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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Hope?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Hope

Holy Hope

The difference between Holy Faith and Holy Hope is that faith is a trust in the fact of the presence of Being, while hope is trust in the creative flow of the functioning of that presence. So faith gives you the sense of being supported and taken care of by the universe, while hope gives you the sense that as things unfold, everything is and will be fine. Holy Hope, then, is an openness, a curiosity, a receptivity, and an optimism about how things are going to reveal themselves, because you are certain that the optimizing thrust of reality moves toward harmony and fulfillment. Even putting it in this way makes the hope sound too specific—it is just an open optimism about life. It is obvious how this kind of hope is helpful and necessary on the path, since it is needed to allow the unfoldment of the soul to progress without feeling the need to interfere with it or direct it. We know that it is inherently guided, and this knowing is not an idea in our minds, nor the result of reasoning, nor a logical certainty. It is an experiential transformation of the soul that makes the soul progressively more open and happily optimistic, trusting that everything will transpire in the best way, beyond our preconceived ideas of what we think is best. It is not a hope for something specific, as we have said. If it were, it would be egoic hope based on judgments and preconceptions about what we think ought to happen, and on rejection of the present. It is, rather, the growing and deepening certainty that whatever happens will be part of the optimizing thrust of reality and its guidance. It is complete openness to the unfoldment.

Facets of Unity, pg. 269

Hope is Part of the Structure of the Personality

So this attitude of rejecting something which is there and wanting something else—which is the same movement—is actually the attitude of the personality itself. It is the personality, the ego personality. The basic structure of the personality is nothing but a rejection of what is there, and hope for something better. In fact, the movement of rejection is what started the discord, the split between the personality and essence at the beginning when you were children. The personality began with this attitude. As a child you saw that one thing felt good and another felt bad. “I want what feels good. I don’t want what feels bad.” At some point you realized that there were good experiences and bad experiences. You developed an attitude toward what felt painful that you didn’t want and what felt good that you did want. This is where the whole dynamic of fear and hope began. Fear is almost always simply the fear that something bad will happen. Hope is simply the hope that something pleasurable will happen. We can see that the process of the personality is basically a movement of fear and hope: fear of pain and hope for pleasure. Fear and hope underlie the defensive mechanisms in the personality, the repression and resistance. What is resistance but resisting part of your experience? Resistance is ultimately rejection of something that you are experiencing. Resistance or defense is basically a rejection of part of you. Part of you is setting itself against another part and saying, “No, I don’t want that.” This attitude by itself creates division, conflict, and disharmony

Hope Perpetuates the Suffering of the Student of the Work

You perpetuate your suffering by the very activity you think is going to release you from suffering. Many people assume that inquiry and understanding are a matter of figuring things out, a matter of searching for issues in your mind, or tensions in your body, or difficulties in your life, so that you can resolve the issues, relax the tensions, get rid of the difficulties. You hope that this activity will make you suffer less. If you are not trying to get rid of suffering, you are looking for some essential state or pleasurable condition, so you can grasp and hold on to some aspect of your essence. But this is a ridiculous thing to do, because you are the essence. How are you going to trap the essence if you are the essence? Who is going to trap your essence? Who is going to get it? The consequence of this activity of trying to get something and trying to get rid of something else, is that you identify with the activity of searching. You are doing it, the activity is always present, and you take it to be you. Thus, you continue projecting outside the thing you are looking for. In the process of doing the Work, you merely continue the activity of seeking that you engaged in while pursuing personality goals and desires. You used to be looking for the right person, the right job, the right situation, and now you are looking inside yourself. Now you substitute looking for real confidence instead of looking for recognition. Instead of searching for success, you are searching for enlightenment. It is just different words for the same thing; it is the same activity whether it is directed inside or outside This seeking activity is not loving or compassionate for yourself or anyone else. The fact that it perpetuates your separation from yourself and continues to act out your most fundamental delusion, means that this activity is actually painful. From the point of view of personality, it would seem a good thing for a person to pursue what he thinks will make him happy, but we see that this activity can only bring about more frustration and suffering.

Hope Stops You from Being, from Being Present

What stops you from being, from being present, is nothing but your hope for the future. Hoping for something to be different keeps you looking for some future fantasy. But it is a mirage; you’ll never get there. The mirage stops you from seeing the obvious, the preciousness of Being. It is a great distortion, a great misunderstanding of what will fulfill you. When you follow the mirage you are rejecting yourself. Of course, when you let yourself be, as you let yourself sink into reality, you might experience unpleasant things; but these are simply the barriers that stop you from being. In time, with presence, they will dissolve. You might experience discomfort, fear, hurt, various negative feelings. These are the things that you’re trying to avoid by not being here. But they are just accumulations of what has been swept under the rug of unconsciousness; they are not you. They are what you confront on the way to beingness. When we acknowledge and understand these feelings while being present, they dissolve, because the idea of ourselves that they are based on is not real. When the illusions dissolve, what is real, your nature, will surface and remain. You go through a process of purification, not because Being itself is sullied, but because you have so many accumulated assumptions and beliefs about reality. If you continue to hope, and tell yourself stories, you will remain asleep, because reality is still the way it is whether you like it or not. The mirage hasn’t worked for you yet and it will not work with more persistence. Would you want it any other way? Would you want your happiness to depend on something other than your nature?

How Hope Creates Suffering

The correct perspective from which you can do this work is always to be aware of whether you are interested in the truth of what is happening right now, or whether you are trying to achieve something. Are you doing the work now to acquire something, to arrive at a certain goal, or are you doing it because you love the truth? This is a shift in attitude that is needed for us to finally understand the hopelessness of the situation. You are caught and divided because you still have hope that things will be different. That hope creates desire, that desire creates rejection of what is there, the rejection of what is there creates division, the division creates conflict, the conflict creates suffering, the suffering then creates searching. The searching creates more rejection and more conflict and the cycle continues. You may think I’m saying that there’s no point to the work. There is a point: to make it possible for us to understand the situation. Essence is needed because essence is what will help you accept what is there.

The Activity Resulting from the Cycle of Rejection, Hope and Desire

If you observe your personality at any time, in any state, you’ll see that it is always active. It can’t be still. The ego personality is activity and reactivity. It is always reacting to something. At the deepest level, personality is reactivity, and reactivity by its very nature is saying no to something. You might be saying no to a certain pain, or a certain pleasure, or a certain state, a conflict, a difficult situation, to anything. When I say reactivity, I am not referring to physical actions, which are just the grossest, outer manifestations of the personality. I’m talking about when you’re meditating, or allowing yourself a moment of inner reflection. How do you experience the personality then? Can the personality be completely still? When the personality is analyzed in its minutiae you will see the cycle of action and reaction. Originally, there is the reality of what is there, and then there is saying no to that reality. Then there is hope for another reality. Then there is desire for that other reality. Right? There is a rejection of now, a hope for something else in the future, and then a desire for it. The cycle of rejection, hope and desire all together leads to an activity, to trying to achieve what is desired. Any hope, desire, activity, or reactivity necessitates more than anything else rejection of the now. If the now is completely accepted there will not be a hope, there will not be a desire, there will not be a movement away from or toward, or any movement at all. There will be stillness, complete stillness.

The Attitude of Hope is a Rejection

Nothing can be done. There’s no hope because the very attitude of hope, the very attitude of doing something, is a rejection, is itself strengthening the personality, which is the attitude of conflict. I’m saying all of this, but at the same time we do have work here. We do have a group and I do work with people. What am I saying then? Am I contradicting myself? If nothing can be done, if the situation is completely hopeless, then what’s the point of having a school, what’s the point of the teaching, what’s the point of the work? Are you wasting your time, your money, your effort? It’s a paradoxical situation, that the situation is completely hopeless, nothing can be done, and yet at the same time there is a school where you can work to bring about freedom. This situation can be understood. The understanding is that the school and the teaching exist, not so you’ll strengthen your hope, but so that in time, you will see that what I’m saying is true. The school is useful only for finally bringing about the perception and the certain understanding that it is hopeless. That is the function of the teaching. Only when you completely understand from your own observation of your mind and reality that it is hopeless, only then will you give up. When there’s complete hopelessness and you give up, not out of despair, but out of understanding, then the freedom will be there. The freedom will not come as a result of your achieving anything. The freedom will arise only as a result of understanding the situation.

