Main Pages

By Region



Essential States

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential States?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential States

But Even the Inner Objects We Seek are Forms and Concepts Constructed by the Mind

Even when we feel we are following our heart, loving something deeply despite the counsel of the mind, we are actually following the mind in subtle ways, ways we still do not recognize as created by the mind. We might be moved by the inner promptings of the heart, but usually our longing is created by the mind’s concepts. The mind veils our heart to a much larger extent than we know. We are appalled and humbled when we discover how thoroughly our mind controls even what feels like our deepest movement toward truth. This is most obvious when we consider the love objects we pursue in the world of manifestation. But even the inner objects we seek, such as essential states or various subtle dimensions, are forms and concepts constructed by the mind. The Guest is beyond all conceptualization, whether it is forms of the outer world or the inner world. The Guest is prior to all forms and all manifestations. The Guest is their ultimate source. The mind, therefore, can never accurately conceptualize the Guest, for the Guest is beyond the world of concepts. The Guest is pre-mind, pre-conceptualization, pre-relationship. The Guest is not something that the mind can ever imagine. The Guest is the slayer of the mind. The Guest is the confounder of the mind, its annihilator, its death, even though it is also its bedazzler.

Ego Structures and Issues Function as Barriers to the Dynamism of the Soul

We discussed in the last chapter that ego structures cannot capture essence in their representations. In fact, we have seen that this is one of the factors leading to the soul’s dissociation from her essential ground. Therefore, we cannot retrieve essence by going to earlier structures, for the structures do not contain essence. Nevertheless, when essence reveals itself on deeper dimensions some of the barriers tend to be earlier and more primitive structures. In other words, we need to go back to these earlier structures because they happen to be the barriers to, and not the carriers of, these deeper dimensions of essence. This is partly because deeper dimensions of essence challenge ego structures in a more fundamental way. They challenge the ego-self’s deeper foundations. The deeper and more fundamental foundations of the structured soul happen to be the earlier and more primitive structures. Another reason is that as more of the surface structures are penetrated, the soul will revert to earlier structures to shore up her overall structure. However, this does not imply that the soul did not experience these aspects or dimensions of essence at those earlier times. Even if she did, the work of realizing essence is not regression to earlier essential states, even though the process may include such regression. We can understand this by considering essence both in its essential aspects and its ground presence. Essential aspects are states of presence so they cannot be contained in a representation. What happens is that the ego structures and issues function as barriers to the dynamism of the soul; by morphogenically transforming her field, they prevent her from manifesting these aspects. They structure the soul in such a way that her creativity flows within the forms allowed by these structures. When these issues and structures are made transparent, which sometimes require ego regression, the barriers are not there anymore, and the inherent dynamism manifests these aspects.

Emotions are Reactions, While Essential States are States of Being

AH: Yes. If you lose your value, for instance, if at some point you get cut off from it, there will be a hole left. The hole will be experienced as a sense of inferiority or a lack of self-esteem. But that is not a real feeling. It is the absence of the real feeling of value or self-esteem. This inferiority will often be covered by an attempt to feel superior as a defense. But that’s not a real feeling either. It’s an attempt to hide, a pseudo-feeling. If you get angry when somebody does or says something and you feel inferior, that again is a pseudo-feeling. All these pseudo-feelings are coming up because you are not in touch with your real value. They are compensations. They are real in the sense that you do feel them, but they are not real in the sense that they are a consequence of losing what is real. This is an important difference. When you have been cut off from a real feeling, something else tries to take its place: the emotions. By feeling the emotions, you can see what it is you lost and experience it. When you experience real value, you see it is very different from the pseudo-feelings that covered over the loss. Emotions are reactions, while essential states like Value are states of Being. They are not reactions to anything. /p>

Essential States Which are Coming up in the Student’s Development Usually Manifest at First as a Sense of their Absence

From this we see that true autonomy is simply the capacity to be the Personal Essence, one’s fullness of Being. The sense of freedom, independence, autonomy and individuation is experienced at such times as a very clear, precise and certain fact. There is no vagueness or uncertainty about autonomy when one recognizes the Personal Essence as one’s true being. The issue of continuing to do the work in the group, as opposed to going off on one’s own, frequently arises when this issue of autonomy develops in the student’s process. As we have noted, the essential states which are coming up in the student’s development usually manifest at first as a sense of their absence. The student will then tend to resort to his habitual ways of dealing with the lack, which in the case of autonomy might be asserting his independence, which will often involve acting out or at least strongly desiring to act out by leaving the group or leaving some other situation. In the case of Sandy it manifested as conflicts about being in the group. Dealing with this issue requires careful perception on the part of the teacher, who must see the situation for what it is in order to deal properly with the student’s desire for autonomy and thus allow him to experience the Personal Essence. There is always some negative behavior or attitude on the part of the student, similar to the behaviors Mahler observed in the subphases of practicing and rapprochement. Even when the teacher understands the situation, the student might still terminate the process before completion, surrendering to the lure of “autonomy.”

