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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Light?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Light

Approaching Transcendent Light

As we approach the transcendent light, we see less because we are accustomed to seeing white, colored, or clear light. When we do not see these, we believe we do not see and do not know; in fact, we are seeing black light and knowing the transcendent light. As we are enveloped increasingly in this beautiful and intimate darkness we see less and less of the manifestation, and more of this light, which is pure night. Hence, the increasing darkness can actually be recognized as an increase in the direct and intimate knowing of the transcendent true nature. It is because of this that there is an intensification and deepening of the sense of intimacy, love, contentment, peace, that mystics are known to experience in the divine darkness. When we completely know it, when we are totally one with it, when we are the transcendent light, we see nothing and experience nothing. It is a condition of absolute cessation of the light of knowledge and consciousness, for true nature is beyond such light. True nature is the source of light. What some call a complete lack of knowledge is, in some sense, a complete knowledge of transcendence. What do we expect transcendence to be? It is absolute nonmanifestation, and true nature requires the mirror of forms in order for it to reflect and know itself the way we understand knowing. Transcendence knowing itself is simply absolutely being itself, where the beingness of itself is completely absolute, and hence there is no hint of self-reflection, not even self-awareness. Self-awareness is already the beginning of manifestation.

Beings of Light

If we experience ourselves in our true self-existing condition, we will see what we actually are. We are beings of light.... We are beings of light in the fluid state—completely frictionless, completely luminous, totally radiant and free. Now, everybody knows that because light has no mass and no weight, gravity does not affect it. So, in our True Nature, we have no heaviness, no thickness, no weight. We are substantial only in the sense that fluid light has a fullness, a bodyness to it. But that fullness, that substantiality, is completely light and smooth. That is the nature of awareness. And because it is light, it doesn't help us see—it is what sees, it is what perceives. Thus light, awareness, consciousness, perception, sensitivity are all the same thing.

Conscious Presence that is Also Light, a Glowing Radiance that is Like the Very Substance of Light

I described in chapter 1 how this conscious presence is also light, a glowing radiance that is like the very substance of light, as if it’s made up of an ocean of photons, but not physical ones—they’re photons of a more spiritual kind. We know that light is fundamental to existence, and what we see now is that light in the physical universe is only one manifestation of this inner light. The nature of this boundless consciousness is light and radiant, while also light in the sense of weightless. It is illuminated and without heaviness, and yet experienced as a fullness and a hereness. Its presence is unmistakable. What we also recognize is that although this presence has no weight, it has a flavour, a taste and a texture. Its texture is a softness, an incredibly delicate softness, like a baby’s skin. It’s like the most delicate powder, almost like fluffy clouds, but clouds that are warm and not wet. This delicate soft texture can be both felt and tasted as sweet. It’s an exquisite kind of sweetness.

Disappearance of All Light

Beyond this experience, all light disappears, all awareness ceases. There is no perception of anything; there is simply no experience. When the soul is completely concentrated on the absolute there is nothing to perceive, for to perceive total darkness is not to perceive. Light is the awareness that arises out of this total darkness, revealing that the absolute is prior to light, awareness, and consciousness. This experience of cessation is the experience of complete ego death, for it is going beyond the world of manifestation, beyond even awareness of the world of manifestation. There is no awareness of self or soul, for there is no awareness at all, without this being unconsciousness or sleep. When awareness looks out again, which we experience as the return of awareness, the manifest universe reappears. With the return of awareness the logos appears as the displaying of time and space, and all the phenomena of the universe. We are here the absolute, the luminous night, witnessing appearance arising within it, out of it, but we still experience ourselves as the immense stillness and stupendous silence underlying all existence and all appearance. We feel fresh and clear, as if our consciousness has dipped into the cleansing energies of the source, and returned renewed and rejuvenated. This is similar to the rejuvenation we experience after deep sleep, except we are here clear and awake, bright and lucid.