The Boundary Arising from Hope

Hope. The state of the personality based on hope is composed of identifications that give one the hope for various gratifications. One is then a hopeful individual. This is a very subtle boundary, for hope is rarely questioned. Almost all people believe they cannot exist without hope; this is definitely true for the ego individuality. When this sense of boundary is experienced it feels somewhat clear, although thick. It feels like a kind of thin film, the way Penny reported it. However, although it does not necessarily feel uncomfortable, it does make one feel that he is superficial and fake. It makes one feel he is a fake person, living a fake, plastic life. This is difficult to perceive directly, and even more difficult to let go of. The moment one feels he wants to let go of hope or work on it, or tries to do anything to get rid of it, he only reinforces and hardens it. For any movement toward doing anything about it implies the hope that something can be changed.

The Hope and Agent of Unification in You

There is in you an agent of unification which is an elixir present in every human being, and without which there is no life. It is itself pure intelligence, and everything is a result of that intelligence. It includes even ignorance and suffering that results from ignorance. This primary first cause, this primary intelligence which every human being has, is itself the hope for unification, and the agent of unification. It is what goes through the process of unification, and leads towards the final result of the unification, the unity. It includes differentiation and the movement toward differentiation because even that is part of a bigger movement toward unification. Every living being has some intelligence, an intelligence that is pure brilliance. It is no longer a differentiated color; it is the brilliance of all colors. It is no longer a differentiated quality; it is the brilliance of all qualities. All qualities, all aspects, all things become radiant, luminous, brilliant —become their truest nature, brilliance itself. It is light upon light.

The Movement of Hope is Automatically a Rejection of the Now

To hope is to hope for something in the future that is not present in the now. This implies that the now is not completely accepted. It is judged as not good enough, if not actually bad. It indicates the absence of complete acceptance of one’s experience. Since Essence is Being, it is always in the now. So the movement of hope is automatically a rejection of the now, and a rejection of Being. Desire exists, on the other hand, because there is hope. If there is no hope at all then what is the point of desire? One can argue about original and natural desire that is independent of hope. It is debatable whether there is such a thing, but here we are discussing the desire that is normally experienced by ego. This desire indicates the presence of hope (for gratification). We see then that ego activity is primarily a cycle of rejection, hope and desire. This is not difficult to understand conceptually, but to actually see this cycle in operation, to actually feel the ego activity, and understand it directly, is an extremely subtle, and hence difficult task, For instance, the moment one says, “Okay, I will look and try to understand this,” one is now desiring this understanding. One is thus identifying with the cycle of ego activity, which makes it difficult to look at it in an objective way. The experience of disidentification from ego activity simply occurs on its own in some situations, when one is being, and is not caught up in this cycle.

There is No Hope for Anything Beyond “What Is”

Any rejection of what is there is suffering, even if that rejection is predicated on the hope of reaching God or freedom or enlightenment. Enlightenment or freedom will come as a result of doing this work, but that is not the issue. The issue is not enlightenment. The issue is not freedom. The issue is “what is.” If you experience certain essential aspects such as freedom or some kind of consciousness, and you want to hold on to it, work for it, what are you doing then? The factual truth, then, is the truth of “no hope.” The ultimate truth is “what is.” If there is any desire, there is a rejection of what is. If there is any wanting, there is a rejection of what is. This is how the personality started and is perpetuated: by a rejection of what is and by creating a division. The personality is a point of view. Enlightenment, or reality, is also a point of view—nothing else. It is not a certain state. Personality is the point of view that there is something we need to get, somewhere we need to go. Enlightenment or freedom or reality is a point of view, that “what is” is what is. That is what is there and there is no hope for anything else.

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