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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Growth?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Growth

Absorption of Experience Leads to True Growth

Capacity and capable functioning come from absorption of whatever internal and external experiences you have. Absorption of experience leads to true growth and development. This growth, in which Being comes in contact with mind and experience, is an alchemical reaction or a synthesis which develops into the capacity for functioning in the world. This synthesis is actually what makes us grow as human beings. It is not something you have to search for; it is there all the time. The only thing that needs to happen for you to absorb, digest, metabolize, and assimilate your experience is to be there—simply to be. If you are searching, trying to figure things out, thinking, worrying, hoping, and desiring, you are cut off from your being. If you are cut off from your being, there is no contact between Being and experience and therefore no understanding. When there is no understanding there is no metamorphosis, and without that there is no growth and development in functioning. Do you see what this Work is, from this perspective? Do you see what understanding is? From this perspective, the work of inquiry and understanding that we do is nothing but the metabolism of unmetabolized food in your mind. It is nothing more than that. You have had many experiences throughout your life that you still have not digested, that remain in your mind as the unconscious: memories, thoughts, identifications, feelings, actions, patterns, and the like. They are giving you trouble because you have indigestion—mental indigestion—because these reactions need to be digested and absorbed. Your mind is meant to be empty, not full of all your history and reactions and identifications.

Absorption of True Nourishment

The aspect of Nourishment is a kind of love; a gentle, delicate and lightly sweet presence. It has a warm sense of nurturance, and a unique quality of stilling inner hunger. It is closely allied to the process of metabolism, important for the realization and development of the Personal Essence. It is the food absorbed from personal experience. When this aspect is present it becomes easy to see what is of real value in any experience or activity of life. One can discern what will lead to growth and development, and what must be discarded. It also means that one can absorb the nutrient in any personal experience; in other words, the realization of this aspect implies that the individual can now absorb true Nourishment. When there are conflicts about this aspect then it becomes difficult to absorb the truth in experience; for one has difficulty in taking in true Nourishment. The absorption of experience is equivalent to the feeding of the Personal Essence. The more one gains from true experience, the more the presence of the Personal Essence grows, and attains more capacities, and a greater maturity.

Allowing Things to Emerge

So, we’re seeing here that the most elementary, most external requirement for growth is the willingness to let go of what you believe should happen, what you believe things should be, what you believe will make you happy. Because when you do change, you are no longer the person who thought you knew what you would change into. You will be a different person… there is a need for an attitude of allowing, allowing things to emerge, to change, to transform, without anticipating how it should happen. You can direct things only according to the way you are now. You can conceive of the future only according to the blueprints you already know. But real change means that the blueprint will change.

Being Willing to be Somebody with Different Thoughts, Ideas, Beliefs and Experiences

But what does transformation mean? Doesn’t transformation mean that even these aims will change? Your aims belong to who you are now, and if you really change, you will change into somebody else, and that new person might not have the same aims and aspirations. If you hold onto those same aims and aspirations, those same ideas and plans, you’ll continue being the same person. There will be no change. There will be no transformation, no expansion, no development. If you want to grow, you have to be willing to actually be somebody with different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and experiences. You come here saying, “I want to be happy.” Fine, you want to be happy. But it might be that to be happy, you will have to become a different person. Maybe the person you are at the present time is an unhappy person. You say, “I want to stay the way I am, but I want to be happy.” Well, maybe that’s not possible. Maybe part of the character of this person you are now is unhappy. Maybe you’re made of unhappiness. How can you be the same person and be happy? To be happy, you have to be a different kind of creature. Everybody has all kinds of ideas about who they are, how things should be and what makes a good life. If you want to change, you have to be willing to allow these old ideas and beliefs to die. If you say, “I want to grow and still be the same stubborn person,” there is a contradiction. How can you change and still be the same?

Our Work is to Learn what it is Really Like to be an Adult, to Find out what Growing up is Really About

In this school, we have the opportunity to grow up. It is a school to grow up in. In society at large, the usual situation is like a nursery full of little children. The main difference between an actual nursery and society at large is that a nursery is recognized as a nursery while society at large believes that everyone is an adult even though everybody is still a child pretending to be an adult. In a nursery, a child doesn’t pretend he is an adult. Our Work is to learn what it is really like to be an adult, to find out what growing up is really about. Because of that, we can’t treat people like children here, or they’ll never grow up. All the problems you have exist, quite simply, because you don’t want to grow up. You don’t want to behave like a grown-up; you want to continue being a little baby. The fact that you don’t want to grow up, that you want to continue being a baby, explains almost everything you feel. It explains, for instance, the common pattern of people being angry at the teacher for not doing or being enough for them. They say, “Why don’t you do more for me? Why is it so difficult?” What they’re really saying is “You’re not a good mommy!” This is exactly how babies feel when mother is not being what they want. An adult does not think that way. An adult looks at the situation and asks, “What is the best way this situation can be used? What can I get out of it?”

