Main Pages

By Region



Inner Content

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Inner Content?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Inner Content

Content is Composed of Particular Forms the Consciousness Assumes at Certain Regions of Its Presence

Inner content does not enter consciousness from somewhere else. It arises in the field of consciousness itself, as the field modifying itself at the particular region the content arises. In other words, content arises within the field of consciousness as part of the field. Content is composed of particular forms the consciousness assumes at certain regions of its presence. Such a form could be a feeling, like warm kindness or anger. It can be a thought, a word, or a string of words. It can be an image, with or without colors. It can be inner movement, as in the kinesthetic sense. It can be inner sounds, tastes, or smells, as in imagination or memory. All these are inner forms that arise in our consciousness. We normally think of them as entering our consciousness, happening to us, or that we actively produce them. We do not see them as forms arising through our inner field of consciousness plastically changing itself to create them out of its very substance. We do not see this process of inner creation because we are not in touch with the field directly, so we end up perceiving only the forms it takes. By coming in touch with the inner field of presence, we have the wonderful opportunity of seeing how our consciousness functions to create its own inner forms. 

Our Soul is Aware of Her Inner Content by Being Inside All of the Manifesting Forms

Not only does our field of consciousness manifest forms by morphing itself; it also perceives these manifestations. These forms are perceived not through the operation of looking at them from a distance, but by immediate awareness. Our soul is aware of her inner content by being inside all of the manifesting forms. Her conscious field completely pervades all forms completely and thoroughly, since it constitutes the totality of each form. And, being pure consciousness, the soul knows these forms directly and in the present moment. This is what we call noesis. The content of experience is composed purely of forms of consciousness, forms of the very fabric that is the soul. So in becoming aware of the content, the soul actually is simply continuing to be aware of her field, but now this awareness includes not only the presence of the field, but the structure—the patterns, designs, morphogenic variations—this field is assuming. How does the phenomenon of our experiencing the feeling of warm kindness appear from this fundamental dimension? The feeling appears as the field itself changing at the location of the chest, the vibration of this region of the field changing in such a way that we experience a particular sensation of warmth we can recognize as kindness. There are two steps in this process. First is the perception of change; the second the recognition of what this change is. The first is perception, the second is discriminating knowing. We will explore the first form of perception, pure perception.

The Pure Knowledge of the Soul Manifests as the Various Forms of Knowledge, Giving Pure Life Her Inner Content

It is the essence of life to change and unfold, evolving into new forms and functions. The life of the soul is inseparable from her dynamism and changeability. The pure knowledge of the soul manifests as the various forms of knowledge, giving pure life her inner content. This morphogenic property of the living soul indicates another basic property: malleability. The soul transforms by molding herself into the various forms of experience. She can move from experiencing herself as an adult man with arms and legs, to a chubby baby, to an empty sense of being a formless self, to a sense of being a bubbling fountain, to being a torrential rain of tears, to being an empty vast space, and so on. All these phenomena are the same soul changing her form to be one thing or another. Malleability is the property of the soul necessary for her to change from one form to another. This is what some ancient thinkers were referring to when they called the soul a chameleon. The soul actually is more plastic than a chameleon. Her plasticity and malleability are closer to the changelings in science fiction novels.1 She can change not only her color, but the totality of her manifestation, across all the dimensions of the inner Riemannian manifold.

This Ground of Nonconceptual Awareness that Has the Capacity for Perception is the Deepest Ground of the Field of the Soul

Thus we recognize here the quality of mind that is emphasized in many traditional spiritual teachings: the ground of nonconceptual awareness, of pure perception. We do not normally notice this dimension of consciousness, because our knowingness arises too fast for us to catch it. In ordinary experience, our knowing mind, in addition to our labeling, categorizing, and remembering mind, functions almost simultaneously with pure perception of objects. Normally, we perceive and know in the same act, thus always believing that consciousness functions only as the normal perception that always has some recognition of form. It is clear, however, that the pure capacity for perception, before recognition, is a necessary ground for all our experience, including experience of our inner content. This ground of nonconceptual awareness that has the capacity for perception is the deepest ground of the field of the soul. It is this ground in which arise the forms of consciousness that constitute the inner experience of the soul. We see from this perspective that the mirror metaphor is helpful but not completely accurate. It is accurate only in the sense that it can register what arises, without any reaction or response.

When We Have Nothing Inside, Even Though We are the Source and Ground of All Existence

More precisely, to experience the absolute is to experience the absence of self, person, entity, soul, essence, substance, presence. We realize very distinctly that the sense of the entity of the self is actually a result of holding different things together with some sort of glue. The glue is the concept of entity, giving the illusion of entitihood. When this holding is relaxed, then nothing remains; there does not remain even a sense of being. In other words, when we realize our deepest nature we realize it is pure and absolute selflessness. We have nothing inside, even though we are the source and ground of all existence. We are not a self, and do not have a self. We are the mystery of nonbeing, the absence of any basis for self or personality. Because there is no inner content, not even sensation, there is nothing to reflect back on. The moment we reflect on ourselves, and look inward, there is nothing to perceive. Our awareness simply comes back to awareness of “external” phenomena. In other words, in the experience of ourselves as the absolute there is no self-reflection; in fact, the possibility of self-reflection disappears. Reality has a front and a back, phenomena are the front and the absolute is the back. However, since the absolute is actually nonbeing, Reality becomes simply the front. There is no back. There is no back to reflect on, no inside to look into. We are the freedom of the world, the liberation of all manifestation. Alternatively, there is total absence of self-consciousness, on all levels and in all senses of the word. There is no awareness of self, and no knowing of this lack of awareness. This phenomenological absence of self-awareness becomes a psychological or emotional absence of self-consciousness. We cannot be self-conscious, because there is no self to be self-conscious and no self of which to be conscious. And without self-consciousness there are no personal issues or conflicts, no personal suffering.

Without Sensation there is No Inner Content for the Soul to Have a Sense of Self or Identity

In the inner journey of the soul, we learn that the presence of consciousness is the basis of all experience. It is the basis of the experience of both ego and essence. In other words, the experience of ego is not possible without the presence of sensation. Since ego development produces the ego-self, with a sense of self and identity, we realize that the sense of self depends on sensation. Without sensation there is no inner content for the soul to have a sense of self or identity. How can the soul recognize herself when she cannot sense her inside? Even the experience of true identity, the point of existence and light, is presence, and hence dependent upon sensation. Therefore, the absolute is the absence of all the components that give us the sense of self. The silence and stillness of the absolute means that there is no inner content, no inner forms, not even sensation. There is absolutely nothing upon which to base a sense of self. There is no sense of boundary or image, no sense of center or existence, and hence nothing to give us the feeling of self. We experience ourselves as totally selfless, completely devoid of self. There is absolutely nothing, and such nothing is the source and nature of all our manifestations; it simply witnesses them. There is no sense of a self that experiences or is aware of manifestations or movements.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach

See past editions of the Diamond Approach newsletter