Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Freedom?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Freedom

Awakening to the One that is All and Everything

When we know freedom, we are able to be completely human, embracing our divine, physical, feeling, and thinking natures—all of who we are. Our nature is one undivided unity. Everything is that One. As true human beings, we are awake to the One that is all and everything, and simultaneously awake to the preciousness of our uniqueness inseparable from the oneness. No segmentation, no divisions, within or without. The heart, mind, and body appear as a unified whole that is functioning harmoniously as one unit inseparable from its deepest nature. As the unbounded vastness, we are the oneness coalescing in a particular place, within the world of time and space. We are located, but that location does not define us nor does it separate us from one another or from the unity. We are individuated, differentiated forms of the unity . . . the wave of the ocean has matured to recognize its own unique expression of the oneness that it is. In our full humanness, we are the vehicle through which the vastness functions in time and space—seeing through our eyes, thinking through our mind, smelling through our nose, tasting through our mouth, feeling through our heart, and moving through our body.

Being Recognizes Its Freedom Only Through the Mature Soul

From the beginning of spiritual practice, it is your own enlightenment and your own realization. You cannot, however, appropriate it as an individual self. Although it is your own realization because you are Living Being, by believing that it is your realization as an individual, you appropriate it in a way that disconnects you from what you truly are. The appropriation is neither a sin nor a moral mistake, but simply a delusion. Basically, it is a cognitive error that creates discord, that shows you how Being manifests when it is not revealing its enlightenment and its freedom. Having as complete an understanding and appreciation of the dynamic of realization as possible helps liberate the creative, living dynamism of Being. And as the dynamism of Being is liberated, we recognize that dynamism is always free and always enlightened, but only recognizes its freedom through the mature soul.

Complete Freedom

The experience of absence is complete freedom. You are completely not there, completely absent; you don't come and you don't go. You don't think of dying, for dying doesn't make sense anymore. As there's nobody there to die, there's also nobody there to live. There is awareness of the world, but that awareness of world does not belong to anybody, does not belong to a self or any kind of center. Universal consciousness becomes the world, and absence is the emptiness that underlies consciousness, that is beyond consciousness without itself being anything at all.

Freedom is Not a Particular State of True Nature

The more we learn, the more maturation and the more freedom there is. Freedom is one of those things that is difficult to define, and there is no practice or method to achieve freedom. You cannot strategize it; you cannot plan for it. You cannot evoke freedom, because freedom is not a particular state of true nature. It’s not an aspect, dimension, or condition of realization. Freedom has to do with many things. It includes the realization of true nature, because freedom is implicit in true nature no matter how true nature is presenting itself. When we talk about waking up, the primary awakening is usually an awakening to the fact that there is something beyond our individual consciousness, something beyond, that is the source of all capacity. Discovering what that is requires an endless journey, because each realization is simply a further approximation of reality.

Freedom is the Freedom of Reality to Reveal Its Dynamism

What is revealed as we do this is that reality is far more indeterminate, far more mysterious than anything we can conceive of. No single view—whether dual, nondual, unilocal, or something else entirely—can capture the dynamism of reality. Freedom is the freedom of reality to reveal its dynamism, to express itself as form, as formlessness, as both, or as neither. No single feature and no combination of features can exhaust the potential of reality. It is a mystery without end. Reality is always revealing itself by knowing itself; and knowing reality and living it becomes the fulfillment of our life. The purity of reality expresses itself to us, through us, and as us, all at once. Our life becomes the life of true nature—the purity at the heart of reality—living consciously and expressing itself as us, using us by being us. This is the mysterious and miraculous heart of human freedom.

Freedom Means that there is a Total Embrace of Whatever Arises

When we are being completely depressed or being completely enlightened, what is common to both states is that we believe we have to be that way, we believe there is no way out. That is the lack of freedom. Freedom means that we are free to be anything at any moment, and we are also free from having to be it. So there is no holding on to anything; there is a total embrace of whatever arises, whatever happens, whatever reality appears to be. However reality appears is Total Being—that is its liberating power. Fully experiencing and totally realizing any experience whatsoever—of any form, shape, or kind—is how we begin to understand Total Being. Whether we’re experiencing true nature or an egoic manifestation, if we fully embrace it and are totally immersed in it, if we understand it and inquire into it, we will recognize the perspective of Total Being.

Freedom of the Divinely Sexual Erotic Situation

The power of the divinely sexual erotic situation is that it gives two people greater freedom to express themselves and to explore reality. With friends, you have a certain kind of freedom, relaxation, and ease because your sexuality is not involved—it’s a whole charged area that you don’t have to deal with. In explorations with a friend, you can tell them everything about you and they can tell you everything about them. This type of openness is not so easy in an erotic relationship that is sexual because the physical contact brings into play hidden areas of heightened sensitivity related to our character and history. The emotional terrain tends to be more complex. However, if you can have that friendly openness and freedom in an erotic relationship that becomes physical, sensuous, and sexual, then the emotional and the physical dimensions are brought together, and there is no limit to what you can explore and how you explore it. You can do anything and say anything. With your friend, you can’t do everything, but with a lover—if you both have the openness and mutual interest—there is no limitation to where and how you touch that person. This adds a new dimension of exploration and discovery to the inquiry. The erotic interaction becomes a playful, enjoyable adventure of discovery.