Inquiring, the Presence of an Essential State Allows You to Become Very Specific About Your Issues

Thus, the arising of each essential aspect will shed light on a certain element of the ignorance in the personality. When you are inquiring, the presence of an essential state allows you to become very specific about your issues. In the process of inquiry, the personality becomes clearer and purer each time a quality of essence is realized and the issues around it are understood. You let go of some old beliefs, old self-images, and old tensions. If you feel the state of the personality when it is somewhat relaxed, you realize that although it’s still dull and heavy, it is also comfortable or even warm and cozy. The felt sense of the personality is like the blankets that babies carry around with them. It reminds you of your blanket, your bed, of your mother when she took care of you when you were sick. It’s a protective device that has been doing its job. Then, when the actual essential states are able to arise —states that the personality has been unsuccessfully trying to recreate through such devices—there is a potential for a clarifying impact on the personality. Of course, sometimes essential states arise without a connection to issues, for instance, as a result of meditation or some spiritual practice. But when a person experiences these states without looking at the issues, which is a common occurrence, there is no clarification of the personality. The personality stays the way it is.

The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy is Limited by its Ignorance of Essential States

To summarize, we see that the effectiveness of Work schools has been limited by a lack of knowledge of the specific unconscious barriers that prevent us from experiencing the corresponding essential states that make up our true nature. The effectiveness of psychotherapy has been limited by its ignorance of essential states; resolutions occur on the levels of ego and emotions, which are not the levels on which we are ultimately satisfied. In the past decade, some people have begun to integrate these two approaches and have had some degree of success, depending on their experience and knowledge. This is not yet the Diamond Approach to the Work. So far, the attempts at integrating the Work with the knowledge of conditioning and the structure of the unconscious has been very general. It has been effective for some people, but it still perpetuates an unnecessary split between the student, who is still largely identified with his false personality, and that student’s experience of Essence. So far, the pattern is that the psychological work is expected to take students from point A to point B. Then the Work takes them from point B to point C. Psychological work is undertaken to dissolve the false personality; it is only then that the possibility for essential development exists. The Diamond Approach is different from these approaches in that it works on the perception and dissolution of the false personality simultaneously with the perception and development of essential states.

The State of Liberation is so Uneventful that Almost Everyone Goes in and Out of it Frequently

This issue typically arises for people who have a taste of essence, some experience of their true nature, because the taste brings an appetite for complete liberation. Liberation or freedom is not really concerned with any particular essential aspect, quality, or state. It does not matter what essential state exists in the experience of liberation. If you are free from personality, you are free no matter what the state is. In the state of liberation the content of experience becomes unimportant. It is very ordinary. Nothing specific happens, no huge realization or mind-shattering experience. It is the most natural state. It is so ordinary and so natural that when we have it, we don’t know we have it. It is so uneventful that almost everyone goes in and out of it frequently. There are no flashing lights or brilliant suns. There is no drama. Liberation is beyond the dichotomy of essence and personality, and because it is so uneventful, it usually escapes us. Its subtlety prevents us from recognizing it, or even from being aware that it is happening. It is not easy to talk about it because it is so ordinary; there is nothing in particular that is present or not present. It is a state you experience every day when you are not self-conscious or concerned with anything in particular. When your mind is free, not concerned, or worried, or focused on anything in particular, and your heart is not grasping or clinging to anything, then you are free. The most characteristic quality is that there is no fixation on anything; you’re not focused on any issue or experience. Whatever is there, is there. So there is a freedom of mind. The mind is not saying, “I want this,” or “I want to look at this,” or “It has to be this way.” The mind is loose. The expression “hang loose” tells us what it means to be liberated.

