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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Difficulties?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Difficulties

A Lengthy, Deep Process, Rich with Surprises, Full of Difficulties of All Kinds and Replete with Color and Significance

In the Diamond Approach, self-realization involves the complete realization of all aspects of Being. Each aspect manifests, its issues are understood, and it finally becomes a permanent attainment, as segments of the ego are abandoned. It is a lengthy, deep process, rich with surprises, full of difficulties of all kinds, and replete with color and significance. The essential aspects are not sought after, but are allowed to emerge on their own. One merely lives fully, in close contact with one’s personal experience, but is continually and deeply curious about, and open to, reality. One’s life is governed by the love of truth, and understanding is experienced as inseparable and indistinguishable from the unfoldment of one’s potential. The emergence of Essence in its aspects can be seen as due to interest in understanding oneself and one’s reality. But Essence can equally be seen as emerging on its own, in response to life situations, and thus influencing one’s consciousness, as it approaches from the depths. As each aspect of Essence pushes towards consciousness it naturally confronts the identification systems that were developed to bury it and to emulate it. It exposes this segment of the personality, making it feel ego alien (contrary to one’s sense of who one is), and bringing about an objective understanding of that part of the personality. This understanding is the truth that is absorbed, which leads to the conscious emergence of the particular aspect.

Alienation which Leaves Us with a Sense of Emptiness and Deep Suffering that, in Time, Lead to Physical Difficulties, Psychosomatic Diseases and Other Problems

We also use the phrase “the Work” when talking about the Diamond Approach. It is helpful to know what this refers to so we can understand more exactly what we are doing here. As far as we know, human beings have always been different from animals in that people suffer a specific kind of pain that other creatures don’t. All forms of life suffer sickness, accidents, death. But in addition to these, humans experience emotional and mental suffering and anguish. We know that throughout recorded history, human beings have experienced emotional pain, dissatisfaction, lack of contentment, and lack of peace. What people are experiencing now is nothing new; it has always existed. Maybe our suffering is greater than it was thousands of years ago, but it is still generally the same suffering. In addition to this universal condition, there have always existed a few people with the knowledge that most of this suffering is due to man’s alienation from himself. Most of our dissatisfaction comes not from sickness or material problems, but from not being ourselves. Not much can be done about the suffering caused by sickness or aging. Some people have seen, however, that emotional suffering is not inevitable in the same way. It is due to not knowing who we are, to not knowing Being, our true nature, not being free to be ourselves. It is this alienation which leaves us with a sense of emptiness and deep suffering that, in time, lead to physical difficulties, psychosomatic diseases, and other problems. Along with this knowledge of the cause of our suffering, there has also existed the knowledge of how to lead a person back to himself, if he wants and is able to follow. “The Work” is any way, school, or method that recognizes the fact of suffering and the cause of unnecessary suffering and works to lead a person back to his true nature, which will eliminate the unnecessary suffering. The purpose of the Work, however, is not primarily to eliminate suffering. The desire to return to one’s true nature is an innate impulse that is there even in the absence of suffering. The more we are in touch with ourselves, the more we feel this innate desire to know and be who we really are. We want the freedom to live as we’re supposed to live, to fulfill all our potential. When we don’t live that way, we suffer. That suffering, rather than being a problem that the Work aims to solve, is simply a hunger for our true selves. It is a signal that we want to return to our true nature.

Being Sincere Means Not Lying to Ourselves, Not Rationalizing, Not Bandaging Difficulties

Being honest and sincere means confronting our inner experience and our outer life in a truthful way. Being sincere means not lying to ourselves, not rationalizing, not comforting, not postponing, not bandaging difficulties. Being sincere means grappling with our life and coming to terms with it with a sense of integrity and self-respect. Over time we gain self-respect by grappling with our deficiencies, by learning that we can do that. If we run away from the difficult parts, we’ll feel like a coward. If we feel like a coward, we won’t respect ourselves. And we can’t lie to ourselves about what we’re actually doing; on a deep level, we know the truth. So we have to grapple with the difficulties in a courageous way. That’s how we gain respect and value. If we run away from things, there’s no way we can value ourselves. To have a sense of integrity, we have to prove to ourselves that we’re worthy of it. I don’t mean we have to prove something to our superego. I mean we have to bring forth what we are, bring forth all our resources to confront the difficulties that we have in our life. As far as I know, we can’t become real, can’t become truthful embodiments of reality, unless we take the risks to live that way. We must make the necessary sacrifices to be and to live that reality.

