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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Inertia?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Inertia

Becoming Trapped in a Vicious Cycle of Inertia, Repetition and Stagnation

We not only believe that we know ourselves and the world around us; we also end up adhering to these beliefs and creating in our external reality what we believe we know. This is because what we believe we know actually patterns the manifestations of our Being, our direct experience of ourselves and the world. We end up seeing what we expect to see. If I believe I am a deficient person, I keep seeing myself as deficient over and over again, and somehow life and the universe always seems to manifest me as a deficient person. In reality, there is no such thing in the universe as a deficient person. That concept is nothing but a certain boundary set on the manifestation of Being by a particular piece of information that I accept as true knowledge. I take this constraint on my experience to be what I know about myself—I say it is reality—because years ago I experienced myself this way and this impression became stuck in me as a certain boundary, an outline for the manifestation of my being. Most of us do this constantly. You conceptualize a past experience as a piece of knowingness that becomes some impression in your mind, integrated later on with other impressions, thus creating an image that determines your present experience. Your old knowingness and your present experience become inextricably linked. You become trapped in a vicious cycle of inertia, repetition, and stagnation. This cycle must be interrupted if we are going to regain the freshness of nowness and the wonder of the mystery. We can do this by realizing that we do not truly know what we believe we know and by not adhering rigidly to the positions dictated by our ordinary knowledge.

Going Beyond the Inertia Supporting Everything Personal

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.

Identification Seen as a Form of Inertia

One specific form that inertia takes is identification. The more we are identified with a particular position, the more unwilling we are to move from it. If I am angry, that’s it—I want to be angry. I am identified with that emotion and feel justified in it. This means that I am not interested in finding out about the anger and its underlying dynamics. Another example is being identified with a certain self-image. If I am a certain way and I am identified with it, I believe it is me and I am not open to exploring it. So the identification blocks the heart movement, the love of the truth that would allow me to find out what is really there. One particular identification is especially challenged by the love of the truth: our identification with being small, deficient, inadequate, incapable, and not up to the task. This belief in our deficiency can prevent us from opening to the love of truth because this love will expand us in a way that we’re afraid we won’t know how to handle. It seems much easier to stay with the status quo and its cozy familiarity. If we allow the love of truth to become powerful, we will be confronted with this identification with inadequacy. There are offshoots of all these obstacles, but it is enough to mention these as beginning points for your own continuing inquiry. The more you work on these obstacles, the more the space opens up and allows the love of the truth to manifest or to expand and deepen.

Inertia is the Support for the Unchangeability of a Manifestation of the Personality

The personality does not have true or essential existence, but conditioned existence. This conditioned existence, which appears as the unchanging manifestation of its patterns, depends on the inflexibility, rigidity, and fixation of these patterns. This inertia supports its continued appearance, which we ordinarily perceive as its existence. Therefore, inertia is what gives the personality patterns and sectors their apparent existence. In other words, the lead quality of consciousness is responsible for the continued existence of manifestations of the personality. This is the reason I understand the inner experience of lead to be an indication of false or apparent existence. Inertia is the support that is responsible for the unchangeability of a manifestation of personality. Being aware of this inertia as lead in one’s experience is to experience this phenomenon in the realm of alchemical forms.


Leaden Heaviness is the Substantial Alchemical Form that Inertia Takes in Consciousness

Lead indicates inertia, unchanging manifestation, conditioned inflexible existence. Hence, lead functions as the support for all conditioned patterns. Any pattern in the self will continue to exist, even after it is fully investigated and understood, until an inertia implicit in it is seen and understood. This inertia usually reveals itself to be the expression of the presence of leaden consciousness underlying the particular pattern. More specifically, the leaden heaviness is the substantial alchemical form that inertia takes in consciousness. When this lead quality is recognized the inertia supporting the particular pattern is seen. In the language of substantial or alchemical forms of consciousness, the pearl signifies personalness of experience. The pearl form appears both on the ego and essential dimensions of experience, always indicating a personal manifestation. Specifically, the pearl as a form of consciousness indicates the presence of the total individuality, the presence of the person in his wholeness, whether on the ego level or the essential level of Being. The pearl appears as a sphere of compact consciousness that possesses a pearly sheen.

Our Experience Tends to Become Stale Because of the Heavy Inertia and Fixed Boundaries Imposed by Our Ordinary Knowledge

Our experience is a manifestation of basic knowledge, which is a display of qualities and possibilities from the depths of our Being. However, our experience is usually limited and repetitive. It tends to become stale because of the heavy inertia and fixed boundaries imposed by our ordinary knowledge. Because of these boundaries, we experience ourselves and the world as objects, as entities interacting and doing this and that. We tend to always experience ourselves as this object that we call a self, which goes to sleep and wakes up and has a job to do, and likes certain things and doesn’t like other things. For instance, you might wake up one day and feel, “God, what a terrible day; I have to do all these things I don’t feel like doing.” This is connected to a self-image of being a person whose life is always an imposition, who always feels put upon. You live as if your life were always limiting you, putting pressure on you to behave one way or another. And you can live your life like that forever.

The Inflexibility of the Ego-Self Can be Experienced as Inertia

Our sense of self is based on fixed structures. In fact, the sense of self is itself a fixed structure. So our feeling of identity is ordinarily unchanging. Our sense of who we are has a conditioned quality to it, which means that we have a habitual tendency to experience things in a certain way, to think of things a certain way, to know and do things in a certain way over and over again. And it is not only our perception that tends to be confined to a certain groove; even our experience of ourselves is limited and constructed within certain boundaries. This rigidity of the ego-self, its inflexibility, can be experienced as inertia: the habit of going on and on in the same way, in the same direction, without change.

The Rigidity of the Ego-Self Can be Experienced as Inertia

This rigidity of the ego-self, its inflexibility, can be experienced as inertia: the habit of going on and on in the same way, in the same direction, without change. Our perception, experience, and identity contain this inertia. Inertia can also be expressed as an automatic tendency to continue with and live out the status quo. The personality becomes part of the status quo; consequently, its way of perceiving, being, and operating can’t help but perpetuate the way things have been. This means staying at the same level of experience, the same level of discourse, having the same patterns and the same identity, and being the same kind of person year in and year out. This can manifest in specific and clear ways, such as the inflexible tendencies that are hard for us to break even when we want to. We might be always busy, always afraid, always angry. We might habitually watch TV. We might habitually spend time in social conversation or gossiping. Even though we want to change those behaviors, it might be difficult due to the inertia of the personality. To love the truth for its own sake means that we’re going to be happy to see something new in our experience. Our inertia, our inflexibility, on the other hand, operates in just the opposite way. It resists change and thus becomes a limitation on our love for the truth. It is obvious how this works, but we need to see it in our personal everyday experience. We need to recognize how our inertia—our habits, our lazy comfort in the status quo—inhibits, limits, and even blocks our love for the truth. The truth, in contrast, is a quickening, a movement, a change.

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