Main Pages

By Region



Objective Understanding

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Objective Understanding?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Objective Understanding

Development of the Capacity for Disidentification

The second way the capacity for disidentification develops is that our overall self-representation becomes so much more complete that our identity becomes very flexible. This ultimately leads to a strong general capacity for disidentification such that we can actually be disidentified from the overall self-representation while still maintaining our identity. This capacity requires thorough clarification, that is, objective understanding and seeing through delusions regarding the various segments of our self-representation. It also requires a measure of balance in our spiritual development: balance in relation to mind, heart and body for example; balance in relation to stillness and movement, knowledge and expression, and so on. Imbalance in these areas might involve disidentification weighed on the side of some segments of the self at the expense of others. One might have worked through some segments of the self-representation but not others. The capacity for global disidentification allows us to be permanently in touch with our essential presence, although the identity and the self-representation remains in experience. This condition allows the experience of self-realization to arise, at least occasionally, when the identity relaxes to the extent of total absorption by (or into) essential presence. The more this capacity for global disidentification develops, the more frequent, and the deeper, are the experiences of self-realization. This development continues, in principle, until permanent, full self-realization, where total global disidentification coincides with complete absorption of the self-representation, and complete openness and flexibility of identity. 

Diamond Consciousness

A more fundamental reason for our use of the term “diamond” is related to the aspect of Essence that we have mentioned which functions as inner guidance. This aspect is that of objective understanding, the understanding necessary for the realization and development of the Personal Essence. This aspect affects the consciousness in a very specific and unmistakable manner. One feels clear and objective. One’s consciousness becomes sharp, precise and luminous. There is an immediate sense of a brilliant and precise intelligence. One’s consciousness becomes crystal clear, exquisitely objective but alive. This objective consciousness, which has the function of understanding, we refer to sometimes as the Diamond Consciousness, because its experiential qualities resemble those of a clear and sharply-cut diamond. This Diamond Consciousness is a certain integration of all essential aspects, which can exist in a dimension that is more refined and more objective than the usual, most recognizable one. This dimension is that of the existence of all aspects of Essence as aspects of understanding. All aspects of Essence function in this dimension in the service of understanding. 

Feeling Oneself being Absorbed into Being

On the other hand, there are definite experiences where one actually feels oneself, as the personality, being absorbed into Being. As the last primitive and subtle defenses dissolve, due to objective understanding of vulnerability, one feels oneself being steadily absorbed or reabsorbed. One feels taken in, eaten, swallowed, completely integrated. There is no fear and no resistance. The deepest fear of the ego is now actualized; there is a loss of one’s individuality, of one’s separate identity. But it is experienced as a matter of fact perception, without reaction of any sort, and without a sense of loss. At some point one perceives—usually suddenly—that one is the formless oneness of Being. The supreme, pure aspect of Being is now experienced in its aloneness, without the presence of ego structures and identifications. For this reason, the issue of aloneness sometimes resurfaces just before this experience of pure oneness. 

How is it Possible to be a Person and Not Have Ego Boundaries?

Only the objective understanding of the Personal Essence can show how it is possible to be a person and not have ego boundaries. The continued presence of the Personal Essence, along with its further development, slowly shows that the sense of separateness belongs to ego and not to itself. The student becomes aware of certain tensions and constrictions, and by exploring them finally realizes that they are nothing but ego boundaries. He realizes that these boundaries have been almost impossible to perceive, because he has been so identified with separateness. He gradually learns that the boundaries are what give him the sense of separateness, the sense of being a separate individual. He then longs for their dissolution, but he is at the same time terrified of this possibility. This is a paradoxical situation, in which one wants to be free from separateness, but the one who wants that is the sense of separateness itself. The separate individuality wants to be free from the constricting boundaries, but this means it wants its own cessation. This produces extreme frustration, conflict and anxiety. 