Conflicts in Our Unconscious Minds Create Alienation from the Essential Parts of Ourselves that are the Source of Happiness, Joy and Fulfilment

Psychological theories and therapeutic approaches are proliferating these days, but none of them seems complete, and they have different rates of success. From the perspective of the Work, it is clear that these approaches cannot be completely successful in eliminating suffering if they don’t take into consideration the fact of Essence and of our alienation from it. The most basic cause of our suffering is not emotional conflict. We have emotional conflict because we don’t know our true nature. This is different from the view of psychology which sees emotional conflicts as the cause of suffering. Problems in childhood with the environment create conflicts in our unconscious minds which, in turn, cause difficulties in our day-to-day life. What is not seen is that these conflicts create alienation from the essential parts of ourselves that are the source of our happiness, joy, and fulfillment. Suppose that whenever a man expressed his anger as a child, his mother rejected him, withdrew, or was frightened. Since the mother is identified with love and merging (at least in infancy and early childhood), when this man later experiences anger, he will fear the loss of love and merging. In his past, the qualities of love and merging were not compatible with anger. His mother withdrew her love when he expressed it. In this Work, we understand that strength and sexuality are closely related to anger; they both involve the energy of separation or aggression. So when this man experiences love and merging with another person or situation, he will feel a threat to his strength and sexuality. This is the fabric of pain and confusion we suffer in our daily lives. As many of you have seen in your work here, we generally cannot approach the essential states connected with love, anger, or sex without experiencing anxiety, fear, even panic.

Difficulties are Invitations to Investigate with Curiosity and Find Out What is Actually Here

As you see, every problem that arises is an indication of something that we still don’t know. This is one of the premises of the Diamond Approach. Every personal problem signals something about yourself and reality that you don’t understand and that you have not integrated. Difficulties are invitations to investigate with curiosity and find out what is actually here. When you begin to investigate a problem, you realize that some part of you is not there. You encounter a hole in your beingness and consciousness that feels as if something were missing. If you go about investigating what is missing with sincerity and truthfulness and curiosity, you will start to find out about it. Your love affair with knowing what you are will deepen. What you find out will not necessarily be a solution to your problem, but a realization of who you are. And the problem fades away in some way. Loving the truth for its own sake means you love the truth because you want to know it, not because you want something out of it. That is why I don’t like it when somebody says they’re going to pray to God so God will forgive them and save them. For me, that is not a true attitude. If you ask anything from God, you should say, “God, do whatever you want to do and let me find out what it is. I just want to see what you do, God. Whatever you want to do with me is fine; I just know that I am really interested in participating.” That is a true religious attitude. But to pray, saying, “How miserable I am, and my wife left me, and I need some money too, why don’t you enlighten me, send me an angel?”—all that stuff is making a business deal with God. That is not a love affair. The way to the truth is more like a love affair. Of course, there is a place for a scientific approach in the sense that truth is precise, exact, and definite. If you really love the truth, you want to know it exactly as it is. And if you want to know it as it is, you have to cut away the bullshit. You have to be exact and precise.

Each Sector of the Personality Manifests as Certain Conflicts, Issues, Difficulties, Prejudices, Traits, Preferences and so On

Each sector of the personality manifests as certain conflicts, issues, difficulties, prejudices, traits, preferences, and so on. These will be reflected in the individual's personal experience, both inner and outer. It determines, among other things, thoughts, feelings, actions, relationships, and life-styles. We call this perspective on reality, on both essence and personality, the “diamond perspective.” We call it such because it is exact, precise and definite, and it takes the many facets, the details, of both essence and personality into consideration. The elegance and beauty of its workings will become apparent as we go on in our discussion. Now we go back to our human dilemma, and see how we can use this diamond perspective to find an effective solution. Any individual, at any time in his life has a certain set of personal preoccupations and concerns which are manifestations of specific sectors of his personality. These are not haphazard. He is dealing with a specific set of issues, conflicts and life situations, and these might be quite different from those of other individuals in his environment. One sector of the personality might dominate his life for long periods of time if he is not successful in resolving the issues and conflicts inherent in it, and so it might appear to others, or to himself, that this is who he really is, this person acting out of this particular set of issues, that there are no other parts of him. The average individual moves between a few sectors of his personality, and most of these sectors are deeply hidden in his unconscious. According to the diamond perspective, the sector of the personality that happens to be dominant at any given time is related to a certain and specific aspect of essence. In fact, according to the diamond perspective, the real resolution of the conflicts and issues in such sectors will bring about the manifestation of the related specific aspect of essence. The application of the diamond perspective which is set forth in more detail in our forthcoming book Essence (to be published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., in 1984), has demonstrated that the resolution of any particular sector, issue or conflict of the personality is actually the related essential aspect itself.