Human Freedom is the Same Thing as the Freedom of the Dynamism of Being

We don’t attain our freedom by becoming independent of Being. Freedom, our freedom, human freedom, is the same thing as the freedom of the dynamism of Being to manifest whatever its intelligence wants to manifest. Our liberation is the liberation of the dynamism of Being to display the possibilities and forms and dimensions of experience appropriate to the situation. We realize our freedom when we live as individuals who have a personal life that is true and authentic and that, at the same time, expresses the infinite vastness of Being manifesting its possibilities and its nature freely and without constraints. I think this is one reason why some teachings believe that we practice in order to help God. For instance, some Kabbalists believe that we do spiritual work to help God complete Creation; and there are other teachings that say spiritual work relieves God’s suffering. If we take that perspective, our engaging the work of realization relieves God’s suffering, because our suffering is the suffering of Living Being.

Meaning of Freedom

Our spiritual realization is more complete when we bring our realization, our presence, our compassion, our clarity and understanding into interaction with others. This includes how we talk with one another, how we respond, how we touch, how we allow ourselves to be touched, what we do and don’t do and how and when we do it, so that our life with other people can express the inner freedom we have attained. True inner freedom is not abstract. Freedom means the freedom to express the qualities of our nature, the freedom to express our love, our joy, our kindness, our strength, our intelligence, our sensitivity. Freedom does not mean just that I feel light, happy, and free. That is wonderful, but it is only the beginning of inner freedom, of enlightenment, of realization. On the path of the Diamond Approach, realization is complete and mature when we experience the freedom of the realized condition in our functioning and relating. This is the actualized side of realization.

Realization Realizing Further Realization

So this is the sense in which different realizations reveal different degrees of freedom, not as a matter of progression along the same scale of freedom but of revelation of different kinds of freedom. It is freedom itself that opens new degrees of freedom. These unfolding degrees of freedom allow Total Being to reveal further possibilities, what I call “realization realizing further realization.” Our realization, our enlightenment, lives by revealing other forms of realization, other forms of enlightenment. It does that by opening to other degrees of freedom and other kinds of experience. When our realization is mature, which means that our view has changed enough times, we have the flexibility to not hold a view without having to negate it. We see that all views are valid because Total Being is manifest in all of them. Even the view of ego is valid because it is Total Being that manifests the view of the ego—the entire world of interactions between a self and various objects. If you believe, “No, it is not Total Being that manifests the ego; it is my own ignorance that does that,” then you have already taken the view of the ego. That is to say, you think you are a separate person that has the prerogative and the power to create reality. This means that you don’t recognize that you yourself are a creation of Total Being.

Recognizing Total Being We Usually Sense Freedom

When we recognize that we are Total Being, what we usually sense is freedom. We are free because we don’t have to be anything. We can be anything, but we don’t have to be anything. Since we can be anything without having to be anything in particular, there is no limitation and no judgment and no comparison. And we also don’t need to hold on to anything as the source of freedom. We all want to be free and want to experience that freedom in many ways. Freedom is subtle and elusive, even more elusive than happiness, which is itself quite rare. So we practice because we value the freedom that is possible in total practice.

Regressive Movements During Self-realization

Self-realization, which is the realization of true identity, goes through regressive movements. There is a greater and greater loss of what you think you are. One after another, always a loss, and the more there is a loss of what you think you are, the more freedom there is.

The Condition that Allows the Human Experience of the Freedom to Be

As we understand the dynamic of realization, by utilizing the view of totality to explore how practice is related to realization, we open up and reveal the true condition of reality. We do this so that each of us has more freedom and openness in our inquiry, so that each of us has more freedom and capacity to live authentically and to live in a way that reveals the mysteries of Being. We can’t truly and completely be settled, peaceful, and happy unless we participate in the freedom of the dynamism of Being, in the inherent values of Living Being. In other words, the freedom of the dynamism of Being to reveal its possibilities without constraints is experienced by human beings as the freedom to be, as liberation, satisfaction, and happiness.

The Fixed Perspective of the Mind

In some sense, recognizing Total Being, which we will be exploring more as we go along, both simplifies our understanding and throws a wrench into it. And throwing a wrench in whatever understanding that we have at the moment is part of my purpose. So I am challenging the mind, which is so habituated toward finding someplace to stand and say, “That’s it!” And the freedom of Total Being frequently allows that; spiritual realization and enlightenment means landing in some particular awakened experience or condition. However, that is so only for the moment. The mind’s fixed perspective is to expect whatever realization we are experiencing to extend into the next moment. But Total Being is free and might manifest itself the next moment as something totally different.

The Freedom of the Fourth Turning of the Wheel

The fourth turning of the wheel basically is freedom in a different kind of realization, in some sense in a different kind of world, a different kind of universe. The view of totality is even outside the notion of world or universe, for it is pure openness, absolutely nothing in particular. We don’t need ourselves or reality to be any way in particular for there to be freedom. We are free to experience any realization, and our life is constituted by these realizations, but there is no attachment to any of them and no need to deem any one as ultimate. This kind of freedom is the hallmark of living our enlightenment, living our realization, living the awakening realization of our true nature, of the philosophers’ stone.