Looking Objectively at One’s Experience

Compassion: This is the aspect of loving kindness that is needed to experience and accept one’s hurts and wounds, without defense and without resentment. One cannot have an objective understanding about anyone if there is no Compassion. When there is Compassion it becomes possible to experience one’s deep wounds, an experience which readily leads to the aspects related to these wounds. Each time an aspect is buried there results a deep wound in the psyche, and the experience and acceptance of this wound is indispensable for the emergence of the buried aspect. Compassion is usually recognized in its manifestations such as consideration, regard, concern, sympathy, empathy, warmth and the like. However, it is a mode of consciousness, a presence of Being, in a certain differentiated form. Its real significance is not exactly to remove suffering, but to lead to the truth by providing the capacity to tolerate suffering. This increased tolerance for emotional suffering gives the individual the ability to refrain from ego defenses. This allows one to look objectively at one’s experience, which facilitates its metabolism. It eliminates suffering in a more ultimate and fundamental sense, by allowing the ability to see the deeper causes of suffering. Also, the increased tolerance and acceptance of experience allows one to just be, instead of trying to manipulate. This allows both objective understanding and personal presence. To be who one is is a compassionate act. It is compassionate towards oneself and towards all others. 

Objective Understanding is the Felt Sense of the Pattern of Meaning in Our Experience

We have already discussed how the Diamond Guidance gives us the capacity for objective understanding. Objective understanding is the felt sense of the pattern of meaning in our experience. Since our experience is continually unfolding, understanding is not a static thing but an unfolding pattern of meaningfulness. This meaningfulness can be expressed in concepts and words that we take from our ordinary knowledge; nevertheless, it is independent of ordinary knowledge. Objective understanding is the flow or stream of real knowledge. The flow of new experience is unfoldment, but understanding is the flow of meaning in this unfoldment, which is inseparable from the unfolding experience itself. Objective understanding is a diamond flow. However, unfoldment can happen without understanding. For example, I may be experiencing a fountain in my chest manifesting different qualities and colors. We would call this perception of the spontaneous arising of immediate experience unfoldment. But I could have this experience without its having any meaning for me and simply relate to it as an unusual, pleasurable occurrence. When the qualities I am perceiving also reveal their meaning and significance, we call it understanding: “I can feel that the fountain arising in my chest reflects the opening of my heart, revealing its true nature as an overflowing fullness. Now I am understanding what is going on.” It is this capacity for effective understanding that makes the Diamond Guidance the revealer of truth in its various dimensions. By giving us the capacity to understand the pattern or structure of our experience, it reveals the truth of our Being. 

Objectivity Deepens and Unfolds Just as the Truth Does

How do we arrive at the objectivity needed for understanding what is true? This objectivity is not something we attain once and for all, after which it continues to be present fully without interruption. That is not how it works. Objectivity deepens and unfolds just as the truth does. In addition, to have an objective understanding of a situation or experience requires more than just objectivity on our part. Objectivity is only one element needed for objective understanding, as we will see by considering the process of inquiry. First we are aware of an experience, perception, or situation. Understanding begins when we realize that we do not understand something about it. Since we love to see the truth, this absence or incompleteness of our knowingness of the objective truth of the situation begins the process of inquiry and understanding. At this point, our lack or incompleteness of understanding usually reflects our lack of objectivity. So our love of finding the truth begins the process of becoming more and more objective in our attitude. Acquiring an increasing objectivity regarding the situation is a matter of clarifying our experience, in terms of both our attitudes and the object of inquiry. This clarifying is a process of cutting through obscurations—the clouds of prejudice, opinions, reactions, defenses, and so on. So we experience the lack or incompleteness of understanding as not being clear about the situation. The movement toward clarification is the process of inquiry. We may ask questions, explore, or study certain things. We may observe more and correlate our observations. All of this is guided by the movement toward clarifying the situation. In other words, understanding commences as the opaqueness in the experience—the various levels of obscurations and unclarities—is dispelled through inquiry. 

Permanent Attainment of the Capacity for Insight and Objective Understanding

We refer to this process as the personalization of Essence, because each essential aspect becomes personal as it is integrated and absorbed into the consciousness as a further development of the Personal Essence. Joy becomes a personal Joy, Peace becomes a personal Peace, Truth becomes a personal Truth, and so on. This can be seen in two ways. One way is that the personalization of an aspect indicates that it is a personal attainment and actualization of that part of one’s potential. It becomes recognized as an undifferentiable part of oneself, and not as a state that one experiences once in a while. For instance, the Diamond Consciousness is the capacity for objective understanding and direct insight. At the beginning one has insights once in a while, especially under certain conditions. After this aspect is personalized one permanently attains the capacity for insight and objective understanding. One now uses this capacity whenever it is needed, just as one can use one’s legs to walk whenever walking is needed. It is completely part of who one is. It is no longer a state, but an organ of one’s organism and consciousness. The second way we can see this process is from the perspective of the Personal Essence, as its process of development and maturation. In psychological terms, it can be seen as a change in character that coincides with maturation. The issues to be dealt with here are those of identity. The aspect is no longer felt as a state one can experience, but as part of the very substance and nature of who one is. So, because of ego identifications, the individual might find it difficult to tolerate his identity shifting and attaining new qualities. 