Emotional Pain and Difficulties are Nothing but the Presentations of the Dynamism of Being Happening through the Filter of our Ordinary Knowledge

Whatever arises is the manifestation of Being and always has a meaning, whether it is distorted and constrained or free and open. The distortions, including emotional pain and difficulties, are nothing but the presentations of the dynamism of Being happening through the filter of our ordinary knowledge. Fixed beliefs, attitudes, and positions, mostly based on ego structures and defenses, impede and distort the flow. What you end up with is a painful, constricted, and dark repetition of old knowledge. What inquiry does is activate and invoke the optimizing thrust of the dynamism, inviting Being to exhibit its hidden richness. Inquiring opens up our knowledge by challenging it, questioning it, understanding it, and this happens by seeing the truth that transforms, rejuvenates, and deepens our experience. By understanding the distortions, we can see and get to what Being is trying to unfold. At some point, that unfoldment will appear in pure manifestations—the direct, unobscured experience of true nature. Such an experience of true nature transforms our direct knowledge, taking it to new and fresh dimensions. So the transformation of our experience is the transformation of our knowledge.

Enneagram of Specific Difficulties

We have explored the nine specific delusions that describe the points of view that underlie and support the structure of the ego. This can help us to understand whether what motivates us is coming from a deluded perspective or from an objective view of reality. It should be obvious that most of us act in alignment with the delusions, and that these in turn generate the nine painful states that are the specific difficulties of the nine points. We have also seen how we characteristically try to resolve these painful states through the specific reactions, and how pointless this is since they are based on mistaken views of reality. We typically believe that by engaging in, and identifying with, these reactions, we will not feel our suffering. Through the course of our exploration, we have seen that these defensive reactions do not resolve the specific difficulties. Their resolution will happen only through letting go of the delusions underlying them. This means, first of all, that we must recognize the delusions we are operating from, and then we need to realize that they are the real cause of our suffering. In other words, they need to become ego alien, and we need to see that they constitute and maintain the egoic self. It is important for our spiritual development that we really understand what the deluded view of the ego is, and what the real view is as elucidated by the Holy Ideas. It is important that we do not deceive ourselves into taking a deluded way of seeing things to be what is objectively true. If you do not understand the view of reality, you will take your experience for granted as an unquestionable and unchanging, concrete reality.  Diamond Heart Book Five, pg 232



Facets of Unity, pg. 290

For One Who Truly Pursues Truth, Difficulties are Not Obstacles but Occasions for the Further Revelation of Truth

The potential of Being continues to be unveiled in the form of mysteries, disclosed not only as the nature of being but also as dimensions of my nature. Through the revelation of its secrets Being satisfies my heart-felt questions, and also shows me how little I know. Every revelation leads to further questions, in a living unfoldment of my soul. This dynamic process involves both feedback from deeper levels of Being to my inquiry, and a “feedforward” process as I continually ponder the significance of what is being revealed. A poet said it thus: “always a beautiful answer, that asks a more beautiful question.” The unfoldment of the soul is an adventure full of thrill and terror. It magnifies various life conflicts, as it discloses the essential manifestations that resolve them. This process exposes character deficiencies, ignorance, and wrong beliefs and positions. It involves intense pain, rage, terror and uncertainty. For one who truly pursues truth, however, these difficulties are not obstacles but occasions for further revelations of truth. Inner conflicts and difficulties always turn out to be caused by ignorance. Being, the ground and source of all that is, has by this time disclosed to me my personal nature. In the realization of the universal witness, it has begun to disclose the nature of the world. This realization has shown me that my experience of the world had not been direct, but had been mediated by my personal view. Understanding this led to intimations of what the real world is, unobscured by mind. This involved answering some fundamental questions, which I was able to formulate only in retrospect.

