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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Oneness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Oneness

Being Understood as Both the Oneness and the Person

The realization of both the condition of oneness and that of the supreme personal Essence now shows the deeper and objectively true relationship between Being and the person. As Being one experiences oneself as all of existence, boundless and eternal. One is a oneness, which is the universe, but also beyond it. There are differences and varieties in the universal oneness, but no separation. As the Personal Essence one is a pure person, a personal presence of eternity. But one is continuous with the oneness, as a form co-emergent from Pure Being. One perceives oneself as a cell in an infinite body. One’s identity goes back and forth, according to the needs of the situation. Sometimes one is the cosmic body, the state of oneness itself. At other times one is a cell in this body, as a personal presence. The two realities, the oneness and the person, are both Being; they are complementary. One is both. This is important to understand, because many believe that once ego boundaries dissolve there will be no longer a sense of the person, that only oneness will be left, forever. Many people are afraid of this prospect, and some are simply not attracted to it. In our understanding, the human potential allows the possibility of both conditions, without contradiction. We believe that those who teach that the two conditions are contradictory and exclusive of each other simply do not know of the Personal Essence. The main difference between the two conditions of Being is that oneness is a transcendence of the body, and the person is an embodiment of Being. Understanding the relation between these two conditions can add a great deal to our understanding of the human being.

Experiencing Pure Presence from the Vantage Point of Manifest Forms

The other kind of experience, that of oneness, is experiencing pure presence from the vantage point of the manifest forms. We experience ourselves as the oneness of all these forms, that all the forms constitute one Reality, whose nature is pure presence. We are aware of pure presence as the constituting ground of everything, but we are not in the midst of the expanse of true nature, but in the midst of the surface of manifestation. In unity, the forms are still visible, but barely, appearing as distant surface phenomena. True nature almost completely outshines the manifest forms. In oneness, true nature and the manifest forms are both strongly present, as two sides of the same Reality. Both unity and oneness are nondual conditions. In oneness we understand that the forms are basically the outer structuring of true nature. Pure presence sculpts its own medium into the myriad forms. We see here a different sense of the term differentiation than the one we have used. We have used the term differentiation to mean something similar to the prismatic separation of the colors of the rainbow, out of white light. But now we mean that there is an expanse, a field that becomes structured by the appearance within it of outlines and patterns. These patterns are due to the appearance of non-partitioning boundaries that outline the forms. The non-separating boundaries distinguish the forms from each other without dissociating them from their ground of pure presence. In other words, in the state of oneness of Being, Reality appears as the expanse of true nature structured into a multidimensional Riemannian manifold. The structuring happens through the appearance in the clear expanse of the shapes and colors of the forms, outlines that span the various dimensions of the manifold. The expanse, which is a homogeneous medium, becomes differentiated into the myriad forms: the sky and the stars, the birds and the trees, the mountains and the rivers, the thoughts and the feelings, and so on. Oneness is basically a differentiated unity, a unity in multiplicity.

For there to be Differentiation, as in Oneness, there Must be Space

So, in oneness there is differentiation: You are discriminating things; you can perceive colors, and the colors are different from one another. They constitute one thing, like one fabric. Here we see that differentiation does not mean separation. We see one shirt with different colors in it. We are aware of one body with different elements. We see one house that has many parts. You can discern things, but also perceive that they are not separate. In oneness, there is time-space. With pure Being, there’s still no time-space, but there is existence. For there to be differentiation, as in oneness, there must be space. In this dimension, concepts exist. What we mean here by “concepts” is recognizable differentiations. There are recognizable differentiations in phenomena, which from a certain perspective appear as concepts or ideas, but which we call here “noetic forms.” They are the forms in which manifestation is differentiated. These concepts or noetic forms are not mental phenomena in the sense that thought is mental. We associate concepts with mental images. But a mental concept of something is not the same as a form actually existing. Here, we are talking about forms which exist. In this sense, a house is a concept. A house is not the same thing as the hill it sits on, right? So they can be differentiated and discriminated. However, the house and the hill are not separate; they are elements of one reality. So the hill is a concept, and the house is a concept. Differentiation and discrimination happen through concepts. In the realm of concepts, you can recognize differences in what exists in reality.

Living to Allow the Possibility of Oneness

It is living the true human life which allows the possibility of the arising of the perception of oneness. You have to live a life that is conducive to the experience of oneness, a life that doesn’t resist that perception. You need to live a life that doesn’t depend on separateness, but on oneness, although you might not yet experience the oneness.

Oneness Generates Invulnerability

When you are aware of oneness, when you see that you and everyone else and everything else are completely one, the vulnerability will not be seen as a disadvantage at all. The moment your vulnerability is complete and you are aware of oneness, there is no fear. When you are completely vulnerable, completely not separating yourself from anyone or anything, when you know that you are the oneness, that your very nature is the unity, is the supreme reality, then you know that in your deepest, most intimate, absolute nature and identity you can't die --nothing can happen to you. You are one-hundred-percent invulnerable.

