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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Disappearing?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Disappearing

A Gap in Consciousness, a Cessation of All Sensation and Perception, Without Falling Asleep or Unconscious

The libidinal wanting may return at this point, but it can have a different aim. If she is not bound by her habitual beliefs, the student might come to realize that she longs to disappear, to gently vanish, to be no more. She experiences a very deep weariness, and a teary subtle longing, that sometimes becomes powerful and passionate, to simply fade away, and not to leave any trace. She finds the notion of absolute cessation sweet and dear to her heart. She feels that not to be, not even to know that she is not, would be the final release from a life of striving and searching. She contemplates not being, not knowing that she is not being, and not remembering that she ever has been, as some kind of ultimate, albeit obscure, fulfillment of her heart. It is as if she senses that only not being will bring contentment, and a peace beyond peace. This gentle disappearing will actually come to pass if the process takes its course. She will have the experience once in a while—especially when she is relaxed and mentally unconcerned—of feeling herself disappearing. There will be a gap in consciousness, a cessation of all sensation and perception, without falling asleep or unconscious. She knows this because, when she comes to, she feels quite rested but also indescribably clear and fresh, as if her soul has been washed of its heaviness and conflicts. She feels lucid and totally care-free, light and totally light-hearted. No sleep ever rejuvenates her this much. It is as if not only her body, but her very self and soul have been renewed. She does not remember what happened because absolutely nothing has happened. There was absolutely no content of experience.

A Stream of these Acts of Appearing and Disappearing Giving Us the Impression of Flow and Unfoldment

We can perceive unfolding on an even more subtle level. We may experience the opening up of all the points of the field as a process of appearing and disappearing. One form mysteriously disappears as another form appears and takes its place. There is no origin of what appears and no destination for what disappears. It is like appearing from thin air and disappearing back into it. There is a stream of these acts of appearing and disappearing, giving us the impression of flow and unfoldment. This perception involves experiencing the consciousness of the soul from the dimension of emptiness, where the forms appear from and disappear into emptiness. And since emptiness is not an object, it is neither a source nor a destination. The forms merely move from nonmanifestation to manifestation.

Boundaries Can Dissolve through Disintegration, Fragmentation, Disappearing

On this dimension of Love the process of personalization of Essence becomes objectively understood. One can see here that an aspect becomes personalized, i.e., becomes personal, when it is finally understood that it is Love. When this happens, whatever identification system one happens to be identifying with becomes absorbed into the particular aspect. The result is the personalization of that aspect. The absorption of boundaries into Being through the action of Love is the easiest, and the most available way to dissolve boundaries. Boundaries can dissolve through disintegration, fragmentation, disappearing and so on, leading to other essential aspects, usually different levels of Space. But this is a difficult and painful process, and is much harder for most individuals, who will of course tend to resist the dissolution. However, they will resist less when there is Love. And when Love is personal, it lends the greatest support possible for the process of melting of boundaries.

Dissolution Into Tears, Typically Manifesting as a Disappearing

At this level the shell tends to dissolve by turning into hot tears, initially because of the depth of grief of losing the self and its possessions; but ultimately the grief is about the self’s loss of contact with the depths of its Being. The dissolution into tears typically manifests as a disappearing, sometimes with intensity and passion. The passion is a deep love for the state of cessation, which turns out to be for the absolute depth of Being. The passionate intensity is sometimes due to the dissolving action of this depth of Being. The dissolution might be experienced as a passionate annihilation of the self by the powerful love of Being, as self and Being connect in a passionate love towards each other. More accurately, we frequently experience the closing of distance and the dissolution of duality between self and Being as the gravitational pull of a passionate, ecstatic love, that annihilates the self into the depth of Being, evoking the analogy of lover and beloved.

Feeling Prickly Boundaries Just Disappearing, Melting Away, Easily and Effortlessly

The realization and development of the Personal Essence becomes the greatest support for the process of boundary dissolution. We give the example of a student, Jane, who is at the time a student in college. She is complaining, in a group session, that she feels frustrated in school because it is not easy for her to be alone, focusing on her studies. She is feeling frustrated while talking with me. I ask her to describe her state. She says she feels empty and airy, but she is aware of her skin feeling somewhat prickly. She realizes that this sensation is the source of frustration. She feels herself only as a boundary around the body, a negative merging boundary, prickly and uncomfortable. By exploring the feeling of aloneness and frustration she finally starts feeling the fullness of the Personal Essence in her belly. Then she feels the fullness filling all of her. As she becomes the fullness she feels the prickly boundaries just disappearing, melting away, easily and effortlessly. She changes from being a frustrated, empty individual, to the fullness of the personal presence. She no longer feels a sense of boundaries. Although she feels a full, personal presence, she also feels a spaciousness all around her. The presence of the Personal Essence allows the ego boundaries to melt and dissolve. Then one feels oneself as a full presence and a spaciousness. One is both the fullness and the openness. So instead of the contracting boundaries around one’s personal presence, one feels the openness, spaciousness, lightness and clarity of Space.

