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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Luminosity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Luminosity

Bursts of Luminosity

Every insight you arrive at is a burst of luminosity, but surrounding that insight is a sea of mystery. This sea of mystery is fundamental for the arising of the insight; without it there will be no space for this burst of luminosity. At the same time, this luminosity is an expression of the mystery and helps us to approach this mystery. In contrast, when we live in the realm of ordinary knowledge, our mind is thick with knowledge. Knowing is all around us, in the form of things we know—rocks, people, likes and dislikes, colors, feelings, memories. Everywhere we turn, there is only old knowledge, no mystery—except in mystery stories. Our conscious minds would have us believe that we are living in an environment of ordinary knowledge, while what really surrounds us is an environment of mystery, of not-knowing. That which truly exists at any moment is not-knowing, with few little bursts of luminosity, of direct, basic knowledge. Yet we do not find ourselves in this reality; our identity is located within our mind, this universe of thoughts and concepts and memories that would have us believe that we know what is going on. Once in a while, when there is a little gap in that knowledge, we freak out: “Oh, there’s something here I don’t know. What am I going to do next?” In reality, however, not knowing is so fundamental, so important for us, that without it we can never know anything new.

Dynamic Luminosity of the Absolute

The variegated radiance of the absolute manifests at my physical locus as a flow inseparable from movement. I experience the silence and stillness of the absolute as the center of experience, and the soul as a flow of changes, movements and functioning. More accurately, the movement and functioning appear as fluctuations in the flow of consciousness that is the soul. The stillness and silence are coemergent with the flow. This indicates the integration of the soul’s functioning with the absolute. The absolute emptiness is so completely united with the flowing consciousness of the soul that the visual effect is that the movements are very subtle luminations of the absolute. At my locus the black vastness seems to flow with a dynamic luminosity. The absolute displays not only an inherent luminosity but also a magical dynamism.

Experiencing the Body Without the Filter of Ordinary Knowledge

For instance, our knowledge patterns our experience to the extent that we actually experience a physical reality. We end up believing that there is such a thing as physical reality and physical matter. In fact, we are completely convinced that physical reality is a fundamental truth. In objective reality, there is no such thing as the physical world that we know. If we experience our body without the filter of ordinary knowledge, we will not experience a physical body, we will experience a fluid patterning of luminosity. Our experience is so conditioned and determined, that not only do we believe we have and are a body, we believe in something more basic that underlies this belief: that the body is the body as we take it to be. For most people, this is absolutely true: The body is physical matter that is born and hurts and dies. From that point of view, how can we possibly think of it as a fluid patterning of luminosity? This is just an example, maybe a little extreme, to tell us how far the patterning of ordinary knowledge goes. In the initial stages, the process of inquiry is mostly an investigation of ordinary knowledge. Why? Because it is an investigation of our present experience, and if we have an experience and don’t know its meaning, that tells us there is a piece of ordinary knowledge implicit in it that we don’t see yet. So by exploring your present experience, you are actually exploring how ordinary knowledge is patterning it.

In the Essential Realm Luminosity is Self-Existing

What do we mean by “it is finally the unification”? I mean that as it transforms in front of your eyes, it also transforms your personality more and more, so that you can accommodate it and allow it, transmuting from one essential quality to the next, the entire gamut of human unfoldment, until finally it manifests itself. It is all the qualities of fulfillment of mind, heart and will, and more. It is sometimes called the “Father,” in the sense that it is the overseer, the umbrella, or source of all aspects, the all-protector, the all knower. And it is no longer light or love or substance or space or existence— there is no analogy for it in physical reality. In physical reality we see differentiation only. We see qualities only in their differentiated form. We can see green representing compassion and aliveness. We can see red representing energy and strength. We can see clear space representing clarity. We can see yellow representing joy, and gold as truth. However, we can see further that each color, when it becomes very shiny, has luminosity; even black has luminosity. Space itself can have luminosity. Imagine that all these qualities shine even more, until there is only luminosity. The elixir of enlightenment is the luminosity itself. It is not the luminosity of something; the luminosity itself is the source of everything. Usually we think of luminosity or brilliance as a quality of something, as an intensity of a color or quality. You don’t usually perceive it as self-existing. But in the essential realm, it is self-existing, and is the source of all qualities as the innate synthesis of them all.

Luminosity Can Arise in the Complete Realization of the Essential Identity

The realization of the point can become so complete that one goes not only beyond mind, but also beyond time. The experience then is of the absence of time, of timelessness, or of time stopping. The presence is totally in the now without a hint of the past. One feels that time has ceased to pass. One lives now in a wonderful universe of realization, insight, wonder, and profundity. Many perceptions arise and a continuity of being persists, but the experience that is the door to it all is when one realizes, “I am,” without this being a thought. This “I-am-ness” is the primary experience of the Essential Identity that gives the self the capacity to experience Being, in any manifestation or dimension, in a nondual way. Then one can be love, can be stillness, can be luminosity, can be harmony .

Reality is One Unified Field of Luminosity

We could describe the path toward realization in this way: Our desire to understand where we are and who we are takes us on an initial journey of learning to have more and more insight about our ordinary experience. Gradually, we come to recognize the relationship of ordinary experience to deeper levels of reality—how it reflects True Nature. Eventually, we are able to see how our individual experience is nothing but True Nature, and we move toward the realization of pure Being—the oneness that is nondual reality. This recognition of the nondual ground of experience is the realization that there is basically only presence. Presence is what exists, what is, and everything that exists is a form that presence takes. Reality is one unified field of luminosity that differentiates itself into the various perceptions that we have. Thus, True Nature and Being are really the same thing as truth, or reality. All those terms mean the same thing: presence that is in a condition of conscious full realization. In this condition, experience is not filtered through the mind; things are experienced exactly as they are. We see their nature and recognize that it is True Nature—which turns out to be the nature of everything, all the way down to the tiniest particle. This means that nothing exists but True Nature. It pervades everything so intimately, so completely, that it doesn’t leave any one spot unoccupied by it.

