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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Hereness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Hereness

Being the Hereness and Fullness of Reality at the Same Time that We are Its Immateriality, Its Insubstantiality

Pure presence contains inner space, but the space is undifferentiated from the rest of its perfections. Pure presence thus discloses the inherent synthesis of the fullness of Being and its emptiness. Before experiencing this dimension, the soul has experienced presence as a fullness, a substantiality, almost material, although not physically material. Such fullness or substantiality still appears as the characteristic of pure presence, for it is what gives this dimension its sense of being presence. However, this substantial and full presence is undifferentiated from the emptiness of space. Because of this the experience of full presence on this dimension is indistinguishable from inner spaciousness. Pure presence is at the same time an emptiness, a spaciousness, a nothingness. We feel ourselves, and the whole manifestation, as a fullness of presence at the same time that we feel we are nothing. We simultaneously feel full and empty, substantial and like nothing at all. We are the hereness and fullness of reality at the same time that we are its immateriality, its insubstantiality, its utter lightness. Fullness of Being and nothingness of space are two inseparable sides of the same presence, of the same perception and sensation. Each side may dominate experience, depending on the particulars of experience. Sometimes we feel ourselves as the boundless truth in its full beingness; at those times, we feel the whole world as the fullness of Being, real and substantial. We are the solid ground of everything, the true existence of all forms and appearances. At other times, we feel light and empty, like a boundless nothingness. Everything is nothing, where the nothing is what truly is. Nothing has any substance or sense of existence; all forms appear as empty appearances, like a mirage reflected in the clarity of nothingness. We feel like nothing, totally light and empty. But it is a wonderful emptiness, for it is a lightness and delight, a freedom and release.

Hereness in the Experience of the Diamond Guidance

The experience of the Diamond Guidance itself is that of a presence, an awareness inseparable from the sense of hereness. There is a subtlety and a refinement in this presence, a purity and a gentleness. It is both full and delicate, with a gracefulness to the delicacy, a flowing ease that is inseparable from a peaceful quietness. The discrimination of the Diamond Guidance is different from that of a mind full of thoughts and agitation. Here the understanding is quiet, peaceful, and settled. And this quietness, this peacefulness, this settledness, which is inseparable from precision and clarity, functions as the source of insight and understanding. Insight arises with clarity in the environment of peace. The presence of the Diamond Guidance is a stillness that is inherently luminous and illuminating, as if the presence had atoms of illumination, of clear light, that illuminate with various brilliant colors. These colors affect our heart with feelings of warmth, sweetness, wonder, and joy, giving a sense of sacredness or holiness to the presence. Usually the Diamond Guidance operates as a presence in the center of the forehead. When it arises in support of discrimination and understanding, we become aware of an expansion as space opens up in the forehead. With that expansion comes a sense of peacefulness; the Black aspect at the center of the forehead opens and we feel stillness and spaciousness. When the Diamond Guidance arises in this peacefulness, we feel a delicate presence, a pulsating energy that possesses a sense of clarity and transparency, an intelligence, an illumination. This delicate, pulsing, breathing presence appears as understanding, as insight, as intuition. As the forehead opens, we feel the Diamond Guidance as a tingling, an energetic throbbing—but very delicate, very soft, very subtle. If we are not attuned, we might dismiss it as just a physical twitch. Or if there is a lot of blockage, as is often the case in the early stages of our development, the diamond might feel hard. Due to the blockage, it can’t get through, so it feels almost like a rock. But if we are relaxed and open, we feel it as a softness, a delicacy.

Increasingly Recognizing this Collectedness, this Presence, this Hereness

It is a precious moment when we recognize this love, this appreciation— when we know that we are not practicing to accomplish something. I am not meditating, praying, chanting, or working on myself to make myself better. I am not doing this work so that I will be as good as the next person or because I have an idea or some ideal I developed or heard about and decided was a good thing to go after. It is not a matter of going after anything. It is just a matter of settling down with myself. It means learning how to recognize our agitated activity, our noise, and how not to go along with it. Instead we learn to simply settle, relax, and be. And I don’t mean that when you relax and be, you just sit and meditate. Meditation is something we practice, but ultimately, engaging inner practice and living life are not two things. Being real, learning to be real, is our practice in every moment; it becomes the living of our real life. And being real transcends any dimension, any experience, any perception—regardless of the content. It is just the experience of feeling no distance from yourself—no dissociation, no scattering, no dispersion, no distraction. And the more you recognize this collectedness, this presence, this hereness, this settledness, the more you have a sense of being real, of reality. So at some point, we see that spiritual practice is a matter of learning reality, learning to recognize realness, learning to be real, and learning to be ourselves in our realness. And we see that we are only interested in learning these things if we have the appreciation and love of being real. We have to love being genuine to go through the trouble and the discipline of inner work. It is because we are being authentic, because we are approaching reality, because we are being touched by reality, that we love it and are willing to go through the various processes of acknowledging and seeing the truth— whether painful or scary or pleasurable.

Presence Gives a Sense of Immediacy, of Fullness, of Hereness in Experience

We need to remember that the revelation of our True Nature is a process, so that we can be more realistic and more kind to ourselves about where we are. Thus our practice is to just be aware of and present with whatever is arising, to let it be and not do anything to it except allow our natural curiosity to unfold it and reveal what it is about. That process will at some point reveal the ultimate nature of that emotion. As you notice, I didn’t only say, “Be aware.” I said, “Be aware and present.” Awareness and presence are not two things, really, but if I only say, “Be aware,” you might think of that in terms of normal awareness, that is, observing experience from a distance, with the detachment of a subject viewing an object. When I say, “aware and present,” I am saying, “present to what you are aware of,” which means that you are not only noticing it, but you are also in contact with it; you are touching it, feeling it, sensing its texture and quality. You are not only looking at it from the outside, you are aware of it from the inside as well and from all directions, from everywhere. So presence brings in the quality of immediacy of awareness, which means having no distance between the awareness and what we are aware of. Presence gives a sense of immediacy, of fullness, of hereness in the experience. It gives a sense of immediacy and directness that suffuses the experience, that pervades it and fills it, so that our awareness, our consciousness, is not only observing it from a removed place but also from within it. It is as though our nerve endings were inside the experience, outside the experience, and in between; they are everywhere and feeling the experience in all its possibilities. That’s when we really know the experience fully and completely. If we have that kind of awareness, then we recognize that to be aware of something is not just a function, and it is not just a capacity. The awareness, in fact, is our essential presence, our hereness, our substantiality. 

The Hereness, the Beingness of Consciousness is Not Something Extra to Consciousness

The presence, the hereness, the beingness of consciousness, is not something extra to consciousness; neither is consciousness an extra property of this presence. This is one of the primary discoveries in the inner journey: presence is always consciousness, and pure consciousness is always presence. This is similar to how photons are always light, and light is always photons. It is not that photons have the extra property we call light, or light possesses an extra property we call photons. Light and photons are two names of the same thing, emphasizing two different ways of viewing the same reality. When we apprehend consciousness in itself, independently of the function of consciousness of objects, we experience presence. The term field of consciousness is an attempt to describe the ontological presence of the soul, her being. Furthermore, as we recognize that consciousness is fundamentally presence, the knowledge of our depth begins to open up. This is because our inner depth is nothing but the experience of our consciousness, and presence is nothing but the nature of this consciousness. Recognizing presence teaches us a great deal about consciousness, soul, and essence of soul. In this recognition, we can know ourselves in our fundamental mode of existence. We begin to see, perhaps for the first time, that what we are is more fundamental than all the content of our experience. We are more fundamental than our sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, images, symbols, ideas, concepts, and so on. We awaken to our essential nature, which is more fundamental and more basic than our body, heart, and mind. We experience the fabric that is ontologically fundamental, necessary for the existence of all that we have taken to be ourselves. We begin to recognize our real self, our soul. More precisely, by recognizing presence we become aware of the fundamental ground of our soul; we discover the inner fabric that holds all of our experience; we are enlightened to what we are beyond time and space. 

To Be in the Now Connects You with that Quiet Beingness that Underlies All Changes

What is useful to recognize, then, is that our time orientation will disconnect us from our True Nature because it contradicts the now-ness, the timelessness, of our True Nature. It is paradoxical, of course, to think about things that way because we are always thinking in terms of time. The time axis is very important for the mind. The mind is always thinking of things in the past and of what it is going to do in the future. It rarely settles in the moment. If it did, it would become quiet. When you settle into the moment, you realize that there is not much happening—a few things here and there. The primary awareness is of the immediacy of the moment. This is because presence—being in the now—is characterized by beingness, simply being here now. In contrast, our familiar self is based on doing, going, making things happen. We do not trust that action can arise and proceed from inner stillness; we do not recognize that Being is the ground of everything. To be in the now connects you with that quiet beingness that underlies all changes, all activity—the simple hereness where what is most basic is not activity but presence. So when we are not settled, all the images, all the reifications, all the projections from the past arise and influence the present. We don’t see the present as the present; and we don’t experience the presence of the present. 

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