We Generally Cannot Approach the Essential States Connected with Love, Anger or Sex Without Experiencing Anxiety, Fear, Even Panic

Suppose that whenever a man expressed his anger as a child, his mother rejected him, withdrew, or was frightened. Since the mother is identified with love and merging (at least in infancy and early childhood), when this man later experiences anger, he will fear the loss of love and merging. In his past, the qualities of love and merging were not compatible with anger. His mother withdrew her love when he expressed it. In this Work, we understand that strength and sexuality are closely related to anger; they both involve the energy of separation or aggression. So when this man experiences love and merging with another person or situation, he will feel a threat to his strength and sexuality. This is the fabric of pain and confusion we suffer in our daily lives. As many of you have seen in your work here, we generally cannot approach the essential states connected with love, anger, or sex without experiencing anxiety, fear, even panic. So what does this mean? Our childhood experiences of frustration, conflict, and rejection result in the loss of essential states. Since it is these qualities for which we long, the confusion and discontent in our adult lives is bound to be rooted in this loss. The loss is experienced as a feeling of emptiness, meaninglessness, deadness, deficiency.

When an Essential State is Cut Off, the Result is What We Call a Hole

There is another reason why when we start perceiving our essence, we start seeing it in other places where it doesn’t exist and tend to idealize and admire situations or people who don’t have what we believe they have. The reason is that when our essence is lost in childhood, when our parents didn’t see our value, didn’t value us for just being there, our own value was lost. The essential aspect of pure, absolute value is gone. A deficiency results, leaving a hole in the place of that loss. When an essential state is cut off, the result is what we call a hole, a deficiency, a lack. We attempt to fill that hole by trying to get value from the outside, instead of seeing that the value was ours to start with and that we were just cut off from it. But there is an even more difficult complication, which is that one way to fill the hole is to make a false value, to pretend you have value when you don’t feel that you really do. It’s too painful to feel the absence of value, so most people create false essence to cover up that feeling of lack. This is what the personality consists of—false qualities of Essence. We call the personality the “false pearl.” Each person retains the memory of what was lost and will try to imitate it, try to act, believe, and feel in ways that are so close to the essential states that after a while the person fools herself and other people as well. Some people do this more than others, and some people are better at it than others. The personality is really nothing but an impostor trying to take the place of Essence. These false qualities of Essence—what we call the crystallization of personality—are what we see in most of the people around us who are considered successful. Everyone else believes they’ve got it made. They appear to have genuine qualities of confidence, compassion, self-assurance, and self-esteem but, for the most part, these are false qualities. Just as these people have convinced themselves that these false qualities are real, they convince almost everyone else as well.

When You are in a State of Being, what You are Experiencing is the Truth: the Truth of Who You Are

Experiencing an essential state affects some people in such a way that the experience deeply transforms their life, shifting their whole orientation and perspective. Whether this happens seems to have to do with expectations the person has, or what the person is already valuing and idealizing. It has to do with the person’s focus. Some people are looking for a certain thing; other people are looking for other things. Also, it depends on the depth of a person’s interest and love for the truth itself. Many people are not interested in the truth. Many people are interested in experiences of security, or simply the pleasure or the comfort of these realizations. In traditional schools, in some of the old schools, people are not allowed to have these experiences because it is seen as a waste. The least that could happen is that it could be a waste. The worst that can happen is an imbalanced development. If we look at understanding from a perspective that will tend naturally and spontaneously to go towards balance and harmony, we find that understanding needs to be motivated by love of the truth for its own sake. The experience, or the beingness, is the experience of the truth. That’s what a person needs to learn over and over again. When you are in a state of being, what you are experiencing is the truth: the truth of who you are. Your experience is not a candy, or a goody, it’s not a reward for being good or for having done your work. No; you are experiencing the fundamental truth, and that needs to be seen, understood, imbibed and absorbed; then action will come from the place of this truth.

When You Experience an Essential State Fully You can see that It has the Quality of Perfection

When you experience an essential state fully, you can recognize that it has a quality of perfection. You can’t say that it needs something or that it is lacking anything. If you are experiencing love or compassion, for instance, you perceive it as pure and complete just the way it is. Holy Perfection tells us that everything has that quality of rightness, and not only certain essential states. We saw that from the perspective of Holy Truth, everything is one, an undivided wholeness. Your body, your essence, the world, God, are not separate things; they are all one thing, and that one thing, which is not a thing, is the presence of Essence. Because everything is ultimately essential, it follows that everything is inherently perfect. We don’t normally see reality this way because we are busy looking at it from the perspective of our own delusion. Holy Perfection cannot be perceived from the point of view of ego, because ego wants to change reality to fit how it thinks it is supposed to be. Holy Perfection is a transcendence of that point of view. Realizing Holy Perfection is not a matter of intellectually asserting that everything is perfect so that you can go on being lazy and irresponsible. To experience Holy Perfection is to actually exist in an egoless state and to see the inner nature of everything objectively. What changes is one’s way of perceiving, so that reality is seen without distortion.

Facets of Unity, pg. 143

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach