aware of it; many poets and spiritual masters spent their lives talking and writing about it. It is unknowable in that our knowledge is endless and cannot be final. Its nature is indeterminable because it is inexhaustible. The knowledge of the absolute always involves the revelations of the process of contemplating it, of experiencing it ever more deeply and clearly. It always involves a contemplating consciousness. The absolute is not absolutely alone. When there is no longer a contemplating consciousness, then there is no reflection on the absolute; there is only being it. Then there is no content that can be pointed to. In other words, no fixed position or final conclusion can be taken regarding the absolute. To fully apprehend it is to know it as mystery.

Surrendering into the Mysterious Depths of the Absolute

I am sad, but also willing to accept the truth of my situation. I embrace my total emptiness. I welcome my complete, fundamental poverty. I have nothing. I do nothing. I am nothing. The state becomes a sense of having nothing, being nothing, feeling nothing, perceiving nothing. Darkness deepens, blackness fills awareness. At this point, I notice that the indigent emptiness is no longer indigent; I experience it now as an endlessness of peace, an infinity of release, and a completeness of rest. I realize that by totally welcoming its objective emptiness, the individual self has surrendered its existence into the mysterious depths of the absolute. The emptiness of the self, which I have experienced on many levels as various kinds of insufficiency, and which I have just been feeling as poverty, reveals itself as the complete lightness and freedom of the black crystalline truth. The poverty is nothing but the inexhaustible void, which I have misunderstood by experiencing it through the lie of my independent existence and capacity. As I, the individual self, accept my poverty and relinquish my hold, I in effect accept and embrace the complete voidness of the absolute. Here, I recognize that I am the absolute depth of Being, the source of all plenums. The infinity of silence is what remains: luminous stillness, absolute transparency, and indescribable intimacy.

The Depth of Essence is Endless

Essential substance is so beautiful and magnificent that no imagination can conceive of its beauty, and no poetry can convey its magnificence. The way it moves us and teaches us is beyond the wildest dreams and imaginations of humanity. Its potentialities are staggering, its creativity is boundless, its depth is endless, and its intelligence is limitless. It is a wonder—a wonder beyond all miracles. It is our true nature, our most intimate identity. This wonder is not just for stories or poetry. It is not just to dream about or long for. It is not just to give us flashes of its magnificence, or fleeting tastes of its significance. It is actually our human essence. It is who we are: our very beingness. We are to be this essence, to exist and live as essence. It is our potential to be our essence, not just in occasional experiences but always and permanently. It is our essence that can and should be what lives, and what should be the center of our life. It can and should be inseparable from us. The work of inner development is not aimed only at having an experience of essence. It is aimed at the complete realization of essence and the permanent existence of us as essence. It is aimed at the eradication of our separation from essence. To be free is simply to be. And to be is simply to live as essence.

The Possibilities of Creativity and Depth in Our Soul are Unlimited

The action of true nature is self-revelation. Inquiry is our way of doing what true nature does. But we do it from the perspective of the human being— the soul’s version of self-revelation rather than that of the Absolute. To move toward enlightenment we have to operate from where we are. The possibilities of creativity and depth in our soul are unlimited. And the agent of this creativity is the dynamism of our true nature. Inquiry is the ultimate aesthetic creativity; what is being created is life itself. The more our inquiry and the unfoldment of our understanding is allowed, the more we approximate the beauty of God’s revelation and the more we appreciate God’s face. As we move closer to the original nature of our experience, that experience opens up and reveals the beauty in all things. Inquiry reveals not only the aesthetic beauty of all things, but also the exquisite meaningfulness and precision of everything. This revelatory process is pure art and pure science at the same time. Each experience unfolds like a flower opening. The openness of our inquiry approximates the vastness of true nature, manifesting as the love of knowing, the love of what is true.

The Unfoldment of the Soul Always Leads to Greater and More Complete Experience of the Qualities of True Nature

We see this most clearly in its role in the development of the soul. We begin to understand why when the soul unfolds under the guidance of Being it does not stay in the same place or deteriorate. The unfoldment always reveals greater depth, clearer insight, more precise and universal truth, enhanced clarity, and more luminosity. In other words, the unfoldment of the soul always leads to greater and more complete experience of the qualities of true nature. We begin to see that this is due to the action of the optimizing dynamism of the logos, which manifests experience in such a way that it is always tending to reveal true nature in as clear, deep, and complete a way as possible. More specifically, the action of the logos in the experience of the soul, especially when the soul is open and receptive to this action, is to optimize her experience. Because of this, the inner journey is simply the optimization of the soul’s experience by maximizing her clarity, luminosity, awareness, love, truth, compassion, openness, joy, freedom, and so on. Furthermore, the guidance of Being simply orients the soul to be in harmony with the optimizing force of the logos, which appears in her experience as a deepening and expanding unfoldment.

To Be Fully and Authentically Ourselves Our Identity Must Include the Ontological Depth of the Soul

We have seen that in order for us to be authentically and fully ourselves, our identity must include the ontological depth of the soul, essential presence, and that to be presence means simply to be. When we are simply being, our experience of ourselves is direct, immediate, spontaneous, and natural, free from the influence of the thick veil of accumulated memories, ideas, ideals, and images. We have also seen that conventional experience does not allow the experience of self-realization because conventional experience is virtually determined by this thick veil of personal history. We have noted that ordinarily the self cannot experience itself separately from the self-representation, and that, in fact, it experiences itself from within, and through, that representation. If it has not already been clear to the reader, it now becomes clear that the veil of personal history is the self-representation. Regardless of how realistic the self-representation is, it cannot contain the true reality of the self.

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