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Existence (Pure Existence)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Existence (Pure Existence)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Existence (Pure Existence)

Existence is the Inmost Nature of Essence

The experience of essence as existence, the experience of “I am,” is not as if there is a subject that is the actor of existence. The “I” and the “am” are not separate. The “I am” is a unitary experience. The nature of the essence, of the real self, is existence. The “I” itself is existence. So it is more accurate to say that the part of me that is existence is present. Essence is the only part of me that actually exists, in the sense of experiencing itself as pure existence, pure presence. We have investigated the question of presence, and we have seen that presence is the presence of our essence. It is the real part in us, the part not conditioned or produced by the environment. It is our intrinsic nature. We have seen that essence is the only part that is aware of its own existence directly, intimately, and with certainty. Essence is not simply the only part of us that is aware of its existence. It is what exists. It is not only what exists, but it is also existence. This existence is not only the nature of man but the nature of everything. It is the unity of all, or as Shabistari, the fourteenth-century Sufi, puts it:

There is one atom greater than the whole—

Existence; for behold the universe

Is, yet that universe itself is being.

Being is various in outward form,

But in its being bears inward unity.

In experiential terms, presence and existence are somewhat different but only in degree. Presence is the presence of essence, of that which is existence. However, we must go very deep into this experience of presence to experience the most basic nature of essence, which is existence. So presence is the presence of essence. Existence is the inmost nature of essence, which sets it apart from all other categories of experience. When this experience occurs, it is not vague, unclear, or undefined; it is not an intuition or a fleeting insight. It is a very definite, clear, precise experience of “I am,” There is definiteness and there is certainty.

Experiencing the Person as Composed of Pure Existence

That night, during dinner, the leaden heaviness appears again, scattering the attention and presence for about an hour. The leaden heaviness becomes so dense that it disintegrates most of my capacity for attention and presence. Strong resistances arise, feelings of rubbery thickness, wooden dryness, amorphous states of consciousness, and many other confused and chaotic sensations. I feel the leaden rounded heaviness pushing from inside, scattering whatever consciousness it meets in its way. At this point I realize that the power of this heaviness arises from the transformation of the leaden consciousness into something much more substantial and powerful. The lead The Pearl Beyond Price, has transformed into the shiny gray existence The Pearl Beyond Price,, like a large The Pearl Beyond Price, of hematite. I feel personal but immense, a person of Being so dense that my substantiality eclipses the physical substantiality of the body. The most definite feeling is a sense of personal existence. I feel intensely real, existing so fundamentally that the mind cannot conceive of this reality. I experience myself as a person, and this person is composed of pure existence. Existence of Being, essential and fundamental, and independent of the mind, forms the very atoms of what I am. I am existence, beyond all thought of existence. The sense of truth and reality is immensely profound; it feels deeper than the universe itself. And this unimaginably real sense of existence has a very subtle sense of being a person—a person not defined by history or mind, not confined by character traits or relationships, but a person who exists, and that is all. The sense of existence has an unquestionable sense of certainty, independent of any content of mind or experience. I recognize at this point that there is no basis for the concern that there will be no personal life if I am not enmeshed in it.

Pure Existence Seen as the First Concept

The Absolute and the Nameless are both nonconceptual. With the Nameless there is consciousness, and the Absolute is beyond consciousness. It’s the difference between the night and day. The night is Absolute, and the day is the Nameless or the nonconceptual. There is light. This light doesn’t bring any particular knowledge; it’s just pure light. The next thing that arises is that the nonconceptual, or pure awareness, manifests as existence or presence. We become aware of ourselves as existing. That is what I call the dimension of Pure Being, or the Supreme. Being then exists, and there is awareness that there is existence. The consciousness becomes aware of itself as existing. This is the beginning of the conceptual. The first concept that arises is Existence, Beingness, Presence. Here there is a concept, but there is still no differentiation. It’s not that someone exists. It’s not that I exist and you exist. There is one pure something, and that is Pure Beingness, Pure Existence. That is the first concept. If you go beyond that into the nonconceptual, you can’t talk about existence, or nonexistence. The Pure Beingness is experienced as unity—there’s just one thing. There is just one thing that doesn’t have parts.

Reality is Pure Existence, Pure Being, Pure Presence

The perception of Holy Work is the experience of the cosmos as a constant unfoldment of existence or appearance. There are several insights implied in this statement. The first is that reality is pure existence, pure Being, pure presence. This insight encompasses both Holy Omniscience and Holy Truth: Holy Truth elucidates the truth that reality exists as pure presence, and that it is everything and everywhere; Holy Omniscience refers to the differentiations, specifics, and forms that comprise that Oneness. To know what existence or presence or Being means, you have to experience Essence—there is no other way. You cannot know it through reasoning or discussing it—there is no way of knowing what it is except through experiencing it.

Facets of Unity, pg. 169

Seeing that Your Existence is Pure Presence

Presence also has something to do with time. In one sense, presence is compacted time. It is as if you took all of time and compressed it into the present moment. Normally, your experience of yourself is spread over time—that is, into the past and the future as well as the present—in accordance with your ideas, beliefs, hopes, and fears. If you withdraw your awareness from the past and future and concentrate it solely in the present, your experience of yourself focuses into a single moment: now. To trust the now completely can lead to the experience of yourself as a self-originating presence. Many of the ways of describing Essence refer to this awareness—Self-Originating or the Unoriginated, the Self-Arising, the Self-Existing, Pure Existence, the I AM, the pure fact of Isness—and all of them indicate that your existence is pure presence and that nothing in your experience of this existence is determined by your memories. The experience of presence is spontaneously itself, 100 percent.

Brilliancy, pg. 44

True Nature Can be Both Existence and Nonexistence at Once

It confounds our mind when we try to find out what true nature is. The question “What is it?” implies both the what and the that: that true nature is a what—a something—and that it is. It assumes that true nature is a something that exists. But is it something that exists? We know that true nature can appear as pure existence—solid, complete, and certain, like molybdenum. This pure existence—immense, powerful, and the nature of all and everything in the universe—is absolute is-ness, more solid than anything else in the whole material world.  But we can also experience true nature as pure nonexistence, as pure nonbeing. And the truth that appeared as much more solid than the physical universe can suddenly appear ephemeral and phantasmagoric because its nature is nonbeing. When we experience this nonbeingness, it is spacious, open and transparent to everything. The transparency can become fluid like air or it can appear crystalline, faceted, and precise. We see that true nature can be both existence and nonexistence at once. And many teachings agree that it is inseparably both being and nonbeing, both presence and absence. And more than simple presence or absence, we can experience true nature as boundless love or awareness or dynamism. It can be all of these and also empty. So even though true nature is what makes everything exist, we cannot say that it exists. And although true nature does not exist as an object, we can nevertheless experience it more palpably than any of the forms of the material or spiritual world.

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