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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Gaps?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Gaps

A Gap in Consciousness, a Cessation of all Sensation and Perception

The libidinal wanting may return at this point, but it can have a different aim. If she is not bound by her habitual beliefs, the student might come to realize that she longs to disappear, to gently vanish, to be no more. She experiences a very deep weariness, and a teary subtle longing, that sometimes becomes powerful and passionate, to simply fade away, and not to leave any trace. She finds the notion of absolute cessation sweet and dear to her heart. She feels that not to be, not even to know that she is not, would be the final release from a life of striving and searching. She contemplates not being, not knowing that she is not being, and not remembering that she ever has been, as some kind of ultimate, albeit obscure, fulfillment of her heart. It is as if she senses that only not being will bring contentment, and a peace beyond peace. This gentle disappearing will actually come to pass if the process takes its course. She will have the experience once in a while—especially when she is relaxed and mentally unconcerned—of feeling herself disappearing. There will be a gap in consciousness, a cessation of all sensation and perception, without falling asleep or unconscious. She knows this because, when she comes to, she feels quite rested but also indescribably clear and fresh, as if her soul has been washed of its heaviness and conflicts. She feels lucid and totally care-free, light and totally light-hearted. No sleep ever rejuvenates her this much. It is as if not only her body, but her very self and soul have been renewed. She does not remember what happened because absolutely nothing has happened. There was absolutely no content of experience.

Brilliancy Addresses the Specific Longing or Deficiency that is at the Root of all the Other Longings

The psyche is always agitated whenever there is a deficiency, a hole. Since the psyche usually can’t tolerate the feeling of deficiency, it tries to do something to compensate for that feeling or to eliminate it one way or the other. If you feel there is a gap someplace in you, you start feeling uncomfortable—something is missing—and you usually feel it shouldn’t be that way, right? So you work on those deficiencies, those holes, and each time you work through one of them, a specific aspect arises. You may believe that in time, with work, all of the aspects will arise and you will feel that there are no more holes, and then you will feel complete. However, the experience of completeness does not arise that way. Brilliancy, as we have seen, is an intrinsic synthesis of all the aspects. It is experienced and recognized as a self-existing, undifferentiated gestalt of all of them. And Brilliancy addresses the specific longing or deficiency that is at the root of all the other longings to be free from holes and to close the gaps. So when Brilliancy is experienced in a full way—in the sense that you are intimately in touch with it, are being in it, being present as it—there is a specific affect that can be recognized. This important affect or quality is in all the aspects and is present every time you feel an aspect fully, but it only becomes specifically clear and delineated when the aspect is Brilliancy.

Brilliancy, pg. 54

For most Practitioners there Remains a Gap Between the Deeper Experience and Day-to-Day Identity

At this point we begin to describe the work on self-realization: the actual steps of the process of working through the narcissistic constellations and the full realization of essential presence. The method is what we described in the introduction as the Diamond Approach. Although most of our understanding comes from the experience of those who have pursued this particular spiritual path, it does appear that those on other paths face many of the same issues and barriers that we explore in this segment of our book. However, in the absence of sustained exploration of psychological issues, practitioners in various spiritual traditions may not face these barriers with conscious understanding. They may attribute them to other factors in their lives or act them out unconsciously. Barriers to deeper experience may be penetrated by spiritual practice, but for most practitioners there remains a gap between the deeper experience and the day-to-day identity. For some few, this gap may be closed when certain very deep realizations are achieved. The material we present here is a contribution to understanding the barriers to self-realization encountered by all practitioners and students of spiritual development.

Gaps in Our Communication that Cannot be Fully Closed

When we depend automatically upon concepts, whether in thoughts, speech, or writing, we can actually decrease our ability to communicate. We all live in our own mental realm; our individual experiences have conditioned the specific connotations of the concepts we use. Although our mental worlds overlap those of others, they are never completely identical. Depending on knowledge filtered through concepts, we cannot wholly communicate our intended meaning; instead, we are subtly isolated from one another. Although we all use the same words daily, there is a gap in our communication that cannot be fully closed . . . . . . . If we reflect on the nature of concepts and how uncritically we accept the reality they create, it may seem that we are caught in the midst of some elaborate computer program that is operating without our conscious decision. And yet we tend to feel that we are in charge of our thinking. Are we running the program or is the program running us? Can we separate ourselves from the program and allow our thoughts and actions to be informed by a more comprehensive and trustworthy knowing intrinsic to our own being?

Knowingness that Knows it Does Not Know

We can say, then, that inquiry is a questioning whose dynamic essence is a knowingness that knows it does not know but is interested to know. And since it knows what it does not know, this knowingness knows where to direct its openness. It can direct its openness by knowing where the gap in knowledge exists. In other words, a question is really an elegant and beautiful embodiment of the dynamic unknowing of Being as it optimizes itself. It expresses basic knowingness by embodying at its heart this dynamic unknowing.

Reifying Ourselves so that We Can Carry an Identity Around with Us

When we are being ourselves, implicit in that is the trust, the security, the certainty, the easy, natural, relaxed way of simply being there. The recognition of this is the illumination of who we are. Thus, if I know completely that this is who I am, I don’t need to engage in a mental operation to establish it or try to remember it. And if I really recognize that it is me, I don’t need to remind myself that it is me. Wherever I go, it is me. But if I am not confident that it is me, then I will struggle to remember who I am. Another way to say this is: if we don’t have that certainty, if we don’t trust who we are, then we reify ourselves so that we carry an identity around with us. And we go around asserting it to others. Some people are identified with being the Absolute, and if somebody tells them they are not the Absolute, they feel wounded. “Can’t you see that I am? Everybody should see that I am the Absolute!” That can happen to spiritually advanced adults. But this means that there is an identification. And even though the person might be actually experiencing themselves as the Absolute, the identification creates a gap, what I call the narcissistic gap. In that gap of needing to be seen as what we are, we are not being completely ourselves, we are not being where we are. We are not simply being.

There is Absolutely no Gap in the Experience of Brilliancy

So now let’s look at the direct and immediate experience of being Brilliancy and what that’s like. If at any moment you are experiencing yourself as Brilliancy, we can see that this implies that all the aspects are there, although there is only Brilliancy. You don’t see red or green or yellow; the experience is as if they are all there at the same time, simultaneously. They are all there without really being there. And the result is that you do not feel that anything is missing. In other words, to be Brilliancy means that absolutely nothing is missing; everything is there. There is absolutely no gap in the experience of Brilliancy. Yet it’s not like you could say, “There is this and this and this. No, you can’t say that because there isn’t this and this and this. There is just the pure immediacy of Brilliancy, and that Brilliancy is you.

Brilliancy, pg. 258

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