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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Perception?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Perception

Different Perceptions Through Different Lenses

The way I see it, the mystery is always being revealed. The transformation is always happening. What you perceive is a matter of the lens through which you look at reality. Some lenses disclose just a slice of reality while others expose several slices, and there are those lenses that see telescopically, revealing reality all the way through. So it depends with which lens you look. It’s not that the world we see, the physical world, completely doesn't exist. The world exists, but as one dimension of seeing things. The world is far too wonderful and rich to be just one thing.

Everyone Experiences the Sense of “I” as the Center of Perception

Our identity is our most intimate sense of ourselves. It is like the center of ourselves, the intimate, unique flavor of ourselves, the experiential essence of the “I” and its locus. Our identity is so intimately associated with the self that we locate ourselves at the site of its identification. The fact that identity locates the experience of the self points to other functions of identity. Identity determines the locus of consciousness, awareness, perception, and observation. The feeling of identity is inseparably connected with the center of perception, what is usually referred to as “the observer.” This is the ordinary experience of all normal individuals; everyone experiences the sense of “I” as the center of perception. The reader can confirm this by spending a few minutes paying attention to his or her inner experience. Anyone who pays attention to the sense of the “I” as the center of perception is likely to find the observer located somewhere in the body. Some people experience the observer centered in the head, in the back of the head or neck, or in the back of the body in general. Our perception of ourselves is almost always clearly oriented in space. For example, a person observing her inner experience might find that she is looking from the head downward, or from the back forward, or from the surface inward. Her perception will inevitably have a locus or center, and thus a direction.

Generation of Stories

So the moment you have a theory about anything, your theory is basically a story. Whenever you have a system, whenever you have an approach, whenever you have a terminology, whenever you have a science, it's a story that is being generated. There’s no ultimate truth other than what’s happening right now. You could say this is a school, we do work, people learn to develop themselves and be free and realize who they are and all that. We could say that and that's a good theory but it's a story. Other people could have different stories. That this is some kind of cult with a secret force that pulls all these people together toward some secret purpose that will not appear until later. Neither story is accurate. The accurate perception is that this is the pattern in which reality emerges right now.

If there is Absolutely One Thing with Absolutely No Differentiations Within it then there is No Perception and No Sensation

Nevertheless, there is a limit to this complete experience of true nature. Regardless of how dominant is the presence of true nature, there is always a manifest form in awareness, even if it is the slightest differentiation, the barest glimmer of light in darkness, the subtlest sense of a differentiated quality. We might have our eyes closed, so that we do not see external forms. There might be no sounds, and our mind might be completely still. Yet, there is bound to be a sliver of light, a nuance of a sensation, the barest outline of a form or hint of a quality. The fact is that when there is absolutely no differentiation, no difference in perception, there will be no distinctions to be aware of, and no movement to indicate change. The complete absence of distinctions and movement amounts to no perception, for perception requires some differentiation. If there is absolutely one thing with absolutely no differentiations within it, then there is no perception and no sensation Perception and sensation depend on awareness of distinctions.

Love Seen as the Perception of Truth

What we are seeing here is that love is the perception of the truth, along with a positive affect that is not separate from that perception of the truth. So, love is not just a feeling of sweetness, where you feel happy around that person and so you are full of loving feelings toward them. What we are talking about is personal love, which means that you are able to perceive, feel, and know what is beautiful in another person. That is not to say that there is no loving feeling in this experience; this seeing or perceiving of the other does have a feeling or an affect of sweetness to it. But it is the two together—the clear seeing and the feeling, not just the sweet feeling by itself—that we call real love on a personal level.

Love Unveiled, pg. 9

Motiveless Perception

There is a possibility of a certain perception, a certain way of living that is not based on anything in the personality -- not on desire, effort, conflict, hope, search, past, future, any of that -- but is a purely motiveless interest in the truth. That motiveless interest in the truth can be quite a relief.

Perception and Creation are Identical

So in some sense you could say that our life and our action is a matter of perceiving ourselves into reality. We perceive ourselves into existence. The perceiving generates and creates the being. No separation exists between perceiving and creating. As you perceive your hand, your hand is being created. Perception and creation are identical. If you think that you move your hand and that your hand is bigger now than it was when you were two years old, those thoughts are what is being generated. So you're not wrong and you're not right. You're simply being generated. No one is ever right or wrong. No one is ever good or bad. The only thing that ever happens is instantaneous manifestation. And it is actually not even a happening, for happening implies time, while this has no time in it.

Requirement for Objective Perception

Objective perception requires that we apprehend or perceive without the usual filters, without the projections of the past onto the present. What is, obviously must be in the moment – now, because only now exists. Only this very moment exists. You can see that logically for yourself. I’m not saying anything esoteric here; what exists is now. The past reality is not here. The future hasn’t come yet. To see what is means to see the now, as it is. But to see the now as it is means to see without the influence of the past.

Sensations of the World Define Our Perception of It

The world is, of course, a multitude of things. But the world as we perceive it is primarily made up of mental thoughts and images, emotions, and sensations. Everything that you know about the world and yourself depends on thoughts, images, emotions and sensations. Why else do you know? Ultimately, the world as you perceive it comes down to your sensations of the world, your emotions about it, and the mental images and thoughts you have.

The Perception that there is a Meaningful Pattern to the Unfoldment of Existence

All of the insights we have just elucidated explain the statement that, “Holy Work is the experience of the cosmos as a constant unfoldment of existence. What, then, is Holy Plan? Holy Plan is the perception that this unfoldment is not chaotic, accidental, or haphazard. It occurs according to its own laws; there is a meaningful pattern to its unfoldment. This pattern of unfoldment is the Holy Plan, although the word plan here is not used in the usual sense. It is not as though there were a preordained plan, and the universe unfolds according to it; here, the word plan means simply the recognition that there is a pattern to the unfoldment. The pattern is harmonious and inherently meaningful. This pattern, with its meaningfulness and harmony, is always explained by the dominant science of each era. Hence, it has been explained as the work of spirits, as a function of gravity, and as a consequence of random events. But when you see manifestation through the perspective of the Holy Work—that it is Beingness in constant flow—you see it as harmony, as beauty, as an ordered unfoldment. This is one way we recognize the presence of laws in the universe. Laws are simply ways we describe certain patterns that the universe manifests.

Facets of Unity, pg. 171

We Have the Capacity to Perceive Without Knowing and that is Never Lost

As human beings, we have the capacity to perceive without knowing and that is never lost. This capacity is the ground of cognitive knowing, because our knowing awareness developed as a facet of our original consciousness, our primordial awareness. But as the cognitive capacity develops its reifying capacity, we lose touch with the pure, perceptual awareness—the sensitivity itself without the cognitive knowing. We don’t know it exists because the perception and the knowing seem to happen at the same time, and we can't separate them. We perceive something and right away our cognitive capacity registers that we either know or we don’t know what it is.

When All Capacities are One Capacity

There are other capacities for subtle perception, such as smelling and hearing, but here we are giving examples only for general illustration. Connecting these various capacities with different energetic centers does not mean that it is only in those locations that the capacities are exercised. In fact, such capacities can be exercised, when developed, at any location in the body; indeed, they overlap. Texture can be discriminated by taste, even by seeing, as can density and viscosity. This is also true for the physical senses. However, here the phenomenon points to a very deep truth, that of the unity of the senses, or capacities of perception. At the deeper dimension of Essence, the centers lose their importance. They are important only at the start, as points of orientation or origination. Later, we see that these capacities are part of the Essence itself, that Essence itself has the capacity for touch, taste, seeing, hearing, smelling, intuition, knowing, and soon. In other words, the Essence is the organ of perception. On this level of realization, all of the capacities are one capacity. It is one act of Essence. It is possible to say that Essence is consciousness, pure consciousness.

When the Whole Soul Becomes an Organ of Perception

Therefore, the more accustomed we are to the inner stillness and peacefulness, the more perceptive we become on the subtle dimensions. This can take our inquiry to deeper levels, to a newer kind of knowledge, to a different kind of experience. Our spacecruiser can now travel to other galaxies of experience, where perception is different and unfamiliar. It is amazing to be able to experience at such subtle levels, to feel a state and see it and taste it, all at the same time. Sometimes you can’t tell whether you are seeing, hearing, tasting, or touching—at these subtle depths, it is all one act. Then your whole soul is ablaze. It is as though each atom of the soul were capable of all of the capacities. For although these capacities initially operate through particular centers, just like the lataif do, ultimately they are not limited to certain locations or particular organs. The whole soul becomes an organ of perception, and all the capacities can operate in any part of the body. . . . . . . These perceptual capacities develop initially to discriminate our inner experience, but in time, as our soul opens up and reveals that the whole world is a manifestation of consciousness, the perception of the whole world appears in terms of the subtle capacities. The world begins to have colors, smells, and textures we didn’t see before. For instance, one day you might realize that you are seeing the night at noon; it is daytime, the sun is shining, but you can see the night behind everything. This is called the midnight sun of the subtle realms.

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