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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Extension?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Extension

True Nature has no Extension in Time or in Space

In the fourth turning, true nature illuminates even more of its possibilities. We see that true nature is beyond space and time. Because it is beyond space, it does not have a size or shape; because it is beyond time, it does not have duration. When people think of true nature as outside of time, they usually think of true nature as a ground through which all time passes; so it is outside of time and yet present in all times. But to think of true nature as present in all times is to include it in time. True nature has no extension in time or in space. Seeing this reveals that reality can appear as unities that are different from the classical unity of nonduality, which is based on extension through space and time. When reality is truly beyond space and time, it can reveal the unity of singularity. Singularity is when the infinity of reality appears in a single point. All spatial and temporal infinity manifests as one point. All space and all time are one point, where the point is all space and all time without any sense of spatial extension or temporal duration.

Emptiness Does Not have Spatial Extension - there is no “Here” and no “There”

Yet this experience of unity still contains subtle concepts that are difficult to discern. As we investigate emptiness more thoroughly, we can uncover more subtle and hidden senses of self. One of the concepts implicit in this mystical unity of appearance—where everything is pure presence and awareness that is the radiance of emptiness—is the concept of space. That is to say, even though everything is unified, even though everything is at once Being and nonbeing, even though everything is a manifestation of the same beingness, there are still concepts of here and there. There is a here, and a there, and some distance exists between here and there. When the concept of space is finally recognized and penetrated, we understand that emptiness is not a medium. In other words, emptiness does not have spatial extension—there is no here and no there. Here and there are the same spot. Here is there, and there is here. As long as a measurable distance exists between the two, there is a concept of space. I don’t necessarily mean that spatial extension disappears in terms of perception, because manifestation always manifests in space. What I mean is that spatial distance disappears in terms of a felt sense because true nature is beyond space. This no-distance realization can even be perceptual, but this is a further subtlety that we will consider later.

Experience Without Being Here, There or Everywhere

This kind of classic or nondual transcendence of space is the polar opposite of our usual experience of space. It is basically a transcendence of finitude into infinity, but infinity of space is still space. The nondual experience of space retains its most characteristic feature of extension, which means the distance between one form and another. Distance or extension, which is implicit in the ordinary experience of space, persists in nondual experience as the sense of being everything and everywhere. The usual experience of boundless realization is “I am here; I am there; I am everywhere.” But in order to say this, we have to experience a here, a there, and many theres that make up everywhere. When we transcend the transcendence of space from finitude to infinity, when we are truly free from the concept of space, we realize that there is no here and no there and no everywhere. There is simply no location. I call this experience of no space “total nonlocality.” Nonlocal usually means that one is not located here but located everywhere. Total nonlocality means something different. It means that there is no extension and, thus, no space. It is experience without being here, there, or everywhere. There isn’t an everywhere to be. So what is present if there is no here and no there? We are back to the simple experience of the lizard—pure perception. We are back to simplicity before conception. This condition of total nonconceptuality is free both from the concept of space and from the freedom from the concept of space.

Feeling You are Grounded and an Extension of the Universe

In the life of that cosmic individual you can be that amoeba, living as an amoeba, or you can be one of the pseudopodia, an individual connected to the larger cosmos. In that station, you feel you are what is called a true individual. You feel you are grounded and you are an extension of the universe. You don’t sit on the ground; you are a protrusion of the ground. That is the true experience of being a true individual. True individuality is not separate; it is a wave of the ocean. You are a wave who remains aware of the ocean. The personality tries to eliminate the ocean, leaving just the wave. This is a deep cause of our suffering. The true work happens in the movement from ego to non-ego. It takes a lot of capacity and willingness to learn not to fight this movement. Seeing from the perspective of the totality, of the ocean, helps us to realize this movement. We realize that it has never been our own efforts doing the work, or doing anything. The totality was always doing everything. When we are separate, we think that we are doing everything through our own efforts. When we realize the nonseparateness and perceive the totality, we stop working.

Nonbeingness is Not an Expanse. It has No Extension at All

When we understand the nondimensionality of the absolute, we understand that the more open we are the more we are in touch with the nonbeingness of our true nature. The openness is the external manifestation of this nonbeingness. But nonbeingness is not an expanse; it is nothing at all, so how can it possess extension? It has no extension at all, it completely transcends the concept of distance. We experience this directly when we are more familiar with the emptiness and nonbeingness of the absolute. At the beginning it may feel like an openness, a spaciousness, or an expansive nothingness. When we know it more intimately we begin to see that it does not have the sense of extension, that it does not actually feel like space. The mind simply cannot comprehend this at the beginning, for it is nothing like anything it knows. We simply feel a simplicity and intimacy, a state that possesses no shape, no size, no extension. This is the essence of space, which is also the essence of the absolute. Therefore, when we feel more open with another we are more in touch with this extensionless condition of nonbeing. As a result, we experience less phenomenological distance from the other, which we feel psychologically as closeness and intimacy. And when we are fully in touch with the extensionless nonbeingness of the absolute, we experience no distance at all from the other. Because there is no extension, we experience no distance. The amazing result is the sense that we are totally one. We perceptually see the other at a distance, but feel no sense of distance; in fact the concept of distance is transcended.

