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Experience (Immediacy of)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Experience (Immediacy of)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Experience (Immediacy of)

A Touching of Each Other Without the Presence of Ego Boundaries and Without the Loss of One’s Unique Individuation of Being

Although Being is necessary for contact it is certainly not sufficient for contact in its unqualified form. For there to be contact, the Personal Essence has to be present. Contact implies personal contact. It implies a being in contact with another being. This is difficult to imagine without the experience of the Personal Essence. But when the Personal Essence is present, then one cannot help but exclaim: “Aha, of course, how else can it be! I have to be present, as who I am, for me to make contact.” The contact of the Personal Essence feels so direct, so immediate, so complete, so full, that when it is known it becomes impossible to call any other state of consciousness contact. One is making contact because one is personally present in the interaction. One is actually there, as one’s own substance, filling the interaction with immediacy and significance. The personal contact then is as actual, as concrete, as immediate as physical contact. In such contact one is touching the other’s Being with one’s own Being. The substance of one’s unique personal being-ness touches the substance of the other’s unique personal beingness. It is a touching of each other without the presence of ego boundaries, and without the loss of one’s unique individuation of Being. One is present, as oneself, as one’s unique individuation. One is not being anything from the past, so one is totally genuine. One is personal. One is present as an individuated Being, a unique human being. And contact is this presence being with another presence.

By Interposing Itself Between the Soul and her Basic Knowing, it (ordinary knowledge) Increasingly Dissociates the Soul from the Immediacy of Her Presence

The loss of immediacy is even more radical. We discussed in chapter 12 how the soul develops through the establishment of ego structures, which become her defining identity and character. We have seen that such development dissociates the soul from her true nature by interposing the totality of her ordinary knowledge, which includes all her history of experience, between her and her experience. Experience becomes a combination of basic knowledge and ordinary knowledge, mixed to various degrees. Ordinary knowledge, in particular, develops the patterns of basic knowledge by seeing new connections that allow the emergence of new forms of basic knowledge. Obvious examples are inventions, the development of new procedures and processes, and the development of new kinds and areas of knowledge, culminating in our scientific knowledge. Ordinary knowledge also influences basic knowledge in ways not as wholesome as these. By interposing itself between the soul and her basic knowing, it increasingly dissociates the soul from the immediacy of her presence. Ordinary knowledge can dominate consciousness so much that the soul forgets the importance of basic knowledge, and hence the central significance of the sense of presence. We need to remember that it is characteristic of ordinary knowledge that it cannot carry the sense of presence. This sense is a concept, but it is the simplest concept, the first concept, which forms the basis of all knowing, and memory cannot hold such simplicity. This concept has no differentiated outlines for memory and ordinary knowledge to carry.

Coming to Understand what Immediacy Is, We Experience Things Directly

And then the realization arises: “Not only am I free to just be, free to not act; I am the aware medium, the conscious medium itself.” That fact, and the recognition of that fact, is what makes it possible for us to be truly where we are—which turns out to be what we are. We also come to understand what immediacy is. That is, we experience things directly. But we also recognize that we are experiencing ourselves in that immediacy. We do not just experience the content of the experience; we are experiencing our awareness as well. So if I am experiencing my sadness in some moment, and I am able to do that with immediacy, totally, I then recognize that I am this presence, this fullness, this awareness, this luminosity, that is pervaded at some location within it by the affect of sadness. I am that self-existing awareness that is aware of that sadness. And we recognize that this self-existing awareness is now the primary arising in our experience. It is an actual true manifestation of reality in this moment. Everything else—including all of our feelings—is secondary and is always changing.

Early in Our Practice, Immediacy Might Appear to be Just Our Inner Experience, but Eventually All Experience Becomes Immediate

This is a deeper understanding than we have reached before about what it means to be where we are. We can see more clearly now the connection between being where we are and being ourselves, being real. We can recognize that “where I am” means that I—my true self, my awareness, my presence, my very existence, what at this very moment is in this moment—am aware of and am the awareness of all the details that are arising within the content of my experience. And I am aware of all of that with immediacy, with an awareness that pervades it completely. So, early in our practice, immediacy might appear to be just our inner experience, but eventually all experience becomes immediate. Every time we experience something, we experience the very substance of that something because we are that very substance. We can more clearly understand now how “being where we are” is only separated from “what we are” by the activity of the mind. Truly, we are what we experience.

Essential Presence is Both an Immediacy of Consciousness and a Completely Present Centered Consciousness of Oneself

Representations are the stuff of ordinary knowledge, which means the identity ends up being part of ordinary knowledge, not basic knowledge.3 This means the soul will know herself through representational knowledge Representational knowledge, especially through memories, is bound to be an indirect knowing. To indirectly know ourselves means, by definition, that we do not know ourselves as presence; to know ourselves as presence is nothing but to know ourselves directly and immediately. The hallmark of our essential presence is immediacy and directness. The development of the ego sense of identity means the loss of this immediacy, which is again a dissociation of the soul from her essential ground. Furthermore, the overall self-representation, with all of its underlying ego structures, patterns the soul by impressing her field with the content of her history. The past ends up determining the forms the soul experiences in herself, conditioning her dynamic creativity to flow in largely predetermined grooves. This again means the soul’s experience of herself is not immediately in the present, but mediated through past experience. This is both a mediation through the past, and a direct loss of the immediacy of the experience of the present moment. Essential presence is both an immediacy of consciousness and a completely present centered consciousness of oneself. This again dissociates the soul’s experience from her essential ground of presence.

Eventually the Mind Will Quiet Down, the Agitation Will Settle and that Settling, that Quietness, Will Begin to Bring More Immediacy to Our Experience

Exposing the Lack of Immediacy  …..   As we work through these issues, it becomes clear that our ignorance perpetuates itself because we don’t know who we are. So how do we understand and work with this kind of inner activity that keeps us from really being ourselves? This activity is very difficult to perceive because, as we said, it is subliminal and mostly unconscious. One traditional method we use is to sit in meditation, which means to not engage intentionally with any inner activity. Eventually, the mind will quiet down, the agitation will settle, and that settling, that quietness, will begin to bring more immediacy to our experience. Actually, it will first begin to reveal the lack of immediacy, and then it will bring about more immediacy. That is because in meditation, we are not dissociating from our present moment through the mental processes of thinking, reacting, and inner agitation. In terms of the primary practice of being where you are and inquiring into your experience, you will find that it is best to work with the immediacy of your experience, bringing to it a quality of awareness and consciousness that can look into the truth of it. You engage with your experience, inquire into it: What is it? What is its nature? What is making it be the particular way it is in each moment?

If You Adhere to - and are Satisfied with - Indirect Knowledge, You Will Disconnect from the Immediacy of Your Experience

The third problem is that reliance on information and assumptions communicated by others establishes in us the habit of not exercising our own intelligence. Then our capacity to know, and our love of knowing, weaken in ways that we do not even notice, especially in terms of experiencing and knowing ourselves. That is why it is important to find out what is true through your own direct experience and knowledge. If you only listen to others, you don’t exercise your own muscles of inquiry or your own intelligence. If you adhere to—and are satisfied with—indirect knowledge, you will disconnect from the immediacy of your experience. So our work has to do with inquiry into the very consciousness and perceptivity of our experience. We need to rely more and more on our own immediate, direct knowledge. However, even true knowledge based on our own experience is composed of concepts, labels, ideas, images, and so on. So it exists only as a memory. For instance, you work on yourself and you have the experience of being an ocean of consciousness. This is a true, direct knowledge of your consciousness. But the next moment, it is just memory, an image, concept, idea, impression from the past. It is true knowledge in that you got it directly, but it immediately becomes ordinary knowledge, old knowledge.

Presence Brings in the Quality of Immediacy of Awareness, which Means Having No Distance Between the Awareness and what We are Aware Of

As you notice, I didn’t only say, “Be aware.” I said, “Be aware and present.” Awareness and presence are not two things, really, but if I only say, “Be aware,” you might think of that in terms of normal awareness, that is, observing experience from a distance, with the detachment of a subject viewing an object. When I say, “aware and present,” I am saying, “present to what you are aware of,” which means that you are not only noticing it, but you are also in contact with it; you are touching it, feeling it, sensing its texture and quality. You are not only looking at it from the outside, you are aware of it from the inside as well and from all directions, from everywhere. So presence brings in the quality of immediacy of awareness, which means having no distance between the awareness and what we are aware of. Presence gives a sense of immediacy, of fullness, of hereness in the experience. It gives a sense of immediacy and directness that suffuses the experience, that pervades it and fills it, so that our awareness, our consciousness, is not only observing it from a removed place but also from within it. It is as though our nerve endings were inside the experience, outside the experience, and in between; they are everywhere and feeling the experience in all its possibilities. That’s when we really know the experience fully and completely. If we have that kind of awareness, then we recognize that to be aware of something is not just a function, and it is not just a capacity. The awareness, in fact, is our essential presence, our hereness, our substantiality.

Recognizing Our Personal Experience, Being with It, Feeling It with Immediacy and Awareness and Understanding – Brings Not Only Meaning but a Thread of Meaning, a Continuity of Meaning

So as you see, there is always a continuity of meaning for each of us, if we’re really practicing being where we are. This continuity of meaning I call the personal thread. A lot is happening in the universe. The universe itself is flowing and moving and changing, and everybody and everything that composes it is moving and changing as well. Within that shared reality, each one of us is having our own personal experience in terms of where we are—our personal thread. Recognizing our personal experience, being with it, feeling it with immediacy and awareness and understanding—brings not only meaning but a thread of meaning, a continuity of meaning. And this thread of meaning is our own individual unfolding journey of truth. The significance of an individual life arises from this thread of meaning. Our practice of being where we are supports our lives becoming centered on our own personal thread. It becomes the core and the center of our life, because it is the core and center of our awareness, of our experience, of our being here. When we’re inquiring, when we’re practicing, what we’re doing is finding our personal thread, recognizing where it happens to be, and following it.

Soul Loses Awareness of Its Wholeness through the Loss of the Immediacy of Experience which Results from Experiencing Itself through Past Impressions

Narcissism develops when the soul loses touch with its wholeness, especially as it loses touch with its true nature. The soul loses awareness of its wholeness through the loss of the immediacy of experience, which results from experiencing itself through past impressions. The loss of immediacy is identical with the loss of awareness of presence, and since presence is the “glue” that unifies all aspects of experience, wholeness is gone. The baby loses her primary self-realization (and her primary narcissism) as she begins to experience herself as an object. An increasing veil composed of memories (and reaction-induced results or consequences) intervenes between the subject—the self—and the object. This duality gradually transforms the infant’s experience in such a way that she ultimately loses her identification with the sense of presence. As the infant develops an identity situated in dimensions of experience superficial to her essential presence, she loses her capacity to simply be herself. In a sense, rather than actually losing this capacity, the infant simply forgets it as she gradually finds herself reacting to and manipulating her experience, and becoming increasingly alienated from her true nature. Thus, the loss of contact with her true identity involves the loss of the sense of the perfection and wholeness of the self.

The Experience of Essence is the Immediacy of Experiencing Your Being and You Cannot Connect to that Immediacy through a Remembered Concept

If you keep thinking that who you are is an ocean of consciousness, this will disconnect you from your immediate experience, even though the statement is both true and experientially derived. These concepts, labels, and ideas that come from our direct and true knowledge have to be taken as symbols or pointers to the realities that they refer to. They are not the truth. If you talk about your experience of being an ocean of consciousness, the recounting of that experience is not the truth. It is truth only if it is the immediate experience of essential reality now. Your immediate experience might not be of Essence at all, or of Essence manifesting in the same way. If you are holding on to the thought, “I am Essence,” that thought becomes another selfrepresentation, another self-image. Maybe your experience this moment is of being space, or love, or just a clunky body. Even though you have had an authentic experience of Essence, to identify with it through ordinary knowledge disconnects you from the immediate experience of its actuality and presence. This is because the experience of Essence is the immediacy of experiencing your Being and you cannot connect to that immediacy through a remembered concept. Certain concepts such as that of an essential self are useful for certain times and purposes but not for all times. If you take any concept to be applicable all the time, it becomes a rigidity that freezes the dynamism and blocks the openness of inquiry, closing it down.

This Teaching Keeps Emphasizing Just Being there, Not Doing Anything, and Simply Being Vulnerable to and Present with Immediacy of Feeling

These divisive strategies of the ego make us callous—they actually move us further from Being. But once we see that they are attempts to do something that the ego is not capable of, then we have the chance to recognize what Being can do. We are able to realize the power True Nature has that can reveal clearly what is occurring, that gives us the precise understanding of the impediment—what it does and why it is there. And if we recognize the impediment for what it is—with the complete immediacy of presence and the precise clarity of awareness—that awareness itself will appear as a quality that is pure stillness, that is pure peacefulness, that is the presence of peace. The presence of peace alone dissolves all agitation. Peace doesn’t have to do anything; its mere manifestation melts all strife, and impediments simply dissolve through the understanding that is inseparable from that stillness. That is why this teaching keeps emphasizing just being there, not doing anything, and simply being vulnerable to and present with immediacy of feeling. If we are being there with immediacy of feeling and not doing anything, at some point that not doing reveals its power. This power is not just that we refrain from taking action, but that we experience the presence of total stillness. This is the essence of nondoing, which is peace. Just the fact of stillness, the presence of peace, annihilates ignorance. But this annihilation is the action of appreciation and love in pure nondoing and stillness.

What We See Around Us We Do Not Really Know Directly, Right Now, In Terms of Immediacy

Almaas: Right. What we see around us we do not really know directly, right now, in terms of immediacy. We need to see that fact in a very deep and fundamental way. You need to see that when you look at the table you do not know what you are looking at. What you know is a word, the concept of a table. You do not know what you are looking at. And the moment you really see through the word, you see that the reality that you are seeing around you is a mystery; that we live in complete, pure mystery; that the world around us that is old, drab, and normal is actually a wonder, a mystery. It is a mystery that defies our minds, that defies our best efforts. But we kill that mystery, we separate ourselves from it by putting up a barrier of words and concepts. Then the best thing we can do is know it through words and concepts, through the old. But if you confront your assumptions, you see that in reality, you do not really know.

When Our Experience Becomes Truly Immediate – without the Interposition of Any Mental Construct – then We are Here, Really in the Now, Fully in Our Experience

It is important to remember here that whatever constructs we identify are not to be treated as the enemy and rejected. Just as in any other part of our practice, we are called to understand our mental operations and recognize our lack of immediacy and the reifications that create it. This occurs simply by being present and aware of what is happening and inquiring into it. Even when we recognize how we are limiting our immediacy, we don’t have to fall into the trap of judgment. As we recognize these things for what they are, the obstacles, the layers, begin to dissolve, and we begin to experience ourselves as more landed, more present. As they dissolve, they reveal the True Nature of the moment, and we feel a greater immediacy in our experience. Eventually, we recognize that immediacy really means presence. That is, when our experience becomes truly immediate—without the interposition of any mental construct—then we are here, really in the now, fully in our experience. To be in our experience in this way is what we call presence and that is what we mean when we talk about truly being ourselves. We realize that “being here” means, “I am actually the presence that I am. I am here at this very moment, and my experience is not a mental construction dredged up from my past. I am just what I am in my factness, and I am experiencing this moment completely, directly, without anything intervening. I am the very awareness, the very consciousness, that is present, that exists, in this very moment, and I am experiencing myself as that very existence.” Further, when we are no longer defined and restricted by the constructs that our mind has imposed on the moment—when we finally can experience ourselves with immediacy and let ourselves be—we recognize what it means not to act internally, on ourselves or our experience. Because “not taking any inner action” and “being ourselves” turn out to be exactly the same thing—the simplicity of just being here.

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