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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Impersonal?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Impersonal

Challenging the Impersonal Stance that Often Occurs in Spiritual Teachings

It is important to recognize that personalness is not only in reference to an external focus of inquiry. Here we are challenging the impersonal stance that often occurs in spiritual teachings, mostly the Eastern traditions. Many of their traditions view the inner journey as a movement toward impersonal transcendence. They do not see that a personal life and a personal passion can be spiritual. For them, to be spiritual means to go beyond personal life. In the Diamond Approach, inquiry is open and open ended. We do not posit such a position; we allow the Guidance to reveal what the truth is. One thing we find is that ultimate truth is impersonal and transcendent—which means that it exists beyond the realm where the personal is relevant—but it can manifest and express itself in personal ways on various levels, including that of the soul. This possibility points to a different kind of completeness that is still totally real.

Deficient Emptiness that is Simply the State of the Absence of the Personal Essence

However, when we are confronted with impersonality in the course of letting go of ego identifications, if we neither posit it as the ultimate reality, nor reject it, but genuinely investigate the truth, we will ultimately come upon the personal element. The absence of the personal element, which is felt as an impersonality, can be seen at such times either as an emptiness in the chest, or the presence of a hard impersonal shield over it. The emptiness is felt as almost physical, as an empty hole or cavity in the chest. The emptiness affects the individual by making him feel that he doesn’t have what it takes for him to relate in a personal way. He is impersonal because he lacks the personal element. He feels the emptiness as a deficiency, a lack in who he is. This deficient emptiness is simply the state of the absence of the Personal Essence. The rigid shield is a defense against this deficiency, which gives the individual a sense of being a person that is not personal. In fact, it is what is usually referred to in depth psychology as a schizoid defense. It is a defense against personal contact, because of the vulnerability that it might expose. So the individual employs this impersonal defense of isolation and emotional detachment so that he does not feel either the vulnerability of personal involvement, or the sadness about the lack of it. This condition is much more common than is normally acknowledged, for it is usually hidden by the ego’s fake sense of being personal

Feeling Oneself Being Absorbed in Undifferentiated Being

As this subtle resistance starts dissolving, one starts feeling oneself becoming absorbed in the undifferentiated Being. The experience of being absorbed by something bigger and unknown is quite definite and clear. There is no fear by now, because there is understanding, but sometimes there is some sadness, as if one is losing an old acquaintance. One feels one is being absorbed, as if one is a liquid being absorbed by a sponge. As the absorption proceeds one becomes less the personality and more the impersonal Being. One has to forget about the experience and not pay attention to it, or the process will not proceed. Paying attention at this juncture means that one is taking himself to be an individual who can direct his attention, and hence means identification with the personality. One sort of forgets, gets busy with something else, but once in a while feels this sense of being absorbed. At some point, one is suddenly the impersonal Being. One experiences a sense of absolute oneness. One is not the separate individual, but one is the oneness of all that exists. And after this perception, one experiences oneself emerging again as a personal presence. However, one is no more the withdrawn part of the personality. What emerges is the Personal Essence, with its fullness and preciousness. This is an experience of the complete integration of personality into Being. The personality, as an ego structure with its sense of self, becomes actually and experientially absorbed into Being; and the integration results in a new synthesis, the emergence of the Personal Essence.

Realization of the Personal Essence Makes Entrance Into the Universal and Impersonal Realms Much Easier

The path of the Personal Essence not only brings about the development of the real human being, but also opens an easier way to the realization of the impersonal universal reality. The reason that realizing the life of the Personal Essence is a more accessible path for human beings than the realization of the absolute universal reality is that the ego is a reflection of the Personal Essence, and hence ego can be used as a stepping stone towards it. The reason the realization of the Personal Essence makes entrance into the universal and impersonal realms much easier is that these realms are part of the natural and spontaneous development of the Personal Essence. The Personal Essence allows us to see the meaning and the potential of a fulfilled human and personal life, a life of truth, love, dignity and harmony, which includes the usual human concerns of work, family, creativity, accomplishments and enjoyments of all kinds.

We Might Realize the Aspects of Love, Compassion, Kindness and Selflessness and Still be Unable to be Personal

When we no longer need to identify with the images of past object relations, the collapse of the false consideration of the other, which is now seen as transference, brings about a sense of impersonality. We now painfully feel the absence of the personal element, and our incapacity to be personal. We feel unable to see the other as a person, but see him only as an object, a screen upon which we can project an image. We feel impersonal, and our interactions feel impersonal, as if the other does not count, the other is not even a person. This is a very interesting condition. It does not imply that we are uncaring, unloving, hateful, angry or emotionally detached. In fact, we might be experiencing love and compassion, and still feel impersonal. This in fact occasionally happens in the process of inner realization. A student might realize the aspects of love, compassion, kindness and selflessness, and still be unable to be personal. Among all the aspects of essence and Being, it is only the Personal Essence that has the personal element. One can be realized on a very deep dimension, but without the Personal Essence.

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