If You Could Look at Your Difficulties and Conflicts Objectively, You Would See that they are Nothing but Resistance Against Seeing Things as they Really Are

If you could look at your difficulties and conflicts objectively, you would see they are nothing but resistance against that objectivity, against seeing things as they really are. You are attached to your attachments and you don’t want to see things as they are. You are attached more than anything else to your personality itself, to the way your personality functions, to your likes and dislikes, and patterns. You’ve lived with your personality for a long time and it’s familiar to you. Even if you don’t like parts of it, it’s still familiar and dependable. So why leave it? You don’t want to be free from it. To be objective means you must see what role your personality plays. It is this objective consciousness that can perceive the state of liberation, because it doesn’t have any of the clinging attitudes or obscurations that block the perception. These factors are called factors of enlightenment not only because they will lead you to objectivity and liberation, but also because they are present in the state of liberation itself. You are joyful, you are kind, you are energetic, you are determined, you’re clear, you’re awake, you’re completely absorbed in your experience, you’re peaceful. All these qualities are present together in the objective level, as the diamond consciousness, or the objective consciousness. When this diamond consciousness finally perceives the state of liberation, it just melts, becomes softer, delicate, liquid, relaxed, and flowing. There is no structure, no fixation, no holding this way or that way, no preference one way or another. It’s not as if you’re objective or not objective, or you’re kind or not kind, it’s none of those. They’re all there in a sort of melted, free-flowing loose way. They’re so loose, they’re so free that you don’t think of yourself as kind, you don’t think of yourself as happy. The moment you say, “Oh, I’m happy now,” it’s gone. You are it and that’s it.

Issues and Difficulties are Not the Only Stepping Stones Towards Reality

Perhaps this perspective will help us not to get stuck in emotional issues, not to take them too seriously, but to understand them as stepping stones to something deeper. You are not looking at your issues with your boyfriend or your girlfriend so that you will have a good relationship. That is worth doing, but it is not the fundamental reason we do this Work. Your relationships are not fundamentally important; your career is not fundamentally important; these are important only from the perspective of appearance. The Work uses this appearance to help you move towards what is real. In this sense, we are trying to leave this world. We are trying to go to another world. But the other world is not somewhere else, it is right here. The reality is not separate from the appearances we see. If we have that perspective, perhaps we can take things more lightly. We will understand our issues and difficulties as part of the path, without attributing ultimate significance to them. Issues and difficulties are not the only stepping stones towards reality. You need also your interest, your curiosity, your appreciation of, and love for, the truth. Your essential experience will help counteract your emotional identifications. However, such experience is not an end in itself. It is not something you get. It is a tool you use to keep seeing deeper truth. Essence is the direct expression of the fundamental truth; it is what is between appearance and fundamental reality. Essence crosses the boundary between the two truths, the two worlds.

One of the Primary Difficulties in Integration these Boundless Dimensions of Being is the Question of Functioning, of How expression, Action and Behavior Happen

In the same act true nature generates forms and perceives them. It is the creator, the created, and the process of creation. Creation is simply generation, a continuous unfolding of forms and experiences. One way this appears to us in the inner journey is the recognition that there is no such thing as individual action. When we realize that there is ultimately no separate and autonomous soul we see that there is no such thing as independent action, personal choice, or volition. We began to understand this in working with the previously discussed boundless dimensions, in the form of questions about action and functioning. In fact, one of the primary difficulties in integrating these boundless dimensions of Being is the question of functioning, of how expression, action, and behavior happen. We understand functioning completely when we realize the dimension of dynamic presence, for we see how all change and movement occur. Since change and movement are limited ways of perceiving universal transformation, we see that individual action is a way of viewing a particular transformation of a certain region in the field of presence. Since an individual is only a form taken by a particular region of the field, one’s action is actually the action of the field. One’s behavior is nothing but the manifestation of the dynamism of Being, just as one’s choices are made by the same dynamic presence. Volition becomes a concept that we cannot apply in this experience, for there are no autonomous entities that can have volition. All is done by the dynamism of Being, all chosen by the dynamic presence, and there is only one will, the dynamic will of true nature.

Resolving Difficulties is not Our Primary Purpose and the Work Should Not be Approached for that Purpose

Of course, if a student is having difficulty in her work or relationships, the teacher will do whatever he can to help the student understand her difficulties. But resolving difficulties is not our primary purpose, and the Work should not be approached for that purpose. We inquire into the situations in our lives to bring about a transformation of the quality of life itself. We look at our relationships, our work, our interests, to learn about what kind of people we are, what kind of situations we live in, what is the quality of our life. There is no need for work as fine, intricate, and as deep as ours to solve the problems in our lives. We are interested in discovering how to live life in a way that is more human, more humane. We are seeking more value, more depth, more refinement in our lives, and this means becoming more human. It is in the very nature of human beings to be loving and gentle, and to have the capacity to enjoy and appreciate. So this Work is really a matter of uncovering or revealing these parts of us: our human capacities. These are not capacities you are going to be given or that you are just going to get. They are part of you. The Work is a process of revealing your human nature to yourself, so you can live increasingly in accordance with your essential nature. As you understand and realize the essential human values, your life will come to have a different meaning, as will your work, your relationships, and your family. You will be living your life, then, from a perspective completely different from the conventional one, although the external appearance of your life might be the same.