If You Forget About the Truth, then the Guidance Disappears For a While

Student: I noticed in my inquiry that the Guidance is not always present. Why is that?

Almaas: The Guidance comes and goes depending on two things: the objective need of the situation and how open you are to the truth. The more open you are to the truth, the more the Diamond Guidance arises. If you forget about the truth, then the Guidance disappears for a while. Diamond Guidance reveals the truth, so if you are not interested in the truth, why should it stick around? Its mode of operation is not being invited at such times. It is always interested in guiding us, it is always there ready to show itself. But when we don’t invite it, we won’t see that it is there, and we won’t provide the openness it requires for its operation. So we need to turn toward it. The Guidance is guiding us all the time. Much of the time, we don’t want to listen and don’t want to recognize it or listen to it. We are busy with all kinds of other things that we think are more important. That is why the more we attune ourselves, the more we are open, and the more we are interested in the truth, the more we will see guidance everywhere. Guidance appears throughout the whole world. Everything that happens has some kind of guidance in it. We need to remember that the Diamond Guidance is the essential nous, the microcosm of the universal nous. It is nothing but the expression in our souls of the inherent true discriminating knowledge of Being—what I have termed God’s mind. So as we open up to its guidance, it guides us to this universal knowledge, and then guidance is everywhere we look.

If You Love Completely, You Will Disappear Because Love Taken All the Way is Pure Consciousness

One of the good ways not to disappear is to find somebody to hate for a few years. If you have somebody to hate, you know you’re not going to disappear those few years at least. A more subtle way to avoid disappearing is to find somebody to love. Hate and love, however, have different relationships to true nature. If you love completely, you will disappear because love taken all the way is pure consciousness. Disappearing is really wonderful, is beautiful. Everything else within the realm of consciousness is paltry compared to it. Once you experience absolute absence, you know that all the wonderful sublime states of essence, of being, of consciousness and God-realization, are all on one side and the Absolute is on the other side. Regardless of how sublime and wonderful, these states are not one-millionth as wonderful as the state of the Absolute. Consider the highest, deepest experience of consciousness you have had, the most fulfilled and blissful condition. Now imagine a state a million times more satisfying and liberating. That is the Absolute.

In the Experience of the Absolute Consciousness Disappears when We Attempt to Reflect

This clarifies the observation that one of the main sources of narcissism is the self-reflective capacity of the normal self. More precisely, one of the main characteristics of narcissism is self-consciousness, an outcome of the normal self’s capacity for self-reflection. It is only at the level of the Absolute that this characteristic disappears. It does not disappear at the earlier stages of self-realization, not even at the level of nonconceptual reality because there is always consciousness when we reflect. The ego-self hangs on to this consciousness, even nonconceptual consciousness, by self-reflection. In the experience of nonconceptual reality, we perceive pure consciousness when looking backward or inward. In the experience of the Absolute, consciousness disappears when we attempt to reflect. The experience then is not self-consciousness but cessation of all consciousness. We could say that in the self-realization of the absolute truth, our front is the perception of phenomena, which is the same as the phenomena, and our back is total cessation. The quality of this depth of Being, whose nature is total cessation, dissolves self-consciousness. This eliminates the last element which supports narcissism.

It is Not Possible to Hold on to Anything Because Nothing Exists in the Way It Appears

I recall a concern, which occasionally becomes a fear, that complete absorption into and unification with the absolute means cessation of all experience and loss of everything. I thought that total merging with the absolute might mean total and permanent cessation of consciousness, and hence all perception. I could not anticipate what total integration with the absolute might be like. This experience of soul coemergent with the absolute answers this concern and resolves the fear. Everything remains, is not lost, does not disappear. But it is seen not to exist; nonbeing is its ultimate condition. There is no disappearance, there is only the understanding that no appearance actually exists in the way we usually assume. The fear of loss is resolved in another interesting way. As I contemplate the experiential qualities of this coemergence, the insight arises that it is actually never possible to hold onto anything in any case. It is not possible to hold onto anything because nothing exists the way it appears. The true reality and condition of phenomena includes nothing one can actually grasp. One cannot grasp a mirage, or a hologram. Furthermore, there is no one there to hold onto anything. It is not only the object of experience that is emptied, that is seen to be fundamentally nonexistent, even though it is experienced. The subject itself is emptied as well. Both experiencer and experienced are characterized by the fundamental absence of the absolute. There cannot be loss because there is nothing that can be lost.

