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Essential Person

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential Person?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential Person

The Personal Essence is the Real Person, the Essential Person, the Product of the Complete Metabolism of Identification Systems

Just as the sense of a separate individuality is the main outcome of the separation-individuation process, integrating into itself other parts of the ego, so the Personal Essence is the main development in essential realization, which integrates the other aspects of Essence into itself as it develops, as well as integrating the functional capacities of the various aspects. The Personal Essence is a central aspect because it is the real person, the essential person, which we have seen is the product of the complete metabolism of identification systems. Identifications, however, involve not only ego. There are superego identifications, for instance, that make up that structure of the mind. The metabolism of all identification systems leads not only to the realization of the Personal Essence, but also to the realization of all aspects of Essence. Each segment of identifications is connected to a certain essential aspect. The identifications responsible for the sense of individuality are the ones specifically connected to the Personal Essence. Other identifications are associated with other aspects. For instance, the identifications responsible for the sense of self or identity lead to the aspect of the true self, which is not the same as the Personal Essence. It is a sense of identity and not of individuality.

Characteristics of the Essential Person

Actualization involves not only attainments, accomplishments and contributions, but also the realization and manifestation of the various qualities, capacities and ranges of experience possible for a human being. The individual consciousness gradually realizes and manifests the following qualities, among others, of the Personal Essence: freedom, autonomy, maturity, efficiency, competence, confidence, reliability, regality, respect, integrity, dignity, excellence, fullness, sensuousness, firmness, resilience, integration and wholeness. These are some of the characteristics of the essential person, which become realized as the essential aspects are personalized. It is interesting to note that different cultures or countries value and idealize some of these characteristics but not others. The idealized characteristics distinguish the cultural values of each nation. The individual is judged by his own culture, or ethnic background, according to his realization of these characteristics. Their realization and manifestation is taken to be the sign of maturity, which can lead to success, admiration or recognition. It is interesting to observe, however, that the absence of the other characteristics is not taken to mean lack of maturity. These other characteristics are not even missed, but are in fact misunderstood, and when observed in other cultures they are taken to be extreme or ridiculous, The fact is that each culture goes to great lengths attempting to realize its idealized characteristics. But its own extremism is not perceived, and is taken to be normal.

Discovery of One’s Own Essential Personhood, One’s Personal Nature that Does not Depend on the Past

The development of ego and sense of personal identity depends, as we have seen, on the process of identification, culminating in the formation of a self-image. We have seen that the formation of self-representations is a process of freezing boundaries in the emptiness of the mind. In contrast, the pearl beyond price, the personal aspect of essence, is a sense of personal identity that does not depend on self-representation, and hence, does not depend on the existence or the defending of boundaries in open space. In fact, its development comes about through the undoing of these identifications. The culmination of the elimination of identifications is the birth of the pearl beyond price, or the discovery of one’s own essential person-hood, one’s personal nature that does not depend on the past. This is an aspect of Being that is not understood or appreciated until it is experienced. When it manifests, one cannot but be filled with wonder at the majesty, beauty, and richness of essence. Psychodynamic understanding has, then, an extraordinary power and potential far beyond its therapeutic uses. The existing body of knowledge in the field of psychology, and especially in psychoanalysis, can be very effectively used for essential development. And the nature of psychodynamic understanding allows us to work directly with the present experience of the student without following any particular progression or gradation. We can simply understand what is there in the moment, and this will lead us naturally to a particular aspect of essence: space, the personal aspect, the universal aspect, or any of several others.

The Void, pg. 77

In the World of Differentiation Being Exists as the Essential Person

The relationship between the Essential Person and Pure Being is between the unique personal individuation and the ultimate ground. Jesus Christ put it in the form of the relation between the son and his father. When one is the Personal Essence then one is a person supported by, and is an expression and extension of, Pure Being. When one is Pure Being then only nondifferentiated pure Being is. In the world of differentiation Being exists as the essential person. There is no human life, nor any life at all, when there is no differentiation. As Being, one is beyond life and death, form and formlessness. This resolution and understanding of the relationship between the Personal Essence and Being opens the door to the process of the latter’s personalization. This is a very subtle, and usually difficult, process. It deals with extremely subtle perceptual and cognitive considerations. However, the main barriers are mainly issues relating to ego structure. The deepest and most subtle defenses of ego are resolved here. These are the borderline defense of splitting, and the schizoid defenses of isolation and withdrawal.

Integration of Multiple Dimensions Into a Whole Individuated Presence, the Essential Person

We can see the Personal Essence as the prototype, on the Being level, of an integrated and integrating capacity. So when it is present its integrative function is felt not only on its own dimension, that of Being, but on all other dimensions. It tends to enhance the integrative capacity of the body, the nervous system, the intellect, the intuition, the energy system, the emotional tendencies and so on. Even the tendency of ego structure to move towards greater integration, under optimal conditions, is greatly enhanced by the presence of the Personal Essence. So we believe that when it makes its appearance in childhood it facilitates the integration of ego identifications. The capacity for integration exists on all levels of organismic functioning: physical, mental, emotional, and on the Being level. But since the Being level is the deepest, when it is present it enhances all dimensions of integrative capacity. It also integrates all these dimensions into a whole, individuated presence, the essential person. One feels one, and not composed of parts. The Being, the body and the mind are all experienced as one presence.

On the Essential Level One is Present as the Aspect, or Aspects, Required by the Objective Situation

The realization of the Personal Essence is the same as the permanent attainment of the state of the essential person. One is present as the fullness of the Personal Essence whenever one is existing or functioning as a person. This is different from the attainment of ego individuality, where it becomes the conscious experience all the time. On the essential level one is present as the aspect, or aspects, required by the objective situation. One does not decide or determine his state of presence, for the mind is not able to function in such a complete and organic fashion as to be able to make such a determination. The incapacity to be present in the objectively-required essential state is due only to the presence of conflicts around the state. The conflicts around any essential aspect make it difficult for the individual to allow its presence. When it does become present in spite of issues, then these issues become apparent to one’s consciousness.

The Essential Pearl Provides the Soul with a Sense of Individuality and Personhood that Does not Depend on Fixed Impressions

As the soul integrates her essence in its various qualities, she matures and develops her virtues, capacities, and faculties. The process of maturation includes two complementary sides. The first is that of individuation, centered around the aspect of the personal essence. This is the pearl beyond price, which the soul becomes in the midst of her life in the world. The pearl beyond price is the essential prototype of integration, and the soul experiences it as the presence of the soul as an essential person. This personal presence is characterized by maturity, individuation, and personal essential development. It functions as the crystallizing point and the integration prototype around which the soul integrates all her personal experiences of her potential arising in interaction with the events of everyday life. The pearl can also be seen as the essential structure that the soul develops as she metabolizes and transcends her ego structure. Ego structure gives the ego-self the sense of being an autonomous and unique individual. But this structure is constructed through fixed mental impressions in the soul; hence it both dissociates her from her essential ground and limits her development because of its rigidity and fixation. The essential pearl provides the soul with a sense of individuality and personhood that does not depend on fixed impressions, but 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 Personal Essence is the Unconscious Archetype of What a Person can Be

We asked in a previous chapter, why do all people, if they are astray as the man of spirit asserts, follow the same path of illusion: that of adopting an individuality and pursuing a personal life? A possible answer comes from the understanding of the nature of the Personal Essence. The man of the world, in pursuing a personal life, is trying to reach his true human individuation. His values and aspirations reflect a truth, the truth of the possibility of being a real person, an essential person with a fulfilled personal life. The truth of the Personal Essence resides at his human core; it is the unconscious archetype of what he can be. He is not completely astray, but rather dimly senses his potential as a human being and goes about trying to realize it. However, he falls short of the reality, because there is inadequate guidance, knowledge or modeling in his formative years. His development in this direction is greatly influenced by the development of the people who take care of him as a child, and who educate him later. He ends up developing into an image, a reflection of the reality of what he can be.

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