Oneness is Not a Mental Idea

Oneness is not a mental idea. It is not an idea that everything is one. The idea of oneness is not the same thing as the experience of oneness. The oneness is that you do not feel you end here or there; you do not end anywhere. You continue on and on and on, through everything. In the normal ego state, you can observe that your sense of self always includes a sense of boundaries. But when the perception of oneness is there, you do not feel anything like that. It is as if there is just air there, where your boundaries used to be. You feel yourself extended, continued through the air, through other people, through the walls, through the mountains, through everything. It is all one nature, one thing, and that is your nature. When you recognize yourself ultimately, what are you, ultimately? When you go to the deepest self-realization, then suddenly everything is one nature. Every atom that exists anywhere is that, and it is not an idea, it is not a point of view, it is not a perspective, so it cannot change. You might not see it, but that does not mean it is not there.

Reality Without the Intervention of Mind

As your mind develops, and has concepts, it conceptualizes an entity that is you, that is based on the perception of your body. Before that happens, there is oneness. The oneness is nothing but the experience of reality without the intervention of the mind, without concepts. The oneness is nonconceptual reality. What are concepts? Concepts are nothing but boundaries.

Supreme Oneness

This process leads to two important essential realizations: that of supreme oneness, and that of supreme Personal Essence. The latter involves the Personal Essence attaining a new state, that of nondifferentiated Being. This is not the same as the oneness of Being. One here feels oneself still personal, but in a very pure way. One is a pure person, without any roles, free from all roles. There is freshness, newness and a sense of eternity. One perceives the passage of time, but one is not touched by it. One stays the same, changeless, eternal and feels no personal passage of time. There is fullness, openness, clarity and eternity. It is a sense of freedom, where freedom is a complete openness and lightness, where action is spontaneous and unimpeded. It is freedom from object relations and the world of object relations, while retaining the full capacity for human contact and relating. It is the Personal Essence on the level of Pure Being, where the person is completely synthesized with Pure Being. It is difficult to imagine such a state, for it defies logical categories.

The Enlightened Perspective

When you realize the enlightened perspective, the objective reality of no separateness between anything—no separateness between the physical world and the Absolute, no separateness between the Absolute and God, no separateness between God and Colorado, no separateness between Colorado and Khomeini, no separateness between Khomeini and you—everything is connected. Whatever you can conceive, whatever you can experience, whatever you can imagine is one. If you can divide that one in half, then it’s not oneness, it's twoness. That means, again, you've brought separation and the Basic Fault. So if you believe that presence of true nature comes to you from outside, if you believe God is separate from you, if you believe that enlightenment is someplace to get to, you're still operating from the perspective of the Basic Fault. That’s not to say that you may not experience things that way. You can see God sitting on a throne, you can see angels, but these are intermediate experiences. You still carry the central perspective of object relations.

The Issue of Aloneness Sometimes Resurfaces Just before this Experience of Pure Oneness

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. This state of oneness is in contrast to that of the Personal Essence, but without any contradiction. One feels that one is everything; there are no personal boundaries, and no partitions between objects. One is the supreme aspect of Being, is pure nondifferentiated presence, that is the nature of everything, that is also everything. Pure Being is experienced as both everything and beyond everything. As beyond everything it is experienced in its suchness as a pure sense of Beingness. This is referred to usually as the state of unity. As everything, it is experienced as the nature of everything, and this is usually referred to as the state of oneness.

The Oneness is Already You

The nature of this oneness is absolute goodness. It is the source of all love, compassion, color, beauty, peace—all inner richness and fulfillment. The oneness is the source of all the Essence that you know, all the goodness, all the beauty you’ve experienced in your life. In fact, it is the source of everything. It also is everything. So to believe that you are an individual little thing, and you are going to get your share of life, of reality, is to isolate yourself from this rich, immense reality, and to make yourself poor, small, and insignificant. Oneness is not something you are going to accomplish one of these days; the oneness is already you; it always has been, and it always will be. What is needed is to wake up, to see things the way they are, instead of viewing them through distorting lenses. Oneness is absolute freedom, absolute release, absolute delight. It is a newness that is ever new. So wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you see, you see yourself. Whatever you touch, you are touching yourself. Whoever you talk to, you are talking to yourself.

The Whole Universe as One's Body

Oneness is not experienced as a something, an object of perception. It is known by being it, directly, without subject and object duality. One is aware of one's body as part of all appearance, of all the perceived universe. All appearance that one can perceive through the senses is perceived as one and whole; there are differences but no partitions. One, in fact, feels as if the whole universe is one's body. Everything is one, Pure Being, which is the ground and nature of everything. There is no localization of consciousness in the body. The body is completely in unity with the rest of physical reality.

You Can't Make Oneness Happen

Although we say that it is difficult to come to a place where we perceive the Supreme reality, we also know that there is no method to achieve this, because employing a method assumes that there is someone there, someone who is trying to get somewhere. By its very nature, method indicates a belief in separateness. So there is no technique, no method, no understanding that will precipitate the perception of oneness. If you do anything to get there, then you must be seeing yourself as a separate person, acting according to that separateness, and trying to get oneness -- which is impossible. Still the perception of oneness does happen, because it is a fact, it is the reality. It happens when we relax, when we abandon our beliefs and our ideas and our defensiveness and our fears, when we do not need to constantly be protecting ourselves and pushing away the outside, when we are not busy enhancing ourselves and thinking of ourselves.

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