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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Functioning?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Functioning

Balanced Development Enables Objective Functioning

There are many stories about students who want to serve. Somebody goes to the teacher and says, “Why don't you give me something to do, I want to serve.” Many times the teacher says, “Go home, take care of your kids. Forget about serving God for now. Just go home, be nice to your wife. When the time comes, you will know how to serve.” There is a need for a tremendous amount of experience, for integration of experience, for balancing factors of all kinds for the soul as organ of action to function correctly. But we don’t have to be absolutely purified to function with objectivity. If the development is balanced, there is a tendency for action also to be balanced. We can't be purified all at once, but balance is possible from the beginning. Each one of us will have to allow ourselves to get deeper into our hearts and see what our hearts really want. What is the deeper purpose? What is the higher aim? What is the deeper longing for? What does the soul want?

Blocking the Diamond Guidance

The Diamond Guidance will not descend if we are not open to it. We can block it, or we can refuse it. We can make ourselves thick toward it, resistant to it and its operation. So in order to be open to it, we have to be open to the possibility of this kind of guidance. Inquiry itself opens us up to our experience, but if our openness is limited by the belief that there is no such thing as this presence, then our inquiry will not be sufficiently open. Then we cannot be receptive to the Guidance. If you believe that discrimination can only be mental or that all knowledge is only the normal conventional knowledge and that no other kind exists—that there is no possibility of having direct revealed knowledge—then you won’t be open to the functioning of the Diamond Guidance, in yourself or in anybody else. So we need to look at our positions and attitudes regarding such precise guidance. We need to see and expose our beliefs, our intellectual and emotional biases, and our orientations about such a definite, real guidance. We do not need to adopt a belief in it, for that will not work, but we need to be open to it as a possibility. All of us are full of beliefs, ideas, and reactions about guidance—its possibility, its dependability, its realness, its precision. And if we are influenced by these preconceptions, we won’t be open to the Guidance. We will only prove to ourselves again and again that there is no such thing.

Disturbed Capacity for Functioning in the World

When there is objective understanding of the Will Essence, we find that trying, effort, control and so on, are antithetical to the presence of the real Will. Real Will is an implicit confidence that the organism will function correctly. This allows the attitude of surrender, which brings about the manifestation of the Merging Essence. So we see that the loss of Will, resulting in effort and willfulness, impedes the smooth functioning of autonomic regulation. This in turn disturbs the capacity for functioning in the world. There is no sense of inner support, or confidence in one’s capacities. The final result is a deep sense of inadequacy, of not being able to function in the world as an integrated and mature individual. It is illuminating to see the organic, multileveled interconnections in the functioning of the various essential aspects. Essence is not only the ultimate ground of human existence, it also governs our functioning.

Expansion and Individuation of Autonomous Functioning

In general, the presence of the Personal Essence brings about a radical expansion and individuation of autonomous functioning, indicating the greater development and integration of the apparatuses of autonomy. Its realization brings about an increasingly radical movement towards autonomy and individuation, leading to greater actualization of one’s potential. One becomes more creative, more productive, more original and more fulfilled in personal involvements. Accomplishments and developments manifest externally in one’s work and in personal relationships. One begins to become clear about one’s place in the scheme of things, more definite about roles and functions. The meaning and purpose of one’s life become clear, definite and actualized. One’s potentials develop and expand in a meaningful way, in accordance with one’s real aims. A sense of confidence in one’s capacities develops speedily, along with a certainty about who or what one is. One increasingly values one’s real presence, and the capacities and manifestations of this presence. The confidence, certainty, and value are not mental or emotional, but are more in the nature of a recognition of facts.

Function of the Soul in Life

So the function of the soul in life is not simply to maximize our pleasure but to realize our more objective function as an organ of truth, as an organ of realization, as an organ of a much larger being, of a much bigger, universal reality. We come to realize that our happiness, our joy, our fulfillment arises from actually serving the truth. We serve the truth by being as pure an expression of it as possible. God or the truth doesn't need you to do things for it, to walk around talking about it or buying it things, but actually to express it, to bring the truth to life. We serve the truth by manifesting it, because what the truth wants is to move from an unmanifest form to a manifest form. That's why the Sufis say that God needs man to express himself in the world. God manifests in the world through the purified ones.