The Extreme Difficulty Encountered when an Individual Attempts to Achieve a Clear Experience of Open Space through Meditation Techniques

This illustrates the primary reason for the extreme difficulty encountered when an individual attempts to achieve a clear experience of open space through meditation techniques, as in Eastern spiritual schools; for the experience of space, because it involves the dissolving of defenses, will bring into consciousness any distortions in body-image. The defense mechanisms of the ego will then automatically mobilize to prevent consciousness of the affective experiences associated with these distortions. This mobilization of defenses in effect amounts to the repression of space. Space not only reveals distortions, but because it exposes self-boundaries, it naturally brings into consciousness all the identifications making up these boundaries, as well as any affects and memories connected to them. Naturally then, space will be vehemently defended against. Space is actually dynamically repressed; and this fact, besides explaining the difficulty in experiencing space, indicates the usefulness of psychodynamic techniques to those seeking this experience. Our experience is that the psychodynamic method does allow greater success than simple meditation in eliciting the perception of space, especially when it is used in understanding and eliminating the difficulties that arise in response to the experience of space. A crucial aspect of our technique is holding both images—the conscious self-image and the newly arising unconscious self-image—simultaneously in one’s attention for the space to appear and for the affects to become conscious. Evidence suggests that if the person becomes aware of a previously unconscious self-image without contrasting it with the conscious one, not much happens, or rather, resistances against affects seem to stay in force.

The Void, pg. 49

The More We Allow the Pure Perception of Consciousness to Happen the More All the Tensions, Difficulties and Hardness Begin to Soften and Dissolve

Although going beyond the conceptualizing mind is a simple transition, it is not an easy one, because our concepts are so powerfully entrenched. We have taken apart the cloud of consciousness, hardened it by wrapping concepts tightly around it, and held it in place in order to avoid change. We call these reifications tension, or a certain feeling, or an identity, but they are really solidifications of concepts about some manifestation of consciousness. When we actually sense ourselves, and sense whatever tensions we have, we realize they are simply sensations. Whatever feeling of love we have is not love but a sensation. Whatever feeling of anger we have is not anger but a sensation. Before the mind existed, there was simply consciousness, the mere fact of conscious awareness of being. On this dimension there is no difference between essence and ego, between body and essence, between the good and the bad. No difference at all. If we allow pure perception to occur, if we allow ourselves to simply see, everything that we perceive is the substance of one field of consciousness. The more we allow the pure perception of consciousness to happen, the more all the tensions, difficulties, and hardness begin to soften and dissolve. The different categories merge into each other, melt, lose their separateness. Love merges into hatred, the good merges into the bad, you merge into the other, the rug merges into the air, the air merges into you. The world becomes one big patterned medium, luminous and beautiful. If you allow the various contents of this medium to keep melting into each other, little by little the medium obtains a blissful quality, a deliciousness. It is not a chaotic mass, but a luminous and blissful field of consciousness. You can’t say it’s physical, mental, or spiritual; it is simply a deliciousness. Visually, it is a luminous field of conscious presence. In terms of feeling, it is like an ocean of sensation, where sensation becomes more and more relaxed. Because sensation is relaxed, it is more blissful. Whether you’re feeling your arm or a chair that you’re sitting on or the body of your lover, it is all one blissful type of consciousness.