The Need to Allow that Anything is Possible

I’m not saying these particular things will happen. I’m trying to eliminate the ideas and barriers in your mind to allow for possibilities that you cannot conceive of. There is no way for you to conceive of these things as long as you are set in a particular place. To allow the process of growth, you need to allow that anything is possible. Anything can happen. You don’t know what it will be. There is no way for you to know the next step. If you try to direct it in any way, you’re just going to stop it. You can only be yourself, be what you are now, and allow the next moment to unfold. After all, the core of life is a mystery. What I’m doing is opening your mind so you can allow and perceive a certain attitude, a certain way of being. The freest attitude for the process of growth is the attitude of complete allowing. You are not passive, and you are not active. You are allowing. We will see that the process unfolds from one thing to the next. The process emerges if you give it the space to emerge. Your most important work is to understand the barriers you have against the unfolding. Wherever you are, you look at yourself and understand what your barriers are, what the things are that are stopping you from fully experiencing what is there. When you do experience fully, you don’t try to hold on to the experience or determine what direction it will take. You just experience it fully and that’s it. Your mind is open for anything to happen.

The Pearl is the Actualized Individuation of Your Soul

When you are who you are, when you are just precisely yourself, you are your “point.” Just that. This has nothing to do with any qualities, functions, capacities, and skills you may have. It has nothing to do with your status in the world, and nothing to do with living this life in a body or not in a body. It is your nature. The Pearl Beyond Price is the connection between this genuine center and all the capacities, skills, and understanding that are a part of your growth as a human being. It allows your capacities, functions and accomplishments to develop in a genuine way as an outgrowth of your spontaneous unfoldment. It is the result of living in the moment, living in a way that is true to who you are. This is your genuine personal life, your own development, your own growth. The pearl is the actualized individuation of your Soul. So the personal essence is connected with your unique function, your unique work in this life. To actualize your particular unique work in this life means to be your personal essence. It is the essence of all that you have developed and integrated in your soul as you live a real life.

The Specific Requirement for Growth is Truth

We come then to the understanding of what is required for inner transformation: impressions will be completely metabolized, to the point of absorption into Being, only when completely purged of falsehood. Ego is absorbed into Being only after it is completely purified. This is the original sense of spiritual purification, which has nothing to do with morality but involves separating the true from the false. This understanding is one reason the Sufis call the process of inner transformation the “purification” of the ego. We see here, too, the role of truth in this process: since human development is constituted by the metabolism of personal experience, and for this metabolism to be complete the true must be separated from the false—the former to be absorbed and the latter to be discarded—we can see that the specific requirement for growth, maturation and development is truth, the truth garnered from personal experience. In general, the process of eliminating falsehood is spontaneous; the mind generally lets go of an impression when it recognizes it to be false. Since it can no longer be used for purposes of identification, and cannot be absorbed, the false impression simply dissolves. An exception to this pattern is when a clearly false belief is part of a larger system, most likely unconscious, which the mind still takes to be true; then the mind will hold on to the falsehood until the larger belief system is revealed.

The Totality of the Manifest Universe is Developing and Evolving

The optimizing force of the logos functions throughout manifest reality, in both the animate and inanimate worlds. We do not always understand its direction, for its intelligence is cosmic and spans all time. But we can recognize signs of its functioning in the self-organizing properties of the universe, in various cosmological and terrestrial developments, in the arising and evolution of life, in the development of each living organism in its growth and maturation, even its decay and death. In other words, the logos is not only the principle of change and movement, but also of development and evolution, of growth and maturation, of both body and soul. This understanding may help us to recognize that the totality of the manifest universe is not only unfolding and changing but that it is also developing and evolving. And the direction of this evolution is the optimization of manifestation in order that all forms embody and express true nature in as complete and total a manner as possible, appropriate for the capacity of the particular form. We can easily understand this when we remember that the logos is the way true nature expresses and reveals its infinite potentialities.

You Cannot Make Yourself Grow

We still don’t understand that our attitudes, ideas, and beliefs are actually responsible for our suffering. We pay lip service to this idea but we don’t know it completely and totally. So we continue in our old patterns. The work we do here is simply to see the picture completely, seeing exactly what it is you are doing and how that affects reality. This is the way that real freedom, actual change, will come about. To live in freedom and absolute fulfillment, we need a complete, radical shift, and such a shift can occur only when there is a complete understanding of what we are actually doing. All the work you do here is based on understanding what you do and how you interfere with the natural process. If you try to do anything other than understand the situation, your effort will be a blockage, a resistance, an interference. You cannot make yourself grow; you can only cease to interfere. You cannot make yourself happy; you can only stop your judgments. Growth and expansion are natural; they are the life force itself. And you cannot predict its direction. If you recall the times when you have experienced a release, when there was an opening, you will see it was always by your understanding something, by your somehow getting out of the way, by your letting go of some belief, some resistance, some idea. This never happens by your accomplishing something. It happens always through losing something.

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