Recognizing Clear Light as a Form in Itself

The perception of luminosity in nondual realization may allow us to recognize clear light as a form in itself. It is the everlasting ground of all phenomena, but it can also be experienced as a state in itself, as clear essence in the soul. When we experience it thus we experience it as presence. Clear light, or transparent luminosity, turns out to be the ground presence of essential manifestations. It is pure being, authentic nondifferentiated presence. When we experience it in its inseparability from emptiness we recognize true nature as the coemergence of being and nonbeing. But this state is totally nonconceptual, and this conceptual description does not communicate the experience completely. Here we experience everything as radiance, as the presence yet absence of existence. It is a completely paradoxical perception if we look at it conceptually. Experientially it is simplicity itself—clarity, lightness, and freedom. We cannot say we exist, and we cannot say we do not exist. In fact, it does not occur to us to say one or the other, because in this experience the concept of existence, or being, is gone without even a memory of it. True nature, here, is nonconceptual, has gone beyond all conceptual dichotomies, including those of being and nonbeing.

The Clarity and Luminosity of the Absolute are Implicit, Not Manifest

Coemergence reveals that the awareness of the absolute is totally inseparable from its emptiness. Emptiness and awareness are two sides of the absolute, totally coemergent and inseparable. I cannot say that the absolute is clarity or luminosity, because it is much more. I cannot say it is simply emptiness, for it is so rich and so present. As the absolute I recognize myself as awareness which is presence, which is at the same time a lightness, an emptiness. My emptiness is my presence, and my presence is my awareness. I see that the absolute has a luminosity, a clarity, but not the same as clear light or pure presence. Clear light is colorless, transparent luminosity, a very light and delicate presence. Pure presence is also colorless and transparent, but with a sense of fullness. These levels of consciousness can apprehend the absolute, and can be manifest by the absolute as the ground of all appearance. Yet the clarity and luminosity of the absolute are even subtler than these very subtle forms of consciousness. Its clarity and luminosity are implicit, not manifest. Its blackness is not the absence of light, but its source. The inherent clarity of the absolute is prior to light. There is complete absence of obscurations. The fact that it is nonbeing makes it totally transparent, without this transparency appearing as clear light. But since, on the other hand, the absolute is not a vacant emptiness, but what truly is, this transparency becomes awareness. The awareness of its facticity is then inherent in the reality of its facticity. This inherent clarity of the absolute is its own intrinsic knowingness. Its facticity is inherently knowing. I experience this knowing as an implicit clear light, not differentiated as clear light, but which can plumb the depths of the absolute. It is a clear consciousness completely inseparable from the absolute.

The Emptiness of Forms is Always Accompanied by Luminosity

With more discrimination in this experience of the emptiness of everything, we may observe that there is another characteristic that always accompanies the emptiness. In the experience of true nature in its nonduality with manifestation, we observe that forms are not only transparent and empty of substantial existence, but that they are also luminous. Emptiness never appears simply as the emptiness of forms; such experience is always accompanied by luminosity, although the luminosity may not be consciously or directly perceived except upon investigation. Upon further inquiry we can recognize that all forms appear as forms of transparent radiant light. Thus we see that it is not only emptiness that is apparently unchanging; so is luminosity. In some sense, emptiness reveals the transparency of things, disclosing that they are forms that clear light, or transparent luminosity, assumes. We find, then, that luminosity, clarity, or clear light is a permanent ground of all phenomena. At the same time we cannot separate the experience of this clarity from that of the emptiness of all things. Emptiness characterizes the ground of clear light, so we cannot say that clear light exists in the conventional sense. This observation may lead us to take the view that true nature is clear light inseparable from emptiness, or empty clear light.

The Optimizing Thrust of Being is a Movement toward More Lumination in Basic Knowledge

The optimizing thrust of Being is an inherent, dynamic intelligence in basic knowledge that, when left to its own without our interference, will tend to create more luminosity in its knowingness. So the optimizing thrust is a movement toward more lumination in basic knowledge, and inquiry is an expression of this movement, this intelligent dynamism. When basic knowledge frees itself from the influence of ordinary knowledge, it becomes more luminous and begins to experience itself more immediately and more intimately. In that process, it will also come to know itself as presence, as beingness.

The Ordinary Knowledge of the World Veils the Luminosity of Appearances

It is clear to my understanding that the ordinary knowledge of the world, the knowledge put together by memory and thought, veils the luminosity of appearances, and makes the various forms appear opaque. This opaqueness obstructs the perception of the underlying reality of the forms, by eliminating their inherent transparency. Thus the world is solidified into something inert and dismembered. And when the opaqueness is dispersed, through understanding its sources, perception beholds shapes and colors that reveal a reality so pure, so fresh, so new and undefiled that consciousness is totally transported, as if seared from within by a cool Arctic wind. I see through everything, through the surfaces of the various forms, and behold what underlies everything, what fundamentally constitutes all. I penetrate to the center of the universe, to the real nature of existence. What I behold baffles the mind, shatters it and enchants it beyond all knowing: The universe is one infinite perfect crystal, totally transparent, and absolutely clear. A density and immensity beyond comprehension, a solidity infinitely more fundamental than physical matter. The reality of the world is a solid transparency, a compact emptiness so clear it feels like the total absence of any sensation. This sheer clarity, this solid void, is so empty of mind and concept that it feels exhiliratingly fresh, so uncorrupted that it strikes me as the very essence of innocence. It is the virgin reality, before mind arises, before thought knows, before memory is born.

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