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Impersonal Aspect

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Impersonal Aspect

Awareness that is Aware of the Personal Consciousness Itself

The Impersonal aspect usually begins to appear in flashes of perception of a new reality. One becomes aware of a strange kind of awareness or perception, which is in some way constant, always there, but is not involved in whatever is happening. One becomes conscious of an awareness which is in complete contrast to one’s ordinary personal awareness, which is always involved in the particulars of one’s experience. At this point an awareness arises of the totality of the life process, sometimes in unexpected flashes, and one sees the complete involvement of the personal consciousness in this life process. The awareness is perceived as separate from the personal consciousness, as if there is a background of constant, unchanging awareness that is always aware of what is happening, even though the personal consciousness is sometimes so involved in events that it is lost in them. For the first time ever, then, there is an awareness that is aware of the personal consciousness itself. This is a peculiar experience; one feels sometimes as if there is someone looking from behind him, encompassing him. This is the beginning of experiencing the Impersonal aspect, but still from the perspective of being a person. One sees for the first time the fact of one’s personal consciousness and the extent of its involvement in the particulars of one’s personal life.

Being Lost, Enmeshed, in Personal Life

It finally dawns on the student that the totality of his personal experience still has the same old flavor, and because of this ego boundaries and self keep being reinstated. This unchanged quality begins to feel undesirable; one feels clearly, without any sense of condemnation, “I am the barrier.” The further exploration of this overall issue takes the student through the process of realization of the Essential Self, a subject we will discuss in detail in a future book. Part of this realization is the capacity to disengage from ego activity, which is now experienced as the activity of the person as a whole. One learns finally, then, that the realization of the Personal Essence is not final until one goes completely beyond the personal life. This is because ego boundaries and sense of self do not stand on their own but are supported by the personal life and personal history. This insight usually appears as a perception that one is lost in one’s
personal life. One has the strong impression of being imprisoned by everything in one’s life, desirable and undesirable factors alike. The student is not usually aware that the impersonal aspect is approaching; he is simply experiencing more and more that the fact of being a person is a barrier to freedom and harmony. He perceives that the totality of his person, including his personal life and history, has not changed. This makes him aware that he is lost, enmeshed in his personal life, that he is so involved in his relationships, work interests, house, family, friends, projects, activities, plans, ideas, thoughts, preferences, prejudices, everything that is the content of his life, that he is trapped by it, and hopelessly limited within it

Just as the Personal Essence Exposes the Individuality of Ego, the Impersonal Aspect Exposes the Support of Such Individuality

Thus there cannot be freedom from this ego structure as long as one is attached and completely lost in his personal life, and as long as one continues to view himself as an extension of his unique personal history. For complete freedom from this ego individuality, which is the same as completely establishing the Personal Essence, one must be free from the supports of this ego structure, the personal life and personal history. Only when these supports are exposed and then transcended does the true support for the Personal Essence arise, through the action of the Impersonal aspect. In other words, just as the Personal Essence exposes the individuality of ego, the Impersonal aspect exposes the support of such individuality. One could say that the full realization and understanding of the Personal Essence shifts the sense of being a person from ego to Being. This then exposes the deep supports for the individual ego structure, which is seen as inseparable from the personal life and history. This latter perception is possible only from the Impersonal aspect. It is interesting to notice that this transition happens only through the combined influence of the full realization of the true Personal Essence and the transcendent awareness of the Impersonal aspect.

The Impersonal Aspect Turns Out to be an Impersonal Witness

One resistance to the Impersonal aspect that each student must surmount is the belief that there will be no personal life if there is no involvement in it. It seems that there is a universal belief that one must be attached to the personal life, or it will be lost. Finally one is able to go beyond the inertia supporting everything personal. This happens through the process of personalizing the aspect of Existence. The fear is that there will be no existence for anything personal if one lets go of the supports of ego personality. This fear is transcended when the Personal Essence is experienced in the state of Existence. This is another Platonic form, a pure differentiated aspect of Being, where the sense is just existence. Personalizing this aspect one feels a sense of personal existence that is real, and not based on mental structure or the supports of this structure in past or present. The usual experience of the Personal Essence is of fullness and personalness. But when Existence is personalized it attains a density and an immensity that gives the experience the specific feeling of existence. In other words, existence becomes a more dominant feeling than fullness. Existence is present implicitly in Beingness, but now it is specifically delineated. Experiencing the Personal Essence in this state is the stepping stone towards the complete, clear arising of the Impersonal aspect. ……. So the Impersonal aspect turns out to be an Impersonal Witness. In India this aspect is called the “silent Brahman.” The silence is so complete that it is eerie. One feels one is absolutely this ultimate, but singularly aware, void. Here the perception unfolds of how one is beyond the personal.

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