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Nature (Ultimate Nature)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Nature (Ultimate Nature)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Nature (Ultimate Nature)

A Very Profound Dimension Which Shows Us Our Ultimate Nature

However, from this perspective, not only the Personal Essence is seen to be a concept, but so are love, compassion, consciousness, awareness and so on. In other words, from the perspective of the supreme reality of the undifferentiated aspect of Being, all aspects of Essence are seen to be conceptual (as well as, for that matter, the entirety of the physical world, including the body). Only the unqualified Being exists, and differentiation and discrimination are only appearance, ultimately unreal. This is the nature of the experience of the nonconceptual reality of Being, of Being-as-such. This experience also feels so real, so profound and so comprehensive that it has a flavor of finality to it. It is experienced as an objective fact. In the theistic traditions it is usually equated with God, the Supreme Being. One of the most well-known Sufi shaikhs, Ibn ‘Arabi, writes about the Supreme Being:

And when it is allowed that the existence of the beggar and the existence of the sick are His existence, it is allowed that thy existence is His existence, and that the existence of all created things, both accidents and substances, is His existence. 

Also from this perspective, it is not only that there is no person; there is also no life and no humanity. All are concepts, appearance, the dance of Maya or the dream of God. This is a very profound dimension, which shows us our ultimate nature. This level of realization is required for complete freedom from ego identifications. It is, nevertheless, only a part of the true potential of the human being. In a sense it is the ultimate dimension, but it is not the only dimension. There are other dimensions of Being, the dimensions of Essence, those of differentiated Being. 

Being is Synonymous with True Nature, which is the Essence or Ultimate Nature

We have said that spiritual realization is a matter of experiencing reality without representations. This experience is what we refer to then as Being; Being is contrasted to representing. So, in spiritual work we are basically working on seeing and penetrating representations to get to the reality underlying them. The point is to experience ourselves immediately, and not through the intermediacy of our representations of ourselves. Spiritual realization also means experiencing everything immediately, and not through the intermediacy of our representations. We experience everything then as Being, as thereness, as presence. More precisely, we use the term “Being” to refer to what is experienced when our awareness is not experiencing through the intermediacy of representations. Being is synonymous with true nature, which is the essence or ultimate nature. 

The Void, pg. 153

Emptiness is Simply a Way of Referring to the Indeterminacy of Ultimate Nature

This mystery, this sense of indeterminacy, has been explored by many people, and many teachings and formulations exist to describe it. One way of looking at it is that the ultimate nature of things cannot be described, cannot be determined. You cannot make any definite statement about it, you cannot take any position about it. Some equate ultimate nature with emptiness but are quick to say that there is no “something” there called emptiness. Emptiness is simply a way of referring to the indeterminacy of ultimate nature. This means that you cannot say it exists, you cannot say it does not exist, and you cannot say it neither exists nor doesn’t exist. This way is called the way of negation, in the sense that you negate everything you can say or determine about ultimate nature. I think this is a very clever and subtle way of understanding the indeterminacy of the essence of our Being. However, the adventure of inquiry is based on a slightly different perspective on the mystery. Some would say that you cannot say anything about the mystery because whatever you say is going to be inaccurate, and therefore it is better not to say anything. The perspective I prefer is that the essence of Being is amenable to descriptions. You can actually say a great deal about it, just as the mystical poets have been doing for thousands of years. You can say it is emptiness, you can say it is mystery, you can say it is stillness, you can say it is peace, you can say it is neither existence nor nonexistence, you can say it is the ultimate beloved, you can say it is the annihilation of all ego, you can say it is the source of all awareness, you can say it is the ground of everything, you can say it is our true identity, you can say it is dimensionless nonlocality, and so on. Each one of these descriptions is saying something about it. Thus the mystery of Being can be seen as having two different implications. I believe the more fruitful one is not that there is nothing you can say about it, but that you can never exhaust what you can say about it.

Essence Does Not Have Potential for It is the Ground of All Potential, the Ultimate Nature

Essence is always pure, eternally immaculate, everlastingly perfect. This is the reason why many wisdom traditions speak of realization as recognizing the inherent perfection of Reality. Our true nature is primordially pure, complete; it does not need to develop or be clarified. This can lead, and has led, to much confusion about the inner journey, whether it is the discovery of a primordial perfection or the process of perfection. This also resulted in the conceptual dichotomy of gradual and sudden paths of enlightenment. Understanding soul and essence, and the relation between them, clarifies such confusion. Soul grows and develops. She does this by actualizing her potential. The central potential she needs to actualize is her essence. Realizing her essential nature she is enlightened. Her essence is her deepest and most central potential, but it is a particular potential, one of the elements that constitute her potential. Essence does not have potential, for it is the ground of all potential, the ultimate nature. Realizing essence we recognize we are primordially and fundamentally immaculate and complete. The soul develops, and her spiritual development is the actualization and realization of essence. But in the state of self-realization, development does not make sense, for we are then essence, which is perfection and completeness itself. 

It is the Nature of Reality to Take You Closer to Its Ultimate Nature

Our orientation, then, is toward freedom: complete and total independence from any state or dimension. We see that any state is fine if it is completely surrendered to. What the state depends on is Holy Will, and not on your desires. That is always the case, since that is the objective fact of Holy Will. So the more that you approach your process in this way, the more you will naturally move into the boundless dimensions and, ultimately, into Holy Truth. This will happen on its own because it is the nature of reality to progressively reveal itself, taking you closer and closer to its ultimate nature, so there is no need to direct your process toward it. If you try to push your process in any direction, you are really just standing in your own way. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 138

Seeing True Manifestations of Reality in their Ultimate Nature

Part of this power to cut through comes from the particular understanding of knowledge that the Black diamond provides. The knowledge that is characteristic of identifications and concepts does not exist in any fundamental or ultimate manner. So when we talk about the sharp edge as cutting, this cutting is merely understanding that, “Oh, what I have taken as truth is just a concept, a creation of my mind. I was identifying with something that isn’t real.” It is not that somebody comes and slashes through something. Annihilation doesn’t mean that something that is there ceases to be there. It is more accurate to say that what is there becomes seen in its true nature. Our mental fabrications are exposed as such, and true manifestations of reality are seen in their ultimate nature, neither existing nor not existing. They appear, but never really exist. This means that as things are displayed, they are never solidified. They just keep getting displayed, without ever really existing. 

The Absolute is Not Only the Nature of Everything but is Itself Everything

Other teachings conceptualize the absolute not as the nonbeing underlying all being, but as the coemergence of being and nonbeing. In other words, such teachings use the term absolute to refer to the coemergence and inseparability of all dimensions of true nature, as a truth that is both presence and absence. However, such teachings always refer to the dimension of nonbeing as the essence of such truth, as the most fundamental and inner dimension of it. In fact, some of these traditions see nonbeing as the only permanent dimension of true nature, and all others as transitory. We conceptualize true nature differently, as consisting of five dimensions, with the nonbeing dimension as the absolute. The fact that it is the unmanifest means that it is truly the only unchanging truth, for everything else is a manifestation out of it. We will also see that in some very deep sense there is only the absolute. The absolute is not only the ultimate nature of everything, but is itself everything. This is a very subtle insight, part of the understanding of the journey of descent. What is significant here is not what name we give to this mystery, but the fact that it is the most fundamental dimension of true nature we experience. Nevertheless, we need to remember that all dimensions of true nature are ultimately inseparable. They are all coemergent even though they can emerge separately.  

The Absolute is the Ultimate Nature and Mystery

The absolute is the unmanifest because it is prior to all manifestation, the source of the unfolding logos. It is not part of manifestation, but is the ultimate nature and mystery. We can experience it and realize it, but not when we are enmeshed and busy with the content of the manifest world. We can experience it when we recognize ourselves as the light that emanates from it, or as the witness that perceives this emanation. However, this view may not be satisfactory in terms of understanding the unmanifest; we may think that the unmanifest cannot be experienced, that only the manifest can. We will discuss this subtle question as we proceed in our exploration of the absolute.

The Fundamental Dimension of the Self, Its Ultimate Nature, is Being

Most schools of philosophy and spiritual teachings share our understanding that the fundamental dimension of the self, its ultimate nature, is Being. There are subtle differences between the various teachings regarding how Being is conceived of and how it is described. Many traditions conceive of Being as ontological or nonconceptual presence. But some schools, such as the Hindu tradition, conceive of true nature as pure consciousness. There is actually no difficulty between this view and that of presence because presence is the essence of pure consciousness; expressed in a different way, when consciousness is experienced in its purity, it is experienced as presence, the ontological and phenomenological reality of consciousness.

The Mystery, the Beloved, is the Ultimate Nature of the Soul

But there is another implication in recognizing that the soul is implicitly and naturally in  love with the mystery. We said that it is not something that you learn—that it is already there. We just don't see it because of the veils. So there is a natural, appreciative magnetism between the soul and the Beloved. It's not like we say, "Let me learn to love the Beloved." We always love the Beloved, but we see the Beloved through one veil or another.  Our love for these forms that veil the Beloved is actually our love for the mystery itself. At some point, we can recognize that directly. But what does that reveal? It reveals that it is in our nature to love the mystery. But the mystery is not only the ultimate mystery of reality; we do not call it “the Beloved” simply to mean that it is beloved by the soul. That mystery, that Beloved, is the ultimate nature of the soul. This has very deep, far-reaching implications. That the mystery, the Beloved, is the ultimate nature of the soul means that it is the ultimate identity of the soul. It is actually the true self, the true essence of the soul. 

Love Unveiled, pg. 106

The Source and Ultimate Nature of All Existence is Nonexistence

We see that the nature of the absolute is really the absence of being, the annihilation of presence. This discovery is actually not surprising, for all presence is nothing but the being of the manifest world. Presence emerges as the flow of the logos, as the outflow of being, whose field is patterned by the forms of the universe. And since being is a conscious presence that emerges from the absolute, the absolute must be prior to being and its contrasting background. Being, in other words, emerges out of nonbeing. The source is a mysterious nonbeing, a nonbeing that is not simply an ordinary nothing, but a metaphysical nonbeing that holds the potential of all possibilities of existence and experience. It is a breathtaking truth: the source and ultimate nature of all existence is nonexistence. Being, with all of its richness and variety, is born out of nonbeing. We begin here to understand the mysteries of Reality; we see that it does not correspond with the apparently obvious, normal perception of things. We begin to appreciate the stupendous mystery that is Reality, and the subtlety of truth, which can quicken the passionate love of the heart to inquire into the mysteries of Being.

The Ultimate Nature (of Things) is Not Existence, but Nonexistence

In the true experience of emptiness, the subjective feeling and belief in the substantiality and solidity of things is exposed for what it is, a subjective feeling based on a belief. Emptiness reveals to us that things do not possess such substantiality or solidity. Their mode of being is not what we have called existence. More accurately, their ultimate nature is not existence, but nonexistence. They appear, but are characterized by nonbeing. Experientially, phenomena appear and we perceive them along with their usual qualities, but we do not feel that they exist. They are felt to be empty of the solidity and reality that we believed they possessed. In other words, the true nature of things is that they manifest, or appear, but that is all. In appearing they do not give us the feeling and belief that they are real or that they exist in the way we have assumed. We are accustomed to believing that things exist in the way we normally experience matter, solid and opaque. In reality, things are insubstantial, transparent, and light, similar to thoughts or mental images. But they are also luminous, so they are more like light. However, even light as we ordinarily know it does not express the absolute lightness and emptiness of things. Things are actually diaphanous forms, holograms floating in nothing, glimmerings of this nothing. 

The Ultimate Nature of All Differentiated Aspects of Being

The Nonconceptual Nameless Reality is the same as Nondifferentiated Pure Being, but realized beyond mind. The Absolute is the same as the Nameless Reality, but now realized beyond consciousness. This means it is the nature of all existence, it is all existence, it is everything and it is beyond everything. Hence it is the ultimate nature of all differentiated aspects of Being. There can be perception of differentiation, which here means difference and variety, but not separation. There is absolute oneness of all that appears to perception; however, it is not conceived of as oneness, since there is no conceptualization. There is unity as the nature and essence of all.

The Ultimate Nature of Things is Sometimes Called the Absolute, Sometimes Called the Void

The ultimate nature of things is sometimes called the Absolute, sometimes called the Void. Some theistic traditions call it the Godhead; in Sufism it is called the Divine Essence. The ultimate essence of everything, including the human being, is a complete absence of all that can be experienced and the absence of knowing that there is nothing to experience. It is a complete lack of self-consciousness, and an absence of consciousness of anything. That is the ultimate source—the Origin. This does not mean that there is nothing there. You are, you exist, but you are aware of it only when you come out of it, when there is some consciousness. The quality of the Absolute is that it is not conscious of Itself. In the Absolute, consciousness does not exist yet; it is not yet manifest. The Absolute is sometimes called the “unmanifest.” Consciousness, awareness, is a development or manifestation out of the Absolute. The first level that arises from the Absolute is the capacity to be conscious or aware. Ontologically prior to this arising, this capacity does not exist. There is existence without awareness of that existence. The Absolute is what most fundamentally exists. But it does not exist in the usual sense, in the sense that we can experience it, or touch or feel or see it. It exists without any quality; it is “qualityless.” Awareness or consciousness is the first quality that arises. The Absolute transforms and becomes, or within its dark vastness arises, pure consciousness or awareness. This awareness has the capacity to perceive, but it does not perceive concepts or entities. It is ontologically prior to concept, just as the Absolute is ontologically prior to consciousness. The realm of experience and perception at this level is what I call the “nonconceptual realm.” 

There is Goodness in the World, in the Depth of the World, in Its Ultimate Nature

The fact that true nature is fundamentally characterized by goodness means that the manifest world possesses an inherent goodness. There is goodness in the world—not in the discrete and reified forms of the world, which are obscured expressions, but in the depth of the world, in its ultimate nature. The soul can see this only when she is denuded of her obscurations, and surrenders completely to this perception. Denuding herself from the false garments of ignorance and identification, surrendering the illusion of a separate self and her own will, the soul will find this goodness. If she lets herself truly fall, all the way, not into the hands of one person or another, one form or another, but absolutely and fully, she will be received with grace and love. Unfailingly.

There is Really Only One Because It is Our Ultimate Nature

As you consider this perception of oneness, you will see that in a very deep place in you, in the deepest part of your heart, there is a very deep grief, the deepest wound, the wound of the separation from oneness. And there is longing in our hearts, the deepest longing, the deepest yearning. The most powerful desire we have, in the deepest part of our hearts, is the longing to cease as a separate individual; to be united, to see that there is really only one because it is our ultimate nature. If it is cut off from our perception, there has to be a sense of loss, a deep, gaping wound that does not heal, and there inevitably arises an immense longing a very deep ache, so that no matter what you experience or feel, there is dissatisfaction and discontent. Your heart does not allow itself to be completely happy because this oneness is what your heart ultimately wants, and everything else it wants is just a little reflection of this. You might think your heart wants this and that, and it is all true, but these all are superficial wants. What will make your heart dance in happiness is this perception of oneness, your direct knowledge of the unity of yourself and everything in one nature.

This Spiritual Ground, which is the Ultimate Nature of Reality is Unconditionally Loving and Compassionate

The central thread of wisdom informing the methodology of the Diamond Approach is that our normal human consciousness does not possess the knowledge or skill necessary for traversing the inner path of realization. However, the intelligence of our underlying spiritual ground tends to spontaneously guide our consciousness and experience toward liberation. This spiritual ground, which is the ultimate nature of reality, is unconditionally loving and compassionate in revealing its treasures of wisdom to whoever is willing to open to it. We simply need to recognize the truth about our present experience and learn the attitudes and skills that will invite the true nature of reality to reveal itself. Toward that end, this methodology brings together classical spiritual techniques and new practices that can help us be open and vulnerable to our true nature.

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