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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Nondoing?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Nondoing

Condition of Diamond Samadhi

When the stillness and clarity of nondoing are spontaneously joined by the dynamic unfoldment of revelation, discernment, and insight, then nondoing has moved to the condition of diamond samadhi. Now, nondoing includes insight and the understanding of what is arising. There is clear, precise insight, but it is still samadhi in the sense that we are still being the condition of true nature. It is the condition of realization, not only with clarity, but also with clear understanding and clear insight. And the condition of realization can be of various degrees and kinds of realization. It can be boundless or not, it can be different kinds of boundlessness, it can be different forms of presence or emptiness, and various combinations of the two.

Nondoing Supports and Stabilizes the Realization of Presence

The practice of inquiry is actively engaged because we are engaged with life. We are living and we are active, and part of our living is the engaged practice of inquiry. Inquiry doesn’t mean that we are always asking ourselves questions. It doesn’t mean that we are always sitting around thinking. Inquiry is the natural and spontaneous flow of our interest in life. When something is not understood, a spontaneous movement and inquiry arises that may not even be formulated as a question. All we know is that something is not understood and, after a while, there is a revelation or a further discernment. The stillness and quietness of our concentration practice helps stabilize the condition of nondoing, which is the base of the practice of inquiry. Concentration and nondoing support and stabilize the realization of presence, the realization of true nature. Inquiry helps to discriminate and integrate this realization as well as to develop it and open it to further possibilities, which are partly a response to our life and its circumstances. As we understand the relationship of inquiry and nondoing, our practice becomes more aligned with the dynamic of realization. This maturation of practice, this ripening of wisdom, becomes a spontaneous recognition of the centrality of nondoing in practice. As we learn to simultaneously take responsibility for and be open to the revelation of Being, we learn the skill of nondoing. This doesn’t mean forgetting our practice or getting lost in distractions or indulging in reactions and preferences. Nondoing means that our practicing and Being manifesting become one movement in our direct, personal experience. Now, practice is consciously realization realizing realization. As we practice, Being is practicing.

Support for Nondoing

Inner spaciousness is the necessary step for the emergence of Being in the essential manifestation of support for nondoing. It usually manifests as an experience of presence in a new form which has the characteristics of solidity, immensity, immovability, strength, groundedness, definiteness, precision, and clarity. We feel solid, as immense as a mountain, as immovable and grounded as a column, but as clear and definite as a cut diamond. We have the innate certainty that we can be, for we are, simply and easily. There is an implicit confidence in our capacity to be ourselves, and a determination about and commitment to it. The psychological feeling is that of a singular and clear recognition of support—of our own inner support. But it is not our own in terms of ownership; we perceive that it is inseparable from the Being that we now recognize as ourself. We may feel supported, we may feel the presence of support, or we may feel that we are support.

The Force of the Universe Discerning Its Own Condition

So the primary practice of inquiry attains further wisdom, and our understanding of nondoing also becomes subtler. At the beginning of our nondoing practice, we are simply sitting in stillness and clarity. As the nondoing practice matures, not only are we sitting in effortless tranquility, but also we are abiding in and as Being itself. As we integrate the dynamism of Being and recognize the wisdom of realization, the practice of nondoing fully and effortlessly uses the discriminating intelligence and the discerning clarity of Being to understand the condition of realization. The entire force of the universe focuses with intelligence and energy to discern its own condition, to understand what samadhi is, what nondoing is. The inherent awareness and insight of this condition of nondoing discerns when there is doing. When we see the doing happening, we can recognize the attitude and assumptions that make it happen. This insight helps us to disengage from that activity by revealing what is responsible for the doing. We might see that a certain self-identification or a fear of aloneness or a resistance against emptiness underlies our basic experience of doing. But we don’t only see what our particular issues and obstructions are. The discerning intelligence, in an effortless way, also fills the condition of samadhi with clear understanding and recognition of the condition of samadhi itself. We can’t help but see the characteristics of whatever presence or awareness or realization is happening.

