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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Isness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Isness

All Knowing is Ultimately the Knowing of Being, the Knowing of Isness

On the dimension of pure presence, manifestation consists of noetic forms, forms capable of precise and sharp discriminating knowing. We can know any form, whether it is a star, a planet, a rock, an animal, an organ of the body, a molecule, an atom, a feeling, a state, a thought, directly and sharply for what it is. If it manifests we can know it. We can know it exactly and objectively, with specific details and minute discriminations. We can know it because it is fundamentally a noetic form, because it is fundamentally knowable. It is fundamentally knowable because knowing is a fundamental dimension of the ground true nature and any form is a manifestation that participates in this dimension. We find in this dimension the source of all knowing, and all knowability. Pure presence is the cognitive, more precisely the noetic, dimension of true nature, which makes knowing possible. For all knowing is ultimately the knowing of Being, the knowing of isness. We recognize the source of knowability in the fact that all forms, objects, and processes, are noetic. We do not mean here a vague “mystical” kind of knowing, intuitive and impressionistic, but rather a discriminating exact recognition of the form, its qualities, properties and functions, its components and systems, and so on. We see here the possibility for the precise knowledge of objective science.

Beingness Means Knowing that I Am, that I Exist as an Is-Ness, Without Reference to Anything Else

To really see that love is beingness, is-ness, is not easy. You cannot understand it intellectually. The way to understand it is to experience it, to taste it, to be it. You will be able to understand its qualities only when you experience it. Love is not an idea or a concept. If you’ve never seen a coconut, never tasted a coconut, someone could explain to you the taste of a coconut forever, but you would never really know what coconut tastes like. If you taste essence, you know it. If you don’t taste it, you don’t know it. Everything is like that. When people say essence or Being or love is something mysterious, it means they have never tasted it. It isn’t any more mysterious than anything else. To say that love is a beingness doesn’t mean anything to someone who doesn’t know what beingness is. Being is not an emotion. It does not even feel the way your body feels. Beingness means knowing that I am, that I exist as an is-ness, without reference to anything else. You know your body exists because you can feel it, see it, but that is not the way essence is. Essence exists not because you can feel it or see it. It is more intimate than that. The knowing of existence, the feeling of existence and the existence itself are all one thing. This category of experience is not available to the personality. To know an atom, you look in the microscope and see its shape and color. If you were to know the atom the way essence is known, you would need to be the atom itself and know what the atom feels like. There is no true knowing the atom by looking at it.

Enlightened Awareness is a Medium that Explicitly Is, where the Feeling of “Isness” is Singularly Clear

We can experience Quintessence as the body of reality, as the medium that manifests everything. Enlightened awareness is a medium that explicitly is, where the feeling of “isness” is singularly clear. At the same instant as the singularly clear isness, we can experience singularly clear “it is not.” Mind and no-mind are seamlessly together. This paradoxical nature of reality becomes playful delight. Enlightened awareness completely confounds the conceptual categories, easily pushes them to their utmost possibilities, plays with them so clearly, so fully, and with utter abandon. You may be wondering how this is related to the Absolute, the Logos, and other boundless dimensions of reality. What I am discussing has more to do with the journey of descent. The journey of ascent has to do with realizing all the boundless dimensions. In the journey of descent, all of the boundless dimensions are integrated as one living being. I usually think of Quintessence as the nature of manifest phenomena. Just as the nowness is how timelessness appears in time, and the spaciousness is how emptiness appears in space, Quintessence is how the Absolute appears in manifestation. So we can consider it the manifest Absolute, and the Absolute in itself can be considered the unmanifest.

Essence is Always a Presence of a Field that is Sensitive to Itself

Essence is always a presence of a field that is sensitive in itself. It is—it exists—but it is also aware of itself. It is aware of its isness. Each quality of Essence is the self-aware field that is also aware of the particular quality of the aspect. If it is the aspect of Love, then there is the presence of a field of sensitivity that is aware of its isness, but also aware of the quality of Love. The Love and the isness are not separate here; there is simply the presence of Love that is aware of itself as the presence of Love. With the Blue aspect, there is awareness of isness, of presence, but the quality of the Blue aspect is very subtle, for it is implicit and yet significant in all other aspects. The experience is simply of a presence of consciousness that is aware that it is consciousness. It is just the recognition that there is recognition. More precisely, the presence of the quality of consciousness is simply the presence of consciousness and nothing more. This consciousness is not aware of any object outside of itself. But since it is consciousness, it is consciousness of itself. It is a field conscious of itself, aware of itself. It is conscious of itself by being itself, not by reflecting on itself. It is like a medium of a subtle gas in which each atom is sensitive to its own existence. So there is a field of self-sensitivity. The quality highlighted in this aspect is simply that of being a conscious presence. This is true of all aspects, except that the other aspects include another quality as well, that of love or will, for instance. In fact, it is subtler than this. In complete identification with this presence, in full realization of it, there is simply consciousness that is conscious that it is conscious.

Experience of Pure Consciousness is Awareness of the Thereness, the Isness of Consciousness

If the soul is a field of consciousness, a medium aware of itself, then how is perceiving this different from our normal experience of being conscious of our inner experience? In other words, how is pure consciousness different from the normal subjective consciousness, which also feels like a field of sensitivity? The primary difference between ordinary inner experience and direct knowing of consciousness is that when we discern the inner field that is the soul, we experience it as a presence, independent from and more fundamental than all the content of consciousness and all characteristics of subjective experience. When we recognize pure consciousness, then, what we become aware of is the presence of consciousness, its existence, its ontological truth. We are contrasting the recognition of presence with awareness of the objects of consciousness as well as with awareness of consciousness as activity or process. Experience of pure consciousness is awareness of the thereness, the isness, of consciousness. Consciousness is fundamentally presence, presence conscious of its own presence. The presence, the hereness, the beingness of consciousness, is not something extra to consciousness; neither is consciousness an extra property of this presence. This is one of the primary discoveries in the inner journey: presence is always consciousness, and pure consciousness is always presence. This is similar to how photons are always light, and light is always photons. It is not that photons have the extra property we call light, or light possesses an extra property we call photons. Light and photons are two names of the same thing, emphasizing two different ways of viewing the same reality.

From True Nature in Its Isness, Necessary Qualities Emerge

But what practice does our True Nature recommend? We can be guided here by noticing the way that True Nature relates to whatever is happening to us. Let’s say you are feeling pain or fear or happiness. Or maybe you are feeling divided or guilty or scared or full of longing. What does your True Nature do? It doesn’t do anything. It is simply aware of whatever you are feeling; it is interested, empathic, attuned to what is happening. It wants to experience the feeling fully, be there for it with kindness, gentleness. True Nature doesn’t try to push. It doesn’t try to do anything, and it doesn’t do anything—it just is. And in its is-ness, the necessary qualities emerge. If compassion is needed, compassion emerges. If love is needed, love emerges. If strength is needed, strength emerges. True Nature doesn’t lift a finger.

Seeing the Isness of what is Here

If you experience things in the moment, without thinking in terms of the past and the future, just right here in the now, and see the isness of what is here, you will recognize the perfection we’re talking about. You won’t be looking at what is here through the filter of your ideas, which are the result of what you heard or saw in the past or what you think is going to happen in the future. Holy Perfection is the perfection of what is, and reality exists only now, only in this moment—without the concept of time, without your ideas about what’s going to happen tomorrow or what’s not going to happen tomorrow, without your ideas about what should or shouldn’t happen, without judgments of good and bad—just the experience of the isness of the now. If we see reality the way it is right now, we see that everything we perceive is coemergent with Being, everything is made up of Essence. Everything—your body, your mind, your feelings, your thoughts, physical objects—everything is made out of that complete pure beingness of presence. This is the experience of Holy Perfection.

Facets of Unity, pg. 143

That “Is-Ness,” that Beingness Will Not Necessarily Satisfy Your Mind

To feel complete means to be, which means knowing yourself as the one who cannot but be complete. It is not as if you were once incomplete, and then you became complete. If that were so, it would mean that your old needs and desires were fulfilled and, as a result, you became complete. It doesn’t work that way. To be complete means to realize that you have always been complete, that who you are is a completeness. And being complete has nothing to do with better or worse, pleasure or pain, gain or loss. It has nothing to do with anything; it is not in reference to anything. So when you know yourself in this way, when you are complete, there is no waiting. Time is not experienced as waiting for something. If you’re not anticipating, wanting or fearing anything, then there is no waiting. There is just Being; you just are. And that “is-ness,” that Beingness, will not necessarily satisfy your mind in terms of what your mind thinks is good or not good, since as I said, it doesn’t mean you feel fulfilled or satisfied, full of strength or compassion or any other aspect. It’s not a matter of having any particular quality. As long as you believe that you need to have something particular in order to be complete, you are not yet complete.

The Characteristic of a Full Experience of Being. One is, but One is Not Reflecting on the Isness

During the differentiation subphase some of the representations are related to self, and have some sense of self in them because of the presence of the Essential Self during the experiences generating such representations. Let’s imagine an interaction with mother during this time, when the Essential Self is present. The child is the Self, feels himself as the Self, and is quite aware of the feeling of identity. He feels definite, distinct, singular and unique. However, he is not conceptually or reflexively aware of the Essential Self. He does not look at the Self and say, that is me. He is indistinguishable from the Self. He is aware of the experience of identity, but he has no image of an entity called the Self. He is completely identified with the Self, and has no distance at all from it. He does not look back at the Self, in other words, he just is it. The experience of the Self is through identity and not through reflection. So he feels unique and singular without knowing that it is because he is experiencing the Essential Self. This is the characteristic of a full experience of Being. One is, but one is not reflecting on the isness. There is no mind in this experience. This is a complete experience of self-realization, which is so rare and difficult to come by in maturity, because of the development of the reflective faculty of the mind.

The Direct Recognition of the Very Beingness of Our Existence, the Fact of Our “Isness”

The experience of Being is not an idea we have of our experience of ourselves; neither is it a conclusion we draw from it. It is the concrete, direct and present experience of ourselves as we are being ourselves. What we are is now, a spontaneity of being, an absolute given. We perceive ourselves, then, by being ourselves, by being. We recognize ourselves by being ourselves, by being. We know ourselves by being ourselves, by being. More concretely, we recognize in the experience of self-realization that to be ourselves is to be aware of ourselves as the presence of Being. It is the direct recognition of the very beingness of our existence, the fact of our “isness.” This facticity is not a thought or idea, not a feeling or an intuition, but a very concrete and palpable thereness. It is not the thereness of one object or another, like that of one’s body, or of a thought. This thereness is a new category of experience. In philosophical and spiritual language it is usually termed “presence.” Coming upon the recognition of one’s presence as Being is surprising in two ways: first, it is so completely, astonishingly outside the normal identity; second, ironically, it almost always feels familiar, as if one is remembering something, or coming home after being gone for a long time.

The Universe Is, but in Its Isness Lies the Deep Secret that this Being is Only the Appearance of Nonbeing

The only glimpse you can get of the Secret is not the Secret but the beginning of creation, the thunder and lightning filling the universe. The Secret of the universe turns out to be its absence, its vanishing, its nonbeing. The universe is, but in its isness lies the deep Secret that this being is only the appearance of nonbeing. By vanishing, the soul clears the way for the Beloved. Now the Beloved takes its rightful place, the throne it made for itself, the heart it gave you. What do you say at such times? There can only be saying without knowing there is saying. There is living, total involvement in living without the slightest consciousness that you live. Then all that is you is there. Nothing, absolutely nothing is held back. All the veils of light and darkness are gone. What you are is all that you are. In other words, to live as the Guest is the experience of what was the back being the front, nothing else remaining behind. The Guest is like the back of all existence, while all manifestation is the front. When the Guest has arrived, when the Secret has moved to the foreground, then the back is the front. There is no more back, for the back is right there at the front. One way of seeing this is to recognize that the Guest is all and everything. There is no more front and back, for there is only the Secret, and the Secret admits of no other. Such truth manifests in many subtle ways, from seeing that there is only the singlehood of the absolute truth to seeing that all phenomena are ultimately nothing but this selfsame truth. Then you are facing the world not with your front but with the front of your back. You are all back, all Secret, all mystery and darkness. This means you’re absolutely naked, completely, for there is nothing in front of your back.

To Trust the Now Completely Can Lead to the Experience of Yourself as a Self-Originating Presence

Presence also has something to do with time. In one sense, presence is compacted time. It is as if you took all of time and compressed it into the present moment. Normally, your experience of yourself is spread over time—that is, into the past and the future as well as the present—in accordance with your ideas, beliefs, hopes, and fears. If you withdraw your awareness from the past and future and concentrate it solely in the present, your experience of yourself focuses into a single moment: now. To trust the now completely can lead to the experience of yourself as a self-originating presence. Many of the ways of describing Essence refer to this awareness—Self-Originating or the Unoriginated, the Self-Arising, the Self-Existing, Pure Existence, the I AM, the pure fact of Isness—and all of them indicate that your existence is pure presence and that nothing in your experience of this existence is determined by your memories. The experience of presence is spontaneously itself, 100 percent.

Brilliancy, pg. 44

Understanding Becoming Nothing but the Revelation of the Perfection of Reality in Its Isness

If you have a noncomparative and mirror-like attitude toward your experience, in time, understanding becomes the process of unfoldment itself as reality is unfolding within your consciousness. So understanding becomes a spontaneous insight into what your situation is at this moment, regardless of whether you are experiencing a delusion or the actual presence of Essence; you will see it and understand it. Then understanding becomes nothing but the revelation of the perfection of reality in its isness and in its unfoldment.

Facets of Unity, pg. 161

Your Beingness is Always Pure, Always Present, Always Perfect

When I talk about “knowing oneself,” I don’t mean knowing that tag, that self-image. I don’t mean knowing how you feel about your body or how you look, or if you’re short or tall or angry or sad. Not these. I mean knowing your inner nature, your true nature. There is such a thing. It’s what we call essence. When you recognize your true nature, your being, your essence, you will see it is Being, because it is. It is in the sense that it is an existence. It is not a reaction; it is not an emotion. An emotion is not an is-ness. An emotion is an activity, a charge and discharge pattern. Essence is there regardless of the charge or discharge. There is an existence, a beingness that can be experienced, and that is you. If you don’t know this beingness, you can’t know what love is because love has to do with your being, your essence. It has nothing to do with your personality, your emotions or your ideas, your self-concept, your self-image, your accomplishments, your preferences, your likes and dislikes, your relationships. These things have nothing to do with your beingness. Your beingness is pure; it is not contaminated by any of those things. Your beingness is always pure, always present, always perfect. Its main quality is an is-ness, an existence, a beingness. The personality is an activity, a movement, always going one place or the other, always feeling something, thinking something, wanting something, desiring something. Essence is not like that. Essence is just Being. You are. What you are has nothing to do with what you want, what you don’t want, what you do or don’t do. It is just there. You could be doing anything, and the Being is there, and that is you.

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