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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Opportunity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Opportunity

An Openness to Whatever is Happening

We need the kindness of Guidance in order to stay with the suffering of the soul; without that, it is too painful to tolerate the difficulties in our experience, and inquiry would be impossible. Frequently, for example, we close our hearts with our anger and rage. In order to open to the pain that is there, we have to go through the rage and anger. To do this, sensitivity is needed to recognize that the anger is our outrage about the pain. So if we inquire into what the outrage is about, it will reveal the hurt. Otherwise, it will stay hidden. Experiencing the hurt will then reveal the underlying truth, and also open our hearts to the essential quality of Compassion, the Green latifa. The intelligence of Compassion allows a kindness that does not try to get rid of suffering but creates an openness to whatever is happening so the truth will have the opportunity to reveal itself. In this way, inquiry goes counter to the tendencies of the ego. Ego doesn’t want to experience pain. It wants to protect itself from pain; Guidance wants to open up the pain. It wants us to feel the pain as fully as possible, for without that willingness to feel whatever is there, we won’t be open to ourselves or our experience. That is why getting in touch with our Compassion requires us to feel our pain and hurt—because our hurt is what invites the Compassion. Compassion comes out as a response to pain. At the same time, we need the Compassion in order to be attuned to our experience so that we can inquire effectively. Without our pain, our kindness would be limited, which would limit our attunement, which would then limit our inquiry. Human beings get used to believing that emotional pain is bad, but emotional pain is mostly an invitation for Compassion, an invitation for sensitivity. That is how human beings learn to be sensitive—we get cooked, and by getting cooked, we soften. We become delicate and sensitive.

An Opportunity to Develop a New Understanding of the Duality Between Essence and Personality

This understanding becomes accessible only when you have experienced Essence in a very deep and integrated way. When you first begin to work on yourself, the personality is all you experience and so of course you want to make it better. Then you begin to perceive the more real part of you—Essence—perhaps in the form of Value or Truth. It’s not that it wasn’t there before, but you had just never seen it, or at least it had been hidden for years and years. So the next stage is that there is a struggle in which the development of Essence increasingly exposes the personality. Now you have an opportunity to develop a new understanding of the duality between Essence and personality. You see that despite your essential experiences, the personality continues to act, thus maintaining its identity. This perpetuates the duality; this very activity of doing something is the problem. The personality is operating, working on itself, becoming realized, achieving this and that, and all this activity is what creates your suffering. The mere fact that you do, that you hope, that you desire, is the problem. So you turn towards the issue of identity, and see that your very identity is an inner activity. The past exists in us as activity, and the content of personality is an activity, a movement. Ego activity is the substance of suffering; it is contraction itself. You can see this more specifically if you look at the activity in each center of the body. If you look at the activity in the head, you’ll see concern and worry. In the heart, it’s a sense of guilt and frustration. Looking at activity in the belly, you’ll see it as attachment and desire. But it is all the same thing: ego activity. And ego activity is always connected with issues from your past. It is what is called personal karma, or the wheel of life and death. It is the movement of your mind, your personality, your choices, preferences, judgments, resistances—anything you do actively. The moment you choose to do something or to reject something, you are acting, and that inner activity is the content of personality that makes the personality unclear. It muddies the water and separates the personality from the clear stillness of Essence.

By Coming In Touch with the Inner Field of Presence We Have the Opportunity to See How Our Consciousness Functions

Inner content does not enter consciousness from somewhere else. It arises in the field of consciousness itself, as the field modifying itself at the particular region the content arises. In other words, content arises within the field of consciousness as part of the field. Content is composed of particular forms the consciousness assumes at certain regions of its presence. Such a form could be a feeling, like warm kindness or anger. It can be a thought, a word, or a string of words. It can be an image, with or without colors. It can be inner movement, as in the kinesthetic sense. It can be inner sounds, tastes, or smells, as in imagination or memory. All these are inner forms that arise in our consciousness. We normally think of them as entering our consciousness, happening to us, or that we actively produce them. We do not see them as forms arising through our inner field of consciousness plastically changing itself to create them out of its very substance. We do not see this process of inner creation because we are not in touch with the field directly, so we end up perceiving only the forms it takes. By coming in touch with the inner field of presence, we have the wonderful opportunity of seeing how our consciousness functions to create its own inner forms. Not only does our field of consciousness manifest forms by morphing itself; it also perceives these manifestations. These forms are perceived not through the operation of looking at them from a distance, but by immediate awareness. Our soul is aware of her inner content by being inside all of the manifesting forms. Her conscious field completely pervades all forms completely and thoroughly, since it constitutes the totality of each form. And, being pure consciousness, the soul knows these forms directly and in the present moment. This is what we call noesis.


Denying Yourself the Opportunity of Reaching More Deeply Into Your Being

Also, your struggle in the Work is a genuine, total response to the deepest longings and yearnings of your heart. It is an acknowledgment of those deepest longings. Without struggle, you have to dismiss those yearnings for the deepest aspects of you and of your reality, and you will lead a life that is superficial, a life without depth, without roots that reach deeply into your true being. The more you struggle with an issue, the deeper you will be as a human being. If your problems are taken from you or if you discharge them quickly without really exploring and understanding them, you will deny yourself the opportunity of reaching more deeply into your being. The same is true with essential states. You might experience a sense of your own value by working through a certain issue, but that is not the end of it. The experience of value, the value itself, can get deeper if you struggle with the issues even more. The effect becomes more concentrated. It’s like apricot juice—if you simmer it, it will begin to evaporate and get thicker. On the surface, where the juice is turning to steam, it seems lighter, but below the surface, it is getting thicker and denser. It is the same with Essence—lighter on the surface, denser underneath, and getting thicker and more concentrated the more it simmers, the more heat there is, the more you struggle. Of course, it is very hard work to struggle with the issues of your life. But that work is what differentiates a baby essence from an adult essence. The value a baby embodies is something like amber, a light amber essence. Mature value is like a deep, thick, dark amber. There is no maturity without struggle. If you remain on the level of a baby, satisfied with a tit that provides, you continue to be a baby. You don’t grow up. A baby eventually grows into an adult by confronting his life and learning about himself through the process of struggling with the difficulties that are part of his life.

Every Thought is an Opportunity to Observe and Learn from Our Mind

Questioning thoughts in this way, we can relax our fixed hold on the concept of thought and gain new insights into our mental processes. Every thought is an opportunity to observe and learn from our mind. With experience, we can begin to see how thoughts can actually create confusion and prolong unpleasant states of mind. Eventually it will become more obvious how one thought generates another, and how the momentum of thoughts tends to build on itself, cycling and recycling impulses through the mind. Just as a weaver creates a tapestry by establishing the basic threads of a fabric and embellishing it with pattern after pattern, our minds seem to weave thoughts and images in endless replications. When we catch the beginning of a thought, we can observe how it begins with a simple pattern that is open and spacious, growing more dense as images intertwine in ever more complex patterns. Stimulating memories and associations that evoke universes of feelings and emotions, thoughts lose their openness as they proliferate and intermesh. Simultaneously, we can sense our critical faculties at work, labeling our experience as happiness, depression, ecstasy, boredom, or anger, as noble or blameworthy.

Having the Opportunity to Do the More Fundamental Work, the Work of Discovering what Reality Is

A human being will continue to have emotional problems until the basis of these problems is eliminated. The basis of all emotional problems, of all mental suffering, is taking appearance to be the only, fundamental reality. Emotional problems and psychological issues need to be worked on, explored and understood, so that you have an opportunity to do the more fundamental work, the work of discovering what reality is. If you do not work through your emotional problems your mind will be filled with them. Your mind needs to be somewhat unburdened from these issues before you can even be interested in looking deeper. It is important to remember that our emotional issues, our difficulties in life, are not our basic focus in the Work. You can come into a group and see that sometimes these things are addressed; they arise in your process, and you think that is what you need to be working on. You believe that you need to work on your problems with your wife, your husband, your job, your inner critic. That is only the initial part of the Work. Our Work is oriented towards a much deeper dimension, and we deal with the emotional level because we have to, because the content of the mind is what the person is aware of. In the Diamond Approach, we use these emotional problems as stepping stones towards the more fundamental reality. We work to understand and resolve them, in order to be free from them. But the point is not only to be free from them; it is to enable us to look deeper, into what is not apparent.

If One is Not Curious then One Will Not Have the Opportunity to Apply Objectivity

We have shown how objectivity is needed for psychic metabolism, and we have explored the love of truth, for its own sake, as a necessary requirement for such objectivity. Objectivity is the function of the diamond guidance, and hence, love of truth is a necessary requirement for the presence and operation of this indispensable guidance. Another quality, which usually accompanies the love of truth, that of curiosity, is required for purification of the ego. One can have the capacity to be objective, but if one is not curious then one will not have the opportunity to apply it. One must pay attention and be involved in the experience in order to see the truth, and this requires curiosity. Curiosity does not necessarily mean searching for truth. The seeking for truth, realization or enlightenment is a pale reflection of the true quality needed for them. Searching implies desire, it implies an end in mind, it implies preconceptions and assumptions, and hence it is counter to the attitude of love of truth, and counter to objectivity. On the other hand, curiosity involves love for truth, and joy in the truth. True curiosity is a rare quality. It is a quality of Being, and ego usually kills curiosity to avoid exposure of ego’s falsehood. We can often see true curiosity in the play of children. Often when a child finds a new object, he will be so curious and so involved in investigating it, that he becomes completely absorbed in the activity, pulling the object apart or putting it back together, or whatever. He is not seeking a result, or trying to gain something. In fact, after a while, when his curiosity is satisfied, he will probably throw the object away, as if it is of no more interest to him. But during the investigation, which has the character of play, he is totally absorbed, completely enraptured, fully enjoying and loving the investigation.

Killing the Opportunity to Fully Experience Life

And pure energy does not judge itself. It just is. It is a pure expression of something that is innately yours. It is your life force. It is your life energy, and it brings life, a dynamic effulgence, to your love so that the love and the energy become one. The dancing together is so intimate and complete that there is no difference between the love and the energy. So we need to suspend our ideas about what can come forward. We need to not judge our needs, because it is necessary to explore everything in our experience. Even though it can be painful, it is important to allow the neediness that is mixed with desire to come into consciousness. That’s because the desire, in and of itself, is a way back—back to our energetic heart, back to that erotic, alive, and full energy waiting to burst out with the joy and exuberance of life and love and desire as one. We are getting close here to what we mean by divine eros. As we have seen, we tend to clamp our feelings down with all kinds of notions about what might happen. This kills the opportunity to fully experience life, love, and the great exhilaration of creating each moment, which is the potential of what we are. This is why it is important to keep sensing your belly without either acting out your feelings or suppressing them. Repressing desire simply makes our consciousness thick, and we remain unaware of this potential. So don’t repress the energy—but you don’t want to let it express itself impulsively either. You want to be able to just be with it. Ride the wave and feel your feet on the ground . . .

Losing the Opportunity to Focus on the Truth of Our Experience, to Find Out More of What It Means

Our wanting usually is quite self-centered to begin with, which is one reason why we might resist feeling it. But we need to allow ourselves to be in the condition in which our desire initially arises. It always begins with somebody wanting something. Good! There’s a self that wants something! Feel it. Don’t push it away. We are not pursuing some spiritual ideal of becoming a selfless being who doesn’t want anything. It is the truth we are after. If this is what is there, we must confront it and understand it. We don’t yet know that our wanting can be transformed into the pure energy of desire, but if we suppress our feelings at any point along the way, we lose the opportunity to focus on the truth of our experience, to find out more about what it means. Yes, there is emptiness, and there are feelings of deficiency because of what we believe we don’t have. Thus we don’t let ourselves feel our desires, because we believe that they will never be met; we keep telling ourselves that it doesn’t make sense to want something that we can’t have. How many times do you tell yourself that? A desire might spring up in you for something or someone, but you push it down: “I can’t get the job, so why go there?” or “He doesn’t want me, so I’m not going to feel that I want him.” Some people don’t even get as far as feeling the desire. Just an inkling of the wanting trips an automatic switch inside, and the feeling doesn’t even surface. But we could do something different and simply let the feeling be there whether our desire is met or not. What would that be like? When you really let yourself want something and you bring your focus back to the experience of the wanting itself, at some point you start to feel that you are alive with wanting. You are fully alive with an energetic, bubbling, sparkling, effulgent wanting: “Oh my God, this feels really good. I feel alive. I am finally letting myself feel this thing that I haven’t let myself feel since the day that person rejected me . . . or the time when this thing didn’t happen . . . or the day I was so disappointed when I didn’t get that thing I worked so hard for.” If you keep allowing that feeling, the focus on the outer drops away and you are able to feel the feeling of pure desire itself. Desire has a bubbling, energetic quality that has a fullness to it, a full, dynamic feeling. It is sparkling, bright, tingly, effervescent.

Ordinarily it is Impossible to Appreciate the Extent of the Influence of Past Experience on Our Sense of Ourselves

The mental images and attitudes that determine how we experience ourselves form the basis of a whole implicit world view. We also experience ourselves only indirectly, as a subject experiencing an object. We are aware of ourselves as an object like other objects, seeing ourselves in the world as one object among others. Even when one is aware of oneself as perceiver or subject, this perception is different from the direct sense of our facticity, from the fact of our existence. We still know ourselves through the veil of memory. As indicated above, ordinarily it is impossible to appreciate the extent of the influence of past experience on our sense of ourselves without having some other form of experience as a referent. What gives us the opportunity to see this omnipresent influence is the direct experience of self-realization, which reveals to us the distance between knowing oneself and being oneself. The self is constrained by the subject-object dichotomy: one is a subject experiencing oneself as an object. In the conventional dimension of experience the most intimate way we can experience ourselves is through such self-reflective consciousness. In self-realization we experience ourselves as presence, where presence is both Being and knowingness. Here, the cognitive act and being are the same experience. We realize that we are speaking of a level of experience that seems far removed from ordinary experience, and may seem too esoteric to be concerned with. However, thousands of perfectly ordinary people have achieved access to this dimension of understanding, either through religion, spiritual traditions, artistic endeavors, or other kinds of explorations. As we proceed in this book, it will become clear how this level of insight can unfold simply through our maintaining a consistent and open inquiry into our true nature.

Our Personal Relationships Can Open Us Up More, Develop us More

The heart is naturally generous, naturally open. In our natural condition, and when all is working well, love expresses itself in many ways. When the heart is open, it is a sensitive organ that loves because that is what it is here for. Just like the physical heart that keeps sending life into the cells as it pumps blood, our essential heart allows the nectars of our spirit to continuously flow. And we don’t have to run around physically hugging people; the heart is capable of hugging someone without their even knowing it. When we know the nature of love, we can begin to see that, in fact, our spiritual nature is what can embrace our personal relationships. And the richness that happens within a personal relationship, between two people, has a preciousness that helps us to become more and more able to love. Our personal relationships can open us up more, develop us more, and give us the opportunity to be more in touch with the freedom we cherish. But if we don’t know what real love is, those things do not happen easily. The presence of love is the lifeblood of our relational heart. Yet, as we have seen, the heart tends to remain divided—on the one hand, we love our spiritual nature, the freedom, the vastness, the beauty, and the mystery, and on the other hand, we love our worldly activities, enjoyments, and personal relationships. It feels as though the two sides of our precious human being–ness were disparate, separated, and unrelated—the sense that we must choose one over the other. Organized religion, historically, has been one way to attempt to blend daily life with spiritual life: “Okay, I’ll take the family to church on Sundays . . .” But all too often, this doesn’t really work; the division in the heart between the spiritual and secular is not bridged in actual experience. The result is that the spiritual life is compartmentalized instead of infusing the totality of life.

Pushing Against Our Experience, It Doesn’t Have the Opportunity or Space to be Itself

When I say that resistance is contraindicated in inner practice, I remind you that I am not saying that you should never engage in a resistance movement in the sense of taking appropriate action regarding external circumstances. Remember the rotten peach. What I am referring to is nonresistance within ourselves, within our own field of awareness of experience. It takes a subtle and full understanding of our own field of experience and of how to live harmoniously within it to understand what to do with an external force. In the meantime, we can only do our best until we get to that point. The more we understand how we respond to what is arising within us, the easier it becomes to learn how to deal with what is arising outside of us, so to speak. (At some point, we recognize that whatever happens is not really outside of us.) When we are pushing against our experience, fighting it off, it doesn’t have the opportunity or the space to be itself. And if it doesn’t have the chance to be itself, it doesn’t have the chance to unfold. And if it doesn’t have the chance to unfold, it doesn’t have the opportunity to reveal its nature. So it continues to be whatever manifestation initially arose. In other words, resisting something is one good way to preserve it in the form that we experienced it to begin with. We resist, hoping to get rid of it, but what we are actually doing is encapsulating it and keeping it in its original form or expression. So, as you see, resistance is futile! Everything that initially appears to have its own identity, its own reality, at some point will be absorbed again into the indivisible unity of True Nature. Resistance implies a division inside of us. It signals that we are not recognizing that what is arising is a manifestation of our own consciousness, of our own awareness. When hatred arises in us, for example, or fear, it is our soul, our consciousness, taking that form at that time for a reason we perhaps don’t understand yet. If we are able to allow the fear or hate, embrace it, hold it, and feel it fully in its totality—in all its texture, color, and vividness—we will give it the space to be itself. And that will happen naturally because it is the nature of our True Nature to move, to unfold, to illuminate itself, and to reveal what it is about. And as our experience reveals what it is about, it will at some point reveal its True Nature because each experience we have is somehow related to our True Nature. And by understanding it, seeing the truth, and following the thread of truth, we are following that connection to True Nature.

Soul’s Opportunity to Perceive the Development of Attachment

Experientially, the notions of good and bad are connected mostly to pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, gain and loss, expansion and contraction, and so on. In the unutterable bliss of nonconceptuality, these dichotomies disappear. An important part of this process for the soul is the development of nonattachment. The understanding that arises with the help of the crystal vehicles is that attachment depends on the dichotomy of good and bad. These vehicles teach the soul that nonattachment is nothing but the effect of the nonconceptual presence on the consciousness of the soul. They teach her this wisdom by challenging this dichotomy, which she has adhered to as long as she can remember, and showing her how it is not a fundamental truth, not a timeless truth of Reality. The soul has the opportunity at this point to perceive the development of attachment. It starts with the differentiation of nonconceptual presence. As long as these stay simply as differentiations no attachment is possible, but the differentiations become discriminations, knowable concepts. As long as they remain simply knowable concepts, noetic forms, attachment is still not present. But the concepts become labeled and eventually reified. They become discrete forms, which obscures the unifying ground. The labeling and reification make it possible for the first time to compare the forms, resulting in judgment. This judgment is the beginning of the dichotomy of good and bad. This judgment leads to preference, generally of the good over the bad. Preference based on the entrenched belief in the ultimate truth of this dichotomy becomes a rigid and fixed preference. Such fixed preference easily becomes attachment, which is holding on to what one so prefers, or rejecting what one does not.

The Dynamism Presents Itself to Your Mandala, Giving You the Opportunity to be Moved by the Divine Will in Whatever Way It Wants

During the second journey, you need to trust that there is nothing to do but stay with the thread. The question of trust activates the specific issue that makes it difficult to stay with the thread. The specific issue of any essential aspect is the issue that arises in everyone regardless of personal history, as a barrier against realizing that aspect. The specific issue for the Point Diamond is the belief that you need to be someplace in particular. “Maybe I should be experiencing the mystery. I should be in the unchanging silence beyond all of appearance. That’s realization.” No! Realization is knowing where you truly are, not experiencing some state that you can only sometimes reach. The point is that the dynamism is manifesting its pure quality within your mandala in a specific form, with a specific quality, for an intelligent reason. Dynamism has its own purposes in presenting itself within you the way it does. You can say, “No, that’s not what I want,” but this comes from a will disconnected from the Divine Will. Because of this self-centered willfulness, it is said in some of the theistic traditions that harmony with the Divine Will is a higher realization than God realization. Going along with where Being puts you is a much deeper realization than just becoming intimate with the wholeness of Being. So the dynamism presents itself to your mandala, giving you the opportunity to be moved by the Divine Will in whatever way it wants. Another way of saying this is that your mandala, which is the totality of your experience, is touched in the center by the Divine Will. The particular way in which you are touched is the manifestation of Divinity itself, which is the essential presence. This is also called the elixir, the transforming agent that can transform the totality of the mandala and move it toward greater optimization. Our personal contribution is to investigate our experience to become aware of and understand what’s happening, because if we don’t understand it, we will tend to push against it. Not understanding it means that we are acting according to some other impulse that originates in a more superficial part of our soul. The movement of the whole mandala is then being directed by this superficial part, which most likely is a remnant of our personal history.

The Point Where We Have the Opportunity to Begin Expanding Our Inquiry into the Nature of All of Our Experience

By going from relative to essential truth, we travel to another dimension and recognize a new way of knowing. If we continue in this dimension (the second journey), we find out that the new way of knowing is not that new. Basic knowledge always underlies our ongoing experience, but we could not see it before, because of the usual dualities in our mind between the observer and the observed. We usually think, “The knowingness is in me as I observe my body,” instead of recognizing that there is knowingness that is itself the body. The moment you recognize Essence, it is possible to transcend that duality. In knowing Essence, we begin to recognize basic knowledge, and we embark on a journey into a new way of knowing, a direct and immediate knowing. When we are aware of our presence by being present, there is a new knowledge, and we call this knowledge Essence. At that point, we have the opportunity to begin expanding our inquiry into the nature of all of our experience. We recognize that not only is self-knowing intrinsic to essential presence, but this way of knowing is fundamental to our soul, the consciousness that is the ground of all our experience. We recognize that the soul herself has presence. And how does the soul know herself? How does she experience herself? She experiences herself the same way that Essence experiences itself—through the direct awareness and direct contact with her very presence.

We Want to Learn How to be with Each Other in a Way that Will Deepen and Expand the Relationship

When we become truly spiritual, our caring for God becomes our caring for one another, because we see God in each other. We can’t say that we care for God and then assume that a person doesn’t have God inside them. The person might not know it, might be very blocked—might even be mad and hateful—but deep inside there is only one reality. This person has true nature regardless of how he or she is acting. If we all knew that, if all of humanity knew that, everyone would stop killing each other. We would understand that it would be like killing somebody we deeply love; it would be like killing oneself. We want to learn how to be with each other in a way that will deepen and expand the relationship, give it the freedom, the opportunity, to develop its potential. We are implying here that just as our soul can develop, our relationships can develop. A relationship between two people is a kind of soul, a type of field of consciousness; it can either be opaque to its true nature or else it can be transparent to it, allowing the luminosity of true nature to manifest within and through it. Such transparency requires both people to be sincere in their interaction, caring about what happens in and to the field. They recognize that “In the same way that I care about my soul and how it is going to manifest, I care about the soul of my interaction with you. I have the opportunity here to discover and experience your truth, and mine, and to learn how we can both develop further through our relationship. The more I come to know you, the more I come to know myself.” When we are by ourselves, we experience our authenticity differently than when we are with another. And our experience of being with someone varies depending on whom we are with. We can be authentic and real in any situation, but what arises in us will differ depending on whether we are alone or interacting—and each interaction is unique. So each relationship, each interaction, is an opportunity for life to manifest its possibilities. It is an opportunity for the arising of divine eros. A mature relationship provides a place where we can express the divine in many different ways, such as friendly and kind, or pleasurable and playful; intimate and peaceful, or erotic and exciting—depending on the context and nature of the relationship.

When a Relationship is Open and Real, We Have a Better Opportunity to Discover Deeper Dimensions of Reality

A real relationship is, by definition, open, which means that it is open to further developments. When a relationship is open and real, we have a better opportunity to discover deeper dimensions of reality, sometimes more powerfully than just when we are by ourselves. This is one reason why having a teacher is more powerful than working by oneself. A relationship with another person—whether in a friendship, an intimate relationship, or a marriage—can be powerful for our inner journey if it is real and open to new possibilities. An energizing dynamic can occur when two forces are interacting with each other—two souls, two vortexes of consciousness, blending their energies together. You are not simply adding one to the other—it’s not like one plus one equals two. It is more powerful than that. This is due to what we call mutuality, where there is not only interaction but also mutual interest—a common interest in the truth and a mutual desire to know one another. This shared interest in the discovery of the truth becomes a mutual love for discovering each other at the same time as we discover ourselves. When you combine mutuality with empathy and attunement, a very powerful dynamic results, which we experience as a mutual impact, a mutual influence. As I communicate or express myself to my friend, this does something to her. The communication doesn’t just give her information, it affects her consciousness, it changes her state. And seeing how my communication affects her affects me. So the necessary openness includes an openness to seeing that what I say and what I do have an impact, an influence, on the other person. It affects her emotionally, it affects her consciousness, it affects her state, but I am also open to being affected by her. I am open for her communication to impact me, to influence me. When there is mutual openness, then mutual influence can create a feedback loop.

When the Opportunity to Judge Things as Either Good or Bad Arises

We have lived our lives believing that we see reality. We experience the emotions and feelings, and we see the objects in what we take to be the external environment. We have not been aware of the role our mind plays in this experience. We have not known that we have been experiencing our conceptualizing mind. When we get to the roots of how the mind works, we realize that the things that we think really exist are the things that are in our minds. They are not real in the autonomously self-existing way that we normally believe. This is difficult to understand because of how much we have believed these differentiations and conceptualizations and names. To annihilate mind in heart means to go beyond the conceptualizing mind, to stop this process of labeling and discrimination. As long as we base reality, what we do, and the meaning of truth on the belief that these labeled phenomena exist absolutely, then our mind will be predisposed toward judgment. The opportunity to judge things as either good or bad arises. Before such conceptualization there is no possibility of judgment. The moment we take ourselves to be separate entities, our feelings too become differentiated as good or bad, pleasurable or painful. And the moment we begin to judge, we begin to attach. We want that which is good and avoid that which is bad. From this perspective, the whole world has been created by our mind. We are attached to something that doesn’t actually exist. Neither what we believe nor what we perceive is the real world. The good that we pursue and the bad that we avoid are made up by our own mind. In reality there isn’t anything good or bad. God never creates anything good, neither has he ever created anything bad. Our minds create these distinctions.

When We Stop Defending Against Feeling a Hole the Actual Experience is Not Painful

So, any deep loss is an opportunity to grow, to understand more about yourself, to experience holes that you believe can only be filled by someone else. Unfortunately, people usually defend like crazy against deeply feeling these losses. This is primarily to avoid feeling the hole. People don’t know that the hole, the sense of deficiency, is a symptom of a loss of something deeper—the loss of Essence, which can be regained. They think the hole, the deficiency, is how they really are at the deepest level, and that there is nothing beyond it. They think something is wrong with them, but this feeling that something is wrong is an unconscious knowledge of the presence of the hole. People will do anything to not feel the hole. They believe that if they get close to a hole, it will swallow them up. If they are coming up to the hole of love, for example, they might feel threatened by a devastating loneliness or emptiness. Other holes will bring up what feels like a threat of annihilation. No wonder we don’t want to go near these holes! But in our work here we have seen a surprising thing: when we stop defending against feeling a hole, the actual experience is not painful. We simply experience empty space, the feeling that there is nothing there. Not a threatening nothingness, but a spaciousness, an allowing. This spaciousness allows Essence to emerge, and it is Essence and only Essence that can eliminate the hole, that deficiency, from the inside.

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