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Journey of Ascent

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Journey of Ascent

A Simple Overview of the Path of the Soul

The second element of this book, largely in the second half of the book, is a simple overview of the path of the soul’s journey to the realization and embodiment of Being, as developed in the Diamond Approach, and again referenced to the best of our knowledge to various traditional and psychological sources. Here we explore the essence of the soul, her true nature, its aspects, dimensions, and integration into the soul. In the second half of the book, the exploration of the essence of the soul develops into an explication of the inner journey as it reaches and integrates the ultimate true nature, the final ground of all existence. We discuss this journey in terms of five coemergent boundless dimensions of Being, clarifying our understanding of both normal and enlightened awareness, and how they relate to each other. We refer to the inner journey discussed to this point as the journey of ascent, in which the soul ascends the various subtle dimensions of Reality.

A View that Departs from the Progressive Way of Looking at Things

In this book, I am presenting a view that not only expands the view that we have been developing over the years in our teaching contexts but, at the same time, also departs from the progressive way of looking at things, departs from the view of aspects and vehicles and dimensions of true nature. The view of totality is basically a departure from the view of the journey of ascent and descent. So far in the teaching, we have mostly been working from the perspective of a journey of ascent—going deeper and deeper into the nature of reality—and a journey of descent, in which we integrate those realizations into our life. This doesn’t mean that, instead of the gradual path, I am now presenting the sudden path to enlightenment. In fact, the question of gradual or sudden is irrelevant to the view I am presenting …… The view I am presenting here is that this journey has no end. The moment we see that the journey has no end, everything changes. The whole idea of progression, of the journey of ascent and descent, appears differently. That sense of progression is one way in which we can understand reality, but reality doesn’t have to be understood only in that way. It is precisely because the teaching has proceeded in a gradual and progressive way that we can now see reality in novel and unexpected ways. What I’ve noticed in my experience is that it is always the case that when we are working with the manifestation of true nature, learning about something means transcending it. In other words, learning about reality—realizing it and understanding it in a particular, awakened way—always means going beyond that reality.

Characterizing the Journey of Ascent

The journey of ascent is characterized by the movement up the ladder of this ontological hierarchy. Each step is a penetration of a dimension, which is the same thing as the shedding of its characteristic mode of experience. The movement upward is also a movement toward greater simplicity, for what is shed is basically fundamental concepts and differentiations of Reality. And what we find through this shedding is that there is actually no leaving of the old dimension, but a movement to a greater ground that contains and supports the previous one. A metaphor that illustrates this is the dimensions that exist in our bodies. Molecules form a dimension larger and more fundamental than the dimension of organs. Yet, the dimension of atoms is larger and more fundamental than that of molecules, and the dimension of elementary particles is more fundamental than that. Each deeper or more fundamental dimension is simpler, but contains the one previous to it.

Shifting Identity of the Soul

The integration of the point diamond vehicle and its wisdom facilitates the shift from the journey of ascent to that of descent. There is now freedom from the fixation of self, for at this juncture identity is essential presence that can flow as any quality or dimension. Identity has been shifting for the soul, from ego identity based on historical impressions, to essential identity in any of the essential aspects, to boundless identity of true nature on the dimensions of divine love, pure presence, nonconceptual awareness, and finally the absolute. Through the self-realization of the absolute dimension identity becomes established as the absolute, for identity has no more place for it to unfold. Before this juncture the identity of the soul, her sense of self-recognition, has been in continual unfoldment, going deeper and subtler. Self-realization in the journey of ascent goes through stages as the dimension of what and who the soul is unfolds to deeper and subtler dimensions of Being. (See The Point of Existence for a detailed discussion of this shift of identity.) In actuality the soul is always unfolding, for it is the nature of the soul to change and flow; however, the unfoldment of her identity is a sub-process that forms the deeper and most central part of the inner journey.

The Journey Toward Absolute Simplicity Through a Process of Continual Shedding

She recognizes that her inner journey to the absolute has been a journey of ascent, of moving from the lowest and grossest dimensions of experience to the summit of subtlety and truth. In this journey of ascent, the process has been primarily that of discrimination, separation, purification, and resolution. Her nature reveals itself as simpler, more subtle, and increasingly devoid of forms, qualities, determinations, and concepts. The journey moves toward absolute simplicity, through a process of continual shedding. All forms and dimensions are shed, to reveal the perfect simplicity and emptiness of the absolute. Absolute simplicity turns out to be absolute transcendence, the transcendence of all forms and dimensions of manifestation. Her journey has taken her deeper and deeper, steadily leaving behind more superficial dimensions, until she has arrived at the absolute depth of all experience, as the dimension of depth itself, which is simultaneously the transcendent summit of all dimensions and manifest forms.

Two Parts of the Inner Journey

We can view the inner journey home as comprising two parts, the journey of ascent and the journey of descent. The journey of ascent includes the journey to presence and the journey with presence, as described in chapter 15. These two journeys include the discovery of the soul, that of essence in its aspects, and finally of the diamond vehicles. The last part of the journey of ascent is the revelation of the five boundless dimensions. The integration of each of the five dimensions is like a journey on its own, similar to the two first journeys. It includes understanding the body, emotions, and thoughts on this dimension. It also includes the integration of the soul, essential aspects, and diamond vehicles. The essential development of the soul proceeds all over again, now within a new ground and attaining a new identity, the boundless true nature itself. The journey in presence includes this part of the journey of ascent, i.e., the integration of the five boundless dimensions, but also the journey of descent. The journey of descent includes the integration of the five boundless dimensions into a unified whole, recognizing and understanding them as dimensions of the same true nature, coemergent in such a way that they simultaneously structure the full experience of nondual self-realization. In the journey of ascent the soul climbs up the ladder of Reality until she reaches the most subtle dimension of true nature, the absolute. Then she descends by going back and integrating the various dimensions she has passed through in the journey of ascent into this most subtle dimension.

Two Perspectives of the Boundless Dimensions

The Diamond Approach includes two perspectives about the relation of the boundless dimensions to each other. That of the journey of ascent views them as hierarchically ordered in increasing subtlety and fundamentality, while that of the journey of descent views them as inseparable and always coemergent.

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