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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Entityhood?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Entityhood

Being Incinerated

Whoever goes into the night will be eaten up, consumed in an instant, incinerated in a second. The night does not love you, does not do good things for you, does not have mercy on you, and does not make your life easy. The only thing the night can do is incinerate you. This is its only effect: absolute annihilation. This sounds scary, but when you see the falsehood of your entityhood and recognize the pure consciousness, you will be consumed with the passion to annihilate what is false.

Entityhood is Not Real

All of these spiritual ambitions assume that you are the entity you take yourself to be. It is very hard to pierce that assumption because it feels so real. You have felt it for such a long time, and everyone around you thinks and feels and operates as if we are all entities. We think it would feel very strange not to be the person that we usually think we are. Not being the person that you believe you are does not mean you will be a different kind of person or a different kind of entity. That is not the point. When you realize that entityhood is actually not real, your perception and view of reality alters radically. It is not like today you are the ego person and tomorrow you will be an essential person. You might have those experiences, but they are transitory experiences within the realm of the mind. The experience of being an essential person, even though real, is not ultimately who you are.

Recognizing that the Feeling of Entityhood is Just a Part of Our Ego Development

As we see through our identity and recognize that it is simply the sum of all the thought processes that have developed since childhood, we begin to experience who we are differently. We are no longer an individual experiencing essence; we are essence that has developed something that we call a personality. We see that what we are is essential nature, is presence, but that in our early development our soul needed to develop an identity based on the external world. And as we understand our sense of individuality—this feeling of entityhood that tells us that we are a unit in space and time—we recognize that it too is just a part of our ego development. It’s not something we were born with, and it is not inherent in our soul. We begin to experience then that our true identity, which is essential presence, is not just something here inside me. It’s not that you’ve got your presence over there and I’ve got mine over here, and we’re separate. Presence is not dispersed in small pieces throughout humanity; it is just one thing, and it’s how we’re all connected. All humanity has the same essence, and we recognize that this essence is also the underlying nature of the whole of existence, of everything that manifests, of the whole world of appearance. Everything in the universe has this same nature. And when that is recognized, I move from talking about essence to talking about being. Essence is when I’m talking about the nature of the soul; being is when I’m talking about the nature of everything. In truth they are the same thing.

Source of the Belief in Entityhood

The foundation of the belief in entityhood is the conviction that physical reality is the most fundamental reality determining who we are. If you take yourself to be the person you think you are, you are bounded by your body. Your body, more than anything else, defines you as a person. In other words, the most superficial dimension in reality defines the rest of reality. Entityhood always depends on taking physical reality, as we normally experience it, to be the ultimate reality. This is true regardless of how much you experience love, surrender, divinity, essence, expanded awareness, or whatever else. If you believe that you are a separate entity, then you still believe that physical reality is more fundamental than all of these spiritual experiences, and that physical reality is what determines all of these experiences.

The Belief That One is a Separate Person

The belief in entityhood is so powerfully entrenched in the human mind that if we look at our thoughts, we see that we can’t think without that concept in our mind. Without believing the assumption that one is a separate person, it is difficult for a human being to do anything in life. This assumption will be confronted at some point on the path of inner work. As long as we assume that we are that identity which is a separate entity, there is no way to go to the realm of the night and behold the inner guest.

Usefulness of Discriminating the Self-Identity from the Self-Entity

In the realization of the Essential Identity, it is useful to discriminate the self-identity from the self-entity; it is specifically the former that replaces the Essential Identity as the sense of self-recognition. However, Being will challenge all structures of the ego-self, and self-realization will challenge not only the self-identity structure, but all structures that support it or are related to it. The most significant of these is the self-entity structure. This structure supports the identity in many ways. It becomes increasingly challenged as Being reveals its more profound dimensions. This aspect of the process manifests initially as the arising need for more primitive forms of idealized and mirroring self-objects. Specifically, the student recognizes his need for a merged relationship that provides support and mirroring. He begins realizing his need to depend on the self-object, to know his experience of himself, and to value it. So he expects the teacher, or significant others in his life, to know how he feels and to satisfy his needs, without him having to communicate them himself. This exposes the need for the merged mirroring self-object, which may also manifest as seeing the self-object as an extension of himself, which has no value or existence independent from him. He becomes hurt and enraged if the self-object does not act solely to please and serve him, if she acts in an independent way that neglects his needs or does not make them her only concern. The absence or loss of this merged self-object allows him to feel an emptiness characterized by the lack of a sense of identity and by loneliness. In this state, he feels the loss of both himself and the other; he is lost and also lonely, indicating the loss of both mirroring and the merged connection.

When there are No Separate Entities

Student: What does any of this have to do with our lives? What does the absolute truth, the night, have to do with my life?
Almaas: Many of us will ask this question. We have to get up in the morning, brush our teeth, drive cars, go to work; we have troubles, taxes, and all of that. However, when you actually experience and understand what the realm of the night is, when you allow the annihilation to happen, this question simply does not arise. The only thing that your consciousness will be concerned with is an appreciation of the beauty, majesty, and reality of the night. Who cares what happens! You are so bedazzled by the beauty that your heart is completely upside down, your mind is evaporated. So from this perspective, such a question simply doesn’t arise. Daily concerns and activities will be there, but as various differentiations in your consciousness, nothing else. That totality of the consciousness with all of its differentiations, which is the whole universe and all universes, is simply the clothes that you are wearing. It is the manifestation of your mind, the appearance of your cosmic body. So while you are brushing your teeth, who is brushing your teeth? You are not brushing your teeth, driving your car, paying any taxes. Nobody is paying taxes to anybody. There is only one, you see. Nobody has a hard time. Nobody is happy. There are no separate entities. There is simply a witnessing, an observation of all these things happening. On the level of the differentiated person, on the level of entityhood, this sounds meaningless and even terrifying. But our feelings will change when we realize we are not that entity. The entity can only look from the perspective of entityhood. If you are identified with being a separate entity, some people are going to give you a hard time, some people are going to give you a good time, you are going to be happy or miserable. There is no other way of experiencing reality if you think of yourself as an entity. You stop thinking this way when you go beyond the realm of entityhood. Then you realize one consciousness everywhere. You understand that you and the rocks over there are made of one blissful consciousness, one luminous light. Everything you see is made of the most scintillating, the most delicious and cozy intimacy.

Who Do You Think You Are?

For God there is only God. If you think that you need blessing, God will say, “Who do you think you are? Do you think you are separate from me?” So to think of blessings or of God’s grace is fine, but betrays a limited understanding of reality. Although it begins to understand the divine realm, if you really see what God is, the only thing you want to do is forget that you exist. Letting God be there is loving God. Loving God doesn’t mean wanting to be with God. To love God means that you want only God to be. Anything else is not love of God, but love of yourself, love of your belief in a separate entityhood. Ultimately, what you think of as loving God actually is loving a part of your mind.

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