The Paradox of Nondoing

But getting out of the way is not something we do. This is what I call the paradox of nondoing. How do we not do when we are doing? We are once again at the fulcrum of the path, the dynamic interaction of apparent opposites. How can the practice of inquiry, where we are doing something—inquiring—be a practice of nondoing? In this stage of maturation of practice, inquiry becomes a matter of riding the razor’s edge of our responsibility and our openness to revelation. This capacity develops by truly recognizing that true nature is a self-revealing potentiality, a self-manifesting reality, a self-realizing truth. So the practice of inquiry combines nondoing with an active engagement. We are actively questioning, we are actively investigating, inquiring, and experimenting while, at the same time, we are inquiring in such a way that we are not interfering with our experience, we are not trying to change it, and we are not attempting to move it in any particular direction. Not interfering with and not trying to change our experience is a nondoing and, at the same time, there is an active engagement of exploring, questioning, and challenging.

The Razor’s Edge of Inquiry

Nondoing is the heart of inquiry, and inquiry is the revealing dynamism of realization whose essence is total stillness and nondoing. The razor’s edge is a moving point of various degrees of harmonization between these two perspectives: the individual consciousness that is interested, inquiring, and looking into experience; and the self-revealing reality, manifesting and transforming the experience, revealing insights and conditions of true nature. We continue to ride the razor’s edge until, at some point, our inquiring, our taking responsibility, and the self-revelation of Being become one thing. The inquiry moves to new ground. Prior to this, our inquiring and the self-revelation of Being might seem like two things, two forces interacting in a dialectic, interacting from varying degrees of proximity or distance until the interaction becomes so subtly and intimately connected that the inquiry is spontaneously happening as the dynamism of true nature revealing its possibilities. This is what I call diamond meditation, which means that we are being the true nature that inquires and reveals its truth. True nature inquires by being open and interested in its own revelation. Its inquiry is an invitation for it to reveal its mysteries. The inquiry and the revelation can become so connected that, at some point, they are one movement. Inquiry becomes a dynamic revelation, a nondoing with a dynamic engagement.

True Nondoing

This is true nondoing, which can happen only when we have no interest in any doing because we are not striving toward any state. From this place, there is freedom from all teachings, freedom from desiring specific states, freedom from ideas and perspectives—even one’s own perspective. For it is implicitly understood that any perspective or teaching will be an overlay on whatever is purely arising. Instead, we merely recognize the subtle movement of the psyche toward goals, and that understanding naturally dissolves the movement and liberates our unfabricated and uncontrived naturalness. The pure perception and understanding of what is actually there in our experience dissolves the subtle movement of the psyche. The Diamond Guidance is present and operational as a natural and spontaneous functioning of intelligence and awareness. The result is a discriminating understanding of what is arising, liberating the display of Being from our opinions. This discriminating understanding appear as the flashes of insight that are inseparable from our intimacy with the qualities of experience. We recognize here the functioning of the Diamond Guidance as spontaneous curiosity, love of the truth, and steadfastness, which together result in the spontaneous unveiling of truth, as both unfoldment and insight. As this continues, the unveiling finally merges into a nondual condition—the natural perfection, which is the lucidity displaying experience. At this point, lucidity and understanding are inseparable, completely unified. There is unity of presence and discriminating awareness, which is a guided, dynamic flow and unfoldment.

We Can Reify Nondoing Such that Nondoing Becomes an Object

As we look closer at these subtle ego activities, we discover the tendency to reify reification itself and make it a kind of object to reject. In our minds, we make it something from which we can push away and separate ourselves. The same process can happen as we reify doing, making it something to reject or judge. Even more subtle than that—we can reify nondoing, such that nondoing becomes an object, a thing we can value or cultivate. The truth is that nondoing is really nothing. No such thing exists that is called nondoing. Nondoing is the nonexistence of doing, but we make it something to aspire to, which can become a subtle obstacle. Something similar can happen to those who work exclusively with a nondual perspective about reality: at some point, they begin to reify nonduality, and it becomes for them an objective to aspire to and reach. So, as you see, the tendency of the mind to reify in order to create stability, a fixed center, or a particular orientation is unlimited. The mind, then, is a mixed blessing, a double-edged sword. And that is the condition of humanity: Our intelligence, our mind, can liberate us but it can also ensnare us. Our learning, our maturation, and even our realization and enlightenment, require the capacity for discernment, for clear discrimination, of what is true and what is not true. But it is this capacity for discernment that also becomes the basis for reification. Reification cannot begin without the recognition of something, without discriminating it as distinct from everything else.

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