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Essential Realization

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential Realization?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential Realization

Brilliancy Gives a Radiance to All Manifestations

One of the ways Brilliancy is useful for the Work of essential realization relates to intensity, or amplitude. When essential presence has the aspect of Brilliancy, you experience that the voltage is suddenly raised in all the processes going on inside you. Brilliancy gives a radiance to all manifestations, including your mind and body. Your processes become more radiant, more brilliant, which means that they become purer and more themselves. When Brilliancy is experienced and realized, one’s process accelerates. It has a magnifying effect, an empowering effect, on everything within your field. It is as if your essence were getting a shot in the arm. It makes everything more alive, more luminous, and in a sense, more itself. Everything functions better, more efficiently, more accurately, more to the point. Brilliancy exists on its own—it independently functions as intelligence—but it also magnifies the functioning of everything else.

Brilliancy, pg. 29

Embodying Essential Existence in One's Life

Many spiritual teachers describe their experience of realization as if they suddenly became realized and the personality just died, or fell away. So it is understandable that you might fantasize that one day you will finish your meditation and there will be no personality left. This idea of enlightenment or self-realization is misguided, although it is true that you can experience sudden revelations or insights that can change the rest of your life. My perception of what happens with people who claim to have lost their personality totally and spontaneously is that there often remains a split-off or suppressed part which will manifest as a distortion or a lack of integration. This means that there has been an essential realization, but the realization has not clarified the personality. It is, rather, a state of transcendence of the ego personality. If the personality is abandoned rather than integrated, the totality of life cannot be lived. We can look at the process of realization from the perspective of transcendence or from the perspective of embodiment. When people talk about getting rid of the ego, they’re talking about a transcendent experience. It is possible to transcend the personality or the ego, or even physical existence. However, there is a more difficult process which leads to the state of embodiment of reality. Rather than simply transcending the personality or physical existence, this state involves actually embodying essential existence in one’s life.

Essential Presence is What Brings Realization

From the beginning of this teaching, it was always essential presence, spiritual presence—that purity of awareness or consciousness that is independent of thought, feeling, and sensation—that brought about both the realization and the teaching at the same time. Throughout the years, I’ve had many awakenings, realizations, and enlightenments that other people consider the definitive experience. When I look back, what I see is that the most important experience of all is the recognition of essential presence regardless of what quality or dimension it manifests. Knowing a quality of being—directly, immediately, beyond mind, beyond thought and emotion—is fundamental to waking up. We can experience essential presence as a mode of experience that is distinct, almost in a discontinuous way, from the rest of our ordinary experience. It was the continual inquiry into this essential presence and its relationship to everything else that brought about all the other awakenings as well as the development of the teaching.

Living According to Objective Truth

Living according to objective Truth automatically exposes the part that is unwilling to live in this way. This part is the ego self, whose development involved the increasing cathexis of physical reality and the abandonment of Being. So this self becomes the main identification system challenged by this level of development. Exploring this identification precipitates the entry into the fourth objective dimension, which is the experience of Essence as objective knowledge. It is knowing by being, rather than through mental activity. This dimension is also that of the teachings of Essence; it makes possible the understanding of how the perspective of each aspect can be a whole teaching, a path for essential realization. All existing teachings regarding Being become comprehensible in this dimension. The perspective of each aspect is seen as a way of freedom from the self of ego. Each aspect becomes understood in its relation to the self, and to the experience of dissolution of this self. This is a wide and deep level of essential experience, which ultimately leads to the experience of ego death, or the annihilation of the self. This happens through the detailed, specific, and objective understanding of the identity of ego. The work is deep and profound, involving realizations that are shattering to one’s identity with ego.

Metabolizing Identification Systems

The relation of our concept of absorption to the experience of Being must now be explored. Our hypothesis is still somewhat vague. To make it more definite, we turn now to our basis for this suggestion, which arises out of certain experiences in the process of inner transformation that show the relationship between ego structures and Being. The process of essential realization itself can be seen as a process of “metabolizing” identification systems. Every time a system of identifications, a self-image or an object relation, is understood objectively, it seems to dissolve and an aspect of Essence is born. We will explore this further as we discuss understanding in the next chapter. 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.

Movement to the Formless Realms

In the process of essential realization, as in human development in general, when a certain stage is experienced completely and fully, a deeper and more expanded one begins to manifest. The complete realization of any aspect or dimension of Being or Essence is a complete metabolism, which leads to further growth. Therefore, the full realization and development of the Personal Essence naturally and spontaneously leads one's consciousness to the realms beyond the personal. The realization of the Personal Essence, which involves the personalization of essential aspects and dimensions, leads to the complete development and objective understanding of the essential person. This realization makes it possible, even easy, to move to the nonpersonal or formless realms.

Shift of Identity from Ego to Being

The next step in essential realization is the shift of identity from ego to Being. This is a long and arduous process and, in some sense, much more difficult than anything before it. It deals with the deeper, more subtle and more fundamental identification systems, mostly ones that have been ego syntonic until this point. In this process the Personal Essence goes through a change and transformation, a development. So the development of the Personal Essence is not a matter of its being experienced more of the time or more fully; it is rather that the Personal Essence itself goes through a transformation. It grows and develops, attains more qualities, more capacities and wider ranges of experience. It is like the body, which matures and actualizes its potential as it grows. The Personal Essence develops and matures as more experiences are metabolized. The metabolism can be seen, from the inner point of view, as the experiences of essential realization themselves. All aspects go through a process in which they become more closely integrated in the individual consciousness into the Personal Essence.

The Personal Essence is the Main Development in Essential Realization

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.

The Role of Space in Inner Change

So here we see the role of space in inner change: There is no lasting change without a change in self-image, there is no change in self-image without a dissolution of self-boundaries, and there is no dissolution of boundaries without the action of space. This is a crucial understanding lacking in most circles concerned with effecting changes in the mind or psyche. It establishes that the personality (which is determined by the self-image) cannot change itself. Only space can change it. All the personality can do, or not do, is whatever is necessary for it to be in the condition in which space can manifest and act on its boundaries. This perspective is understood by many of the genuine spiritual teachings. They assert that the self cannot do anything to change itself or its reality. Conditioning can lead only to conditioning. The self or ego can only stop trying, stop doing, stop acting. Then the transformation occurs. This understanding is usually not as detailed as the one we are introducing here. These teachings usually see the process of radical change as giving up doing anything to change one’s inner state. This then precipitates the perception of emptiness. This emptiness may then allow the experience of Being or essence. The importance of space or emptiness is seen by these teachings as a critical factor in spiritual transformation, the turning point towards spiritual rebirth and essential realization.

The Void, pg. 105

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