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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Guest?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Guest

Arrival of the Guest

You see, the Guest is not something you will get, is not something you will attain. The Guest is something that will erase you, that will make you disappear. The Guest is something that will burn you up completely. You can't even call it who you truly are because it is before you were. You can't call it the nature of the universe because it is before the universe was and will be there after the universe goes. When everything is gone, “you” is gone, everybody else is gone, the universe is gone, when everything is night, that will be the Guest. When the night is pure, when the night is before there were stars in it, when the night is pure night, complete night, nothing but night, then the Guest has arrived. Then the Secret has no other—there is simply the primordial potential.

Being Annihilated by the Guest

This love affair will be final. The Guest is the slayer of the mind. The Guest is the bedazzler, the incinerator. Its slaying and its incineration does not happen through melting you in sweet love. It doesn't go that way. The Guest is not gentle. When the Guest arrives, it doesn’t make you feel nice and wonderful and loving and cozy. That might be your experience of previous lovers. This Beloved has something else up its sleeve. Just feeling its closeness, you begin feeling your mind, your heart, and your body all burning up. And if you stay with it a few seconds, and not run away out of fear, you'll be completely annihilated, totally dissolved. The process of being annihilated by the Guest is hot, the most intense passion, a passion that burns, a passion that eats up, a passion that consumes, a passion that kills, a passion more powerful than thermonuclear reaction.

Mind Does not Know What it Means to be Present as Absence

Unlike other kinds of love, real passionate love is self-consuming. Passionate love feels annihilating rather than giving and sweet. The more you are passionate, the more you disappear. You burn up from within, as if with black fire. You feel as if all your atoms are passionately in love. You don’t know at the beginning what it is that you love. You just feel consumed with passion and longing. You feel you just want to not be, until you finally disappear. And you want to disappear, out of passionate love. When passion completely dissolves the consciousness, then the Guest arrives. The intensity of the contact with the nearness of the Guest, like a hydrogen bomb, incinerates your every atom with passion. The consciousness burns like a raging fire until nothing is left. The outcome is the absolute presence of absence. You are present as absence, absolutely. You cannot comprehend this with the mind. The mind does not know what it means to be present as absence. What it means is that there are no sensations, no consciousness, no thoughts. Like the most delicious and deepest sleep, being present as absence is being the Absolute completely; it is being the awareness contemplating its absolute emptiness. There is no perception of anything. True emptiness is total absence, the ultimate ground of consciousness and of everything. True emptiness is the nonbeing of being, inseparable from being and from all the manifestations of being.

Pure Unknowingness

The Guest is pure unknowingness; there is no mind, no darkness and no light. There is no consciousness, nothing to be known and no one to know it. The Guest is pre-everything. Let’s say you become the absolute potential for all there is. But these are just words. We can say that you become the source of all you see. That’s a nice idea, but again the words fail to capture the reality. We can say you are before there was the word, but we’re still thinking of the word, the first word. But before the word, before you heard the first news, what was there? What was that like? It’s an absolutely unselfconscious spontaneity. When there is only the back that is the front, then there is only spontaneity. Spontaneity is blocked only when there are two. One says this, the other says that. When there is just the one, it is just spontaneity, without even knowing it. What is said is said completely. What is done is done totally, without an afterthought. And whatever is done or said is, by its very saying or its very doing, absolutely consumed, absolutely finished.

Reference to the Absolute

There is much in this poem that we can discuss, but I will focus mostly on the title, “The Guest Arrives Only at Night.” I will use a specific terminology of the path of the heart, where the Absolute is variously referred to as the Beloved, the Guest, the Secret, the Inner of the Inner, and so on. We’ll discuss some of these terms as we proceed but now I want to get to the essence of this poem.

The Absolute is the Guest

The Absolute, characterized by total absence, is the night, and it is the Guest that arrives at night. It is the unity of awareness and absence, presence and emptiness. Another name I have for the Absolute is the Beloved. I myself like the word ipseity for it. I find it the most descriptive. Ipseity is an old English word used in Christian theology. By ipseity they meant divine ipseity. The word means two things at once. It means self and it means nature. So it is self-nature, simultaneously your identity and your nature. No other word I know has both of these meanings at once. Many teachings talk about self or identity and the Absolute as the ultimate self. Although this is true, the Absolute not only is the self but is the nature of everything. Ipseity includes both of these meanings. The Absolute is the self because you experience it as the ultimate identity, the ultimate truest self. At the same time, you realize the Absolute is also your nature and the nature of everything.

The Guest Arrives Only at Night

Annihilate mind in heart

Divorce heart from all relationships,

And then love,

Love passionately,

Consume yourself with passion

for the secret one.


When you are absolutely poor,

When you are no more,

Then the Guest will appear

And occupy his place,

In the secret chamber,

His abode,

The heart he gave you.


He is the Inner of the Inner,

He is the Secret,

He is the Guest,

And he arrives

Only at night.

The Guest is Pre-Mind

The mind, therefore, can never accurately conceptualize the Guest, for the Guest is beyond the world of concepts. The Guest is pre-mind, pre-conceptualization, pre-relationship. The Guest is not something that the mind can ever imagine. The Guest is the slayer of the mind. The Guest is the confounder of the mind, its annihilator, its death, even though it is also its bedazzler.

Visitation of the Guest

"The Guest" implies a sense of visitation. When your heart is completely empty you feel a visitation. When your heart is completely poor, completely devoid of everything, you receive a visitation. That is what I call the Guest. But the visitation is not that something goes into the heart. It is more that the heart becomes a window into infinity, that the heart becomes completely empty and completely open. You don't experience love or no love. The heart is absolutely empty. When the heart is that empty we glimpse the luminous night of the Absolute through it. Here, I say that the Guest has arrived. In the beginning it feels like a visitation, but when the Guest actually arrives in the heart then it is everything. The Guest is how the experience begins. That is how it arises. But I also call the Guest the true owner of the heart. The Guest is the true possessor of the heart. That is why the deepest longing a human being has is for complete disappearance.

When the Guest Reveals Itself

As the Guest begins to reveal itself in the cavity of the heart, we see an amazing brilliance, pure luminosity like lightning that bedazzles you. As it approaches, the brilliance reveals a luminous blackness so absolutely black it is the most luminous thing you can ever experience. The night of poverty suddenly changes to a luminous night, a radiant vastness so dark it is absolutely black, but so purely black it is luminous. We behold an immense majesty, an emptiness so void it is total transparency. Yet its beauty dazzles, its power intoxicates, and its intensity totally annihilates. To know it further we can only reappear as the world, for there is no farther to go back. It is like arriving at the edge of the world and there is nowhere else to go. Our inner gaze simply switches to outer witnessing, the silent stillness witnessing all manifestation unfolding as its own bedazzling radiance.

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