Ready Absorption of Present Experience

The presence of the Personal Essence makes it possible to have direct contact with present-centered experience, to be present, open and vulnerable to experience. This capacity, aided by the operation of the objective understanding of the Diamond Guidance, makes it possible to absorb present experience readily. One’s life becomes the metabolism of the interaction of the essential aspects with the environment. This continuing and ever-expanding integration is the process of development of the Personal Essence. This ever-deepening and expanding individuation and maturity leads ultimately to the nonpersonal realms of Being, like those of Cosmic Consciousness, Nonconceptual Reality and Absolute Truth; this is the natural and spontaneous outcome of the development of the Personal Essence. It is part of the human potential, and if the process of maturation is proceeding in its correct path, then it is bound to occur. 

The Being Capacity for Synthesis

The capacity for synthesis on the Being level belongs to another aspect of Essence—objective understanding. This aspect has the capacity for both analysis and synthesis on all levels of perception and knowledge. It is closely related to the Personal Essence; it is the inner guidance needed for its realization and development. But, like all other aspects, it becomes integrated into the Personal Essence at some point in the process of inner realization. The synthetic capacity is then experienced as a quality of one’s own Being. Synthesis is not experienced as putting things together in a unified whole: this is the quality of the synthetic capacity of the mind. The Being capacity for synthesis manifests in the ability to see the unity before differentiation. One does not bring two things together; one simply does not see them as two. Our understanding that ego development and spiritual realization form one process of human evolution is an example of such a synthesis. This conception was not arrived at by integrating the two processes, but resulted from perceiving the one process of human evolution. 

The Objective Understanding of Aloneness

The objective understanding of aloneness includes the following points:

  1. I am the fullness of the Personal Essence. I am the person of Being. I am independent from time and space, but I am functional in timespace.
  2. My autonomy is the freedom from object relations. My beingness is completely independent from any object relations, past, present, or future. In fact, object relations are irrelevant to who I am; they do not define me. I can engage in them but they do not determine me.
  3. Aloneness is being me. Aloneness is freedom, which is who I am. I am pure presence, and spaciousness is my limit.
  4. Wanting anything from object relations is the expression of identifying with ego or the body. Aloneness is not only a matter of letting go of the mother’s image; for ultimately the whole world, for ego, is mother. I do not want anything from the world. I am in the world, for the world, but not of the world.
  5. Realization is a completely private affair. It happens in total aloneness, and it is not related to anybody else. It is a private affair between me and my origin, my nature. 

Understanding an Aspect of Being Objectively

Understanding an aspect of Being objectively means knowing it from its own perspective, and not from one’s own point of view, which is necessarily prejudiced by personal history. Objective understanding has the effect of altering the experience of the aspect, taking it to a new dimension of Essence. This dimension is that of objective understanding, which we have discussed as the Diamond Guidance. There are additional dimensions of Essence, in which each aspect becomes realized on a different dimension of objectivity. This is difficult to understand, but is easily grasped when there is direct experience. To put it differently, in the process of essential realization, it is found that not only are there many differentiated aspects of Being, but also several dimensions in which these aspects can be experienced. The first dimension is what we call the human realm, because the aspects are most easily recognized here, and are closest to the usual emotional affects. Then each one of these aspects can be experienced in several other ways, where the aspect retains its original sense, but is experienced from a different perspective, which gives it an added meaning and significance, or rather, a clearer and more objective meaning. 

When there is Objective Understanding of the Will Essence

When there is objective understanding of the Will Essence, we find that trying, effort, control and so on, are antithetical to the presence of the real Will. Real Will is an implicit confidence that the organism will function correctly. This allows the attitude of surrender, which brings about the manifestation of the Merging Essence. So we see that the loss of Will, resulting in effort and willfulness, impedes the smooth functioning of autonomic regulation. This in turn disturbs the capacity for functioning in the world. There is no sense of inner support, or confidence in one’s capacities. The final result is a deep sense of inadequacy, of not being able to function in the world as an integrated and mature individual. It is illuminating to see the organic, multileveled interconnections in the functioning of the various essential aspects. Essence is not only the ultimate ground of human existence, it also governs our functioning. 

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach