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Good / Bad

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Good / Bad?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Good / Bad

Acting from the Perspective of Good and Bad

This situation, the dilemma of always acting from the perspective of good and bad and not knowing how to act differently, is one that everyone is in. You don’t have to be working on yourself to be in that dilemma. This truth is operating whether you are eighty years old or ten years old, whether you are married or single, whether you are taking a shit or eating food or making love or fighting with someone, whether you are driving your car or riding in an airplane, whether you are walking or sitting, thinking or falling asleep. Whatever you are doing, this principle is operating and causing you to suffer. Whether you are working for success, achievements, and riches, working on understanding yourself, or having a hard time in your life, this principle is the truth that is operating. It is omnipresent. It controls your personality, your consciousness, and your life. You don’t have to be wanting to work on yourself to see that this is your situation. Everybody is in the same boat. You’re always trying to be happy, and you end up being miserable. You’re always trying to get away from pain, and you get more pain. The mind can’t make sense of this. How can you be happy if you don’t try to be happy? But that is the problem—that you want to be happy. If you want to be happy, you are already operating from the perspective of pain. It is a truth most people don’t like. It seems it would be much better if it were otherwise. It would be much easier if you could get happiness by going toward happiness, and if pain would go away when you tried to go away from it. It seems as if this would be wonderful. But you need to look at the reality, whether you like it or not.

Attachment Depends on the Dichotomy of Good and Bad

Experientially, the notions of good and bad are connected mostly to pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, gain and loss, expansion and contraction, and so on. In the unutterable bliss of nonconceptuality, these dichotomies disappear. An important part of this process for the soul is the development of nonattachment. The understanding that arises with the help of the crystal vehicles is that attachment depends on the dichotomy of good and bad. These vehicles teach the soul that nonattachment is nothing but the effect of the nonconceptual presence on the consciousness of the soul. They teach her this wisdom by challenging this dichotomy, which she has adhered to as long as she can remember, and showing her how it is not a fundamental truth, not a timeless truth of Reality. The soul has the opportunity at this point to perceive the development of the attachment. It starts with the differentiation of nonconceptual presence. As long as these stay simply as differentiations no attachment is possible, but the differentiations become discriminations, knowable concepts. As long as they remain simply knowable concepts, noetic forms, attachment is still not present. But the concepts become labeled and eventually reify. They become discrete forms, which obscures the unifying ground. The labeling and reification make it possible for the first time to compare the forms, resulting in judgment. This judgment is the beginning of the dichotomy of good and bad. This judgment leads to preference, generally of the good over the bad. Preference based on the entrenched belief in the ultimate truth of this dichotomy becomes a rigid and fixed preference. Such fixed preference easily becomes attachment, which is holding onto what one prefers, or rejecting what one does not

Conceptualizing Yourself

Conceptualizing yourself means that you use all your experiences, good and bad, to crystallize a certain picture. And this picture is mostly based on a rejection of something you don’t want, something you experience as negative or painful. One of the main purposes of the creation of identity is to resist. The conceptualization of identity is simply the crystallization of that activity into an image of a person. But the core of that image is the frustration, which I call the state or affect of negative merging. Instead of harmony, there is a jagged flow through the nervous system. This is experienced as frustration, which is suffering. Psychic suffering, mental suffering is that actual contraction, that feeling of harshness, dryness, stuckness. Whenever we are reacting to or rejecting anything, we are identifying with that core of frustration. Of course, this core of cyclic reactivity and frustration is covered with something softer, so that usually we don’t feel it. We dull it with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. So we see that the personality is constructed of a continuous cyclic movement of reactivity. It continuously produces more of itself, more frustration and suffering. Understanding this enables us to understand the processes of disidentification, letting go, surrender, and acceptance.

Letting Go of Attachment

Letting go of attachment is difficult until you truly know nondifferentiated reality and perceive the true status of asserted differentiations as conceptual structures. If you believe duality is absolute, attachment will always be there. If your world is carved into existence and nonexistence, life and death, individual and God, self and other, good and bad, then you cannot be nonattached. Attachment is one of the final challenges on any path of realization. Even after you realize cosmic consciousness and the Absolute, even after you realize that existence and nonexistence are concepts in your mind, attachment remains for some time. Attachment is habitual, and those habits will have to be metabolized as you become aware of them. That takes time. But once you truly know nondifferentiated reality, you have the insight that will dispose of attachment. The rest is a matter of time.

Seeing Everything We Perceive as Coemergent with Being

If you experience things in the moment, without thinking in terms of the past and the future, just right here in the now, and see the isness of what is here, you will recognize the perfection we’re talking about. You won’t be looking at what is here through the filter of your ideas, which are the result of what you heard or saw in the past or what you think is going to happen in the future. Holy Perfection is the perfection of what is, and reality exists only now, only in this moment—without the concept of time, without your ideas about what’s going to happen tomorrow or what’s not going to happen tomorrow, without your ideas about what should or shouldn’t happen, without judgments of good and bad—just the experience of the isness of the now. If we see reality the way it is right now, we see that everything we perceive is coemergent with Being, everything is made up of Essence. Everything—your body, your mind, your feelings, your thoughts, physical objects—everything is made out of that complete pure beingness of presence. This is the experience of Holy Perfection. When you experience an essential state fully, you can recognize that it has a quality of perfection. You can’t say that it needs something or that it is lacking anything. If you are experiencing love or compassion, for instance, you perceive it as pure and complete just the way it is. Holy Perfection tells us that everything has that quality of rightness, and not only certain essential states.

Facets of Unity, pg. 143

The Foundation of Your Assumptions About Who You Are

These elements of the mind—memory, conceptualization, thinking processes, creation of images, projections into the future, and so forth—become the basic ingredients of our suffering. Ideas and experiences from the past, from early childhood as well as later on, good and bad, form the foundation of your assumptions about who you are. For example, if as a youngster your mother always thinks you’re cute, you’ll build up an idea that you’re a cute person. If she thinks you’re dumb, you’ll build up an idea that you’re dumb. If, for whatever reason, you always feel weak with your father, you’ll build up an idea that you’re a weak person. Not only that, both your mother and father think you’re a person, so you build up an idea that you’re a person. Right? It is very basic. Your mother talks to you as a child in a body; who’s she talking to? You look at your body and decide that it’s you. Your mind holds on to these childhood happenings and stores them in its memory. They become the building blocks of what you think you are, and then you’re stuck with them. If you’re a weak person, you’re always going to be a weak person. If you believe that you must be tough, you will always get stuck being tough, even when you don’t have to be, even when something nice is happening. You can’t stop it. Your mind is stuck on thinking you’re tough, and it can’t change. What understanding gives us is the possibility of actually seeing through this process. Without understanding, you’ll just identify with these old self-images and go on believing that you’re a person who has such and such a quality, who is weak or dumb, who eats too much or gets taken advantage of, or feels nervous at parties, and so forth. Self-image upon self-image. And you’ll go on like that for the rest of your life, which is what most people do.

The Personal Mind is Based on the Existence of Concepts in General

The personal mind is based on the Nous, and on the existence of concepts in general, whether they are the universal concepts or noetic forms which actually exist, or concepts that are the constructed in our minds. One example of the relation of personal concepts to universal concepts is the question of beauty and harmony. Personal mental constructs include both subjective historical factors and emotional reactions about what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly. Judgments and reactions about what is beautiful and ugly do not exist in the Nous. It is true that our appreciation of aesthetics involves a response to what moves us closer to the Nous, and in the Nous there is a sense of harmony and beauty. However, this sense of beauty is a response of the soul to the truth. If you are beyond the personal mind with its preferences, and if you are oriented by the Universal Mind, there is the sense of beauty and harmony. Everything is bright and beautiful. Nothing is ugly. You have to be in the personal mind to differentiate the beautiful from the ugly, and usually what is seen as beautiful is what takes us closer to the Universal Mind.

There is no Happiness in Trying to Attain Happiness

Whenever you find yourself identified with a part of you opposing and fighting another part, you are being the ego personality. As you can see, it is quite hopeless to try to achieve freedom through rejection of any part of your experience. It is hopeless to try to get rid of something in order to gain freedom. There is no happiness in trying to attain happiness, because that very attitude of hope and rejection is itself the cause of the misery. You don’t need to accept or reject these ideas. Observe for yourself. Study and investigate it. Be aware of the movement, the attitude, the division. See how deep it goes in you. The more you experience essence, the clearer the division will be between what you feel is good and bad. The attitude of rejection can only make the conflict bigger. I am not saying that this is a bad attitude. I’m saying that this attitude is the attitude of discord, of conflict, of suffering, of the personality.

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