Functioning from Object Relations

You have to see that reality is more than three-dimensional. There’s more to us, there’s more to me, there’s more to you, there’s more to this world, there’s more to this school than the physical things we see. We have to look beyond the dimension of objects. The perspective of the physical world and positivist science that posits only what is visible as true is limited. We have to see the world as it is. The world that we see, the world of objects, is not the complete world. The Basic Fault does not resolve until you get to the stage of the fall on ice. Do you know about the fall on ice? It’s when you’re out in the cold, in reality and not in your mind. You have to see reality apart from the perspective that you are this separate self relating to a separate object. The Basic Fault can be seen as functioning through object relations, can be seen as taking yourself to be an entity, can be seen as taking reality to be the three-dimensional physical reality, can be seen as seeing the world as a world of discrete objects in space. Only if we allow ourselves to let go of all object relations, not just the negative ones but also the positive ones, can we see the world as it is. We have to be willing to do that. We have to be able to take that risk at some point, to risk being out in the cold, to risk falling on ice.

Functioning Happens Without the Presence of Any Self

This experience is dumbfounding to the Mind. One realizes that one has always assumed, and has taken it to be the absolute truth, that there cannot be functioning without a functioner. But here, in the experience of Absence, one realizes that one has been wrong all along. Functioning happens smoothly and spontaneously, and does not need the presence of any self or personality. There is a perception of the body moving, doing what it normally does; eating, talking and so on. However, all this is seen as functioning, completely spontaneous, not belonging to a person or a self. It is also not seen as separate from any other functioning in the universe. There is Absence and the awareness of the oneness of existence, which is experienced as in a state of functioning.

Functioning of the Universe

When the manifestations of the universe are seen as essential aspects, each one is perceived on its own as magnificent. Each is also seen to have both profound and practical value. Being beautiful and being useful go together. And part of the beauty is the recognition of the practical functioning of the universe. We can see that the universe functions in a way that is precise and aesthetically appealing. In our work here, we will try to penetrate the veils of our usual beliefs and fixations about what we know, veils that make everything appear old, stale, and boring. “Oh, yes, I know this. This is the world; this is how things work,” we smugly think. We all grow up believing that we see the universe as it actually is; we do not suspect that our perception is largely determined by our accumulated beliefs, feelings, past knowledge, and conditioning. How the universe actually is and how it really functions is hidden from our perception. We need to penetrate our familiar knowingness and open ourselves to the unknown, to the mystery. Then, when we see the mystery of the universe in a fresh way, it is possible to see that the way it functions is exquisite.

Brilliancy, pg. 9

Personal Essence is the Functional Aspect of Being

In our exploration, we will discuss the need for the person in more down-to earth terms, by understanding the characteristics of the Personal Essence. We can understand this need, at least partially, when we remember that the Personal Essence is related to functioning. It is the aspect of Being responsible for actual functioning in the world of space-time. Pure Being, in its state of eternal unity and non-differentiation, cannot function in the physical world; it does not even make sense to speak about functioning in relation to this aspect. It is completely separate from, and transcendent to, functioning. Functioning presupposes differentiation and discrimination. The Personal Essence is the integration that is the outcome of the synthesis of the differentiated aspects of Being; it is the functional aspect of Being. To thoroughly understand in what sense the Personal Essence is the functional aspect of Being, we must explore the relationship of the Personal Essence to the ultimate reality. This ultimate reality is not exactly that of non-differentiated Pure Being or oneness. It is beyond all conceptualizations. Oneness still retains a concept of oneness. Non-differentiated Pure Being still retains the concept of Being or existence. Pure Being is none other than the ultimate reality, but is still not seen completely objectively. It is devoid of all differentiation, but it is not devoid of concepts. It is beyond all concepts except one; one is still adhering to the subtle conceptualization of existence.

Serving the Truth

So expressing the truth involves more than simply sitting there and radiating. Being an expression of the truth means going about our life, relating to people, doing things with authenticity and fullness of presence. We serve the truth when the purified soul is what is functioning in our life.