The Freedom to Be Who We Are

Another dimension of freedom reveals itself as we discover the presence of our true nature. This is the freedom to be ourselves. This freedom to be is most easily recognized in the experience of realization and the experience of true nature, which reveals a kind of freedom that we don’t expect. When we consider any experience of true nature—any aspect or dimension of Being—we notice that in its presence we can discern an implicit sense of freedom. True nature is inherently free. This is a kind of freedom that human beings don’t usually think about, because it is not an external freedom. It is an inner freedom—the freedom of experiencing oneself, experiencing existence, experiencing reality for what it is and knowing it. This is the freedom to be who we are

The Never-Ending Unfoldment of Reality

I am only giving one example of another kind of realization, another way reality can manifest itself. There are many others. In the fourth turning of the wheel, we see that freedom is the never-ending unfoldment of reality to reveal true nature in all its possible faces, in all its manifestations. This means that the life of realization is a life of discovery, a never-ending growth and unfoldment and evolution. And evolution is not simply the evolution of the mind or the evolution of the heart; it is the evolution of enlightenment, the development of realization. But evolution and development are not actually adequate notions at this juncture, because they imply that each further revelation is an advance on the one that preceded it. It is more that enlightenment and realization cannot help but unfold in ways that demonstrate their further implications and illuminations. And reality unfolds in this way without any value judgment about what particular face it might be manifesting in the moment. This is the kind of freedom that is made possible by essential activation: Our being, or reality in our location, is activated to the extent that its unfoldment is unstoppable.

The View of Totality, Because of Its Lack of Fixation, Heralds a Type of Freedom that We Have Never Imagined Possible

Although the view of totality allows us to establish any realization and perspective—from the ordinary to the extraordinary—it doesn’t hold any of them as the final resting place. Because of our need for a stable place to rest, we often find this kind of dynamism difficult to bear. But the other side of this instability is an undreamed-of freedom. The view of totality, because of its all-inclusiveness and lack of fixation, heralds a type of freedom that we have never imagined possible. And what we see is that the price of this freedom is ontological insecurity. We cannot be secure and imagine that we are going to be free. Security requires stability, which easily becomes fixation, the kernel of the usual sense of self. But the view of totality, because of its unboundedness, provides a framework that allows discovery to happen in any field or area in an unlimited way. It shows that understanding, knowledge, and experience have no limit. There is no reason to posit a limit or an end. Creating a closed system always excludes some truth, which amounts practically to excluding the truth of Total Being to live its freedom. So the insecurity and instability that the view of totality reveals helps us to understand the dynamic of realization, which can in turn vivify our practice and make it more effective. The view of totality liberates practice, and freedom is the value that emerges—a freedom that reveals practice as a living dynamic between the individual and reality. The more we recognize that it is Total Being that is living, the more there is a sense of freedom and the more living is free.

True Nature Cannot be Exhausted or Defined by Any of these Experiences

But true nature itself does not need to look at itself through only these conceptual dichotomies. It has infinite ways of looking at and experiencing itself. Many of them I haven’t mentioned and many of them I don’t know. Some of them I probably will know at some point, and some of them probably you know and I don’t know. What I am saying is that true nature is totally free from having to look at itself through any lens—whether that be the lens of any teaching, the lens of any experience, the lens of any realization or awakening or enlightenment. All of these are truly the expression of true nature; they are truly awakening, truly realization, and truly enlightenment. True nature, however, is much freer than all of that. True nature cannot be exhausted or defined by any of these experiences, no matter how lofty or how total they are. True nature is not limited to any one of its faces.

True Nature, the Philosophers’ Stone, the Elixir, the Indefinable Spirit, is Freedom

When we recognize the freedom of Total Being, it is because true nature—the philosophers’ stone, the elixir, the indefinable spirit—is freedom. This freedom is true nature itself, is the expression of true nature. So freedom is a state of being that is also an affect but, at the same time, freedom cannot be defined by any single state of true nature, even though all states of true nature express the freedom of true nature. In other words, freedom cannot be limited to any particular state or condition. It is free from having to be contrasted with any concept or experience, free from being seen either as within or outside any context. The freedom of true nature has neither comparison nor opposite. Freedom can even go beyond the concept of true nature, for this concept is a human way of knowing the purity at the heart of reality.

When Things Just Happen

To be free means to be completely unconscious of yourself because at the deepest level there is no self to be conscious of. You don’t know who you are. You don’t know what you’re doing. You are just doing it. You are not even doing it: it just happens. You’ll be eating and suddenly you will realize that you are eating, and then you can reflect on yourself. But most of the time that you are eating you don’t know that you are eating or that somebody is eating. There is eating; that’s all. There is an awareness of the food but there is no awareness of your mouth or anything like that. You are not seeing your image if you are completely spontaneous. No, there is just the process of eating.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach