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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Opaqueness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Opaqueness

As Reified Concepts Become Transparent . . .

An important element of this inquiry is understanding how one’s history, ego structure, beliefs, and worldview determine and pattern one’s experience. In other words, it is an exploration of how the soul’s ordinary knowledge influences and contaminates basic knowledge. As inquiry penetrates this influence it makes the boundaries of the soul’s reified concepts more transparent, allowing her experience to become more immediate. For as reified concepts become transparent, their original corresponding noetic forms lose the opaqueness that makes them appear as discrete objects. As they become transparent, the light of Being begins to shine through them, revealing the true condition of appearance. Such development of immediacy is the purification of basic knowledge, which appears as the discovery of truth. Truth simply means what the forms of basic knowledge actually are, free from the influence of ordinary knowledge. Because the liberation of basic knowledge from the limiting influence of ordinary knowledge is a gradual process, the revelation of truth is also gradual. Truth shines forth with increasing intensity and brilliance, as the light of basic knowledge, until it reveals itself as the presence of essence. Essence unfolds its aspects and dimensions, supporting and guiding the inquiry and understanding, and showing the soul what it means to experience pure basic knowledge; for essential presence, in any of its qualities, is basic knowledge undefiled by ordinary knowledge. The diamond vehicles further penetrate the reifications that obstruct the timeless wisdom of true nature, finally penetrating the reified concepts of entity and identity.

Much of Our Opaqueness is Due to the Attacks of the Superego – Ours and Other People’s

It is relatively easy to see that much of our opaqueness, much of our lack of openness, much of our stuckness, is due to the attacks of the superego—ours and other people’s. These are the criticisms, the put-downs, the comparisons, the judgments, the devaluations, the blaming, the shaming, the rejection, and the hatred that the superego levels at you in all kinds of situations. Here the Red latifa can specifically be used in the service of inquiry, by giving us the strength to defend against the superego. Initially, we need to defend ourselves against these attacks by directly confronting them. This can happen through challenging the superego’s authority—by telling it to back off. Such an internal confrontation requires great strength and intelligence. Later, when the Red Essence is more readily available, it becomes possible to disengage from self-judgment simply by clearly discriminating it for what it is and not going along with it. Disengaging from the superego is, in essence, a separation from your parents—the parents you long ago internalized and have lived with in your mind ever since. This disengagement allows you to see more clearly what is there in your experience, because if you’re entangled with these attacks, you won’t even know what you’re experiencing or what has caused the attack in the first place.

Our Lack of Understanding may be Experienced as an Opaqueness or Obscuration

Also, even though the Absolute is the ultimate natural condition, human beings will want to experience everything that is possible as consciousness unfolds from the Absolute. As our consciousness becomes clarified, all kinds of things will be revealed, such as perceptions of essence, of dimensions of reality, and perceptions of the so-called ordinary world, which are new and unfamiliar to our ordinary mind. Our lack of understanding may be experienced as a kind of opaqueness or obscuration. As an unfamiliar and unexpected state of consciousness arises, you might experience a subtle contraction against it because your mind resists the new experience. The resistance to a new manifestation may get connected to something in your past that reminds you of this new experience. You may see a personal issue about it. Although the personal issue might not be what’s most relevant, it still needs to be worked out and made transparent. Furthermore, there is not a single definitive way of experiencing the Absolute. The experience and realization of the Absolute reveals many unexpected mysteries of reality. We will be amazed at how many subtle concepts we have, many of which we take to be ultimate fixtures of reality. These become transparent, transforming the realization of the Absolute to further and deeper realizations.

Our True Nature is Characterized by Complete Transparency, Luminosity and Flow

Thus, ego development occurs mostly through the establishment of relatively fixed impressions. Furthermore, because ego development culminates in the establishment of an identity and sense of self that depend on the fixed impressions, it naturally leads to a limitation on our malleability and impressionability; dependence on the fixed impressions orients us toward identification with and attachment to them. We tend to perpetuate our self and its identity, limiting our openness, malleability, and impressionability. We generally experience as threatening and destabilizing the impacts of forms of experience outside the boundaries of our identity. In other words, we become both habituated and attached to the fixed impressions that compose our identity, at the expense of our basic capacities of openness, malleability, and impressionability. As a consequence, we begin to regard complete openness and impressionability as undesirable, even threatening and dangerous. We unconsciously defend against it regardless of how much we understand its value and significance. This resistance is an attempt to protect our sense of identity. In resisting openness and impressionability, we unconsciously believe that we are fighting for our own personal survival and integrity. This becomes one of the primary difficulties in the process of inner work where we need to be open to new and novel elements of our potential. In fact, in order to be able to be receptive and impressionable to our essence, we need to be completely impressionable, for any limitation in impressionability will become a limitation in our receptivity to the true nature and ground of the soul. This is because our true nature is characterized by complete transparency, luminosity, and flow, and any opaqueness or rigidity is bound to limit our openness to it.

Realization that Challenges Our Normal Perception of the Opaqueness and Solidity of Forms

In discovering this dimension of true nature we realize that this selflessness is the ultimate nature of everything. The absolute turns out to be the final ontological status of all things, the ultimate status of existence of all forms of manifestation. When we inquire into this final ontological nature we find nothing, no object of perception. We simply feel light and empty, free and unencumbered. And everything in manifest reality has the same quality of lightness and emptiness. All forms appear as diaphanous forms, empty of substance. It is as if all forms are holograms, forms of light, empty of any solidity or heaviness. Everything is transparent, with no opaqueness anywhere. The manifest forms—houses and furniture, mountains and rivers, trees and animals, men and women, thoughts and feelings—appear as particulars of a dynamic unfolding multidimensional field; but it is a field of total lightness, as if it is an emptiness that luminates and its lumination is the forms of appearance. Such realization challenges our normal perception of the opaqueness and solidity of forms. When we perceive a rock we do not only see or touch a form. We see a totally opaque shape, and touch a solid and substantial object. By realizing the absolute nature of the rock—by perceiving the form of the rock while simultaneously recognizing its final ontological mode—the rock seems to lose both opaqueness and solidity. Loss of opaqueness does not mean we can see the physical objects behind it; it means we can see through its appearance to its deepest nature. We see through the color and shape, as if its appearance suddenly becomes thinner, so thin it is transparent. We can look inside, so to speak, but then we simply see nothingness, an infinity of space. This shows that the normal opaqueness is due to cognitive filters, whose absence makes all objects transparent to their inner nature, their final constituency.

Soul Experienced as So Empty of Occlusions and Opaqueness It is Transparent

Continuing to experience the emptiness facet of the absolute has exposed new ego structures, which initially become conscious as contractions in certain areas of the body. Inquiring into these contractions reveals contracted manifestations of the soul, related to questions of identity and support for identity. Tonight, however, I am aware of the intimate emptiness of the absolute, and not of the contraction. But there is something new and curious about the experience. As I feel myself as the emptiness of the absolute, I also feel it as the soul. I cannot separate the absolute emptiness from the presence of the soul. I am riveted to this manifestation of consciousness, inquiring into and contemplating it. I begin to discriminate more clearly what I am experiencing. I experience myself as the soul, in a very soft, relaxed, ripened condition. The presence is so soft and malleable it is almost nothing, so empty of occlusions and opaqueness it is transparent. I feel transparent to and pervaded by the absolute. I recognize that I am being the soul and experiencing the absolute in a new way. What is new is the relationship between the soul and the absolute. There is the presence of the soul, the individual consciousness, but she feels herself as the absolute. Even though the soul feels herself as the absolute, which is a mysterious nothingness, she is not completely gone.

The Soul has the Potential to be False

The soul’s retained impressions can also be disharmonious or even antithetical to her true nature, limiting or distorting her openness, creativity, flow, flexibility, and freedom. The retained impressions can become rigid and fixed structures, limiting her capacity for morphogenic transformation by constraining her malleability and her receptivity to the rest of her potential. Rigidity and fixation are elements of a larger category of disharmonious impressions: retained impressions that are disharmonious to her because they are false, inaccurate, and/or distorted reflections of her nature and properties. Distorted impressions create in the soul an opaqueness that obscures her inherent potential for luminosity, blocking the transparency of consciousness. In other words, any retained impressions that are not in harmony with her true nature and fundamental properties are bound to limit her access to her greater potential, to alienate her from the preciousness and freedom of her essential nature, and to inhibit her growth toward maturity and completeness. Fixed, rigid, and inaccurate impressions constrain the soul’s receptivity to her potential to be prejudiced exclusively toward the elements of this potential that are consonant with the rigidity, fixation, and falseness. The soul has the potential to be false, to manifest rigid and fixed forms, opaqueness, dullness, and darkness. When the retained impressions are such they will tend to channel her creativity and unfoldment of potential toward the elements of this potential that are compatible with these limited and distorted impressions. This is the problem with fixed and rigid impressions, and the forms that do not reflect faithfully her essential nature. This is a form of learning, but it is more exact to call it conditioning. Conditioning here means that she is structured in a way that is not wholesome; her experience is limited to forms that obstruct the free arising of her potential and its actualization.

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