The Marriage of Heart and Mind is a Must on this Spiritual Journey for it is the Segmentation of Our Experience that Keeps them Limited and Restricted to Conventional Reality

As we look into the nature of how love functions on the different paths to realization, we see that in the more devotional types of spiritual practice, at some point the heart explicitly becomes an ecstatic expression of the union with God, or the Beloved. This ecstasy becomes erotic at times, as in the case of some Christian and Hindu mystics. The spiritual paths of mind and knowledge do not tend to bring in this type of erotic and juicy feel; knowledge and its precision open our experience to new realms, but the love is implicit more than explicit. Similarly, when love is present in a devotional and respectful form, it rarely expresses itself as erotic love. In the way we usually work, we use the mind’s discriminating capacity, the heart’s loving nature, and the body’s precious vehicle of life to go beyond all of these without leaving any of them behind. We do not emphasize one over the other, nor does deeper refinement through our work mean that we transcend these centers of our being; we simply see the natural potential hidden within them all. In the course of our spiritual maturation, each becomes more capable and more fully realized, not less. Thus we use the mind to go beyond the mind’s limitations; we use the capacity of discrimination to reveal subtler levels of mind. But here, the heart’s innate love for beauty and truth is a guiding principle: The marriage of heart and mind is a must on this spiritual journey, for it is the segmentation of our experience that keeps them limited and restricted to conventional reality. The love of truth allows the mind to open to new possibilities that mental logic alone cannot reveal or consider entering. And the heart can be clarified of its historical and emotional content through the mind’s clarity and precision, making available the energy liberated from the trapped structures of our personal history, so it can nurture and enliven our evolving spiritual development.

When Functioning is Completely Spontaneous, in Some Sense Automatic. But it is a Direct Response to the Situation, Totally Devoid of Premeditation

In the state of Absence there is no presence, consciousness or functioning. As functioning is needed there is then the awareness of consciousness arising. This consciousness is experienced as a loving presence, spontaneously arising in the voidness of the Absence. It is perceived to gradually transform itself into the presence of the Personal Essence. The functioning is then experienced as inseparable from the presence of the Personal Essence. Functioning and Personal Essence are seen to be equivalent. One is still Absence here, with complete lack of self-consciousness. But there is the perception that the Personal Essence is an expression of oneself, as a specific formulation of Loving Consciousness, and is directly involved in functioning. One does not experience oneself as the Personal Essence, but experiences the Personal Essence as an arising conscious presence that is the source, and part and parcel of functioning. In other words, as Absence, one needs the Personal Essence for functioning. There is here no ego structure whatsoever. Functioning is completely spontaneous, in some sense, automatic. But it is a direct response to the situation, totally devoid of premeditation. This capacity is the result of the profound and completely organic integration of all organs of perception and action into the Personal Essence. It shows the unique place of the Personal Essence both to Being and to the world, to the Reality and to the appearance of things.

When Functioning Occurs Without Self-Consciousness it is Completely Spontaneous

As Being continues to manifest as its absolute nature, I begin to understand how functioning and doing happen. Whatever I do, I do with total lack of self-consciousness. There is absolutely no premeditation. The action and the awareness of the action happen simultaneously, inseparably. Taking the action and the perception of taking the action are the same experience. I recognize this as spontaneous functioning. When functioning occurs without self-consciousness it is completely spontaneous. The feeling is that the spontaneity is the self, which is the vast blackness. The functioning spontaneously arises out of me, with no self-consciousness, without it ever becoming other than me. I am the source, the black crystalline source of spontaneous action. This is difficult to describe. I am not only the source, but also the spontaneous and non-self-conscious functioning. The universe is the spontaneous arising in me, without becoming other than me.

Witnessing Within the Manifestation but Still Being the Absolute

When we are witnessing within the manifestation but still being the absolute, we can perceive our body moving, doing what it does—eating, talking, and so on. However, all this is seen as completely spontaneous functioning, not belonging to a person or a self. There is no doer whatsoever. Everything is happening as functioning; each part is doing its functioning smoothly and spontaneously. The functioning is not related to a doer, a person, or a self. And it is not seen as separate from other functioning in the environment, for all functioning is a unified dynamic field. Furthermore, the functioning is the same as the phenomena, the perceived reality, the logos whose dynamic pattern is the universe. However, there is no I, no self, no center. The awareness and perception originate from the darkness of the absolute. We feel unknown and unknowable, and in front of us phenomena appear with functioning. There is awareness of phenomena and functioning, but there is no involvement in it whatsoever. It does not feel like there is someone observing or aware of phenomena. It is as if Reality has two sides. The front is all of existence, the back is the darkness of the absolute. All of appearance, as the divine logos or being, is seen as external to the absolute. There is no one who feels he is doing. The doing is present, without being related to doer. The interesting thing is that there are functioning and perception without a sense of self. We realize that usually there is a continuous sense of self or “I.” Now there is experience and perception of experience, but it is not related to an “I.” The experience is far or distant from who I am, without who I am feeling like an “I.”

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