The Physical Body Seen as an External Extension of the Personal Essence

In this perception it becomes clear that the physical body is an external extension of the Personal Essence. This is in contrast to the ego individuality, which is an extension of the body. One experiences oneself as a continuity starting from the boundless conscious presence, individuating as the Personal Essence, and manifesting physically as the body. Pearl universal love and ego identity.

The Relationship Between the Essential Person and Pure Being

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.

We are like God’s Finger, an Extension, a Protrusion of the Truth

One of the requirements of serving the objective truth, of serving God, of serving the Absolute, is to be fit for that service so that we won’t be living our selfish needs. We live our selfish needs when we serve our belief in having a separate existence. There isn’t a separate existence. We aren’t solitary souls bobbing around the universe. We are, as I’ve said many times, like God’s finger. We are an extension, a protrusion, of the truth. And if we don’t live that way, we won’t live according to the truth that is our nature, that is the nature of existence, that is how things are—the natural law. So one of the ways we can approach experience is through the realization that we’re working on developing ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and physically in order to be fit and worthy servants for the master that is truth. What does it mean to serve the truth? We serve the truth when we act according to the truth, when we express the truth in our life, when we see ourselves as the expression of the truth. We need to be purified enough to be attracted to the truth in such a way that the truth penetrates us. We are the expression of the truth when we have become transparent to it. The most objective sense of serving the truth, serving God, serving the Absolute, serving reality, is to express it purely in life.

We Cannot Have Perception Without Spatial Extension

We get the sense of time from the perception of change, so time reflects the dynamism of Being. Similarly, spatial extension reflects its openness. The openness and spaciousness of true nature, which is also the sense of depth, mystery, and infinity inherent in it, appears in our normal experience as the sense of physical space between, around, and within manifestation. Our experience has spatial extension; we cannot have perception without spatial extension, just as we cannot have it without change. Shape and size, distance and extension, all reflect the inherent characteristic of openness. True nature has no boundaries in terms of size, shape, or distance. In fact, true nature is beyond extension. When we fully experience true nature, the concept of space disappears. When that occurs, we recognize that there is no such thing as either distance or no-distance. The concept of extension disappears; we then experience it only as openness, as possibility. And because of this possibility, everything manifests, all the colors and shapes.

When the Soul Experiences Herself as a Boundless and Nonlocal Presence that Transcends all Spatial Extensions

This essentialization can include all aspects. So the soul’s action can be intelligent, compassionate, clear, steadfast, etc., in a total and full way. And this action can be physical, expressive, or mental. She is presence of essence, but also a dynamic living presence whose morphogenic transformations express the pure perfections of true nature. In this transformation the soul has progressed from the stage of the human soul, the attainment of the second journey, to the stage of the angelic soul, or the essential soul. The second side of the development of nonduality in the journey in presence has to do with essential presence manifesting its ground of true nature. Essence here reveals itself not only as the ontological nature of the soul but as the ontological nature of all existence, all manifestation. True nature begins to reveal its omnipresence, disclosing that it is the ground and nature of everything. This appears as true nature revealing its boundless and formless dimensions that transcend the limited boundaries of the ego-self, even the individuality or personhood of the soul. The soul does not experience herself here as an individual soul, but as a boundless and nonlocal presence that transcends all spatial extensions, as eternal nowness that transcends all time, and as a mystery that transcends all determinations. She is all and everything, she is Reality.

“I Experience Myself as an Extension of the Absolute Only when there is Embodied Functioning”

Today, while having breakfast and then driving to a friend’s house, I am not the absolute, but the person who is a direct expression of it. I experience myself as a person in the absolute, and empowered by it from within. The absolute expands out, infusing the person, and appearing-manifesting through him. I recognize the absolute as the heart of me, the self of me, the nature of me, and the person that I am is an extension of it. The self and the extension are united; the absolute and the soul are married. I experience myself as an extension of the absolute only when there is embodied functioning, such as in eating, walking or driving. In other words, when I am simply resting, not doing anything, I experience myself as the vastness of the mysterious absolute. But when I function, do and act, as an embodied presence, I experience myself as an inseparable extension of the absolute. I function then as an organ of action for absolute Being. In this condition I am mature, completely responsible, totally the center of my life and action. I am total presence. The presence has no veils over it, no defense or pretense. The back is at the front. Nothing, absolutely no part of me, is held back. There is total spontaneity, and absence of self-consciousness. The experience is total presence; complete involvement; utter openness; and non-self-conscious spontaneity.

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