Pure Presence Does Not Disappear Totally when It Differentiates Itself into Manifest Forms

Pure presence does not disappear totally when it differentiates itself into manifest forms, whether spiritual or physical. It remains as their eternal ground, their inner essence, giving them the sense of presence; it is their true being, their true ontological ground. A good analogy here is embryonic differentiation: as the original protoplasmic substance differentiates into the various kinds of cells, organs, and systems, this substance does not change from what it is, into these forms. It differentiates into the myriad forms, but remains as their ground, their final biological substance and nature. The developed embryo is a body with organs and systems, but it is all protoplasmic substance. Pure being remains as the inner constitutive substance of all forms, spiritual and physical. We tend not to be aware of it when we experience these forms, because we are focused exclusively on the features of these forms, to the exclusion of their being, their ontological dimension. When our consciousness is somewhat liberated from this exclusive focus we can discern their ontological nature, their presence. Normally it is easier to become aware of the presence of the spiritual qualities before that of pure presence, because we can recognize the qualities more readily than presence. But since the spiritual qualities are qualities of presence, we can easily discern their presence. This presence is actually pure presence, but we are not discriminating it from the quality it is assuming. In other words, a differentiated aspect is pure presence clothing itself with the garb of a particular quality. In essential experience we experience both the garb and the garbed, the quality and the presence. The presence is pure presence, but we do not see its purity because it is veiled by the quality. The pure presence is always present, cannot not be present, for it is the ground true nature without which there would be no manifestation and no experience.

Simply Seeing Things Arising and Disappearing

When you realize how things actually are, you know that things simply change; appearance changes, but it is not actually death, rebirth, sickness, health. Never has it been different, never since the dawn of consciousness has anything actually changed. We see something coming out of something, we call it birth. We see something that used to move, stops moving, we call it death. We have created these words to describe certain changes of appearance. But if you forget about these words, if you forget everything you have learned, if you see appearance without all these thoughts, if you are mentally alone, you simply see things arising and disappearing. You do not need to call them anything. You do not need to react. You do not need to call yourself by a name. These names are conventions; this is why that reality is called conventional reality. That reality is created through language. But who we are exists without language, prior to language. The reality we see is usually the reality of names, of words. Death is a word, life is a word. Birth, body, happiness, suffering—all words. Without the words, all this is neither life nor death; it is simply what is, and that’s all you can say about it. The ultimate reality is how things are, not how we think they are. It is not easy to see this, because your life is so pervaded by words and concepts, which you take to be reality.

Student Deepening Her Love to the Point of Totally Annihilating All Self-recognition

The student may also come to understand that the love might be passionate and consuming, sweet and heavenly, but even that will tend to separate her somewhat from her beloved, for it relates her to it instead of totally disappearing into it. This only deepens her love to the point of totally annihilating all self-recognition. This precipitates the self-realization of the absolute truth of Being, where she becomes one with this dazzling mystery, totally identified with this luminous, crystal black vastness. The student realizes at this point that she is infinite and boundless, a vastness that has no end. It is as if she becomes the vastness of intergalactic space, seeing that this absolute blackness has a crystalline purity and clarity which make the blackness shimmer and glitter with indescribable brilliance. Her mind explodes into absolute clarity and brilliance, her heart a vastness of annihilating intimacy and bliss, and her body a shimmering which is the appearance of the totality of the universe.

When One is Aware of Being, in One or More of Its Aspects, but is Still Aware of Identifying with a Certain Self-image or Object Relation

But now we will focus on certain experiences and perceptions that do not arise until the more advanced stages of the process of inner essential realization. These are experiences in which the student is becoming increasingly aware of a part of his personality, and as a result this part begins to lose its defensive property. At some point this part of the personality will not merely dissolve, allowing an essential aspect to be born, but one observes the simultaneous existence of both realities, side by side, so to speak. One is aware of Being, in one or more of its aspects, but is still aware of identifying with a certain self-image or object relation. One of several resolutions occurs at this point, depending on the particular issue. Sometimes the sector of the personality becomes transformed by the action of Essence into some essential aspect. This happens particularly with the identification systems that give one the sense of being separate from the rest of existence. Usually, an aspect of love acts on the boundary structure and transforms it into the Personal Essence. This generally happens only in the most advanced stages of inner realization, in which personality structures are speedily disappearing.

When You Feel that You are Disappearing, it’s the Image of Your Body Disappearing, Usually

When you see how fundamental, how pervasive, how deep and entrenched your physical orientation is, you will notice that you don’t look at even your deep experiences from a total perspective. You look at them from the perspective of the body, from the physical perspective. Most of your issues arise from that perspective. When you feel that you are disappearing, what is it that is disappearing? Usually, it’s the image of your body. You are terrified because you believe your physical body is the most important, fundamental, lasting real, fundamental, solid you. If that goes, you go. You don’t think, “I’m just seeing myself from a different place. My perception is detaching from the physical senses, and as a result, I am seeing something deeper than the physical.” If you do see it that way, you won’t feel that you are disappearing. You will be aware that you are not just seeing through your physical senses. Then there will be no fear, and no reason for the terror. So the source of the terror is our belief that the physical body is who we are—fundamentally and ultimately.

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