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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Form?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Form

All Forms are a Coemergence of Appearance and Nonbeing

From the perspective of the absolute, all manifest forms possesses this insubstantiality and lightness, and all in the same degree. It is not as if rocks are insubstantial but more substantial than water. When it comes to the absolute perception they are all equal in their insubstantiality; this insubstantiality is simply our perception of their ontological ground, which is the same absolute everywhere. They are all totally insubstantial, for their ultimate status is nonbeing. More accurately, all forms are a coemergence of two things: appearance and nonbeing. Their appearance is their being, but their ground is nonbeing. Their appearance-presence is always accompanied with their nonbeing. They cannot be without nonbeing, for the nonbeing of the absolute is the ground of their being. Such understanding is totally paradoxical for our thematizing ordinary mind; but it is actually how things are, and how we will perceive them when we are free from all cognitive filters.

Appearance and Disappearance of Forms in the Soul

The sensation of flow actually originates from the fact that our consciousness is continually unfolding, constantly creating its various forms. It is a ceaseless stream of unfolding. We can perceive unfolding on an even more subtle level. We may experience the opening up of all the points of the field as a process of appearing and disappearing. One form mysteriously disappears as another form appears and takes its place. There is no origin of what appears and no destination for what disappears. It is like appearing from thin air and disappearing back into it. There is a stream of these acts of appearing and disappearing, giving us the impression of flow and unfoldment. This perception involves experiencing the consciousness of the soul from the dimension of emptiness, where the forms appear from and disappear into emptiness. And since emptiness is not an object, it is neither a source nor a destination. The forms merely move from non-manifestation to manifestation.

Boundless Form of Love and Light

The important part of this new experience is that the soul begins to see that the delicate presence of this loving light is not only inside her. It is all around, everywhere, bathing and blessing all manifestation. All forms look as if they are melted and surrendered, softened and released. Everything looks luminous, beautiful, and in complete harmony. She recognizes that essence has now manifested in a boundless form, as the presence of oceanic love that is at the same time light and consciousness. It is conscious love, loving light, the coemergence of presence, light, and love in a soft and delicate ocean that suffuses everything and cleanses it from all her projections. All objects appear immersed in its grace, and all essential aspects manifest as sweet substances condensing from it. She may experience herself as the conscious sweet light, and in this state she is a witness of all phenomena without being any of them. She witnesses her body sitting, walking, and talking, but she is pure consciousness that is not the body. There are many variations on this state. One is to experience herself as an infinite and boundless sweet light that forms the ground of all manifestation. All forms arise from it and dissolve back into it. She is not the body and not an individual entity, but the boundless presence of consciousness. Another variation is to experience herself as everything, all manifestation, for this is the state of nonduality of manifestation and true nature. She is true nature, but since true nature is the substance of all phenomena, she is everything. This everything is a state of oneness, in which all forms make up one field, since they are constituted by the same indivisible ground.

Differentiated Manifestations of Implicit Qualities Inherent in the Nondifferentiated Ground

We have discussed how essence is a presence of pure consciousness that also possesses the capacity to recognize itself as presence. This is the inherent coemergence and coextensiveness of the dimension of nonconceptual mirror like awareness responsible for bare perception, and the dimension of basic knowledge responsible for cognition and recognition. So essence is presence that is inseparable from awareness of this presence, and is also inseparable from the knowingness of this presence. The presence, the awareness, and the knowingness are the same thing in the experience of pure nondifferentiated essence. We have seen that this fundamental ground of the soul is aware of differentiation in a mirror-like fashion, but also that this differentiation appears within it as formations within a field. We have also seen that this ground possesses the capacity to cognize these formations, as noetic forms with recognizable characteristics. Some of these formations are simply presence itself with recognizable qualities. In other words, the noetic forms constitute all manifestations within the soul, but there is a special class of these forms, pure forms in the sense they are the differentiated manifestations of implicit qualities inherent in the nondifferentiated ground. These forms are not images, thoughts, emotions, sensations, movements, or any category familiar in our ordinary experience. They are purely spiritual forms, essential noetic forms. Thus the essential ground, the coemergence of nonconceptual awareness and basic knowledge, possesses implicit qualities that we refer to as its perfections. In its nondifferentiated and fundamental mode it implicitly possesses peace, love, compassion, truth, authentic existence, pleasure, joy, strength, will, clarity, intelligence, impeccability, purity, contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, spaciousness, and so on. They are not explicitly recognizable, but the presence feels complete and does not lack any of these qualities that the soul always needs.

Differentiation of Coemergent True Nature

The perfect coemergence includes all manifestation, not only the boundless dimensions of true nature and its essential aspects. Any manifest form is nothing but a form taken by true nature with its five dimensions. Each manifest form is a differentiation of the coemergent true nature, patterned by the creative display of its logos. There is only true nature that continually changes its appearance as the changing forms of the world. A tree, for example, is nothing but true nature manifesting itself as a tree. The tree is simply the local changing manifestation of a particular region in the five-dimensional manifold of true nature. To see it from the perspective of coemergent true nature is to see a dynamic upwelling that continually manifests the particular tree as a form that possesses a five-dimensional ground. The tree appears to us transparent; we can see through its appearance to a multidimensional vastness. We see luminosity, presence, color, but also the deep darkness of the absolute.

Distinctive Forms of the Diamond Dimensions

Depending on the situation, the Diamond Dimension manifests as a field in which the various aspects operate as diamonds, or it arises as one presence in which all the essential diamonds are integrated into a single structure, one operating vehicle. Instead of experiencing one diamond at a time, we experience all the diamonds arranged in a particular structure, such as a chandelier, a cathedral, or some other distinctive form. There are many of these vehicles, each of which is an integrated form of the Diamond Dimension in a different shape or configuration. So Being not only manifests itself in aspects, but also in combinations of aspects that we call Diamond Dimensions or Diamond Vehicles. The Diamond Guidance, though experienced at times as an aspect, is actually one of these vehicles.

Each Form, Including Us, is Created Newly and Differently Each Moment

Recognizing the spontaneous happening of reality, we see the pulsing creativity that instantly manifests the entire world that we see from moment to moment. The world emerges, appears, disappears, emerges newly, appears, disappears—all instantly, all constantly. We can see this in our own experience. Our experience is always a creative emergence of various forms of feelings, thoughts, and sensations constantly changing. In the complete view, our experience, the outer world—everything, including our body—is constantly generated, created, and formed. Only when we see this dynamic creativity do we understand movement and action and change. Each form, including us, is created newly and differently each instant; these slight differences, when seen through the continuum of time, appear as movement— just as the still frames of a movie projected quickly, one after the other, give the sense of movement and change when actually it’s instant-to-instant creation. So even in the still, silent quietness, even in the total, relaxed ease, the all-creating monarch is always creating the totality of all the universes, creating them in an instant and destroying them in an instant. The all-creating Quintessence does not need seven days. In an instant the whole universe is there completely, everywhere distinct. Just as in an instant you can create an entire world in your mind, the Quintessence creates you and that entire world in its mind; and it creates far more than that too. The Quintessence creates all that we experience.

Each of the Pure Forms of Being Possess Phenomenological Qualities Along with Specific Functions in Relation to the Self

Because the Essential Identity is the true identity on the essential level, when the self loses contact with it, it loses the capacity to be identified with Being; thus, it loses the capacity for self-realization. In order to understand this point more exactly, we need to investigate the relationship between the Essential Identity and Being in general. As we have seen, the presence of Being, which is the essence of the self, manifests as a structured dynamism in which presence arises in various forms. We call these manifestations aspects of Essence. Each of these pure forms of Being possesses phenomenological qualities along with specific functions in relation to the self. The Essential Identity is one of these forms. In the last chapter we discussed two of its qualities—the sense of being a unique, differentiated locus of existence, and a feeling of identity. Each aspect of Being is an expression of the same reality. Each of them is part of the essence of the self, constituting its ontological core. The Essential Identity additionally provides the self with the capacity to identify with Being, to be Being.

Essential Aspects Appearing in the Diamond Form

Inquiry can open us up to the possibility of revealed knowledge. Although inquiry, exploration, and research by themselves do not lead to wisdom or revealed knowledge, they can help us see our barriers—our beliefs and prejudices—so that we can open up and be receptive to the revelation of direct knowledge. Inquiry invites Being to manifest its secrets, and this manifestation is revealed knowledge, new basic knowledge, timeless wisdom. We begin to recognize the Diamond Dimension itself as all the essential aspects appear anew, in the diamond form. Now, instead of experiencing a fluid or formless presence, we experience a faceted bright diamond, a ruby, or an emerald, for instance. In the emerald experience, we have the sense of loving-kindness and warmth inherent to Compassion, but with a precision, a definiteness, and an exactness not familiar in conventional experience. The diamond restructures the soul in such a way that its experience is now inseparable from insight, from direct knowledge. Understanding, then, is simply the stream of structuring of our soul by the diamond and what it is communicating. Revelation, insight, or direct knowledge is nothing but the impact of the essential diamond presence on the soul. The soul’s experience is affected and structured by the diamond presence, rather than being patterned by ordinary knowledge. The diamond presence also gives us a sense of precision,

Forms Arising in the Soul are Inseparable From Cognition of Them

What we are calling “basic knowledge” is the fundamental element of knowingness that is inherent in all our experience. Every experience we have of any sort is knowledge. When a form arises in the soul this form is inseparable from the cognition of this form. The whole experience is nothing but knowledge, composed of knowledge, and dependent upon knowledge. We can easily see this by simply contemplating our experience, any experience and at any time. Our hearing of a sound is the knowledge that we are hearing sound; our knowing that there is hearing and sound, our recognition of the quality of the sound—all these are knowledge.

Forms Arising through Our Inner field of Consciousness, Plastically Changing Itself to Create them Out of Its Very Substance

Inner content does not enter consciousness from somewhere else. It arises in the field of consciousness itself, as the field modifying itself at the particular region the content arises. In other words, content arises within the field of consciousness as part of the field. Content is composed of particular forms the consciousness assumes at certain regions of its presence. Such a form could be a feeling, like warm kindness or anger. It can be a thought, a word, or a string of words. It can be an image, with or without colors. It can be inner movement, as in the kinesthetic sense. It can be inner sounds, tastes, or smells, as in imagination or memory. All these are inner forms that arise in our consciousness. We normally think of them as entering our consciousness, happening to us, or that we actively produce them. We do not see them as forms arising through our inner field of consciousness plastically changing itself to create them out of its very substance. We do not see this process of inner creation because we are not in touch with the field directly, so we end up perceiving only the forms it takes. By coming in touch with the inner field of presence, we have the wonderful opportunity of seeing how our consciousness functions to create its own inner forms. Not only does our field of consciousness manifest forms by morphing itself; it also perceives these manifestations. These forms are perceived not through the operation of looking at them from a distance, but by immediate awareness. Our soul is aware of her inner content by being inside all of the manifesting forms. Her conscious field completely pervades all forms completely and thoroughly, since it constitutes the totality of each form. And, being pure consciousness, the soul knows these forms directly and in the present moment. This is what we call noesis.

No Form Can be Outside the Oneness of Being

Some teachings insist that the ultimate is a personal god that possesses a form. It is, however, impossible to conceive of a form that transcends the absolute. Any form is bound to be within the logos, for the logos is an infinite field of oneness. To perceive or conceive of a form we have to see that it is an inseparable part of the oneness, for no form can be outside the oneness of being. To conceive a form outside of the oneness of being would mean that we conceive a boundary and end for this oneness, which contradicts the knowing of true oneness. In other words, any form must be an inseparable part of the oneness of being, and hence part of the unfolding pattern of the logos. It is bound to be arising within the absolute, with the absolute as its transcendent source.

Presence Transforming Its Appearance

When we experience primordial presence, it is intimately integrated with the various manifestations and dimensions of the self. The body is felt as the same presence as primordial presence, with a specific form. We do not experience the body as a physical object. From the perspective of primordial presence, physicality is simply a form that presence takes. The body is a certain colorful presence within the fundamental clear medium of presence, just as organs are certain patterns that protoplasm take in the human body. In this state, our felt experience is deepened tremendously, and attains a vividness and clarity not possible in even the deepest physical experiences. In full self-realization we are deeply, vividly aware of all manifestations that arise in the self. Thoughts, feelings, sensations and images are experienced as patterns in the presence, rich with aliveness and energy. The presence changes form, manifesting various contents, but the manifestation is never separate from the presence, and in fact, is nothing but the presence transforming its appearance. Thus, we apprehend the view that Eastern spiritual traditions refer to as nonduality. When we are one with primordial presence, its manifestations in the body, thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations, are transparent forms that do not hide the fundamental reality.