The Part of You that Loves You More than Anything Else Has Created Roadblocks to Lead You to Yourself

The problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are specifically yours, designed specifically for you by a part of you that loves you more than anything else. The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself. Without something pricking you in the side, saying, “Look here! This way!” you are not going to go the right direction. The part of you that designed this loves you so much that it doesn’t want you to lose the chance. It will go to extreme measures to wake you up, and it will make you suffer greatly if you don’t listen. What else can it do? That is its purpose. How much suffering and difficulty it brings you is immaterial in relation to the fulfillment and satisfaction you will have when you actually struggle and see the fruits of the struggle. You can look at your problems as difficulties to be gotten rid of as fast as possible with the least struggle, or you can look at them from the perspective of the part of you that is guiding you to yourself. If you look at them from that more accurate, more finely tuned perspective, the new issues that then arise have a new value. They have nutrition that you need. The whole process works with the utmost purity, the most complete intelligence and compassion. The most difficult things that happen to you are, on the deepest level, the most compassionate. Ultimately, the struggle with yourself leads to what is called the “Black Death,” which is the death of the personality, when you wrestle it to the ground, struggling with it. That doesn’t mean fighting, punching, kicking, screaming. Struggling and wrestling is the process of understanding. It requires persistence and steadfastness. You wrestle with it until it finally says “I give up.” Ultimately, you reach the final understanding of the personality. When you see through to its source, its center—which is the experience called “Black Death”—you will recognize that the heart of this death is pure compassion.

The Perspective which Assumes the Ultimate Reality and Value of the Physical Universe, to the Exclusion of other Dimensions of Reality is the Source of the Difficulties of the Egoic Mind

We are continuously concerned about what happens to the body—about whether the body is comfortable or not, whether the body is getting what it wants or not. Is the body getting comfort and pleasure, or is it in pain? Is it secure from threat? Is this body liked or not liked? Is it thin or fat? Tall or short? All these are big concerns in our minds. Our deepest issues are based on physical concerns, rather than on concerns about whether we are loving, compassionate, or free. Even though we might have these latter concerns, they are not as fundamental as our involvement with our physical body and our physical world. The perspective which assumes the ultimate reality and value of the physical universe, to the exclusion of other dimensions of reality, is the source of the difficulties of the egoic mind. This perspective creates most of our suffering—the way we approach death, sickness and disease, pleasure and pain, issues of acceptance and rejection. In the course of our process of spiritual work, of discovering the true presence that we are, the basic identification with the physical body and the conviction in the physical world persists as an ongoing phenomenon, concern, and barrier.

The Soul Closes Down to Avoid Feeling the Hurt, Pain, Suffering and Difficulties that are Normal in Human Experience

When we study the quality of attunement and empathy in openness, a great deal of pain and hurt is bound to come up for most of us. This signifies several things. First, that by being attuned to where we are, we recognize more fully and exactly what we are truly experiencing. The arising of pain signifies that there is much suffering in our human experience. When we look with an attuned, precise lens, this suffering is what we see. In fact, one important reason why our experience is ordinarily so limited is that we resist seeing the amount of pain and suffering we have. The soul closes down to avoid feeling the hurt, pain, suffering, and difficulties that are normal in human experience. Another thing this observation indicates is that the pain and suffering in human experience require the presence of Loving-kindness—the sensitivity, gentleness, and healing quality of the Green Essence. It also shows that our inquiry needs to embody not just what feels good and wonderful, but also a true openness that welcomes our pain and suffering. When our inquiry is open to our pain, our pain will open up and expose itself to the healing agent of Loving-kindness. Furthermore, our pain and suffering will open itself up and reveal the truth that is hidden when we close down the pain. If our inquiry doesn’t open up to our pain, it cannot proceed very far, because the route to our own truth is blocked by our positions and defenses that protect us against the pain we have—the pain that is natural for human beings to experience. Sometimes we can avoid feeling pain by closing down our sensitivity, and sometimes pain is simply unavoidable; we can’t help feeling it. But essential Compassion responds to and welcomes all forms of pain—whether mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual, whether exposed or hidden. The moment the Green latifa is present in our inquiry, sensitivity and openness increase and deepen from all sides. Inquiry is more open and sensitive, and the openness becomes more attuned and empathic. This means that the soul is now more open to reveal her suffering and her vulnerability.

We Don’t Become Real by Running Away from Difficulties, We Become Real by Understanding Them

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 each have our difficult places. They’re called our demons, or our shadows, right? We might feel hateful or terrified or inadequate or immature. Most of the work is about confronting those identities and learning to accept them, understand them, and harmonize with them. We’re not going to become grown-ups if we run away from our difficulties. We cannot take a detour around the difficulties and get to the good stuff. We might succeed temporarily, but we’ll wind up in an even worse situation. We’re going to have to start living the truth we know and the understanding we have gained. It’s not enough to have insights and experiences. When we talk about doing, we mean really doing, despite the difficulties. When we talk about loving truth for its own sake, we mean really loving truth for its own sake, despite the consequences.

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