Light Experiences Only the Now

You can see, then, why it is difficult to think logically from the perspective of light. The universe appears differently for light. As we have seen, light doesn't age, and time doesn't pass for it. So there is no such thing as boredom, because there is no history, and there is no such thing as future. What does that mean for us as human beings having experiences? If there is no history, no future, then nothing affects me. How can I be affected if it is only the now that is real, that is present? And if I recognize that there is only the now, what is the point of trying to change my experience? Any attempt to alter your experience, to improve it means that you believe that there is a future and you are living for that future. You are saying no to the now out of hope for some better future. But for light, that better future never comes. Whenever we want to advance to a better future, we disconnect, we cut off from the path of light. Light experiences only the now, the very moment. It recognizes that what is now is what is, that what reality is is the now-ness of this moment. Even if you just look at this logically, what else is there but now? The rest of it is really just stories in our mind. If you believe the stories of your mind, you believe in past and future as possibilities.

Light that is Always Forming Itself Into one Thing or Another

When I am my True Nature as a being of light, I am like a field, a presence, an effulgence. This doesn’t mean that I am like the steady bright light we experience coming from the sun. Our True Nature is not just a medium of light, a transparent, luminous presence. It is magical light—light that continues to be a light but is always changing. It changes its color, its shape, its density, its texture. It can actually take on the forms of emotions, thoughts, images, and sensations. This light that I am is always forming itself into one thing or another. And this forming itself into one thing or another I recognize as the various experiences that I have. If the light is sometimes a white light and sometimes a green light, we might think this means that first it was white and then it became green and therefore some time must have passed. But if we are in the light, if we are the light, the change from white to green is not from the past to the future. Transformation does not occur in a progression from the past to the present to the future, which is how we usually think of it and experience it. The change, instead, is more of an outflow: The forms just appear, they arise out of nowhere. The source of our experience is not the past as our mind understands it, but some mysterious immediacy of the moment. So the movement is from no form to the presence of form, from nothing to something, and it is instantaneous. Our eyes see a constancy of forms, but our actual experience is of an ever-fresh arising of those forms in an unfolding now. And perceived changes are simply the patterns in the outflowing of the forms.

Pure Presence is Clear Light Because it is Not Reflected or Refracted Light

Pure being is complete being because it is transcendent being, the source of all. It is the original and primordial presence of true nature, before it manifests through the display of its qualities, qualities that it possesses totally but implicitly in its completeness. As transcendent being, it is not differentiated into qualities. Pure being is non-differentiated presence, presence before differentiation. Pure presence is simply true nature before it differentiates into its discriminated aspects of presence. The central insight here is that pure presence is non-differentiated presence. The implication is that it is like white light, and the aspects are like its prismatic colors. However, pure presence is not white, but colorless. It is clear light. It is clear light because it is not a reflected light and not a refracted light. It is a self-existing light, which appears directly in awareness as clear light, and is experienced as pure transparent presence. The dimension of pure presence is more fundamental than any of the essential aspects, and more fundamental than divine love, because it is prior to the arising of the differentiated qualities of presence. Differentiated means not complete; a particular essential aspect has only one element of the completeness of pure presence. We see here that simplicity is actually more complete than richness, even though we might see richness as more abundant. We also recognize here that the deeper we go into our realization of true nature, the nearer we are to its transcendence, the simpler it will appear in experience.

The Body of Light is Agelessness

You might not have thought about that, but scientifically, it is known that light is ageless. We don’t experience that because we are not traveling with light; we are looking at it from outside. This is just like looking at our True Nature from the outside, from the perspective of the physical body: We keep experiencing the passage of time, and therefore we assume that time must pass for our True Nature, too. But if we are in the stance of our True Nature, things can change around us, and our body still changes, but the experience is that there is no passage of time. And that is because the experience of that body of light is agelessness, endlessness—always now, now, now, never changing, that ever-fresh now, this very moment always. 

The First Light that Manifests is Non-Conceptual Light, Pure Awareness

In experiencing the absolute, we perceive a transparent and clear space, but dark, so dark it is absolutely black. The blackness is not a color, but the absence of light. In other words, non-conceptual awareness possesses light while the absolute is ontologically prior to light. They are both transcendent to being and nonbeing, but they differ in their relation to light. We can say that the absolute is the mystery prior to light, but at the same time the source of light. The first light that manifests in it is the non-conceptual light, pure awareness. In other words, both are empty of ultimate existence, but the absolute is much more empty. It is even empty of light, awareness, and hence can be experienced as cessation. Looking into pure awareness we see transparent and light-filled space, pervading all manifest forms, and constituting them. Looking into the absolute we first see darkness, but if we focus on it completely, our awareness spontaneously turns around and we find ourselves witnessing manifestation. We see the manifestation as possessing a ground of pure non-conceptual awareness, but this ground now appears as a manifestation within the absolute.

The Light of Awareness

The recognition of the truth—if you truly glimpse it, if you see it in its actuality—brings more awareness, which opens up your experience. It means that you can see more—as if there were more light available. This is referred to as the light of awareness. It is the penetration of the light of your True Nature into your experience. When you see the truth, when you have insight about what is happening, it is as though a light had broken through. That is what it means to have insight: insight brings enlightenment. And it is actually more literal than that. You see ignorance and shadow clearing away and brightness coming through into your experience. What is the light that does this? It is the light of your nature. It is the light of who and what you are. So, by seeing the truth of where you are, you are learning to be real and you are learning to be yourself.

The Luminous Light that Overflows the Personal Boundaries of the Soul

When her rigid structures are made transparent through the unfolding of her process, the soul feels this as an increase in consciousness and presence. At a heightened level of intensity this presence reveals itself as luminous light that now overflows her personal boundaries; the overflow that melts these boundaries is actually the overflow of divine love and grace. Thus it reveals itself as the boundless ocean of Being and love, consciousness and light, the substance and true nature of everything. She experiences herself as a form held by this loving light, inseparable from it. She is an offspring of the divine light, one of its loving and exquisite manifestations. But her light can grow so intense that even her sense of being a form of light becomes outshone, and she recognizes herself as the light itself, in its boundlessness and infinity. She is then the true nature of everything; she is the ground. More exactly, she is everything, as one divine being, where substance and form are wedded into an inseparable Reality. She is ultimately true nature itself, in its divine boundlessness and omnipresent grace. All things are equal, equalized by the unity of appearance.

The Source of All Luminosity and Light

We experience ourselves as a vastness, an immensity, an expanse so deep it is absolutely dark. Though dark and still, inscrutable and silent, it is the source of all luminosity and light. And within this immeasurable immensity, we witness the process of creation. We see a dynamic presence, the divine logos, flowing out of the absolute, revealing its potentialities as the manifest reality, disclosing its mysteries as the multidimensional manifold of existence and experience. Yet, because of the infinity of the absolute we see this manifold as a surface phenomenon, as if the absolute is so pure and pristine that it glitters and shines, its brilliance forming a surface, colorful and luminous. This colorful and luminous surface of radiance is continually scintillating with colors and forms, shapes and patterns. We witness an unfolding surface of clear and variegated light, whose pattern is the totality of creation. The absolute is prior to light, but also its source and ultimate nature and mystery. The light is the unfolding logos, whose pattern is the totality of existence, a dynamic unified manifold. The scintillating light is one unified surface, with no parts and no partitions, a field of radiance full of intelligence and truth, reality and significance. The background of this unfoldment, the absolute, is so totally dark it appears black, but luminous crystal clear black. We experience it as beyond the world. The world looks like a transparent picture, as if it were a soap bubble with pictures on it. It looks like a reflection on the inside of a transparent bubble, within the infinite immensity of the crystalline absolute. This perception changes depending on how involved we are in the manifestation, or how concentrated we are on the absolute.

True Nature is Similar to the Nature of Light

The truth is that our True Nature is similar to the nature of light, which is timeless and which we can experience in the moment as the now-ness of the moment. But if we are oriented toward the future, we are not allowing ourselves to be where we are, which is now, and we are also leaving, dissociating from, the moment. Our nature is light, pure now-ness, so to operate from the perspective of a future that can get better or worse means that we are dissociating ourselves from our True Nature. How am I going to be myself if I do that? How am I going to be where I am?

Brilliancy, pg. 158

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