Pure Being Remains as the Inner Constitutive Substance of all Forms

Pure being remains as the inner constitutive substance of all forms, spiritual and physical. We tend not to be aware of it when we experience these forms, because we are focused exclusively on the features of these forms, to the exclusion of their being, their ontological dimension. When our consciousness is somewhat liberated from this exclusive focus we can discern their ontological nature, their presence. Normally it is easier to become aware of the presence of the spiritual qualities before that of pure presence, because we can recognize the qualities more readily than presence. But since the spiritual qualities are qualities of presence, we can easily discern their presence. This presence is actually pure presence, but we are not discriminating it from the quality it is assuming. In other words, a differentiated aspect is pure presence clothing itself with the garb of a particular quality. In essential experience we experience both the garb and the garbed, the quality and the presence. The presence is pure presence, but we do not see its purity because it is veiled by the quality. The pure presence is always present, cannot not be present, for it is the ground true nature without which there would be no manifestation and no experience.

Requirement for the Resolution of Many Issues Related to Each of the Pure Forms of Being

In the process of spiritual development, and specifically in the Diamond Approach, we first integrate the various forms of Being. So we integrate presence in the qualities of Peace, Kindness, Love, Truth, Strength, Clarity, Space, Knowingness, Intelligence, Existence, and so on, until we are permanently in contact with the dynamic flow of essential presence. This development requires the resolution of many issues: a specific constellation related to each of the pure forms of Being, the psychic structures underlying them, and the object relations constituting such structures. This accomplishment, although rare and difficult, is still not a complete integration of presence because we still identify with a self-image based on representations. At this stage we are developed only to the extent of the first of the three modes of essential experience. The next step in the integration is to shift the identity from the domain of psychic structures to that of the essential presence itself. This is the transition to self-realization, that is, to the second and third categories of essential experience.

The Emptiness of All Forms

The inner nature of all forms of reality, of all forms of experience, is inherently empty. That emptiness is the deepest characteristic of True Nature, the deepest dimension of True Nature. Whatever we experience, if we experience it fully, we recognize that there is nothing there. Whatever we experience is ephemeral; it does not have its own substantial existence. The inner nature of reality is not only transparent and luminous but, when you experience it fully, you realize that there isn’t any mass to it. There is no abiding existence, no continuing existence through time. We say that is the emptiness of the ground.

The Intriguing Mystery of the Nature of Forms

The intriguing mystery is that the nature of forms, the nature of the body, the nature of consciousness, the nature of all phenomena, include both emptiness and presence, both Being and nonbeing, in a mysterious juxtaposition. This interpenetration of Being and nonbeing in reality is even more mysterious than pure or nonconceptual awareness. Pure awareness is an aware ground, an aware medium that doesn’t know what it is aware of and doesn’t discern one thing from another. By nonconceptual I do not simply mean not mental, not constructed. I mean the barest minimum of sensitivity, the ground that is simply the capacity to be aware, to perceive. Therefore, by nonconceptual we mean noncognitive. There is perception, but there is no knowing, no cognition of any kind. Although we see that nonconceptual awareness is both emptiness and presence, both Being and nonbeing, we cannot say this in the actual experience of nonconceptual awareness. We cannot say anything, because pure awareness lacks recognition, lacks knowing.

When Spiritual Forms are not Differentiated from Physical and Emotional Forms

Experience at the nonconceptual dimension of Reality includes all the forms we normally perceive, outer and inner. These include the physical forms, the oceans and mountains, stars and galaxies, trees and animals, molecules and atoms, and so on. They include all our subjective experience: the thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations. But they also include all the spiritual forms, including essential aspects and diamond vehicles. Essential aspects arise at this dimension differentiated, in the sense that they have different colors and textures. Yet, we do not recognize what they are, or what they mean. We cannot, in fact, differentiate them from the physical and emotional forms. We cannot tell that they are pure spiritual qualities and the others are physical or emotional, for all forms of manifestation are nothing but a differentiation of the same reality, nonconceptual presence. In other words, we can experience essential aspects at this level of experience but we will not be able to recognize what they are. We can tell that the pink quality is different from the green one, but we cannot tell that the pink is love and the green is compassion. The recognition of the qualities requires the noetic capacity of the dimension of pure presence.

When the Nonconceptual is Experiencing the Nonconceptual it Doesn't Have Form

In the nonconceptual, there is no sense of space and time. When the nonconceptual is experiencing the nonconceptual, it doesn’t have form, shape, color, location, or size. It is prior to time and space. To have shape and size and color you need the concept of space. The only thing left is quality, and the quality is simply consciousness. You almost cannot even call it quality; it’s not exactly that. It’s as if you’re aware, and you know you’re aware, but you’re not aware of anything in particular. You are simply aware of the awareness itself, conscious of the consciousness itself. You don’t know whether it’s inside or outside. There is no concept of inside or outside. There is no concept of someone being there, being aware.

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