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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Muscle?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Muscle

Contractions Induced by the Personality on the Body

If you look deeply at the personality functioning in the body, beyond the verbal level in your awareness, and if you’re not actively acting from your frustration, you can see these strands of contractions. If you feel this very deeply, and let the tension relax without identifying, the big thick contraction dissolves and you see the very thin strands of what we call the negative merging affect itself. They are like lines, like nerves that still have a contraction, a dryness in them. And when you reach that place, you can begin to understand the activity of the personality. You will see that the moment there is some impulse in you, an intention to react, even to act to pay attention to something, you feel these strands of contraction and the effect of them. You’ll feel first of all that your breathing becomes more intentional, rather than spontaneous. You’ll feel that your muscles start to become tense. The action of the personality is simply those strands getting squeezed together to make a big, thick strand of tension. This is what you feel as will, as determination. This determination is a springboard for your action. The personality cannot act unless all of these strands are massed together to move from. Without that, there is nothing. There is an emptiness you can’t jump from.

Discriminating Experience with Inner Touch

The inner touch can become very precise in its discrimination of these textures in the soul. For instance, you can feel the Water Essence—the quality of human vulnerability—as crystal-clear stream water washing you from the inside. But you can also feel it on the subtle lataif level as water vapor, on deeper level in the fuller form of regular water, or on the diamond level, in the solidified form of an ice crystal. You can discriminate all of these experiences just through sensing the different textures with the sense of inner touch. For this subtle sense to awaken, however, our usual perception of our physical body must first become quite refined. This means increasing the sensitivity not only to our skin but also to whatever is inside our body—the muscles, organs, and so on. When the subtle sensitivity is highly developed, you can travel the entire journey using only the inner touch, because you can discriminate very minutely with it.

Experiencing the Personal Essence

The Personal Essence fullness is the presence of consciousness in a unique sensation of firmness, strength, smoothness, dense fluidity and flexibility. One experiences oneself as a full and rounded presence, like a firm, strong and well-developed muscle, vibrant with robust life and sensuous pleasure. One is truly full for one is the consciousness of fullness itself. There is no deficiency or lack. One is the sensuousness, the smoothness, the firmness, the robustness, the aliveness, which are not characteristics of some object, but are the actual constituents of the beingness and substance of the Personal Essence itself. These characteristics of the consciousness of the Personal Essence are not described here in a metaphorical or allegorical way. Certain aspects are described in some of the more esoteric areas of the traditional spiritual literature, Taoist and Sufi for example, and these descriptions are very like much of the experience of many of our students, who show a remarkable consistency in their reports in this regard.

Riemannian Manifold of the Soul

Viewing our consciousness in terms of its dimensions, we see that it is not a three- or four-dimensional field, but a multidimensional manifold, a manifold in the sense that it is a dynamic structure of dynamic structures. This manifold is characterized by a nonlinear—Riemannian—geometry, in that all the dimensions open up to all the others in nonlinear ways.6 Even in ordinary human experience, we can be aware of many different levels of experience in a given moment. For example we might be aware of an activation in the muscles, a certain state of alertness accompanied by deep breathing; at the same time we feel an emotional sense of excitement and anticipation. We also might be thinking and planning some action while in this state. If we are aware of more subtle levels, we might be aware of a sense of strength, of the presence of strength as essence, and a kind of clarity and spaciousness and sense of universal will holding and moving our experience. We might at the same time be aware of the fundamental presence of Reality and the dynamism of our experience and of everything in Reality. Everything connects with everything else in the soul.

Unification of the Physical and the Essential Dimensions

In nonduality, the unification is complete. This is very different from one’s initial experiences of essential reality in which there is you and your body, and Essence is felt to be inside you. To understand the difference, let’s suppose that the state of Essence you are experiencing is the Pearl, the Personal Essence. In this case, you feel as though a full pearl is filling your belly or the whole of your body. Now, imagine that instead of the pearl filling your belly or your body, each one of your atoms is made out of that pearl. The sense of each atom as a pearl is still physical, but it feels like the fullness of the pearly existence. This is what I mean by unity. The physical and the essential become one. It is not that the physical is filled by the essential, but rather that the physical is the essential. In the same way that your muscles are composed of atoms, so the whole of your body is made out of Beingness.

Facets of Unity, pg. 87

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