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Essential Development

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential Development?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential Development

All Essential Development is Ultimately the Development of the Pearl

Some people interested in inner development try to become objective and impersonal, to move away from identifying with the personality. The personality is personal, and so the personal feeling is mistrusted and avoided. However, the pearl beyond price feels personal without being the personality. It has the capacity to make a personal contact with another human being and still be free, totally unconditioned, free from the past and its influences. It is the most personally intimate aspect of oneself. Everyone recognizes what it is when he first sees it. Sometimes even the vaguest perception of it brings out the exclamation “but this feels like me, intimately me.” And yet it is not selfish like the personality. The personality is based on deficiency, and this is the source of its selfishness. But the pearl is based on true value and true fullness. In fact, it is itself fullness. All of essential development is ultimately the development of the pearl. All of the essential aspects are for the pearl, for the life, use, enjoyment, and fulfillment of the pearl. That is why in the stories it is represented as a princess of unsurpassable beauty. The joy of the essence is its joy. The love is its love. The pleasure of the essence is for it, the majesty of the essence is its grandeur, the beauty of the essence is it, itself. The whole quest—its meaning, purpose, and completion—can be understood as the realization of the pearl beyond price.

Basic Trust Leads Naturally Toward Essential Development

So if basic trust is present, the soul will more easily let go of old structures, will more easily settle into simply being, and will tend to let its process unfold without interference, which will lead naturally toward essential development. Without basic trust, the attitude of ego will predominate; the soul will lack implicit confidence in her life and process. The ego will try to take things into its own hands and manipulate, pushing things one way or the other, resulting in the further isolation and entrenchment of ego. Basic trust is an inherent condition of the soul. Your soul has basic trust like your bones have calcium. It is that fundamental, that basic to the nature of the soul. It is beyond nonconceptual; it is not even an experience. Rather, it gives our experience a sense of ease, of safety and security, with a carefree state in the mind. A lack of basic trust is evident in all the insecurities of ego. Like all qualities which involve a sense of support, the presence of the quality which underlies basic trust tends to remain unconscious or implicit until its absence is felt. And since ego structures and activity are connected with the sense of the lack of trust, the focus of the personality will be on this lack, on fear, on worrying and planning and compensating for the perceived lack of support. This is why we can say that this quality is inherent in the soul while at the same time the sense of a lack of support predominates in one’s conscious experience.

Facets of Unity, pg. 26

Development of a Soul with Heart

The process of essential development takes the soul from her initial condition at the completion of ego development, in which she is dissociated from her true nature and living mostly as the animal soul with a civilized veneer of ego structures, to the station of the human soul. In other words, discovery and integration of essence transforms the soul from its condition of being primarily an animal soul to the state of being primarily the human soul, a soul with heart.

Essential Development Benefits from the Achievements of Ego Development

The Soul's Inner Realization and essential development, which involves the transcendence of normal ego development, is a natural stage of maturation that integrates, and benefits from, the achievements of ego development. In this process the soul regains her original impressionability and receptivity, remaining receptive to her essential nature with all its aspects and dimensions. Impressions on the soul are increasingly dominated by essence and its truth, in contrast to external considerations, and thus she develops and matures under essential influence and guidance. She becomes impressionable to essence, receptive to its influence, loyal to essence, valuing essence. This transformation advances her from dominance of the animal soul to becoming a full human soul. Essence acts on her, impregnating and clarifying her consciousness. This marriage of soul with essence becomes deeper and more complete until it reaches the state of nonduality of soul and essence, which resembles the soul’s original condition but now includes recognition, discriminating awareness, and understanding. The soul’s marriage with her essence liberates her from vulnerability to fixated impressions, whether from external or internal sources. This process has two threads: the soul’s liberation from the rigidity and fixation of her structures in a way that retains the learning in them; and the soul’s reconnection with her essential ground in a way that uses her cognitive achievements to recognize that ground as her true nature. The first is the process of liberation of the soul, and the second is that of her essential development.

Inner Consistency and Order for the Process of Essential Development

There is an inner consistency and order for the process of essential development. There is no need for the mind to direct the process. In fact, directing the process by the mind can only lead to difficulty, for the mind does not know. Commitment to the truth is sufficient for the process to unfold. When the essential aspects are discovered and freed, when the incomparable pearl is realized, the process spontaneously unfolds in the direction of the instincts and ultimately of the survival issue. 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.

Stages of Essential Development

We see that essential development goes through stages, beginning with the recognition of the dynamic field and medium of the soul. Then essence arises in its various aspects, resolving the soul’s issues and providing her with the real elements necessary for her life and development. Next the diamond vehicles arise, providing the soul with a personal, direct, and objective knowledge and wisdom about true nature and its relationship to the soul and her life. This wisdom transforms the soul further, and she becomes able to transcend the most fundamental structures and limitations, and to open up to the presentation of true nature in its primordial ground, with its formless and boundless dimensions.

The Person of Essence

The essential Pearl provides the soul with a sense of individuality and personhood that does not depend on fixed impressions, on spontaneously arising forms of essential presence that structure her experience of herself and give her the capacity to function as a person. The soul matures and transforms into a person of essence. However, the qualities and actions of this person are quite fluid and flexible and are objective responses resonant to the needs and inputs of the environment.

The Stage of Developing Essential Aspects

However, the stage of developing essential aspects shifts the inner work on the personality from the superego more to the structure of the ego itself. We have seen, for example, that the merging essence is related psychologically to the symbiotic stage, of fundamental importance for the development of ego structure. Other aspects of essence are connected to different phases of ego development or to different sectors of its structure. Essential strength is connected, for example, to the differentiation subphase of the separation-individuation process of ego development, when the infant begins to perceive that his mother and he are two people. Joy and value are essential aspects related more to the practicing subphase of this developmental process, when the toddler is joyously exploring his capacities and environment. The separation-individuation process leads ultimately to the development of the ego as a structure. Its final phase is that of object constancy, when the ego is formed and established as a permanent existence, separate from the environment (mother), and other people are seen to have separate existences. Finally, the ego is structured and developed, and the child permanently experiences himself as having a separate identity. The ego is seen here in a central position because everything else is really part of its structure. The ego is the product of the child's development.

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